Sunday, June 25, 2017

'Eid-ul-Fitr': Celebrate with Devotion

We are living the last days of this blessed month of Ramadan. Its departure is indeed imminent. Fortunate are those who have taken full advantage of the blessings of Ibadat (worship) and repentance. Bear in mind that the Ramadan may be a witness for or against you. Those who have been blessed to fill it with faith and good deeds should thank Allah for this great favour and continue this good practice even after its departure. 

Indeed the reward for fasting the month of Ramadan is Allah Himself. Fortunate are those to whom Allah have chosen to disclose His presence by pouring down upon them the grace and blessings which is embedded in the fasting of Ramadan and the Night of Qadr (Decree). Indeed Allah  never denies a soul his or her just and complete reward.

Allah says in the Holy Quran: So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. (Az-Zalzalah 99: 8)

Allah has ordained for the Muslims such acts of worship at the end of Ramadan in order to assist us all in our expression of love and devotion for Him, to consolidate our faith and increase the weight of our good deeds. There is:

1) The proclamation of the Takbir (i.e. the glorification of the grandeur of Allah) beginning on the night of 1st of Shawwal, i.e., the beginning of the Eid-ul-Fitr which starts at sunset on the last day of Ramadan.

Bear in mind that in Islam, by way of importance, the night precedes the day, all because the Islamic month is lunar. Therefore, the new Hijri date begins with the setting of sun. So, if today is Friday (Yaum'ul Jumu'ah) 28 Ramadan 1438 AH, then the moment Maghrib time begins, it shall then already be Saturday (Yaum'ul Sabti). And since the day starts at Maghrib, then on the last day of Ramadan (which can either be 29 or 30 days), we do not pray Tarawih (Voluntary Night prayers, usually in congregation). This is because the new day of Eid has already started at Maghrib. So when the moon is sighted Insha-Allah on the following Sunday night (i.e. 30th day of Ramadan), then Eid-ul-Fitr shall begin, and this shall also mark the end of the Ramadan.
A point that I would like to draw your attention here is that in case the moon of Ramadan or that of any Islamic month is not perceived on its 30th day, then moon or no moon (i.e. moon perceived or not), the new day of the new month officially begins at sunset, because in Islam, under the lunar Hijri calendar, unlike the solar calendar, there is no 31 days for a month. The month can either be 29 or 30 days.

Narrated by Hazrat Aisha (ra): The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) used to count the days in Shaban in a manner he did not count any other month; then he fasted when he sighted the new moon of Ramadan; but if the weather was cloudy he counted thirty days and then fasted. (Abu Dawud).

Narrated by Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra): The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: Whenever you sight the new moon (of the month of Ramadan) observe fast, and when you sight it (the new moon of Shawwal) break it, and if the sky is cloudy for you, then observe fast for thirty days. (Muslim).

Therefore, that is also why we start to say the Takbir for Eid after Maghrib of the last day of Ramadan, as practiced by our beloved and noble prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). Thus, the moon we see after Ramadan is that of the Eid-ul-Fitr, and thus we celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr and wishes everyone Eid Mubarak, and Ramadan is then officially over.

Allah says in the Holy Quran: 

He wants you to complete the prescribed period (i.e. of fasting), and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance you shall be grateful. (Al-Baqara 2: 186).

The proclamation of the Takbir is as thus: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Laa Ilaaha Illallah, wallaahu Akbar Allahu Akbar wa Lillaahil Hamd.” (Allah is great, Allah is great; There is no god but Allah; Allah is great, Allah is great and all praise is due to Him).

According to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the believing men are advised to proclaim this Takbir aloud in the mosques, and their homes, especially after their obligatory prayers as soon as the moon of Shawwal is sighted. Women are advised to recite their Takbir silently as they are commanded to conceal their voices, but if they are among women and there are no male strangers in the vicinity, there is no harm if she recites her Takbir in an audible voice (neither too loud nor too silent).

