Friday, September 10, 2010
THE TRUE ESSENCE OF EID-UL-FITR
In this day and age, many Muslims eagerly await the end of Ramadaan and the coming of Eid-ul-
Fitr to gain their ‘freedom’ in order to go back to committing sin and disobeying Almighty Allah.
Many people start on the day of Eid itself and engage in shameful and reprehensible behaviour in
the name of celebration. We should remember that celebration does not mean committing sin,
but rather it involves remembering Allah Ta’ala and being grateful to Allah Ta’ala for showering
His Mercy and Bounties upon us. Let us look at the true essence and significance of Eid-ul-Fitr,
and the way in which those pious servants close to Almighty Allah celebrated Eid.
Eid is a day of celebration for Muslims, a day of happiness. On this day, Muslims perform two
rakaats of prayer, meet one another, shake hands and embrace and give charity to the poor and
needy. Islam teaches protecting the poor, helping the helpless, and easing the pain and sufferings
of orphans and the meek at every turn, and they should not be forgotten, especially on the day of
Eid. That is why Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) ordered us to pay the Sadqa-e-Fitr
before performing the Eid Salaah so that Muslims remember their poor brothers on this occasion
and include them in their happiness.
It is reported on the authority of Hazrat Anas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) that when Rasoolullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) came to Madina Shareef, the people of Madina would celebrate two
festivals. They were asked what these days were and they replied, “We used to celebrate on these
days in the days of ignorance.” Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Allah Ta’ala has
granted you two better days than these days; Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha.” [Abu Dawood]
Regarding Eid-ul-Fitr, Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once said, “When the month of
Ramadaan is over, and the night of Eid-ul-Fitr has arrived, that night is called the Night of Prize.
Then, in the early morning of Eid-ul-Fitr Allah Ta’ala will send His angels forth to visit all the
towns and cities on the earth below. Once they have made their descent, they will position
themselves at the entrances to all the streets and alleys. There, in a voice that is audible to every
being created by Allah Ta’ala, apart from the jinn and humankind, they will issue a proclamation
saying, “O Community of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), come forth into the presence
of a Noble and Generous Lord, who will grant you gifts in abundance and forgive your terrible
sin!” Then when the believers have emerged and presented themselves at their place of prayer,
Allah Ta’ala will say to His angels, “O My angels, what is the recompense of the hired labourer,
once he has done his job?” The angels will reply, “Our Lord and our Master, You will pay him his
wages in full!” So Allah Ta’ala will say, “I now call upon you to bear witness, O My angels, that I
have conferred My acceptance and My forgiveness as the reward for their fasting and night vigil
during the month of Ramadaan.” Allah Ta’ala will then say, “O My servants put your requests to
Me now, for this I swear by My Might and My Majesty, you will not ask Me this day, in this
gathering of yours for anything connected with your life hereafter, without My granting it to you;
nor for anything connected with your life in this lower world, without My attending to your
need. By My Might and My Majesty, I will not put you to shame, nor will I expose you to disgrace
amongst those who are faithfully committed to observing the laws (of Shariah). Now you may
depart, knowing that you have been forgiven. You have won My approval, and I am well pleased
with you.”” [Ghunyalit Taalibi Tareeqal Haq, Vol. 3]
Subhaanallah! How Merciful is our Rabb, even though we are such wretched sinners.
Before the advent of Eid-ul-Fitr we need to ask ourselves, “Have we reflected on whether we
have respected and honoured the month of Ramadaan as it should be respected and honoured?
Have we worshipped in it as we should have?” The final night of Ramadaan is the night for
collecting the rewards for all the goodness that was done throughout the month. If we are
neglectful of Allah Ta’ala on this night, then our efforts of the whole month might be ruined and
will go to waste. Therefore, read the following Hadith and try to spend the last night of Ramadaan
remembering Allah Ta’ala and evaluating the deeds that have been performed during the month.
The excellence of remembering Allah Ta’ala on this night is reported in a Hadith in which Hazrat
Abu Amamah (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) narrates that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said,
“The hearts of the people who stand in prayers on the night of Eid will not die on the day when
all hearts will die.” In another narration, Hazrat Mu’az bin Jabal (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) reports
that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated, “Paradise is compulsory (Wajib) for one
who stays up and worships on five nights – the nights of the 8th, 9th and 10th of Zul Hijjah, the
night of Eid-ul-Fitr, and the 15th night of Shabaan.” We can therefore understand the
significance of the night of Eid from these Ahadith and we should try as much as possible to busy
ourselves in the remembrance of Allah Ta’ala, even if it is for a portion of the night.
If we study the lives of the Companions and our pious predecessors we will see that even though
they used to worship extensively in the month of Ramadaan, they would still feel regret and
sorrow on the day of Eid. They were constantly worried about the fact of whether or not they had
fulfilled the rights of Ramadaan, just as it is reported about Hazrat Umar (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh)
that on the day of Eid, he sat in a corner and cried so much that his blessed beard became soaked.
