Question: What are your recommendations to thoroughly feel the blessings of Eid, the holy days of rejoice, and benefit from them in compliance with religious commandments?
Answer: In Islam, every form of worship or issue bears a special meaning of its own. Feeling this meaning profoundly depends first on a person’s faith and subsequently on his efforts of renewal by making efficient use of willpower against the human tendency to take blessings for granted. Those who can constantly renew themselves with respect to their belief and thoughts can feel everything afresh. In other words, feeling something anew depends of keeping pure. As in the Divine command, “If He so wills (for the fulfillment of His purpose in creation), He can put you away and bring another generation” (Ibrahim 14:19), God Almighty puts emphasis on people who do not lose color, become weary, take blessings for granted as a result of familiarity, and who can always feel faith with all its depth freshly in their souls. It is for this reason that other issues, such as appreciating the value of Ramadan or Eid and trying to benefit from them efficiently, first of all depends on a sound faith and constantly renewing one’s faith. It is very difficult for those who reduce Islam to a culture of repeating certain practices they learned from their ancestors to experience Eid in heartfelt purity.
Relation between Ramadan and Eid
Although it can be questionable according to the criteria of authentication, the Messenger of God is thought to have said, “Renew your faith by ‘La ilaha illa Allah.’”1 This conveys that you must frequently revise your relationship with the Divine Essence together with your perspective of both the creative commands and the commandments of religion, and try to continue your life with pure faith by constantly coming to grips with yourself and making a new start in the Name of God. This is similar to the meaning of the hadith, “One whose two days are equal is in loss.”2 Accordingly, it is a very significant matter for a person to make progress in terms of his spiritual state every passing day and feeling beauties of faith better; those who pursue this goal are the ones to feel the essence of Ramadan and Eid in its true sense.
On the other hand, as Eid al-Fitr contains the essence of an entire month of Ramadan, feeling Eid in all its beauty depends on one’s resonance with Ramadan; only those people can become truly resonant with Eid. The hearts that become tuned to Ramadan spend the month in devotion solely for their faith in God, fulfilling the acts of worship—the fast, Tarawih Prayers and others—with a consciousness of responsibility and obedience to Divine commandments. Still, they humbly say, “O God, we tried to worship in the month of Ramadan, but we are afraid of having wasted it. We wonder whether we have been able to observe fasting, which the beloved Prophet described as a shield against hellfire, properly and spent the month behind that shield.” On the one hand, they feel sad with the possibility of not having given the due of Ramadan; on the other hand, they see Eid as a chance of being forgiven by God, and being filled with feelings of hopeful expectation.
Eid: A Ground for Remembrance and Thankfulness
The days of Eid are a magical segment of time when heavenly blessings and bestowals come showering down on the servants of God. What needs to be done in the face of these Divine graces is to overflow with feelings of praise, gratitude, and zeal. Otherwise, it is not correct to take the days of Eid only as a time for being merry; each of them is a chance of forgiveness granted as a Divine favor. Then, the wise thing to do is to spend these blessed days in vigilance of the heart and feelings, with their otherworldly depth and metaphysical immensity. Bediüzzaman also underlines this point in “The Twenty Eighth Gleam”: “… For this reason, the noble Prophet strongly encouraged giving thanks to God and remembering Him on religious festive days so that heedlessness should not prevail or lead to acts forbidden in religion. It is hoped that through thanksgiving and God’s remembrance, the bounty of joy and happiness on these days may be transformed into thankfulness, which in turn may cause that bounty to continue and increase. Giving thanks increases bounty, but heedlessness dispels it.”
Traditions of Eid within the Lawful Sphere
As a matter of fact, neither at the time of the noble Prophet nor in the following periods there were no activities—as it happens today—transgressing the lawful frame drawn by religious sources about Eid. That is, in the earlier period of Islam there were no traditions of trips, festivals, fireworks, and visiting all relatives and children expecting pocket money from elders. However, as Turks accepted Islam, they tested their own traditions according to the established criteria of religion, and they continued certain traditions that did not contradict those criteria. Therefore, certain traditions like kissing the hands of elders (as a sign of respect), visiting relatives, and welcoming people with a smile have continued up to our time since they did not go against the essential teachings of religion.
A Warm Atmosphere of Tolerance That Embraces Everyone
As the days of Eid are a blessed and bountiful segment of time where deeds are rewarded so generously, every moment of theirs needs to be efficiently spent in friendly love, brotherhood, sisterhood, and acts of goodness. For example, the welcoming atmosphere of Eid which embraces everyone can be taken as a chance for eliminating bitter feelings, organizing activities to bring people closer, visiting the elderly and win their hearts, making children happy with good words and gifts, and also for building bridges of dialogue with non-Muslims in a peaceful atmosphere and break the ice. Undoubtedly, respect toward faith, religion, and the truth the Messenger of God stands for has a separate place and significance. On the other hand, honored with the best pattern of creation, being human has dignity in its essence and deserves to be respected. Particularly, at such a time when brutality is rising tremendously, bombs are being used against humanity, and when man-made viruses are unleashed as biological weapons, the world is in desperate need of a general peace based on this understanding. In order to save humanity from being destroyed between collisions of lethal waves, certain breakwaters need to be built to stop them.
Such activities did not take place in the time of the beloved Prophet or thereafter, and them not being included in the religious sources of reference is not an obstacle to our taking these blessed days as important chances for organizing certain goodwill activities. Apart from the sacred quality of the qandil nights, there were no special activities for those blessed nights. There were even no particular acts of worship for those nights. Together with that, it is commendable to spend them in devotion by praying, reading the Qur’an, touching beads, and supplicating to God. As those precious days resemble envelopes, they greatly add to the value of the deeds offered in them. The same goes for the location. You can pray to God anywhere; however, praying in Arafat purifies a person in such a way that he virtually becomes sinless as in the day he was born. If there are any stains that still remain, Muzdalifa takes them away. Similarly, circumambulating the Ka’ba is a means of a separate purification. As it is seen, this is realized by the envelope of “location” adding a transcendent value to deeds. In this respect, it is of great importance to turn to God Almighty in certain blessed locations or blessed segments of time in the Islamic calendar, and also to strive for friendly love, brotherhood, and humanity in order to attain God’s good pleasure.
1. Al-Hakim at-Tirmizi, Nawadiru’l-Usul, 2/204. La ilaha illa Allah: There is no deity but God.
2. Ali al-Muttaqi, Kanz al-Ummal, 16/214, no. 44236.
This text is the translation of “Bayram Mülahazaları“