Besides the Eid-ul-Jumu'ah which Allah has provided for His believing servants every Friday, Allah has instituted the Eid-ul-Fitr (Eid of the breaking of the fast) and the Eid-ul-Adha (Eid of Sacrifice) as the two main festivities and moment of joy for them. Between the two main Eid days, the Eid-ul-Fitr is actually second (in importance) to Eid-ul-Adha. Whereas, the Eid-ul-Adha is called the Eid'ul Kabir (Greater Eid), the Eid-ul-Fitr is the Eid'ul Saghir (Smaller Eid). And in both Eids, the presence of both the believing men and women is capital for as I had already said before, the woman also is a believer and she has her place in the Mosque or Eid Gah (place where the Eid prayer and sermon are held). Both of them have a right to maximize the benefits and blessings of the Eid, not just the men.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) ordained his followers, men and women, to fulfil this act of worship. He commanded women to leave their homes and attend Eid and his commands must be obeyed by one and all, as Allah has said in the Holy Quran:

O you who believe, obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and do not let your deeds be in vain. (Muhammad 47: 34).

Narrated by Hazrat Umm Atiyah (ra): “We used to be ordered to come out on the Day of Eid and even bring out the virgin girls from their houses and menstruating women so that they might stand behind the men and say Takbir along with them and invoke Allah along with them and hope for the blessings of that day and for purification from sins.”

In another version: Narrated by Hazrat Umm Atiyah (ra): “The Messenger of Allah commanded us to leave our homes for Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha prayers, including mature, menstruating women and virgins. As for the menstruating women, they should keep away from the place of worship but should participate in good deeds and supplications. Hazrat Umm Atiyah interrupted the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) by asking: ʻO Messenger of Allah, some of us do not have the outer garment (Jilbab)!” He replied: “She may borrow it from her friend.’” (Bukhari & Muslim)

On Zakat-ul-Fitr

2) (Another act of worship after the recitation of the Takbir is giving away of the Sadaqat-ul-Fitr). The Sadaqat-ul-Fitr (also called Zakat-ul-Fitr) - not to be confused with Zakat which is one of the pillars of Islam - is an obligatory charity for every Muslim who possess the Nisab (a minimum amount of wealth). It must be paid before the start of the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer, which means this is time limit for payment of the same.

Narrated by Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra): “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) ordered the people to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr before going to the Eid prayer.”

Narrated by Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra): “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) enjoined the payment of one Sa’ of dates or one Sa’ of barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the Eid prayer. (One Sa’ = 3 Kilograms approximately)

Narrated by Hazrat Abu Said Al Kudri (ra): “We used to give one Sa’ of meal or one Sa’ of barley or one Sa’ of dates, or one Sa’ of cottage cheese or one Sa’ of raisins (i.e. dried grapes) as Zakat-ul-Fitr (per head).” (Bukhari & Muslim).

This reminds me to tell you that it is recommended as per the Sunnah of our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) to eat a few dates in odd numbers before leaving for the Eid-ul-Fitr prayer. In a report from Hazrat Anas bin Malik (ra), he said: “The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) will not leave for Eid-ul-Fitr until he eats some dates in odd numbers.” (Bukhari & Ahmad).

All in all, the Eid-ul-Fitr, especially the Eid prayer should be observed in the most humble and devoted manner. The believers, men and women are called to dress themselves in clean clothes on that day and to beautify themselves more so inwardly by the recitation of the Takbir (Glorification of the Oneness of Allah) and other acts of worship and Zikrullah (Remembrance of Allah) as well as good deeds. This is indeed a day to rejoice, especially for those who have legitimately observed all the requirements of Ramadan as ordained by Allah. For them indeed is a true Eid. I thus wish to all my disciples & followers worldwide, as well as the rest of the Muslim World an EID-UL-FITR MUBARAK (in advance). May Allah bless you all and accept your sacrifices in this blessed month and make you the subject of His approval and blessings. Ameen.

--Friday Sermon of 23 June 2017(28 Ramadan 1438 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.