|Why Do We Celebrate Eid?|
by G. A. Parwez
(contributed by Bazm-e-Tolu-e-Islam
Every tribe, people or race throughout the world celebrates a festival of one sort or another. Muslims also celebrate some festive occasions on some days of the year. But the festival of Eid is one that we are commanded to celebrate in festivity, joy and happiness by Allah Almighty Himself ! This in itself portrays its importance.
In Surah Yunus it is said:
“O mankind! There has come to you indeed an admonition from your Lord and a healing for what is in the hearts; and a guidance and a mercy for the believers. Say: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy, in that they should rejoice. It is better than (all the worldly wealth) that they amass.” (10:57-58).
This is the occasion Muslims have been enjoined by Allah (SWT) Himself to celebrate with happiness and joy. This occasion is called JASHN-E-NUZOOL-E-QURAN, i.e. EID-UL-FITR-DAY.
The Quran was first bestowed from on high in the month of Ramadaan as a guidance to man (2:185). Therefore the entire month of fasting is, in a way, a preparation for the celebration of this festival day called Eid. The question arises: what, after all, has Allah given us for which we are commanded to rejoice? The answer is given by the Quran itself that it (the Quran) makes man aware of his true status in this world. Allah says:
“Indeed there has come to you from Allah, a Light and a clear Book.” (5:15, 14:1).
Ponder for a moment what happens in the dark, and what happens to darkness when it is stabbed by light! In darkness, no object, article or a thing’s correct identity, position and location can be known; whereas in light every object’s true location and identity is before us. In darkness we mistakenly presume a rope to be a snake, and vice versa. But when light comes, we see the difference between a rope and a snake!
Before the revelation of the Holy Quran, man was in utter darkness. He was ignorant of his exalted status in the universe, nor was he aware of the phenomena of nature. In short, he knew very little about the physical world and his own place in it. What kind of darkness was prevalent before the Divine revelation? It was the darkness of thought, of intellect, superstitions, and darkness of heart and mind. It was the darkness of being unacquainted with one’s own actual self. And the fact is that this darkness of being unaware of his own true position and dignity was the sum of all his darkness: it was the source and fountainhead of his darkness. Had man been aware of his own true self, then he would have eliminated all other darknesses. Thus the question arises as to what dignified position the Quran has given to man? If we seek a detailed answer to the question, then we have to go through the whole Quran. And this is not possible to accomplish within the confines of this short article. We shall touch briefly on a few aspects, but it will not be possible to understand them until it is not seen that before the revelation of the Quran, to what extent was man engulfed in darkness, and to what depth of degradation he had descended.
At the time of the revelation of the Quran, man had enslaved man. In some societies he was in abject bondage. The feudal lord was his god. Monasticism had completely stunted his intellect and senses. Capitalism was sucking the last drop of blood of the working classes like a leech. This was the state of “civilisation” at the time the Quran was revealed.
It declared that the mission of the Prophet Muhammad (S) was to destroy the chains in which mankind has been shackled (7:157). Of these chains, the very first was that of ignorance and superstition. Due to his lowly position, man was afraid of the natural forces. Menacingly dark clouds, eardrum and nerve-shattering thunder, lightning, and the roaring of mighty rivers instilled a terrible fear in his heart. Gale-force winds made him shudder. When he saw huge, sky-embracing mountains, he felt an unspeakable awe. He felt puny and helpless before these awesome powers of nature.
GODS OR GODDESSES
He came to realise that there is some inexplicable power behind each of these phenomena. In order to save and secure himself (in his own mind) from the wrath of such mighty powers, he could think of only one kind of escape: to take these forces as gods or goddesses and bow before them in worship. He would offer human sacrifices and other oblations to appease these angered deities. This is the position that man had established for himself against these physical forces.
The Quran came and addressed him:
“Seest thou not that Allah has made subservient to you all that is in the earth, and the ships gliding in the sea by His command? And He withholds the heaven from falling on the earth except with His permission. Surely Allah is Compassionate, Merciful to mankind.” (22:65, 45:12-13).
Everything is for man’s benefit. If you ponder for a moment, think and study the phenomena of nature, then your own standing vis-à-vis the universe will be made manifest to you. It will dawn upon you that you are not the subordinate, but the master of all things in the cosmos.
These forces of nature are governed by predetermined laws made by Allah. These physical laws are unchangeable and permanent in their character and operation (33:62). There should thus be no doubt about the immutability of these laws. They can NEVER change suddenly and elude man’s control. Everything acts or happens according to these laws. Man has been given the faculty to understand and acquire the knowledge of these laws. The more he acquires the knowledge of these unchangeable laws of nature, the more they will unfold and continue to unfold as man progresses towards mastering them.
