Sharing the Joy of Eid in Latvia

2016-07-06 17.38.17Having completed the last blessed days of Ramadan fasting, bright and early on the Eid morning, I set out with my family to the capital of Latvia, Riga, to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr together with the local Muslim community. Eid is special time for the small Latvian Muslim community, which constitutes but a 0.01% of the population, as even those, who live in remote locations, try to make it to the Masjid for sharing the joy of the occasion.

As we reached our destination and I stepped into the women’s hall, I was taken aback by the unusually big numbers of women and children there! Instead of the expected few local Latvian, Russian and Tatar sisters, the hall was buzzing full with women and kids of all ages! As I got over the initial surprise, I realized that this Eid our community has grown larger due to the refugees that have now arrived in Latvia. Over the course of the next couple of years, Latvian government has agreed to settle in Latvia 250 refugees.

Although there was practically no way to communicate with most of the sisters, since they did not speak even English, it was heart-warming to see the bright smiles on their faces and receive their Eid Mubarak hugs and kisses. Truly it is so that Islam breaks down the barriers of national and language differences and lets us communicate on a totally different level, which only the bond of Islam can provide. We stood side by side in Eid prayers and shared a common Eid meal, while our kids played together in the playground just outside the window.

Local sisters kept on nudging me about Mehendi, as they knew I always had it with me. As I began putting the designs on the hands of first of them, curious eyes surrounded us, and soon there was a live line in place to keep me busy for the next couple of hours. Thus, this year, I put Mehendi not only on Latvian, Russian and Tatar hands but also on Syrian, Iraqi and Libyan ones, Alhamdulillah! I won’t ever forget the beautiful Syrian twin girls in matching dresses, the under-five-year-old orphan girl, whose mother most likely was lost on the long journey to safety, and also the cute two-year-old with teary eyes, who thought she won’t get her chance at Mehendi.

It was a true joy to share this holiday with such diverse community of sisters! May Allah (swt) bless the local Muslim community and ease the difficulties of refugees, as they adjust to their new life in our country, Ameen.

On Eid Day – Thank. Pray. Celebrate.

eid

                                                              Image Courtesy www.defence.pk

 

Pledge to Allah (swt)

First and foremost, promise Allah (swt) that this Eid, we will not engage in that which will earn the wrath of Allah (swt), or make Him displeased with us. The reason is, as soon as, we see the moon, two things happen. One is Ramadan comes to an end, that is also very sad. Eid is declared- that is something happy- because we deserve a day for rejoicing after so much of intense worship of Allah (swt).

Beware- The devil is out and about!

Secondly, those devils that were tied prior to Ramadan, they are released. Subhan’Allah- and this is why, may Allah (swt) protect us from the devils. Ameen. Many people on the Day of Eid- unknowingly or sometimes knowingly- they start to commit sins that displease Allah (swt); yet, it is the Day of pleasure, the day to please Allah (swt). So the clothing that we are wearing on the Day of Eid- especially when it comes to our sisters- let us make sure that it is cut in a way that will please Allah (swt). It is His Day; whatever we plan to do on that Day, it should be in accordance with the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Pray for it’s Eid day

Thirdly,  every time there is a happy occasion, we celebrate it by increasing the acts of worship. So, when it comes to marriage, what a happy occasion- we have an extra Khutbah. When it comes to Jummah, what a happy occasion- we have a Khutbah that is something which is not there on other days.

When it comes to Eid, the happiness of a Muslim is shown by extra worship, so we have Salat-ul-Eid. We have an extra prayer on that particular day. This is how, we as believers, show our happiness and gratitude to Allah (swt) – by obeying him more, by doing things that will please Him.

Make Him happy to be happy

Look at the other Eid that we will be having Insha’Allah- in approximately two and a half months from now- we find the Eid where we will be sacrificing, that is an extra worship for the sake of Allah (swt), this is how we declare happiness. We have never been taught to declare our happiness by doing that which will displease Allah (swt). We have meetings with opposite sex on Eid, to go back and do what we did not do in the month of Ramadan- in terms of sin; is that what Eid is all about?

Eat with no greed

Fourthly, sometimes, we become involved in gluttony to the degree that we eat as though we are doing Qaza of what we have missed in the month of Ramadan. If that is the case, we have missed the point. It is the day of eating, but it is not the day of gluttony. May Allah (swt) protect us. Ameen. It is not a day when we are supposed to eat until we get sick. That is not Eid!

Want to miss your prize distribution eve?

