Eid-ul-Fitr for Whom?
Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi
Some sections of the society are vigorously pursuing the view that Eid-ul-Fitr
is a prominent symbol of Islamic unity; therefore all the Muslims should
celebrate it on one particular day.
Some people hold the view that all the Muslims, across the world, should
observe it on the same day, while there are others who feel that at least
Pakistani Muslims should certainly have it concurrently.
However, these are the flaws of views and thoughts. Such views are floated
primarily due to the ignorance of religious value. Moreover, those are the
people, on the forefront of such theories, who do not even fast during
Ramadan, but are very ‘concerned' about Islamic unity with regard to Eid.
The very first misconception these folks have is that, for them, Eid is a
festival akin to Christmas, Holi or Diwali or it is a national festival that
is manifested as a symbol of unity for Muslims.
However, Eid is essentially related to supplication that commences at the
beginning of Ramadan and culminates after the end of Ramadan, by thanking
Allah, with special Eid prayers.
According to the clear instructions of Islamic law, this adoration cannot
begin until it is ascertained, through reliable sources, that Ramadan have
commenced and similarly it cannot cease unless it is acknowledged, through
dependable authority, that they have come to an end.
Holy Qur'an has clearly stated:
''Month of Ramadan is that, in which Qur'an is revealed, therefore each of you
who is present, during this month, should fast''.
This verse categorically resolves that from the beginning of Ramadan, and till
its end, every Muslim should fast and without the fulfillment of fasting
during this month, there is absolutely no question of commemorating Eid.
This is evident that Ramadan is a lunar month and the commencement of which
depends upon the appearance of crescent and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon
him) has very clearly instructed to begin and end fasting only after seeing
crescent. But if the horizon is not very clear, complete the fasting of
thirsty days, unless two reliable witnesses testify the advent of crescent.
In this instruction, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has distinctly
notified two points: firstly, the testimony of appearance is required when the
horizon is not clear and secondly, in that case, the decision of the
appearance of crescent will be based on the testimony of two trust worthy
witnesses and not information.
Because this is an accepted fact that deposition, through telegram or
telephone is invalid. For this, physical presence of witnesses is a must. If
you try to testify in a court through telegram or telephone, you would come to
know immediately whether it is acceptable to the court or not. Here, the
question is that when such ''testimony'' cannot be acceptable to any court in
this world, then why are we wanted to rely on this, in a matter of Shariah ,
depends on which the validity of fasts of millions of Muslims.
Those who toe the idea that Muslims, throughout the world, should celebrate
crescent, throughout the world, always and necessarily, on the same day is
impossible. Even celebration of Eid, in a country or region, on the same day
is not made mandatory in Shariah.
If it is made possible in any country through proper system of telecasting and
broadcasting to the entire nation, according to the principles of Shariah,
then this is not forbidden either.
But Shariah never makes it essential, nor does Shariah consider it maleficent
that people in different regions celebrate Eid on different days. The canon of
Allah is meant for the entire humanity and for all times to come.
Today, due to the revolution in information technology that people expect the
Eid to be celebrated concurrently.
But just a few decades back, leave aside communicating about the appearance of
crescent throughout the subcontinent, it was not possible to inform the
inhabitants of even one state, if the crescent appeared on the 29th of
Ramadan. If Shariah had made it mandatory for all Muslims to celebrate Eid on
a single day, then how would Muslims, over the last few centuries, practice
this impossible injunction. Even in today's satellite age.
It is not possible to follow it strictly. Muslims do not live only in metros
and urban towns where they have access to state of the art communication
facilities. They are also populated in far-flung rural areas where
communication facilities are not available.
Making the celebrations of Eid on the same day a Shariah instruction
translates that, to be a Muslim, not only one radio station is necessary in a
country, but also every individual or family or at least one radio set in
every town would be a must. Or else they will not be able to pursue their
religious duties will then communication equipment to become an integral part
of Islam? The Shariah of Allah has laid down such a smooth set of guidelines
by which it is possible for every Muslim to easily perform his or her
Shariah has not specified the timings of Salah according to the movement of
watch to make watch an indispensable part of Islamic religion. Rather, it has
made universal indicators like ascend and descend of sun for determining the
timing of Salah, to which every individual on the earth has access.
Similarly, for commencing and ending fasts also, it has declared the
appearance of Shawwal and Ramadan crescent as a symbol which is universal
indicator and every Muslim, anywhere in the world, can find out when did
Ramadan begin and end. Had Shariah linked to the dates of calendar, then it
would be necessary for every Muslim to learn the art of reading stars or
calendar would have become inevitable part of his life without having which he
would not be able to perform his religious duties.
