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Ramadan
 

Collective Iftar at the end of one Month of Fasting

 

Eid is a day of joy and cheerfulness. It is one of those beautiful days when altruistic feelings overflow and the emotions of love and respect among Muslims become enlivened to the utmost. On that day helping and interacting reach their limit.

Eid is one of the best means for bringing people together and making them feel close to one another. So much so that the spirit of helping and giving gifts which rears up on eid does not remain limited to the living, but extends to those who have left this world and are waiting for the recitation of the Fatiha Sura in their graves. In order to fulfill their wish, Muslims visit graves on eid; reciting the Quran, the Fatiha Sura and prayers to their spirits, they make them content.

Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha began to be celebrated in the second year of the Hijra. The Ramadan fast was made mandatory for the first time in this year.

The Eid ul-Fitr has a special place among Muslims. Like the joy of iftar after a day of fasting, it reflects the joy of a collective iftar after a month of fasting. Fasting for a long period like a month, particularly when Ramadan falls during the summer on hot days, Muslims, who have given an exam of patience, encounter the opportunity on Eid ul-Fitr to experience the joy of escaping from that spiritual responsibility.

Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha began to be celebrated in the second year of the Hijra. The Ramadan fast was made mandatory for the first time in this year. Those Muslims who passed this month in fasting celebrated eid on the first three days of the next month Shawwal. For this reason, this holiday was called the Ramadan holiday or Eid ul-Fitr.

Based on the hadith, "Today the first thing we will do is pray,"1 the Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha begin with the eid prayer.

The Prophet Muhammad said, "Arafa day, the day of sacrifice and tashriq days are the Muslims' holidays. These are days of feasting."2

The Ramadan holiday was accepted with this meaning and this holiday was described as an iftar day for the Ramadan fast.3 This is the reason fasting on Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha was prohibited. Breaking the fast a day early being haram and fasting one day later also being haram are the most impressive reasons to remember the real Owner of the blessings in the world of thoughts and feelings of Muslims.

Because eid is a collective iftar after one month of fasting, the Sunnah customs of daily iftar are also made on the holiday. In fact, accustomed to breaking the fast with something sweet, the Prophet would begin the Ramadan holiday by eating something sweet.

Whoever's command everyone obeys by fasting one day earlier, they stop fasting today in compliance to His will, as well. Realizing that He is the real Owner of blessings, a Muslim finds the road to true gratitude.

Because eid is a collective iftar after one month of fasting, the Sunnah customs of daily iftar are also made on the holiday. In fact, accustomed to breaking the fast with something sweet, the Prophet would begin the Ramadan holiday by eating something sweet. He would not leave his house on the morning of eid without breaking his month-long fast with something sweet like a date.4

Inviting us at every opportunity to worship and do good works for the afterlife, our Prophet recommended getting up for worship during the nights of the two major holidays. He informed that being awake on these nights was a means for wakefulness in our hearts. He expressed this in the following hadith: "The heart of whoever gets up during the nights of the two eids hoping for reward from Allah will not die on the day hearts die."5


Eid in the Age of Happiness

Eids were celebrated in a unique atmosphere of cheerfulness during the Age of Happiness. Our Prophet would go to the place of prayer on the morning of eid. The Prophet would want his wives and other women and girls to go to the place of prayer together. Women took their place in the back of the congregation.6 Explaining that Muhammad (pbuh) would address a sermon to the congregation after the prayer, Ibni Masud (ra) continues as follows:

 "I testify on the Prophet, he prayed before the sermon. Then he made the sermon. Later, thinking that the women had not heard, he went to them. He made some reminders and gave them some advice and told them to give charity.

Bilal opened his garment wide and made a sign for them to give. The women began throwing their rings, bracelets and other valuable things."7

One of the sahaba describing this event was asked, "Was what the women gave zakat for Eid ul-Fitr?" The answer was, "No, it was charity they gave at that moment. The women threw rings again and again."8

Indicating the same event, Abu Said al-Hudri (ra) explained that it was the women who gave the most on the holidays.

The Eid ul-Fitr is a joyful sign that one has been forgiven. Angels give the glad tidings of this to people.

Sa'd bin Evs al-Ansari explains: The Prophet said,

 "On the morning of the Eid ul-Fitr angels come down and call out: ‘Hey Muslims! Run to the mercy of your Lord who has abundant beneficence. He gives plentiful goodness and kindness. Then He gives them bountiful reward. You were commanded to worship at night and you fulfilled the command. You were commanded to fast during the day; you fasted and obeyed your Lord. Get your reward."

 "After making the eid prayer, a herald calls out: ‘Take heed, I have glad tidings! Your Lord has forgiven you; return to your homes as holy people. The day of eid is a day of reward. Today is announced as a day of reward in the celestial realm.'""9

Because eid days are joyful days, legitimate games and entertainment have been permitted as a means of expressing this joy clearly. A separate section on this topic has been made in Muslim and examples have been given. In one of these Aisha (ra) says:

 "One eid day while a group of Ethiopians were making a show with spears and shields, they played like they were dancing. The Prophet called me. I rested my head on his shoulders. We started watching their war games like this until I finally changed my mind."10

Within the band of time eid is the beginning of a new transformation, a milestone and a time for taking account. It is one of the means of reminder that one more year has passed from our lives.

However, the joy of eid should not overflow into heedlessness. Entertainment should be within legitimate boundaries and should not include forbidden elements. Actually, eid is a divine banquet given to us by Allah. In this respect, we need most to remember Allah and give Him thanks. Within the band of time eid is the beginning of a new transformation, a milestone and a time for taking account. It is one of the means of reminder that one more year has passed from our lives and that we have drawn one step closer to the grave.

As a matter of fact, the takbir made during the eid prayers with large congregations is the greatest means for getting rid of heedlessness and giving thanks. When we imagine that not only the people of one country, but Muslims who reach in the billions on this earth are making takbir together, the magnificent tableau before us gives our holiday a meaning of universal dimensions. At that moment the world becomes one mouth and seems to make takbir and pray. The sudden rise of those voices which unite in the intermediate world becomes a magnificent chorus of tawhid rising towards the heavens of this world.

Of what importance can resentment and anger arising from small matters be on the days of eid when such magnificent meaning is being experienced? For this reason, every Muslim should renew and strengthen his agreement of fellowship with his brothers, run to help the poor, and make children happy so that those meanings pass to life. The real adornment of eid is takbir. Every takbir renews spiritual enthusiasm and excitement in spirits and hearts. It gives the servant exalted feelings before his Lord.

Abu Hurayra explains: The Prophet said, ‘Adorn your eid with takbir."11.

Preparing for eid within a framework of sunnah makes worship out of this custom and guarantees that these days of joy pass with the consciousness of faith. As a part of sunnah, getting ready in advance, wearing clean and beautiful clothing, making gusul ablution, using miswak or a toothbrush, using pleasant scents, having a smile on your face and eating dates or sweets before the eid prayer and on eid give these days a special meaning.

Essentially fitr alms are given on eid. If it was not given during the month of Ramadan, it should be given on eid. Anyway, the Ramadan holiday is called Eid ul-Fitr. It was given this name because we fulfill our duties of servanthood as our nature requires.

The best form of giving congratulations on eid is for Muslims to shake hands and embrace one another, whether they know each other or not, and to congratulate each other. It is related that during the Age of Happiness the sahaba gave congratulations to one another by saying, "Baraqallahu lana wa laikum" or "May Allah be pleased with us and you."

Mehmet Paksu; Mübarek Aylar, Günler Ve Geceler, Nesil Yayınları, İstanbul 2002
 

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