Eid is the day when we are conscious of Allah (swt); we thank Him for giving us a beautiful season, and coming out with forgiveness. ]Are you aware of the fact that the eve of the Eid, once the moon is sighted, it is known as Lailat-ul-Jaiza? It is known as the eve of prize-giving, and this is why in one narration, the Prophet (sa) says that Allah (swt) calls out to His angels on the Eid eve, and He asks them, “What do you think the reward of the slave who has fulfilled his job is?” And they will say, “O our Lord, it is to be given what He was promised.” So Allah (swt) says, “All my worshippers who have fasted for me, who have prayed for me, all my angels I let you bear witness that I have forgiven them completely.”

That is the night of forgiveness when the prizes are given. You know a child who has been to the school through the year, and has worked very hard, is a child that deserves the prize; and there will be a night when the prize is actually given to the child, and the child feels happy. What about the prize that is dished out by Allah (swt)? And, that is forgiveness and freedom from Jahannum. If I were to die now, I have no hope, but in the mercy of Allah (swt).

May Allah (swt) have mercy on us. Ameen.

Every day is your Birthday!

birthdayThe hailstorm turned into a thunderstorm while I was preparing dinner. I sat on my rocking chair and grabbed a cup of tea. What an exotic combination- hot beverage and cold weather! I was absorbed in my chain of thoughts when she came in- my best-est friend. In spite of our years of friendship, we share some conflicts too, and are still struggling to resolve them and gather on the same page. There she was- lying comfortably on the comfy sofa while gazing here and there.

Me: What are you looking for?

She: Where is birdy?

Me: Must be playing outside with him.

She: Do you remember what is coming up?

Me: What?

She gave me a stern look

Me: Oh ok I get it, charity month.

She shook her head in disgrace.

She: Can you ever in your life, just once,  behave like a normal person?

Me: Now what?

She: Dumbo! Its birdy’s birthday.

Birdy was my one and only daughter born after years of anticipation and was turning one year old that month.

Me: Oh that!

She: Yes that! And, I am here to plan with you and we will throw a mind-blowing party for her.

Me: What is so good about birthday?

She: Don’t be ungrateful; after such long wait and prayers, you got her. Don’t you want to celebrate? What kind of a mother are you?

Me: I have my set of belief.

She: Yes my religiously scholar sister, do share your old dated belief and enlighten our ignorance with your deep knowledge

Me: When we conceive, three things are decided at that very moment. First, life span; second, the gender; and third, whether one will be fortunate or unfortunate. Do you agree?

She: Hmm, so?

Me: Each passing year (for you, each birthday) is marking one year less to your total lifeline. What is there to celebrate about it? Celebrate your approaching death or wasted life?

She: Umm hmm..

Me: I am that kind of a mother who would not waste time, energy, and money on things that are of no importance. Instead, I will put in my efforts to earn for birdy’s life in the hereafter. I would rather invest in the later life which is eternal. I am that kind of a mother, who will try her best to make her daughter earn good deeds and the pleasure of her Rabb so she can celebrate with joy in her grave and hereafter.

She: Okay, but it will not cause any harm in celebrating a little bit? Your parents celebrated yours too.

Me: Birthday celebration is innovation in religion. It was originally celebrated by the non-muslims, and we will be among those whom we used to follow when alive. Islam does not teach us any of these rituals and celebrations.

And, it is not necessary to follow the same path of ignorance that we had once lived. We did celebrate birthdays when we were unaware.

She: I agree. But what will birdy think when she would see birthday celebrations of other kids? She will feel bad.

Me: Imagine what I now say. Consider yourself a kid and your birth date is approaching. You are waiting for the day when you are treated special. When you cut a cake, you receive gifts and privileges. The other kids around are not getting anything. They look towards you and crave to be in your place. They want to feel special and want those fancy wrapped gifts too. But they don’t. Will you share your presents and offer the same place of yours to be?

She: No not at all. Kids are kids. Why they would let other kids step in their zone of specialness and undivided attention.

Me: Exactly my point. Through this we are instilling selfishness in them. It is the time when every birthday child is just thinking about himself.

She: So what else can we do? We can’t have same date for every kid around?

Me: We can celebrate our two big festivals with fervour i.e. our Eid. We can décor our homes and invite guests and have food and fun. It is the right time to exchange gifts, and to create sense of communism and unity. Shared happiness, and shared love. It will be more encouraging if we present them with board games which require more than one player. This way all will be united.

She: Wow, I never thought on these lines. You nailed it sister.

