Eid brings Muslims together
WHEREAS prayer is essentially a private act of worship, which has (or is supposed to have) an immediate effect on the person who performs the prayer, it also promotes unity of the Ummah (followers of Islam).
The celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, at the end of the Ramadaan, inspires the real feeling of being part of the global Ummah. There is in excess of 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet, and on this day, whatever our differences in language, culture, cuisine or the distances that separate us geographically, we are one.
The term “carnival” is derived from the Latin “Carne Vale” which means, literally, “farewell to flesh”. Thus while a carnival gives free rein to the restraints that had inhibited certain conduct for a period, Eid, in contrast, moderately re-admits those activities that had been restricted during Ramadaan, which would have been a period of purification (of the body and soul) and rehabilitation (of conduct where one is controlled by the more base and primordial senses).
Eid is set apart by the donning of new garments, the communal Eid prayer and the hospitality that is generously shared among family and friends.
This stark contrast between fasting and feasting revitalises our lives in a way that cannot be experienced in cultures where fasting has lost its full meaning and true benefits. The balance between these two poles (fasting and feasting) demonstrates that Islam is a way of life that strives for that path of mediation, that intangible harmony one strives for in life and the equilibrium that is the hallmark of an enlightened and egalitarian.
On Eid, one is reminded of the true code of conduct of Islam. Petty differences are put aside, and there is harmony, warmth and brotherliness between Muslims.
This is a microcosm of the harmony of creation, and our Creator’s Mercy and Love, without denying the material world, but acknowledging instead that there is an Eternal Light which illuminates this world and the Hereafter.
At the pinnacle of creation stands an enlightened human being, in harmony, peace and love with his fellow creation, emancipated from selflove, arrogance, materialism, vanity, ego and greed.
This enlightenment arises by his grateful acceptance that it is the Master of the Day of Judgment who controls all of our affairs, our health, our lives.