Eid is the voluntary movement of the masses to a different time that is more compatible with our nature- time of peace, laughter, joy, brotherhood, and sisterhood.
In the day of Eid, you look at yourself and you find happiness. You look at your family and you see pride and honor. You look at your house and you see beauty. You look at people around you and you see friendship. The beauty of all is recognized in all.
Islam succeeded in setting Eid following major forms of worship: Fasting and Pilgrimage. If these religious symbols achieve their objectives as social blueprints showing people the right path, Eid becomes the symbol of victory and time to celebrate successful performances and achievements. But the major and foremost victory for us is to realize and feel the inner capacity and power to change our time and our days instead of feeling that the days merely change and we are changed by them. Eid, therefore, reflects our deep desire for change and renewal.
Wearing new clothes or selecting the best and most beautiful is a testimony to this desire for change and to see the new and beautiful face of humanity. Eid is the day of decoration and ornaments with their direct effect on the human soul so that all people feel they are in a day of love and happiness. Eid is the day in which we exchange congratulations in the form of “Eid Mubarak” and “wa antum bikhayr و أنتم بخير”, wishing all to be blessed and well. These words rise above the arguments and disputes of everyday life.
Putting sweets in one’s mouth is a reminder and a motive to utter only good and sweet words. Eid, like other sacred symbols or “sha’irشَعَائر”, is based on the following paradigm: It functions to synthesize a people ethos- the tone, character, and quality of their life, its moral and aesthetic style and mood; it also functions to synthesize their worldview- the picture they construct about the world and the order of things. Based on this paradigm, Eid is the symbol of victory and must be perceived as such. The statements and the supplications we repeat multiple times during Eid support my claim: “There is no God but Allah; alone he fulfilled His promise, led His worshiper to victory, empowered His soldiers and alone defeated all enemy parties.” If this does not indicate victory, what else?
“Takbeerتَكْبِير” i.e., glorifying and magnifying Allah is another striking feature of Eid: Following fasting of Ramadan, Qur’an says: “And to glorify Him in that He guided you.” [2:185]
Following pilgrimage and sacrifice, Qur’an says: “It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah; it is your piety that reaches Him: He has thus made them subject to you that you may glorify Allah for His guidance to you.” [22:37]
Two important messages are derived from this practice:
(1) Do not succumb to your victory. Do not forget the One who bestowed that victory on you.
“Whatever good happens to you, is from Allah.” [4:79] “Allah is greater” liberates us from the prison of victory. It makes your victory a point of departure and not a culmination.
(2) To believe that “Allah is greater” than anything you have achieved and accumulated is the strongest motive to continue the journey and move from one success to another, from one mountain top to another.
The cultural acts of Eid, like the different forms of worship, are public, observable, and provide programs for the institution of social and psychological processes. It is for a purpose and not at random that all people, young and old, men and women (including those who are excused from prayer) are encouraged to come out and happily celebrate Eid together. It is recommended for a purpose and not at random to meet as many people as possible during Eid in the masjid, on the streets, in open houses, and community centers.
I believe that Eid has been set for us as a model and a blueprint in order to draw multiple examples upon it in our everyday life. Are we going to learn from the model of Eid to invent for ourselves new occasions to celebrate our achievements and success stories?
For people who neglected for many years the order to read, to write, and value the learned, the knowledgeable, and the scholars; and to those who have abandoned the action in this world and their position as witnesses: Don’t you think that we have to assign days to appreciate those who encourage people to read and discuss different books, those who write articles and publish books, and throw parties for those who assume high and sensitive positions in their workplaces and their areas of expertise?
Don’t you think that we must celebrate virtue, and highlight exemplary moral behavior?
Don’t you think that we must celebrate the inventions and the patents of our brothers and sisters?
Don’t you think that we must recognize our daughters and sons for their distinguished scholastic performances as well as their excellence in sports and different forms of clean and well-guided arts?
Don’t you think that we must celebrate the time when our children reach their maturity so that they recognize their new era of adulthood and responsibility?
In this way, Eid and other celebrations induce in us and in the next generation two distinctive dispositions: moods and motives which lend a chronic character to the quality of their experiences: moods are made meaningful with reference to the condition or the nature of the occasion they celebrate, while motives are made meaningful with reference to the ends and objectives toward which they are conceived to conduce.
Let us in this Eid renew collectively our commitment to success and charge our batteries for more victories and higher achievements.
By Dr Walid Khayr