This concluded our discussion and with this discussion, I finally got one conflict down between us. Smilingly I looked outside the window and I realized that continuous water drops can make a hole in a stone. Can’t we penetrate in ones heart with softness yet strong determination and commitment? When there is a will, there is a way.

Welcome Eid and say “Go” to your Ego!

Mend a broken heartAnd those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e. they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e. they will be far away from Allah’s Mercy); And for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e. Hell) .” (Ar-Rad 13:25)

The institution of family and kinship is one of the most valued aspects for mankind- proving its positivity through moral as well as the religious perspectives. No one can deny the noble relationship which is shared by two people of the same family as they possess similar blood running through their veins, and there are many other characteristics which link them to each and other. This is the reason why the Holy religion Islam has also directed a great deal of attention towards the aspect of creating harmonious social life for the Muslims. The Last Messenger (sa) directed people to maintain brotherhood amongst themselves.

“You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another.” (Muslim)

Muslims are ought to put up a shared stand against any group which tends to threaten their solidarity, or any other aspect of the Islamic state. It is morally regarded that unlike the other relationships where the barter trade of help is conducted, the family members assist each other spontaneously and with minimal expectations- as the bondage they share is beyond the other ordinary relationships.

The slaughtering of animals is only the face-value, but it possesses greater significance.

Now, as we enter into the mode of sacrificial worship on this Eid, it must be kept in mind that the sacrifice on this Eid has greater spiritual implication. The slaughtering of animals is only the face-value, but it possesses greater significance. To witness the vitality of sacrifice, one needs to have an insight and follow the findings. Mending the broken ties of relationship is one of the facets of the spirituality on this occasion.

Amidst the hostility, injustice and criticism, there are many underlying reasons beyond the broken ties. There may be some past experiences of hurting caused by one party to another; favours being given to one sibling when wills are formed; or a small rift among the children culminating in enormous issues. All these moments may have been ominous, but it does not mean that the relationships must be broken. For instance, brothers often do not talk to each other for a lifetime, keeping their families apart due to some past fight; they are only messing up their own lives. People often negate to take one last glance of the dead relative’s face because they did not talk for a long time, and do not desire to bid farewell. The two sides have an exaggerated style of battling, and this fails them to give an ear to what the other has to say.

But this Eid, let all the broken relationships get reconstructed. As Henri Frederic Amiel puts it,

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”

A few acts that could be done to rectify the severed ties are:

Sending Gifts
Presents are considered as one of the most vital instruments in strengthening love and bondage between the relationships. It is, therefore, a tool that could be used to make the people on the other side happy. It may make them feel special and awaken the concern for each other. Send them gifts for their children, or send them home-cooked food with fine décor. Little effort with pure motives works miracles.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: On this Eid people also exchange gifts, i.e., they make food and invite one another to come and eat, and they get together and celebrate. There is nothing wrong with this custom because these are days of Eid.

Empathize
Instead of being judgmental or criticizing the actions they make, work on having conversation with your agonized relative. Emotional engagement and compassion can catalyze healing comfort and improve connectivity.

Express Concerns and demonstrate willingness to change
Show them that you desire to improve. Take steps towards reinvigoration. Once, they notice that you take their concerns seriously- they will feel valued and respected. They will be motivated to aggravate their own endeavours as well.

Making Frequent Calls
Re-connectivity is also boosted by the occasional calls. Pledge to call them often and ask about their children, health, profession etc. The common affairs would then help to bridge the gap Insha’Allah.

Invitations
As this is a festive occasion where people often arrange extensive parties for their relatives; you can also make such arrangements. Make special calls to the people who are upon no-talking terms and insist them to attend. If they don’t, let not your morals be down- call them to say how they were missed by all the recipients.

Boost your morale- even if you are repeatedly rejected by the other side- as it is for Allah (swt) you are carrying out these deeds

Conclusively , the acts of bridging ties must not be only limited for the occasion of Eid, but let them become constant. Boost your morale- even if you are repeatedly rejected by the other side- as it is for Allah (swt) you are carrying out these deeds. For once or twice, lower down your self-respect and not be egotistical. Consistency in this regard would eventually uplift the concern on the opposite side- making them feel guilty for their unresponsive attitude, and speculate at how they could restore the relationship through their own effort. It would also raise charges from you when Allah (swt) questions us all on the Day of Judgement.