Or if it was made mandatory that after the appearance of crescent, in one part
of the world, the entire world or every nook and corner of the universe will
begin to observe and end fasting, then before the invention of present means
of communication, it would not be possible for Muslims to practice this
Even after the evolution of present communication network, every Muslim would
have to bear the burden of subscribing to these services, if they want to
remain Muslims, regardless of whether he or she can afford bread and butter
for self -feeding.
WHO TRULY DESERVES EID GREETINGS?
After necessary clarification on this subject, I extended my greeting to you
and to all of my Muslim brothers. People who genuinely deserve the greeting of
Eid are those who fasted for the whole month of Ramadan; who endeavoured to
take maximum benefit from the instructions of Qur'an; who tried to read,
understand and take guidance from Qur'an and took advantage of the
character-building exercise which Ramadan seeks to impart to every Muslim.
Qur'an explains only two primary objectives of the month of Ramadan: firstly,
Muslims should build their character and secondly, Muslims pay gratitude to
Allah for the favour he has bestowed on Muslims, in the form of revealing
Qur'an, during the month of Ramadan.
If there is one biggest favour Allah has done to the humanity, it is the
revelation of Qur'an. This is the greatest divine blessing, because food and
other resources, for instance, oxygen, water, food grains and similar sources
of economy, through which man earns the bread, constructs house, provides
clothing, though these provisions too are the blessings and kindness of Allah,
but they are merely meant for the human body.
Holy Qur'an, is the blessing which is conceived for the soul of man, for his
character and essentially for his real altruism, is the ultimate benediction.
A Muslim can offer true gratitude to Allah only in a situation when he thanks
on the food provided by Him and also on the gracious commandments which have
been issued to him in the form of Qur'an.
The most appropriate way to thank Him is not just verbal appreciation that
thank you Allah for giving us Qur'an, rather the precise approach for doing
that is to acknowledge Qur'an as the wellhead of guidance; recognize it as a
true navigator and take practical advantage of its counseling.
Qur'an gives you instructions about your personal life that how should you
lead a devout life.
It forbids you from deeds that are harmful in shaping a character full life.
It gives you guidelines, by pursuing which, your personality will develop in
an upright manner and you could become an exemplary human being.
It also provides extensive guidance about your collective life. How to shape
your social life and your domestic life? What should be the outline of your
culture and civilization. How should you conduct the affairs of your state?
What would be your constitution? How should you manage the social life? What
should be the avenues to earn your bread and butter? Where should you and
should not spend your earned money? How should be your relation with Allah?
How should be your relation with your own conscience? What should be the
nature of your relationship and behaviour with other human beings, your
spouse, your off-springs, your parents, your folks, members of your own
society and the entire human population of the earth, even with plants and
animals, and with various blessings of Allah? Qur'an gives you specific
instructions about each of these aspects of life.
The obligations of every Muslim is to accept it as real fountain head for
guidance; turn towards it for counseling; truly recognize those instructions,
directions and principles which it is dispensing. Muslims should reject all
those beliefs and practices which contradict them, Whatever is there source.
If an individual has, during the month of Ramadan, read through Qur'an and
understood it from this perspective. And has endeavoured to absorb its
teachings and instructions, to the maximum possible extent, in his life and
character, then he has offered true gratitude to Allah for this divine
blessings – in the form of Qur'an. For this, he literally deserves the
greetings that he has completely fulfilled the responsibility, which the month
of Ramadan placed on him.
Second and equally important objective of fasting, in the month of Ramadan,
for which it has been made mandatory is that you should lead a pious and
righteous life. If you consider the reality of fasting, then you would know
that righteousness and piety cannot be injected in a better and more effective
way than this.
What is righteousness and piety? Righteousness is, essentially, to refrain
from violating the commands of Allah and adhere to His guidelines.
Fasting allows you to continuously practice this for a month.
Deeds which are usually permissible in your life, they too are forbidden
during fasts, by the order of Allah, and continue to be so until they are
again permitted by Allah only. Even water which is pure and permissible,
during fasting when Allah instructs you not to consume this, then not a single
drop can be swallowed down the throat, even if the throat begins to crack by
thirst. However, the moment drinking of water is allowed by Allah, then you
tend to rush towards it as if you were tied down and you have just been
released. This process of caging and freeing persists, for a month, so that
you are prepared for the complete submission to Allah. You get used to stay
away from those activities, which are banned by Him and undertake things,
which are permitted by Him.
you manage to exercise full control over your inner-self that it could not
force you to carry out its unwarranted demands, against the will of Allah.
This is the second real motive for which fasting is made mandatory for you.
If during the month of Ramadan any individual has imbibed this spirit of Fast,
then he truly justifies the greetings of Eid.
