Ah! Eid is here! Eid Mubarak friends! What a beautiful morning the Eid day brings. The hustle and bustle in homes, as everyone gets up early and rushes to get ready for Eid prayers is so special and joyous, like no other morning in the year.
And why shouldn’t it be? We were blessed with the most blessed month of Ramazan and were able to undergo spiritual reawakening through fasting and avoiding all undesirable activities the whole month. I don’t know about you all, but I feel so light and fresh after each Ramazan passes, as if I am a new person all together, who has more self-control, patience and a general feeling of empathy and kindness towards others.
and kindness towards others.
Eid-ul-Fitr is a unique festival because it doesn’t celebrate any historical or worldly event. It is of a purely spiritual significance, a celebration of having completed a month of fasting and obeying Allah, and thanking Him for all the blessings of Ramazan. We are celebrating our own achievements and many also feel a pinch of sadness at bidding farewell to the holy month.
Ramazan also gave us the opportunity to spend some quality time with family and friends as we eat together at sehr and iftar, prayed together and did the Eid shopping together too!
How many such happy times are we able to share with our loved ones the rest of the year? Not as many, for everyone’s busy and varied schedules hardly gives us the chance to eat a meal with all family members, without someone dropping in late or rushing off to tend to something. Even if we are all sitting together enjoying a meal, often someone’s phone or another gadget keeps their attention and eyes diverted to irrelevant messages or posts, and not on having a meaningful conversation with others on the table.
But now that the beautiful and blessed days of Ramazan are over, we don’t have to let ourselves become deprived of the all the good things we experienced and did during the month. In fact, the essence of Ramazan, of fasting and submitting ourselves to the will and commands of Almighty Allah, is for us to continue doing so the rest of the year. Now I don’t mean here that we should go on fasting the whole year, but we can keep in mind the hunger and thirst we felt when we voluntarily gave up food and drink, to make sure that those who are poor don’t get deprived of this basic need.
We also tend to become more lenient and compassionate with those who work for us, such as maids and drivers, when they fast, and we try not to burden them with too much work. This consideration should continue the rest of the year and, trust me, they will appreciate our kindness and we will find their behaviour more respectful and dutiful.
The lessons of patience we have learnt by not giving in to our impulses when fasting, we can use the same willpower to stop ourselves now from getting angry, being dishonest, being rude, overindulgence in anything and generally following all the rules that Allah and our family has set for us. This won’t be so hard if we tap into our willpower that we so recently used with such success. It is all in our mind, if we programme it to only do good and stay positive for one month, it will remain so. Why don’t we tell ourselves that we will be that way the rest of the year too?
The pattern of kindness and good deeds that we followed during Ramazan should not change, it should continue so that we become better human beings and the world a better place for everyone to live in compassion and peace.
The best part of Eid-ul-Fitr is the crispy, clean currency notes that exchange hands to finally stay with others of its kind, deep in a person’s pocket or wallet. Yes, I am talking about eidi, that we get a lot of when we are very young, and as we grow older, the number of people giving us eidi decreases while the amount we receive from the few tends to increase.
Most cultures have a tradition of gift-giving on festivals, but our tradition of eidi is a bit different as we are dealing with hard cash. So the giver and the receiver both know the worth of this gift, but the nice thing here is that it is the gesture and feelings that matter, not the amount of eidi.
Now receiving money as gift is a situation that requires proper handling so as not to appear too greedy or rude. Parents go to pains to teach kids the proper etiquettes of receiving money and showing gratitude, no matter what they receive, or don’t.
Most of us are well-mannered enough to say proper “As-Salaam-Alaikum, and thank you” to whoever is giving us eidi. And we also know not to open the envelope right there and then in front of everyone and count the cash. And we only count all the eidi in our purse when we are alone and give it all to mum or dad for safekeeping. And sometimes we do like to show-off to our siblings how much we got, especially if it is more than what they got!
There is much that you can do with this precious gift that your near and dear ones lovingly give you. Let’s see how you can use and save it wisely.
We have just passed Ramazan when we shared food and other items with others. You may not have realised this but your parents give a lot of money to charity, especially in Ramazan. So now that you have got some money of your own, after consultation with your parents, give some money to a person around you, like your maid or watchman, or to a charity organisation.
This will introduce you to the concept of charity and welfare efforts that will lay a great foundation for your future endeavours too.
Always give part of your eidi to your parents as your saving. It is our first lesson in the art of saving that will come handy when we grow up.
Use it wisely
You can use the saved eidi later, once it is a substantial sum, for any expense related to your studies, hobbies or need. There may be something you had wanted to get instead of asking your parents to buy it for you. Use this money for things that you generally demand money from your parents for, such as an edible or a ball, or to spend in school at lunch time, etc.
In the end, just remember that while eidi is money, the gesture is not about money. It is a way to celebrate by giving and showing love. Even a ten rupee note is as precious a gift as the 1000 rupees you got, the giver deserves as much respect and gratitude.
So enjoy these Eid days and count your blessings and not your eidi!
Published in Dawn, Young World, June 15th, 2018