AFTER fasting from dawn to dusk for a complete month, Muslims around the globe offer special prayers, thanking the Almighty for the blessings of Ramazan. They wear their best clothes, prepare special food and visit relatives and friends, celebrating Eid with joy and delight. They have all the reasons to celebrate the day with zeal and enthusiasm. But this year, things are a bit different.

Eidul Fitr, which is commonly known as ‘Mithi Eid’ is not exactly sweet. It has a tinge of melancholy, if not bitterness, about it. The memories of those who were amid us till recently and lost their battle against the wicked Covid haunt us as we go through the motions of Eid. Then there are those whose loved ones are struggling in hospitals or spending time in quarantines and isolation. Their Eid is all about worrying for their survival. And then, of course, there is the larger picture of a suffering global community engulfed by the cruel black clouds of the deadly pandemic.

As human beings, in general, and as Muslims, in particular, it is our sacred duty to stand by our fellow human beings in their times of grief, sorrow and anguish. This Eid we must celebrate in a sober manner to show our love, sympathy and affinity to the families who have lost their dear ones because of this unfortunate pandemic.

Let us join hands with the government and follow the instructions and standard operating procedures (SOPs) to stop the spread of the virus. If we do not go out this Eid and be in touch with our friends and relatives over the phone, rather than meeting them physically, the sky will not fall. Such acts will not only save us from the virus, it will be a great source of consolation for those who have lost their loved ones in this pandemic.

This is the time when we should stand beside the grieving humanity. Wearing new, fancy clothes and celebrating Eid as usual will add misery to the unhealed wounds caused by the untimely death of people in our families, acquaintances and friends.

When on Dec 26, 2004, well over 200,000 people died in tsunami in Indonesia and neighbouring areas, the New Year celebrations were cancelled around the world as a mark of respect for the dead and the injured. Now when Covid has caused many times more deaths around the world, will it be in any way appropriate for us to celebrate this year’s Eid as if nothing has happened?

We must think about those who are on ventilators struggling to breathe, and the agony, misery and suffering through which they and their families are passing through this year.

Let this Eid be as simple as possible by sharing the grief of our fellow human beings and by saving the lives of many, including our own, by observing the SOPs.

I join others through these columns to wish everyone around the world a happy and safe Eid, praying to the Almighty for the eradication of this pandemic from the face of the Earth.

Aamir Aqil
Lahore

(2)

IT is easy to distinguish the privileged lot from the needy by simply observing how one prepares for Eid. While Eid is a festival full of joy, it does not necessarily bring happiness to all. There is a huge part of our society which remains deprived of even the basic necessities of life.

Since celebrating Eid is linked with wearing new clothes and enjoying traditional cuisines, it is hard not to think about our brothers and sisters who have got nothing to celebrate. This year, the number of such souls would be much higher as Covid has continued to ravage the national economy, with many businesses having to shut down or scale down their activities, and people working in such establishments finding themselves on the streets with no job or even a prospect of a job in hand.

It is up to us to ensure that they and their families too can enjoy the festivities of Eid. We should start with little donations to make their days better. We should also help the orphanages by contributing whatever we can to make Eid worthwhile for one and all.

Mahek Latif
Karachi

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2021

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