Few days from now, the month-long fast for the Holy Month of Ramadhan is over. The day after that is the 1st day of the month of Shawwal (10th month of the Hijrah Calendar). This day is what we call ‘Eid’l Fitr.
Eidl Fitr is a time for joy, bonding of family and close relatives, and a time to ask forgiveness from anyone that we may have hurt or caused any troubles. This day is a time for celebration. It is almost the same as the Christmas Day that our Christian brothers and sisters celebrate each year.
However, the purpose of “Eid” is deeper than mere celebrations and relaxation. The word “eid” in Arabic is derived from” awd”, which means “to return or recur”. Hence, in the past days in Arab world when a community that may have suffered due to natural or manmade calamities found relief and success in overcoming the unfortunate event, celebrates for prosperity and comfort in returning to their natural ways, this event or occasion was called “eid”. Thus, in Islam, after the month long fast and at the end of Hajj (during the month of Zul Hijjah) the human soul returns to its original state of cleanliness and purity. There are two “eid” celebrations in Islam, the other is “edil adha” (Feast of Sacrifice). Eidl Adha is the mark of the end of Hajj.
On the day of Eidl Fitr, no Muslim is allowed to fast and no one should be hungry. You can see families based on their own means try to celebrate “eidl fitr with friends and relatives. Others even share food in orphanage, shelters, and make a festive event for their community similar to the fiestas in Christian towns and barangays.
In general, “Eid” is the celebration for those who fasted and obeyed God’s rules and teachings. It is for those who spent the month of Ramadan in complete devotion to Allah. Eid is a time when the entire Muslim community comes together to share in each others joy and blessings and also to lessen the burden of those who may be suffering.” (Khaled al-Maeena, 2012)
The Prophet (SAW) mentioned that “on the Eid-ul-Fitr, 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.” [Ghunyalit Taalibi Tareeqal Haq, Vol. 3]
In the local setting in Mindanao, a different “eid” is being celebrated by our Muslim brothers and sisters who are affected by the arm conflict in Maguindanao and by the recent flooding in the municipalities of Pagalungan and Sultan Kudarat. While we, Muslims in major cities, are happy to experience all the great food and exchanges of gifts and presents we some time forget our less fortunate Muslim communities in those areas.
Sad to say that there are those among us for whom “Eid” day is just another ordinary day. There are those who still suffer from hunger, poverty, and massive deprivation of basic human rights because of the unstable peace and security in their areas.
There are those who in spend their whole month of Ramadhan in evacuation centers who experienced the harsh weather conditions that we had lately. There are those who were even victims of recent bomb attacks, mis-encounters between the military and the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters. There are children who were forced to leave their homes and stop their studies to avoid the cruelties of war. What can we do to help them? Where do we see the peace process between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government is heading? Can we, the people in Mindanao, celebrate our own “eid” within our time.
When can we finally say that we return to the time of peaceful co-existence in our communities? That “eid” is my dream that I hope I can experience someday with my family, friends, and neighbors in Mindanao.