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A Time to Forgive Others

With dry throats, parched lips, swoons of drowsiness, short tempers, and long hot afternoons, Ramadan days went by for most of us.

As the end of Ramadan draws nearer, the fervor of worship increases, the fasting Muslims gather more momentum for Night Prayers, repentance, and earnest supplications to Allah, and some of them isolate themselves for i`tikaf (spiritual retreat in the mosque).

Meanwhile, their hearts experience mixed feelings. They feel sorrowful at having to imminently bid farewell to this month of worship for another year, and joyful at the prospect of shortly enjoying Eid with their family and relatives.

Eid day commences with Muslims taking a shower early in the morning, dressing up in nice clothes and perfume, having sweet-flavoured dessert or dates for breakfast, loudly proclaiming Allah’s greatness (saying, “Allahu Akbar”), and proceeding as a family for congregational prayer.

Muslims rejoice inwardly because they are hopeful that they emerged from Ramadan as a clean slate; that is, with all their previous sins wiped out after having received forgiveness from Allah. This forgiveness for sins makes Muslims embrace and welcome the holy month of Ramadan in the first place, as it gives them a chance of renewing their faith and strengthening their bond with their Creator.

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Eid is a time to meet everyone we know and do not know, visit each other’s homes, give gifts, send greetings, and flash smiles and call up those who are geographically too far away from us to wish them a happy `Eid. These gestures should be for everyone, not just for those whom we like or to whom we are close.

Improper Behavior 

It is not appropriate for a Muslim to proceed to another corner of the Prayer rows at Eid Prayer after having spotted someone at the farther end with whom he or she has a long-standing bone of contention or a grudge.  It is not proper for a Muslim sister to turn her head away to avoid eye contact with a sister from her neighborhood, because of what the latter allegedly said about her behind her back according to gossipmongers.

What to Do Instead?

Eid is a time for Muslims to forgive others the wrongs they have done to them, intentionally or by mistake, just as they themselves hope that Allah has forgiven their sins in His infinite mercy during Ramadan.

• Do you remember that girl who initially seemed sincere, but leaked your secrets to the whole class at school, and to whom you have not spoken since then? Hug her on `Eid!

• Do you remember that aunt who mocked your dress in front of everyone at a party, making you the butt of their cruel jokes for the night? Go, meet and greet her on `Eid.

• Do you remember that colleague who made you do all the project work but then snidely took credit for it with the boss bypassing you for a promotion? Send him a personalized electronic greeting on `Eid.

Seek Allah’s Forgiveness

Eid is all about forgiving people, just the way we would like Allah to forgive us. No matter how hard it may seem, it is possible to get rid of grudges and move on, forgetting the bad they did to us, despite still feeling the hurt and pain, and meeting them as if nothing sour ever happened.

The same logic also applies to us as believers. If we would like to be forgiven by Allah for the sins we have done, we should also develop the ability and strength to forgive others and move on from past grievances.

Let your relationships flourish after being born anew this Eid.