When people asked the reason for this, he replied, “How can a person who does not know if his
fasts have been accepted celebrate Eid?” That Hazrat Umar (Radiallahu Ta’ala ‘Anh) about whom
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that his good deeds are equivalent to the number of
stars in the sky, is crying upon reflecting as to whether his fasts have been accepted or not,
whether he has obeyed the orders of Almighty Allah properly and if Allah Ta’ala is pleased with
them. Allahu Akbar! And yet sinners like us are absolutely carefree and cannot wait to engage
ourselves into sin again!
It was on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr that a man once entered the presence of Hazrat Ali (Radiallahu
Ta’ala Anh) and found him eating coarse brown bread. “Today is the day of Eid, yet here you are,
eating coarse brown bread!” the man exclaimed. So Hazrat Ali (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) replied to
the visitor, saying, “Today is the day of Eid for someone whose fast has been accepted, whose
effort has been deemed worthy, and whose sin has been forgiven. Today is Eid for us, and
tomorrow is Eid for us. Every day in which we do not disobey Allah Ta’ala is an Eid for us.”
Commenting on this incident, Huzoor Ghaus-e-Azam Hazrat Shaikh Sayyid Abdul Qadir Jilani
(Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) says that it is therefore important for every intelligent person to stop
focusing on the external aspect, and not to let it capture his attention. His perspective on the day
of Eid should be from the standpoint of contemplation and reflection.
Eid-ul-Fitr is not all about dressing up in fine new clothes, eating delicious treats and pursuing
carnal pleasures and delights. In its outward celebration Eid-ul-Fitr is actually meant to symbolize
the acceptance of acts of worshipful obedience; the remission of sins and mistakes; the conversion
of bad deeds into good deeds; the glad tidings of promotion to higher spiritual degrees and the
conferring of robes of honour, gifts and gracious favours. Eid should be celebrated, but together
with celebrating it, Allah Ta’ala should also be remembered. Whether there is happiness or
sadness, He should never be forgotten; just as Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said,
“The people who will be called towards Paradise first on the Day of Judgment are those who
praised Allah Ta’ala during happiness and sadness.”
Lastly, on this joyous occasion we should try as much as possible to follow the beautiful Sunnah of
our Beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Some of the Sunnahs are listed below, and what
better way could we spend our day of Eid, than following in the footsteps of our Beloved Aaqa
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam):
• Cut the hair
• Trim the nails
• Have a bath (Ghusl)
• Use a Miswaak
• Wear nice clothes - if you have new clothes then wear new, otherwise nice clean clothes.
• Wear an Amaama
• Put on Itr (perfume)
• Put Surma
• Perform the morning prayer in the local Masjid
• Go to the Eid Gah early
• Pay the Sadqa-e-Fitr before the Eid Salaah
• Walk to the Eid Gah and take a different route on the way back home.
• Eat some dates before leaving home for the Eid Salaah (3, 5 or any amount that is an odd
number). If there are no dates available, then you should eat anything sweet.
• Express happiness, give lots of charity, go to the Eid Gah calmly, relaxed and dignified,
with the gaze lowered.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq and Hidayat to celebrate Eid the way His pious servants
celebrated it, and the Taufeeq to always stay away from sins, but especially during this Mubarak
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
What is Sadaqa Al-Fitr
Sadaqa Al-Fitr (also known as Zakatul-Fitr) is a small amount of food to be given in charity at the end of Ramadan, before the holiday (Eid) prayers. This amount is separate from the annual payment of Zakat, which is one of the pillars of Islam. Unlike Zakat, which is calculated annually as a percentage of extra wealth, the Sadaqa Al-Fitr is to be paid equally by every Muslim man, woman and child at the end of Ramadan.
Amount of Sadaqa Al-Fitr
According to the Prophet Muhammad, each person should give away in charity an amount equivalent to one sa'a of grain. A sa'a is an ancient measure of volume, and various scholars have struggled to interpret this amount in modern measurements. The most common understanding is that one sa'a is equivalent to 2.5 kilograms (5 pounds) of wheat. Each individual Muslim is to give away this amount -- man or woman, adult or child, sick or healthy, old or young. The senior member of the household is responsible for paying the amount on behalf of the family. So a family of four individuals (2 adults + 2 children of any age) should purchase and give away 10 kilograms or 20 pounds of food.
It is recommended that the Sadaqa Al-Fitr be given as an amount of non-perishable staple food, not cash. The purpose of this charitable donation is to ensure that all members of the community have food to eat after Ramadan and during the Eid holiday. The recommended foods may vary according to local diet, but traditionally include:
Some scholars advise that donations of cash are permissible, if one is living in an area where food is readily available for purchase. However, most scholars agree that giving food products is preferable.
When to Pay Sadaqa Al-Fitr
Sadaqa Al-Fitr is a charitable donation linked directly to the month of Ramadan. One must make the donations in the days or hours just prior to the Eid Al-Fitr holiday prayer. This prayer occurs early on the first morning of Shawwal, the month following Ramadan.