And the one who does not throw up this month-long training on the very first
day after Eid, but keeps benefiting from this for the remaining eleven months
of the year, he is even more worthy for Eid greetings.
Consider a hypothetical situation where an individual eats highly lavish food,
which is extremely nutritious for him. but immediately after feeding, he
vomits it out by putting a finger into the throat, then there will be no
benefit of this diet, because he has not allowed the food to digest and
translate into blood.
On the contrary, if an individual eats and digests food and then blood is made
which circulates in his body, then this the actual reward of eating which he
has gained. Eating and digesting simple food is better than eating very lavish
food and throwing it up. This is the case of Fasts Ramadan. The real payoff of
Ramadan can be gained only when, after Eid, you do not puke the vigorous
training, imparted to you for a month. Rather, for remaining eleven months,
allow its effects to work on your life. It one can achieve this goal from
Ramadan, then he truly deserves hearty greetings; that he has bagged a very
precious blessing of Allah.
OUR TREATMENT WITH ISLAMIC CHASTITIES
Unfortunately, a large number of people among us are those who do not turn
towards Allah even during Ramadan.
The holy month comes and goes but their homes do not indicate any sign that
these are inhabited by Muslims, for whom this month has any special
significance. Leave fasting, they do not even care to show any respect for
Their eating and drinking persists even during Ramadan, like any Christian,
Hindu or Sikh. Clearly, those who behave like this are taking to a situation
of a barren land that, even during monsoons, when every inch of land turns
lush green and the crop blooms and flourishes, does not produce a single leaf
The way monsoons are a season of cultivation and growth for land, similarly
Ramadan is an era of sprouting and flowering of the spirit of Islam.
If Allah had issued the directive of fasting, giving an option to Muslims to
keep 30 days fasts at their own convenience, then there would have never been
this season-like feeling in our religious life.
But, the direction of Supreme Sage has been that all Muslims fast together, in
one particular month only. This move has created the feeling of a season.
When the season comes, leave aside high quality fertile land, even those
pieces of land which have limited level of fertility, buds of vegetable begin
to sprout even in those lands. The bounty of season is such that land with
even limited potential of growth is not deprived from its blessings.
And the land that does not grow even a bud, during monsoons, is indicative
that it is free from the faculty of growth.
Similarly, Ramadan is such a period that those Muslims having a ray of Faith
and a shred of Islamic emotions, comes this month and the deeply buried Faith
in them becomes restless, however, insensitive has been their lifestyle during
remaining eleven months.
Getting up of all Muslims together for Sahar, for a month; fasting together
the whole day; breaking the fast simultaneously; and offering Taraweeh during
nights at various places creates an impressive collective environment in
Muslim districts, by virtue of which Mosques get flooded.
Reciting of Qur'an becomes a common sight everywhere, even those who do not
pray otherwise, start offering prayers regularly; those also start fasting who
are not inclined towards Islamic way of life, in ordinary months.
If a person is relentless even in this ambience; he does not develop any
leaning towards Allah; his heart is still not inclined for prayers; fasting
and reciting of Qur'an, then this is a clear indication that his heart is
absolutely empty from the feeling of Faith. He has no link left with Islam.
All ties, which he could have had with Allah and His religion, and with the
Muslim community, he has severed them all. Thus, how can you trust that, a
person who was born and has opened his eyes in, and being a part of Muslim
community, severs his holiest bonds and connections with the lifestyle and
religion of this community, in future, he will not attempt to backbite and
desert this community.
This is obvious that his conduct is only to satisfy desires of his inner-self.
Here the question is, when his desires are making him behave like this, the
same desires, in future, may move him on a worse course.
Gentlemen, we need to think very sincerely about the reasons that have
resulted into this situation.
If handful of people behaved like this, it could have been ignored. But we
find hundreds of thousands of people present among us, who very vocally and
proudly keep eating and drinking in Ramadan and perversely humiliate to those
who fast. This is clearly a very alarming development and we should attempt to
understand the causes behind this.
This situation is actually born because for a long time we are oblivion of the
fact that the greatest reforms Allah, His Prophet (Peace be upon him) , His
book had affected in our lives is still left in our society or it is lost. We
have been very conscious about the economic prosperity of our community, and
we have been making great efforts for this.
But we have no concerns about those grand moral and spiritual reforms on which
the nation of our society was established. Rather, there is widespread
existence of such education and training, law and order system, which is
disastrous for Islamic system. Consequently, we are witnessing that the
influential sections of our society careless for the destruction of most
sacred places of Islam that they do for the crease of their trousers.
Source: EID-UL-FITR FOR WHOM?