As millions of Muslims bid farewell to the Holy month of Ramadan, the disbelief of a month flown by and an inner sense of inevitable loss is felt by Muslims everywhere.
Anticipating and participating in the month of Ramadan is an introspective and highly meditative process, delving into deep self-reflection and a heightened sense of faith. Ramadan is often seen as a prime time of year to worship Allah SWT, to make important faith-based decisions – should I wear the hijab? Should I grow out my beard? Should I leave this job? – and most importantly, to become closer with our Creator and appreciate the Holy Qur’an. During this month, Muslims strive to be the very best version of themselves.
By the time Ramadan is coming to an end and Eid preparations are underway, it’s very common to feel disappointed and let down. After all, you have worked for an entire month determined to complete the Qur’an, going out of your way to pray your daily and taraweeh prayers in the masjid, memorizing more Surahs and Dua’as, and abstaining from worldly pleasures. You are at a religious high, your Imaan is soaring, you feel at peace with the world — and now, everyone is talking about what they wore for Eid and how excited they are to go to Starbucks and Chipotle again. With this crash and fall momentum, Eid can be disappointing, and even a nuisance for coming in the way of your own self-improvement and connection with Allah SWT. However, it’s important to understand why Eid-al-fitr is so substantial in its own right.
Eid-Al-Fitr is a chance for Muslims across the globe to come together across countries and cultures to celebrate and worship God in a very specific and significant way. Although in Islam we are taught that every day is a mercy from Allah SWT, Eid-Al-Fitr teaches us a significant lesson: we are stronger than we think, and that’s always a reason to celebrate. During Ramadan, we are free from the temptations and desires of Shaytan, and therefore, we are free to work on our own Imaan, or faith, as we please. We become more serious in our connection to Islam and all its teachings. We fortify our Taqwa, and protect our hearts as practice, so when Shaytan is released on the day of Eid, we have had an entire month to become stronger, to become more obedient to our Lord, and work on our own inner corruption without distraction. If that’s not a huge mercy of Allah SWT, what is? Not only does Eid-Al-Fitr allow us to show off our new sense of strength, but also allows us to celebrate our hard work and welcome back some of our worldly pleasures like eating and drinking during the day.
As Ramadan comes to an end, we are also reminded that much like this fleeting month that came and went in the blink of an eye, our lives are also temporary. The end of Ramadan serves as a reminder to mankind of the closeness of our death and our necessity to strive for a beautiful hereafter. As Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said, “Live in this world like a stranger or a by-passer” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]. What a beautiful notion! During Ramadan we learned more about ourselves, worked on perfecting what we had, strived to build upon our previous knowledge and have come out stronger than before no matter how much Qur’an we read or how many taraweeh we prayed. The lessons of Ramadan continue even after the month has ended and we should carry our good deeds and determination throughout the entire year.
Additionally, the Prophet encouraged us to continue fasting during the month of Shawwal:
“Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan and he follows it with six days of Shawwal it is as if he fasted the whole year” (Sahîh Muslim (1163)).
It is also tradition of the Prophet to fast Mondays and Thursdays, recite Qur’an daily, and pray constantly (and not just in Salah). Just because it is not longer officially Ramadan doesn’t mean we cannot strive to be the best version of ourselves until next year.
Ibn Omar used to say, “If you wake up, don’t wait for the evening, and if you reach the evening, don’t wait for the morning. Take advantage of your good health and your life”. (Al Bukhari). So put on your sequined dress, celebrate Eid, and don’t forget to keep that struggle alive. You deserve that beautiful hereafter — go and get it.
Written by Tahira Ayub