Scene # 1: A Depressed Eid
It’s the morning of Eid and you’re lying on your bed. You’ve taken a bath and worn the same old clothes because you couldn’t shop for Eid.
You can’t go to the Eid prayer (salat) or meet your friends. Your loved ones are miles away from you because you couldn’t go home due to the lockdown. You call your mother and give her Eid greetings while tears roll down your eyes.
Why is Allah punishing us like this? The thought keeps rolling at the back of your depressed mind as you trudge through Eid day in bed watching movies on your phone.
We’re supposed to be happy on Eid, isn’t it? We don’t want our Eid to be so depressing.
But then, what else can we do in this crisis?
Scene # 2: A “Normal” Eid
It’s the morning of Eid and you’ve come out of the mosque after praying. As you adjust the elegant new clothes you’re wearing, a broad smile of contentment plays on your sweaty lips. It’s hot outside. You wipe the sweat off with your hand.
You shake hands with friends and neighbors, get into your car and drive back to your parents’ home.
You open the door and turn on the fan switch, hug your mom and dad, and shake hands with your siblings, also there for Eid. Then you all sit down to a delicious Eid banquet, passing dishes around and pouring drinks.
“Alhamdulillah,” you say to yourself, “I didn’t stay back. I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.”
All this time, you’ve been blissfully unaware that a man at the masjid had sneezed during the prayer, passing on the coronavirus onto the clothes and body surfaces of everyone in the vicinity. At the moment, the virus was festering on your elegant new clothes.
And you’d just passed the virus on to your own mom and dad, your siblings, your neighbors and friends. Because you’d wanted a “normal” Eid.
Because you wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
The Purpose of Eid al-Fitr
What is Eid, really? Why should we party on this particular day of the year?
Eid is like a graduation ceremony. For a month, we’ve undergone a rigorous training program. We’ve fasted, worshipped Allah and learned the Quran like at no other time of the year. Hopefully, we have achieved the purpose of Ramadan – to become grateful (2:185), and the purpose of fasting – to attain God-consciousness. (2:183)
Now that we’ve graduated from the training program, we celebrate our success on the day of Eid. That’s what Eid is about.
It’s not the celebration – the eating and drinking, the new clothes, the socializing with friends – that makes Eid special. It’s whether we graduated at all or not, because a drop-out can’t attend the graduation ceremony.
How do we know we’re not dropouts?
Ask yourself this: Did I achieve the purpose of Ramadan? Am I feeling God-conscious? Grateful?
“If You are Grateful, I will Certainly Give You More” (14:7)
Do you want more from Allah? More happiness? More money? More immunity to fight the coronavirus?
Whatever more you want, Allah will give it to you – if you are grateful.
COVID or no COVID, there will always be problems in the world. After all, it’s not Paradise. But despite these problems, there are a trillion things that are going well in our lives. They are going so well that we forget to even notice them.
Actively recall the things that are going well in your life. A good way to do this is by starting a gratitude journal, something greatly recommended by modern psychologists.
Allah is the Priority
Why do we repeat “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is greater) so many times on Eid?
Notice that the word ‘akbar’ is a relative superlative; it means ‘greater’. Greater than what? Whatever we are prioritizing above Allah at the moment – we must fill in the blank ourselves.
Think about what Allah wants you to do on this COVID-stricken Eid. Does He want you to risk the lives of your family and friends because you miss them too much to keep away from them?
Does He want you to pray the Eid prayer (salat) at the masjid when it means risking the life of the imam and other worshippers?
Is Allah your priority? Or is your own happiness replacing Him as ‘akbar’?
Scene # 3: A Happy Eid
It’s the eve of Eid al-Fitr and you’re out on the balcony with your housemates, looking up at the sky. There’s the magnificent crescent moon smiling down at you. For the first time in your life, you’ve actually fulfilled the sunnah of moon-sighting (instead of moon-fighting).
You and your housemates decide to make zakat al-Fitr (end-of-Ramadan charity) special this year. You pool all the money you’d otherwise have spent on Eid shopping, buy groceries, clothes and medicines, and distribute them to ten poor families near you.
It feels great – better than wearing elegant new clothes on Eid.
Nouman Ali Khan, Eid ul Fitr – Allah Is Greater Inside & Outside Ramadan (Animated)