THE Eidul Fitr this year is tragically different from the traditional festivities that mark the grand occasion every year. Also known as ‘Meethi Eid’ (sweet Eid), it is more bitter than sweet. The continued barbarity and senseless killing of innocent men, women and children in Palestine by the ruthless Zionist forces have left Muslims around the world rather dazed. The genocide has left almost every family in Palestine mourning their loved ones, while many of the injured are fighting to survive in makeshift hospitals and homes. As such, what is there for the Muslims to celebrate in this scenario?

As human beings, in general, and as Muslims, in particular, it is our sacred duty to stand by our fellow human beings in this time of their grief, sorrow and anguish. We must observe this Eid with simplicity in a sober manner to show our love and empathy to the families that have lost their dear ones because of Zionist madness.

Eid is a religious festival, and Islam has put especial emphasis on the rights of fellow Muslims, who have been described as religious brethren. We are all aware of the ongoing terrible conditions in which our brothers and sisters in Palestine happen to be. As a matter of respect for all those thousands of innocent who have lost their lives in Palestine, we must dedicate this year’s Eid to the departed souls in Gaza, and pray for the injured and the homeless in the occupied territories.

Skies will not fall if we hold back on our traditional festivities this year. Our solemnity will surely not bring their loved ones back, but it will at least send a message of sympathy, love, solidarity and brotherhood to the people of Palestine, and might provide them some consolation after all the brutality and ethnic cleansing that have been unleashed by Israel.

We should take a cue from the events that followed the tsunami on Dec 26, 2004 that had hit Indonesia and neighbouring regions, resulting in the death of over 200,000. The new year celebrations were cancelled around the world as a mark of respect for the dead and the injured. That was a natural disaster as against the sustained carnage in Palestine that has taken close to 35,000 lives, and is among the worst man-made disasters in human history.

Now, just close your eyes, and imagine being a Palestinian in Gaza; a Palestinian who is still alive. Imagine lying wounded and unattended because there is no hospital left standing. Imagine running wildly in search of a meal and a few drops of water. Imagine struggling to breathe. Imagine the agony, the misery and the suffering that have the fate of the Palestinians for the last six months. Imagine not having the time to even mourn your dead. And then — and only then — think about your Eid plans.

Aamir Aqil
Lahore

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2024

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