The day of Eid has dawned once again, through the Mercy and Grace of the One True God. The day of Eid, the day of joy and happiness, the day of adornment and beautification, the day of gathering and celebration, is here once more. But for whom has this day of Eid come? The well-known saying gives the answer:
“Eid is not for the one who puts on new clothes and eats delicious food. But Eid is for the one who has cultivated Taqwa (piety, righteousness, God-consciousness, fear of Allaah and the capacity to exercise care and caution to avoid even a hint of wrongdoing) and has cultivated the fear of the warnings (given by the One True God about the disobedient and their disobedience).”
Let us therefore, first of all, examine ourselves to see whether Eid is really for us. For those who have completed one month of intensive spiritual and moral reinvigoration and reconstruction – Eid is definitely for them. For those who underwent, for one full month, the intensive training in greater obedience and submission to their Master – Eid is certainly for them.,. For those who cultivated, day in and day out, a greater and increasing awareness of the Perpetual Presence of the One True God - yes, Eid is, of a surety, for them. For those who grasped the golden opportunity of the blessed month of Ramadaan to sincerely repent for lapses, shortcomings and transgressions and to regularly beg for forgiveness from the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful - without doubt, Eid is for them. Are we among them?
Let us, at the outset, in all humility beg our Creator to bestow upon us the capacity to express gratitude to Him for our having completed the glorious and blessed month of Ramadaan - albeit in a most inadequate and imperfect manner.
Then let us remind ourselves of some of the characteristics of the people who cultivate Taqwa, as mentioned in the Holy Qur’aan - this, with a view to taking stock of ourselves:
"...those who cultivate Taqwa: who believe in the Unseen Verities and establish Salaah and spend (for the love of Allaah) out of what We have bestowed on them; and who believe in that which was revealed to you (0 Prophet) and in that which was revealed before you, and are certain of the Hereafter.” (2: 2-4).
"It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believes in Allaah and in the Last Day and in the Angels and in the Scripture and in the Prophets; and gives (his) wealth for the love of Him (Allaah) to kinsfolk and to orphans and to the needy and to the wayfarer and to those who ask and for freeing human beings from bondage; and establishes Salaah and gives Zakaah. And those who keep their covenant/promise when they make one, and cultivate steadfastness, perseverance and patience in tribulation, in adversity and in times of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are they who cultivate Taqwa.” (2:177).
“…those who cultivate Taqwa, who spend (out of that which they have been blessed with) in (times of) prosperity and in (times of) adversity, who restrain and control (their) anger and are forgiving toward mankind. And Allaah loves those who do good. And those who when they do an indecency or wrong themselves, remember Allaah and implore forgiveness for their sins - and who forgives sins save Allaah? -and do not knowingly persist (in the wrong) they have done.”(3:133-135).
“And he who brings the Truth and confirms (and supports) it - such are those who cultivate Taqwa.” (39:33).
Such are those who have really achieved the goal and objective of fasting - the cultivation and development of Taqwa. It is about such people that Allaah Ta’ala has said:
"...and know that Allaah is with those who cultivate Taqwa.” (2:194).
"Certainly Allaah loves those who cultivate Taqwa.” (3:76).
"And Allaah is the Friend and Protector of those who cultivate Taqwa.” (45:19).
So on this, the day of Eid - the day of joy, thanksgiving and humility, for those who have cultivated Taqwa - let us pause to reflect on how far we have succeeded in cultivating and developing Taqwa. We remind ourselves, at this juncture, that Taqwa is the only criterion, in the sight of Allaah, that endows one human being with honour and nobility over another.
"Verily the noblest of you, the most honoured of you in the sight of AllAah is he with the most Taqwa from among you.” (49:13).
We are the trainees who are today graduating from a month of intensive and rigorous training. Were we now to turn our backs on that training, casting it to the winds, and revert to disobedience after being trained in obedience, and to ingratitude after being schooled in gratitude, and to heedlessness and negligence after being carefully disciplined in mindfulness and conscientiousness - would we not be adjudged as making a mockery of the whole training and as insulting Him, who instituted that training?
For one whole month we proved to ourselves that we are not the slaves of habit. On instruction from our Creator we readily altered our established habits of waking and sleeping and eating and drinking. Let us use this valuable training to weed out from our lives all harmful and destructive habits, begging our Lord and Sustainer. all the while, for His Grace.
The Beloved Messenger of Allaah (on whom be peace) is reported to have said:
“Verily Allah loves that the signs of His favours on His servant be seen,” (transmitted by al-Tirmidhi).
In keeping with this guidance, we traditionally adorn and beautify our external selves on the day of Eid. This adornment and beautification is truly significant, however, only when it symbolically expresses our commitment to also adorn and beautify our internal selves. Let us not forget the following verses of the Holy Qur’aan:
“The Day (i.e. the Day of Judgement) when neither wealth nor offspring will benefit except the one who comes to Allaah with a sound and pure heart.” (26: 88-89).
Let us, therefore, on this day of Eid, renew our resolve to strive, on an ongoing basis, for internal adornment, beautification and purification, through constant sincere repentance and begging for forgiveness, constant remembrance of Allaah, and constant seeking of His Pleasure in all that we do.
Today we assemble and greet each other in joy and happiness upon graduation from the training and disciplining of Ramadaan. Very soon there will be an immensely greater gathering, upon graduation from the tests and trials of this very life of ours - the Day of Judgement. It is about that Day that Allaah Ta’ala has said:
“Do they not think that they will be called to account, on a Mighty Day, a Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord and Sustainer of the worlds?” (83: 4-6)
"That Day shall a man flee from his own brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and his children. Each one of them, that Day, will have enough concern of his own to make him indifferent to the others." (80: 34-37).
On this day of Eid let us engage in searching introspection and self-examination to see how far we are conscientiously preparing ourselves for a successful graduation on that Day, and to determine what we need to do to prepare ourselves even better. Let us also beseech Allaah Ta’ala to bless us, through His Infinite Mercy, with the capacity to sincerely tread the path leading to unmitigated success on that Day.
Let us use this glorious day of Eid-ul-Fitr for thanksgiving and humility, for repentance and seeking forgiveness, for reflection and self-examination, for renewing resolve and commitment, for mending broken relationships and seeking the pardon of those we may have wronged and for spreading cheer and joy and happiness.
O Allaah! shower Thine Mercy, Thine Benediction and Thine Peace on Thine Beloved Messenger, Saiyidinaa Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sällam and reward him on our behalf as he deserves to be rewarded!
O Allaah! bless us with Thine Mercy, Thine Guidance, Thine Help, Thine Protection and Thine Forgiveness!