“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur’an), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah’s Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided.” (Al-Imran 3:103)

Sunnahs of Eid-ul-Adha

India Eid al Fitr“Say (O Muhammad): ‘Verily, my Salah (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)’ (Al-Anam 6:162)

Eid-ul-Adha literally means “festival of the sacrifice”. It is an Islamic festival to commemorate the obedience of Ibrahim (as) to obey Allah’s (swt) command to sacrifice his own son Ismael (as). According to the lunar based Islamic calendar, Eid-ul-Adha falls on the 10thof Dhul-Hijjah. Muslims have two events to celebrate, one is Eid-ul-Fitr, which comes right after the month of Ramadan, and the other is Eid-ul-Adha.

Allah’s (swt) messenger Muhammad (sa) said: “Allah (swt) has given you two days better than these, the day of Al-Fitr and the day of Al-Adha.”  (Abu Dawood)

“It is Mustahab (recommended) for women to come out and attend the Eid prayers.” It is narrated by Umm ‘Attiyyah (ra) that the messenger of Allah (sa) commanded us to bring them (women) out on (Eid) Al – Fitr and (Eid) Al – Adha, and to bring out adolescent girls, menstruating women and virgins, but the menstruating women were to stay away from the prayer, but to witness the goodness and the gathering of the Muslims. I said: “O Messenger of Allah (sa), what if one of us does not have a Jilbaab?” He said: “Let her sister lend her a Jilbab.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Recommended Islamic practices for Eid-ul-Adha:

  • Taking a bath before Eid prayer. It is Mustahabb (recommended) to take a bath before going out to the prayer. (Saheeh Hadeeth)
  • It is a Sunnah for the Imam to deliver a sermon after Eid prayers, which consists of two Rakahs. It is a Sunnah of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) to listen to the sermon.
  • Offering Eid prayer in congregation, preferably in an open area.The practical Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) was to leave his mosque for the Eid prayers and perform these prayers in the Musalla (prayer room) that was at the outer gate of Madinah. Going out to the prayer-place for Eid prayer is Sunnah, even if the Jaami’ Mosque is large enough to accommodate. This is the view of the majority of Shaykhs.
  • Eating before going out to pray Eid prayers. Prophet Muhammad (sa) never used to go out on the morning of Eid until he had eaten some dates…of which he would eat an odd number. (Bukhari)
  • Reciting Takbeer.This is one of the greatest Sunnahs on the day of Eid. Umar (ra) would try hard in reciting Takbeer until he came to the prayer place, then he would continue to recite Takbeer until the imam came out. In case of Eid Al – Adha, the Takbeer begins on the first day of Dhul-Hijjah, and lasts until sunset on the last of the days of Tashreeq. The days of Tashreeq are 11, 12 and 13 of DhulHijjah, it is also referred to as Takbeer Tashreeq. Men should recite it loudly whereas women should not raise their voices.

Takbeer: Allahuakbar, Allahuakbar, La-Ilaha illa-Allah, Wa-Allah-u-Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Wa-Lillah-il-Hamd (Allah (swt) is the Most Great, Allah (swt) is the most Great, there is no god but Allah (swt), Allah is the Most great, Allah is the most great, and to Allah (swt) be the praise).

  • Offering congratulations. The companions of the Prophet (sa) used to congratulate each other on the day of Eid. Any permissible words can be used to greet each other.
  • Beautifying oneself on the occasion of Eid. The Prophet (sa) agreed with Umar (ra) on the idea of adorning oneself for Eid, but he denounced him for choosing a particular cloak because it was made of silk. (Bukhari)
  • Going to the prayer by one route and returning by another. It was narrated that Jaabir ibn Abd – Allah (ra) said: On the day of Eid, the Prophet (sa) used to vary his route. (Bukhari). It was said that the reason for that was so that the two routes would testify for him on the Day of Resurrection, for the earth will speak on the Day of Resurrection, and say what was done on it, both good and bad.
  • Slaughtering an animal for the sake of Allah (swt) on Eid-ul-Adha is a Sunnah of Ibrahim (as) and Prophet Muhammad (sa).  The time for offering the sacrifice begins after the Eid prayer on Eid al-Adha and ends when the sun sets on the thirteenth of Dhul-Hijjah. So there are four days of sacrifice: the day of Eid-ual-Adha and the three days after it. It is better to hasten to offer the sacrifice after the Eid prayer, as the Prophet Muhammad (sa) used to do, then the first thing he would eat on the day of Eid would be the meat from his sacrifice. Ahmad narrated that Buraydah (ra) said: The Messenger of Allah (sa) did not go out on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr until he had eaten, and he did not eat on the day of Eid al-Adha until he came back, then he would eat from his sacrifice. (Al-Zayla’i narrated in Nasb al-Raayah that Ibn al-Qattaan classed it as Saheeh.)
  • It is a Sunnah that if one wants to offer a sacrifice on Eid-ul-Adha must stop cutting his hair, nails and removing anything from his skin, from the beginning of the ten days until after he has offered his sacrifice, because the Prophet (sa) said: “when you see the new moon of Dhul-Hijjah, if anyone of you wants to offer a sacrifice, then he should stop cutting his hair and nails until he has offered his sacrifice.” (Muslim).

