I checked and the last time I had a “Ramadan Mubarak” post was in late 2003, and the last time I had an “Eid Mubarak” post was in early 2004. I don’t think I’ve blogged about anything of a religious nature at all. This doesn’t particularly indicate anything other than the fact that at some point I decided not to blog about days marking religious events. At some level it did feel empty. Like a convenient “Happy Birthday”, something that is easy to do/say but doesn’t really mean anything beyond a passage in time. Something that you do because it is time to do it, like clockwork. A chime to mark an event and nothing more.
I don’t think it ever occurred to me what exactly it was that we were celebrating on Eid. Growing up (in Riyadh, Saudi) Eid was little more than a money collecting convention. “Eidy” we called it as we stuck our hands out and if we stood in the right light you could see the shine off our new cloths and shoes. Later we’d gather and count to see who’d amounted the highest tally, a competition of sorts. All things considering, since money was the prize we were all winners. Eid was like a massive prolonged iftar party; tons of food and tons of drinks. Year after year this is was we “celebrated”: money, clothes and food (isn’t this what most event celebrations amount to?).
When we landed ourselves in Toronto there was less of that, simply because we barely knew anyone here. We had grown past the “eidy” collecting stage but the new clothes kept coming, they still do =). Eventually we did get to know folk around and the number of iftar “parties” increased and Eid was effectively the same celebration, minus the eidy.
Sure you meet and hug people, whoptidoo. But what does it all mean? A community gathers to mark a religious day. That’s nice and dandy, but so what? Why should it matter? Why should it matter?
As cheesy as it sounds I was actually looking forward to Ramadan this year. Last year Ramadan was awful for me, I made it awful. The years before that weren’t exactly all that fantastic either, they weren’t disasters or anything, but come on. This year, however, was different for me. In either case, I think there must be a great personal purpose/meaning behind why you fast. Whatever that meaning is for you, it must exist. Jo bhi ho, dil se ho. ““O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, so that you may attain taqwa. (2:183)”. (This is something else that I haven’t done in the blog forever, quote from the Quran). But yes, purpose and meaning.
Then it starts to make sense. Eid is a celebration of the month of fasting done towards that personal purpose and meaning. Though it’s done in a community I think that the celebration must come from within, it must be personal. Even if there was no community and you were alone, that celebration should still be there. It should be there to celebrate your purpose and your meaning. Without that personal meaning it’s just a playground of toys, clothes and food.
Even though I feel that abstaining from food is probably the easiest part of Ramadan (at least for me), I think it is a great accomplishment. An accomplishment that calls for celebration in its own way.
Now I will not say that I’m sad to see Ramadan go (how cheesy would that be? like, seriously. “look at me, I’m so good a Muslim I’m sad to see Ramadan go.” ummm, you can still keep fasting you know?). Hah, I really shouldn’t be saying that bit in the brackets should I? Who am I to judge? Everyone should do/feel as little or as much as their heart/mind indicates. I don’t feel comfortable feeling “sad” on the passage of this month. I am not that “good” a person. I accept the ending of this month as a fact. It will come again, and if it doesn’t there’s always the next month, the next day, the next hour or the next minute. You do what you can.
I pray that this month was fulfilling for you and that you came closer to realising your meaning and achieving your purpose and that this meaning and purpose continue for you through out the year. I pray that Allah accept our fast.