Friday, October 12, 2007

Remembering Allah on Eid Occasion

Adil Salahi

The Prophet SAW was keen to relate the joyous occasion of the Eid that ends fasting in Ramadhan to the idea of obeying God in every situation. It is well known that the Eid prayer is offered a short while after sunrise. The Prophet SAW urged all Muslims to attend the Eid prayer, even though it is not obligatory. In fact he particularly urged women to attend, so as to emphasize the need for them to participate in this occasion of celebration for the whole community. He even told women who could not pray, because they were in the period, to attend so as to take part in the blessings of the occasion and to share in the other aspects of worship, such as glorifying God.

Several reports confirm that the Prophet SAW always ate something before he went out to prayer.

Anas ibn Malik reports: “God’s Messenger SAW did not go out on the day which ended the fast until he had eaten a few dates, keeping them to an odd number.” [Related by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and others.]

This was in marked difference from his practice on the day of sacrifice. He did not eat then until he had slaughtered his sacrifice and was able to eat something of its meat. It is well known that this sacrifice can be offered only after the Eid prayer is over.

The reason for eating early on the day of the first feast is that fasting on that day is forbidden because it is the day that follows the month of fasting and signals its end.

The Prophet SAW wanted to demonstrate to his companions that the proper attitude of a Muslim is to act on God’s orders without delay. Since the Prophet SAW ate dates on that occasion, it is a Sunnah, or recommended practice, to follow his example. Some scholars, however, suggest that anything sweet, such as honey, also allows one to follow the Prophet’s example, assuming that the Prophet SAW chose dates because it was the sweet thing available to him at that time.

Whether one eats something sweet or salty, he follows the Sunnah if he eats before going out to prayer. If he chooses dates because the Prophet SAW is known to have eaten dates on this occasion, he earns a reward according to his intention, which is to follow the Prophet’s example.

The Prophet SAW kept the dates he ate to an odd number: three or five or seven, etc. so that it remained a reference to God’s oneness. In fact, he did this in all matters. He kept reminding his community of the great Islamic principle of God’s oneness in everything he did.

After the prayer, the Prophet SAW addressed the congregation. He encouraged them to maintain the path of obedience to God in all aspects of life. The congregation was too large for everyone to hear what the Prophet SAW said, particularly women who prayed at a distance from the men’s congregation. The Prophet SAW, therefore, went to address them separately.

Jabir ibn Abdullah reports: “I attended prayers with the Prophet SAW on an Eid day. He started with prayer before giving the sermon, and without the normal call to prayer of either adzan or Iqamah. When the prayer was over, he stood up leaning on Bilal. He praised God and glorified Him. He then counseled the congregation, reminding them of God and their duty to obey Him. Afterward, he went to the women taking Bilal with him. He ordered them to maintain their sense of the fear of God and admonished them. He also praised God and glorified Him, urging women to always obey Him. He then said to them: ‘Give generously in charity, for most of you will be the fuel of the Fire.’ A woman who was not an Arab and whose cheeks had turned slightly black asked: ‘Why is that, Messenger of God?’ He said: ‘Because you complain too much and are ungrateful to your folk.’ They began to take off their jewelry, necklaces, earrings and rings, and threw all that in Bilal’s robe giving it all as charity.” [Related by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others.]

This Hadith shows us that the Prophet SAW made a special effort to address women on the day of the Eid. According to scholars, the Imam or the ruler should also make a special effort to address them. The Prophet SAW pointed out to women two common characteristics that could make them face a very unhappy ending on the Day of Judgment. These are frequent complaints and ingratitude. These are certainly not limited to women. When men have the same faults they land themselves in a similarly perilous situation. However, a woman can easily make the life of her family miserable by frequent complaining. If she is of the nagging type, always asking her husband for what he cannot afford, everyone in the family, including young children, will suffer. Should the complaints be unjustified, they may become sinful.

The other characteristic that the Prophet SAW points out is ingratitude. This often goes hand in hand with the first one. A person who is always complaining hardly knows how to be grateful. Complaining becomes natural to him that he always sees something wrong in every situation. It is easy for him to overlook what is good and positive. As a result he is often ungrateful for a good turn. When these two characteristics are brought into family life, they tend to make life a misery. Hence, the Prophet SAW warns against them on this happy occasion so as to indicate the way to continued happiness within the family.

The Prophet SAW also showed the way to overcome the effect of the two characteristics that can land people in hell. It remains the best way to earn much reward in order to counterbalance the effects of slips, mistakes and sins. That way is the voluntary charity.

®Arab News

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