The Prophet (sa) used to fast on the first nine days of Dhul-Hijjah. It was narrated from Hunaydah ibn Khalid from his wife, that one of the wives of the Prophet (sa) said: The Prophet (sa) used to fast on the first nine days of  Dhul-Hijjah, and the day of Ashoora, and the three days each month, the first Monday of the month and two Thursdays. (Abu Dawood)

Prophet Muhammad (sa) used to recite Surah Al – Aala of the Quran in the first Rakah and Al – Ghashiyah of the Quran in the second Rakah. He also recited Surah Qaf of the Quran in the first Rakah, and Surah Al – Qamar of the Quran in the second Rakah. (Saheeh)

Visiting the graves is not something to be done especially on the day of Eid or Friday or any particular day. It was proven that the Prophet (saw) visited the graves at night, as mentioned in the Hadeeth of Aisha (ra) narrated by Muslim. And the Prophet (sa) said: “Visit the graves for they will remind you of the Hereafter.”

Eid Mubarak!

May Allah (swt) bless us all with all good things in this world and in the hereafter – Ameen

Top Five Ways to Imbibe an Attitude of Sacrifice this Eid-ul-Adha

1011It is quite easy to talk about the spirit of sacrifice when discussing Eid-ul-Adha. But it is not quite simple to implement it in one’s daily life. As the age-old adage says, it is easier said than done. However much it is NOT easy, it is definitely not impossible either.

So how do you embark upon the journey towards implementing the spirit of sacrifice in your daily life? Here are some handy tips you can use:-

1. Be positive:- Yes, it is easier to talk about sacrifice than actually give the sacrifice when the time comes, but never let this belief deter you in your objective. You may consider yourself to be a weak person, but you can always derive your strength from your faith.

2. Make loads of Duas:- Prayer is the best source of strength. Ask Allah (SWT)’s help at all times. Make loads of invocations and Insha’Allah He (SWT) will make things easier for you.

3. Try and try again:- You may falter – not once, but many times. However, don’t let that get to you. Maybe you couldn’t do what was right in one situation – learn from it and move on.

4. Keep the end goal in mind:- If at any time you start getting this feeling of: “why do I always have to give the sacrifice?” remind yourself that it is Satan trying to mislead you. Emphasize to yourself that you are doing this for Allah (SWT)’s pleasure and your ultimate goal – Jannah.

5. Beware of publicizing your sacrifices:– Showing off good deeds always lessens the amount of blessing you get for it. Whatever sacrifices you make for Allah (SWT), keep them to yourself rather than glorifying yourself in public or feeling excessively proud. Again, remind yourself of your ultimate goal whenever you feel the urge to
talk about all that you have done.

This article was first published in The Intellect Magazine – it is being reprinted here with their permission.

Etiquettes of Celebrations – The Sunnah Way

ConfettiThe faces of the old and young – and indeed even the trees and birds around us – rejoice when they come to know about the happiness of the beloved Prophet (sa). His happiness is the happiness for those, who love him, and it is guidance for his followers. The Prophetic guidance teaches us the manners of how to be happy in the times of success and joy.

Allah (swt) did not create us to be robots. He created us with feelings, will, intellect and has granted us the liberty to choose and to act according to the situations. Now it is obligatory on a believer to adopt the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) in every sphere of his life, as acting upon Sunnah is also a worship of our Lord.

Let’s learn the etiquettes of celebrating joy and success as per Sunnah of the Prophet(sa) in different occasions of our lives.

Marriage – A Sacred Occasion

Out of all the occasions of celebration of joy and success, the marriage comes first on the list, as this is the occasion of our life in which we break the rules and commandments of Allah (swt) the most. Marriage (Nikah) is a solemn and sacred social contract between bride and groom. It is a major step in one’s life. Marriage is a matter of great responsibility which should not be taken lightly by any means. In Islam, a marriage ceremony is comprised of a Nikah (marriage contract) followed by a Walima (marriage feast) once the marriage is done.

The Prophet (sa) said: “The marriage, which is most greatly blessed, is the one which is the lightest in burden (expense). However, if people are well catered for, without extravagance and show, there is no problem with that either.” (Baihaqi)

Nowadays, our marriages follow such rituals and customs on which we tend to waste enormous amount of money and time that simply isn’t required. Nikah and Walima are both the Sunnahs of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), so we should try to commemorate these joyous occasions in the same way as he did to make them more valuable and blessful.

According to Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sa), the Nikah can be held at the local asjid or at home whereas the Walima can be held anywhere.

Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The worst of the feasts are those marriage feasts to which the rich are invited and the poor are left out.” (Mishkat)

Anas  describes one of the Walimas hosted by the Prophet (sa): “The Prophet(sa) stayed for three days at a place between Khaibar and Madinah and there he consummated his marriage with Safiyya bint Huyay (rta). He invited the Muslims to a banquet which included neither meat nor bread. The Prophet (sa) ordered leather dining sheets to be spread. Dates, dried yogurt and butter were provided over it and that was the Walima (banquet) of the Prophet (sa).” (Bukhari)

There is nothing wrong with  an elaborate ceremony being  held in an elegant banquet hall and a full-course meal if you can afford. But its neither a criteria nor a requirement of a successful marriage. Moreover by doing so many people become the victim of debt due to spending extravagantly on this occasion which is of no use.

Although it’s not that easy to row your boat in the opposite direction to which the society is moving, but it’s worth going against the tides that are against the command of  Allah (swt) and the teachings of the Prophet (sa). We should try our utmost to follow the footsteps of Prophet (sa) rather than blindly following the pathetic, shameless acts of Jahiliyyah in our wedding ceremonies which lead to nothing but Fitnah and do not even guarantee  a successful marriage.

Eid – The Blessful Occasion

Islam is a very practical yet reasonable religion. After spending the whole month of Ramadan in worshipping Allah (swt), Muslims are blessed with the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr to celebrate this success with happiness and excitement. Similarly, Allah (swt) has blessed us with Eid- ul-Adha in the memory of the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (as).Therefore on these two occasions, the observance of the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (sa) doubles our celebration and joy.

The Sunnahs of Eids include:waking up early in the morning than usual, brushing of teeth with Miswak, taking a bath, dressing up in neat and clean clothes, using perfume and the performance of Eid Salah at the Eidgah. However it is a Sunnah to avoid eating dates or something sweet before Eid Salah of Eid-ul-Fitr , reciting aloud Takbeerat on the way to the place of prayer for Eid-ul-Adha and silently for Eid-ul-Fitr:

 “Allaahu Akbar Allaahu Akbar Laa ilaaha illallaahu Wallaahu Akbar walillaahil Hamd.”

Using of different routes to and from the place of Eid Salah and the offering of two Rakahs of Salat-ul-Eidain (which is Wajib) are the Sunnah of celebrating these joyous occasions.

Sport Success Celebration

Then there comes a celebration of success and joy during sports activities where we are especially required to follow the Sunnah of our Prophet (sa). Playing sports is permissible in Islam. There are some sports which are considered to be Sunnah sports such as archery, wrestling, swimming, running, horse riding, camel racing and competition. Prophet Muhammad (sa) used to watch these sports and also award those who won.

Regardless of age, everybody is engaged or interested in some kind of sport. Sport is defined as ‘physical activities in the form of games, races and competitions that aim to improve fitness.’

While playing sports and celebrating the success, one must keep the following things in mind; the foremost is not to indulge in sports to such an extent that you miss your Fard prayers or to take part in sports where you have to play sports with the opposite gender.

According to Sunnah, the sportsman is not even allowed to wear such clothes which do not cover the body parts that are obligatory to cover. During the celebration of victory and joy, it is not permissible to use foul language, slandering and bad behaviour against the opponents. Furthermore, it is against the Sunnah of Prophet (sa) to play sports in areas where you become the cause of suffering for others such as roads and crowded streets.

Gratitude is Sunnah

In short, it is the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) to be humble and thankful to Allah (swt) when one gets His Blessings in the form of success or joy rather being rude, boastful and arrogant. Whenever the Prophet Muhammad (sa) was happy, for example, after coming back from a battle or on the occasions of Eids, marriage or any other occasion of happiness; he always used to offer Nafil to thank Almighty Allah (swt) and also included the poor and needy in his happiness by giving charity or Sadaqah.

Chand Raat: A Thoughtful Perspective

July 11- Chand raatThe announcement of the sighting of the moon is the signal for us to shift from prayer mode to party mode, and why not? After a month of spiritual devotion, we feel like we’ve earned the right to some worldly indulgence. However, the conclusion of the month of fasting shouldn’t mean the end of our awareness of being a Muslim. We should carry that consciousness throughout the enjoyments of Chand Raat as a testament that we haven’t forgotten Allah (swt) in the joy of the new moon. We can enjoy ourselves without losing our self respect as the best creation. Here are some handy tips:

Go easy on the accelerator

I don’t mean just literally. The Quran says: “Eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (God) likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance).” (Al-Araf 7:31)

Sure, eat out and buy pretty things, but don’t go overboard. It is best to decide beforehand the exact things you need to get, in order to avoid impulse purchases. Do you really need those silver bangles when you have a perfectly good set at home? If you still fall victim to over-shopping, instead of keeping the extra stuff guiltily among your things, give it as a gift to someone.

Leave the tinkles and shimmers at home…

Every day is not special enough to wear special clothes. We all jump at the chance to wear them, but there is a place for everything, and public places, especially on this night, are not fit for wearing attractive outfits; we all know the kind of crowd that is on the streets on this occasion.

…or stay at home with them

Who says you have to go out for fun? Food can be delivered at home, or someone can go out to get food for the whole party. Whether you go to the people or get the people to come to you, fun is how you make it.

Bazaar and Dhikr are not mutually exclusive concepts

Want the shopping and sightseeing but don’t want to leave the Barkat (goodness) at home? Begin with the name of Allah (swt). “I begin my adventure among the crowded stalls and malls by invoking Allah (swt),” may sound weird, so we have this tailor-made Dua for the marketplace to use: “None has the right to be worshipped but Allah alone, Who has no partner. His is the dominion and His is the praise. He brings life and He causes death, and He is living and does not die. In His Hand is all good, and He is Able to do all things.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Don’t let the Isha prayer slip by in all the excitement. It’s the first post-Ramadan prayer. You don’t want to be marked absent on His attendance register immediately after the holy month has ended.

Keep it down

While staying up late at night chitchatting or watching TV, remember that it only seems that the whole world is awake. There are early sleepers, little babies and elderly people all around the neighbourhood. Even if you know that your neighbours will stay up longer than you, you should still avoid making noise out of charity.

Abdullah Ibn Masood (rta) has narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) has said: “A man is not a Muslim till his heart and tongue are submissive, and he is not a believer till his neighbor is safe from injurious behaviour on his part.” (At-Tirmidhi)

Remember those who work at your house

A set of bangles for the maid is a small price to pay to make her feel special.

Chand Raat: the “night of reward”?

The Hadeeth “Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die” is weak: its chain of narrators is unsound. The night before Eid has not been recommended for worship. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t pray during this night. We just shouldn’t go out of our way to do special worship that we wouldn’t do normally.

Instead of weighing the propriety of an action or practice on the unstable measure of public opinion (“if I do that, what will people think?”), it is better to consider what the Almighty thinks. Unlike our fellow flawed human beings, He will actually reward us for taking His approval into our consideration.

Throwing an Eid Party

eid party

Eid is the time for celebration and delight, showing our gratitude to Allah, meeting relatives and friends, and sharing with the needy. As parents, we would like our children to have a meaningful time on this most joyous of occasions. So, why not make your kids’ Eid memorable and filled with fun by throwing a party for them and their friends? Here are a few ideas for creating an enthralling Eid party.

Eid Related Party Decorations

  • Put up posters of Eid greetings in 3-4 different languages, such as Arabic, Urdu, English, etc. This will be a good conversation starter.
  • If budget allows, create an Arabian Peninsula look with a tent in the corner, date trees, etc.
  • Put up colourful lights in the party area.
  • Hang little paper-made crescents with buntings and tinsels.

Theme-Based Eid Parties

Older kids (7-12 years old) can have an Eid party around a special theme:

  • Islamic attire theme. Children could come wearing clothes from different Islamic countries. You can also ask them to come in special Islamic head coverings, such as Topis, turbans or Arab headgear for boys and pretty scarves for girls.
  • Muslim country theme. Ask the kids to bring along something related to any Muslim country of their choice (a flag, a book, crafts, photographs, etc.) They can paste the country’s name on the objects and display them during the party.
  • Theme of foods mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. Serve honey, pomegranates, dates, olives, olive oil, etc. Posters, wax replicas, and paper cutouts of the fruits and vegetables can be used as decorations.
  • Sharing the joy of Eid theme. Mothers and older children can have an Eid party at the local hospital or orphanage. They can take some eatables and gifts for the needy kids.

Gaming Zone

What’s a kids’ party without games? You can mould some of the games to give them an Islamic colour.

Games for younger and older kids:

  • Quiz between 2 teams on Islamic knowledge. Ask simple, age-appropriate questions about Muslim countries, Islamic practices, simple Duas, etc.
  • Story time. Read a story on any of the prophets or companions.
  • Passing the pillow. Short questions about the likes and dislikes of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), about his family and more.
  • Lemon in a spoon race.
  • Treasure hunt.
  • Memory game. Place objects in a tray and show to each child for 10 seconds. Later, ask them to write down the items they can remember.
  • Drawing competition. Topics can be: what you did on Eid, what you ate on Eid, making an Eid card for your parents, grandparents, or best friend.

Games for mothers and kids together:

  • Draw four pictures of Islamic objects on large sheets of paper, for example, a Masjid, a prayer mat, a Hijab, Kabah. Get four parents to hold up a picture in each corner of the room (if the place is small, in different rooms – make sure hallways are clear). Stand in the centre and call out one of the names – children then should run as fast as they can to that corner. You can also use Arabic names or draw sites of Islamic importance, such as the sacred mosques. Keep the game short and fast.
  • Charades. Each mom will have to act out a word to make her team guess what the word is. For instance, the word ‘Wudhu’ can be demonstrated by doing the actions of the ablution.
  • Gifts for the poor. A table can be laid out with some fruits, small packs of biscuits or chips, toys etc. With mom’s help, each child can pack a small goody bag and take it home for giving to the servants, who work in their house. This will apprise the child with a sense of sharing and caring for the deprived ones.

Ideas for Goody Bags or Give-Aways

Kids always love taking home a reminder of the party. According to your pocket, you can prepare the goody bags matching the Eid mood of the party.

Big budget

  • CD of “Sound Vision”
  • Audiotape of “Sound Vision”
  • Some religious activity book e.g. flowers of Islam series
  • Stationary set
  • Toys
  • Chocolates
  • Biscuits

Economical budget

  • Stickers (I love Allah, etc.)
  • A set of 3 religious activity sheets
  • Some other religious souvenir (key chain)
  • Stationary items
  • Balloons
  • Chocolates
  • Biscuits

Want More Ideas?

  • Play children’s Islamic songs in the background.
  • At the prayer time, offer Salah in congregation. (Moms and children together.)
  • Children can have a camel ride, if it can be arranged.

Story Time with a Difference

Beforehand, prepare a simple story with 4 main characters or objects – for example, a boy’s name, a prayer hat, a Masjid, the Quran. Build a story around them. Draw or write each character / object on a card. The more children you have for this game, the better, so that there are 3 or 5 ‘Masjids’, 3 or 4 ‘prayer hats,’ etc. Get the children to sit on chairs in a circle with spaces between the chairs. Begin to tell the story. As the children hear their card name mentioned, they have to get up, run around the circle, and sit back down again.

(Courtesy: http://www.islamichomeeducation.co.uk/)

Yummy Foods

Here are ideas to satisfy those growling tummies:

Finger food for 3-6 years olds

  • Mini pizzas
  • French fries
  • Nuggets
  • Sandwiches
  • Boiled sweet potatoes
  • Seasonal fruits

Kids food for 7-9 and 10-12 years olds

  • Kebabs
  • Burgers or bun kebabs
  • Rolls
  • Cholay
  • Samosas

Fun While Fasting

  • fun while fastingBrush up your art skills and create awesome Eid cards for friends and family
  • Brighten up Maghrib time by lighting colourful bulbs in or outside your house
  • Be adventurous and prepare something delicious for Iftar with your mom’s help of course!
  • Challenge yourself and learn short Duas or Surahs at home. You can even compete with your friends
  • Be generous and make colourful goody bags for poor kids of the neighbourhood
  • Chart down the good you did and bad you stayed away from. You never know mom and dad may just surprise you with a treat or reward
  • Wrap little presents for your family to surprise them with at Eid
  • Help mom at home by making less mess and cleaning up more. She will be thrilled to bits!
  • Be kind to your brothers and sisters. It is tough, but you will love it when Allah loves you for it!
  • Above all pray to Allah for everything you want! Remember the doors to Paradise are open and Allah’s mercy is down pouring!