This was the mirror in which he was shown his true identity by Allah (SWT) through the Quran. Thus in one leap he became the Respected Master of all things that bowed down to him in submission. He gained ascendancy over the entire creation.
But the main, challenging obstacle in man’s forward march was the tyrannical subjugation of man by man. This cruel, pharaonic idea was so deeply ingrained in the human mind that he came to accept his serfdom as a natural norm and the right to be ruled by his dominating, enslaving masters – a sort of divine “birthright”! The Quran arrived and proclaimed that the right to exercise authority belongs only to Allah. He has enjoined that we should obey none but Him. Further the fundamental principle of Deen is that no human being – even though Allah may have given him a code of laws, a revelation (Nubuwwat), or the power to enforce it – has the right to say to others: “It is not meet for a mortal that Allah should give him the Book and the judgment and the prophethood, then he should say to men: Be my servants besides Allah’s; but (he would say): Be worshippers of the Lord because you teach the Book and because you study (it).” (3:78-79, 12:40).
It can thus be seen that by this one single declaration, the Quran has destroyed the shackles of all kinds of subjugation. It freed man from every mode and aspect of human slavery and entrenched him with Allah’s rule only.
SLAVERY OF MIND
The entire teaching of the Quran is the explanation of this one point alone. The obedience must be to the Laws of Allah only, and not of any man.; (12:40, 18:26). If he allows the rule of any other than Allah, it would be a negation of the very purpose of man’s creation.
The sadistic tyranny and domination by brute force could hold a man physically, but there was another kind of slavery that was far worse than the former. This was the slavery of mind and heart, controlled by the so-called “religious leaders”, priests, or “ulama”, the peers, saints and mystics who claimed to be intercessors between man and God. This class, vis-à-vis the pharaonic class, badly wanted to be loved, obeyed, revered and worshipped. They were in fact a god-head. The Holy Quran exposed their machinations and true colours to mankind: that in reality it is all an economic game these little tin gods play with the masses to hide the truth. They wish to live parasitically in luxury on the earnings of others and do nothing themselves. The fact is that the majority of them never earn an honest day’s living. (9:34, 43:23). They claim that they lead people to Allah’s path, but the truth is that they block people from treading the path of Allah. They themselves become gods and thus do not allow anyone to reach Allah, but stop them on the way. The reason is simple: if Muslims make Allah’s Quran their sole guide, then these pygmy tin gods would become redundant, irrelevant and non-existent!
The difference between secular and spiritual dominance is that the former disappears when a pharaoh, king or dictator dies, but the latter does not expire with the death of the dominance-seeker (wali, saint, sufi, etc.) Even from his grave he commands total obedience from the unthinking, gullible folk. In fact his stranglehold is powerful, his urge to dominate is overpowering. The living human is always in fear of the dead peer saheb’s “spiritual powers”. The peer’s brainwashing and magnetic “power” may be likened to the flame which proves irresistible to the moths who keep circling it until they burn themselves completely. Allah rebutted man’s fallacy and said to the living human:
“And they take besides Him gods who create naught, while they are themselves created, and they control for themselves no harm nor profit, and they control not death, nor life, nor raising to life.” (25:3, 27:65, 46:4-5).
The question is: why are you afraid of them, and why do you pin your hopes and aspirations on them for worldly gains? This is extreme and abject humiliation for a man to be afraid of a corpse lying in the grave, and accept him as the granter and guarantor of all his needs.
SALAAT AND ZAKAAT
One effective way of making a man subordinate to another was to deprive him of the means of sustenance by sheer brute force, thus placing him in total servitude. The Quran declared in unequivocal terms:
“Say: Come! I will recite what your Lord has forbidden to you: associate naught with Him and do good to parents and slay not your children for (fear of) poverty – We provide for you and for them – and draw not nigh to indecencies, open or secret, and kill not the soul which Allah has made sacred except in the course of justice. This He enjoins upon you that you may understand.” (6:152, 11:6, 17:31).
Through the agency of the Mu’mineen a system of government (Salaat) should be established which ensures an economic system (Zakaat) wherein every soul is guaranteed the basic necessities of life. No one will depend on another for his survival and no one will rule over the other.
These are the Quranic concepts and doctrines that gave man an honoured status and superiority over other creations. (17:70). Allah reminds mankind that if it safeguards itself from the pitfalls of wrong paths and evils and watches imbalances in society, then there are glad tidings for it from Him of a blissful life Here, and in the Hereafter. No fear, no constant torment and insecurity will be suffered by them. (2:37-38, 7:35, 10:62-64).
In this Quranic society, everyone- irrespective of race, colour or creed-will be equal in the eyes of the law and have an equal opportunity to develop his or her latent potentialities. There would be no favouritism, no partisanship, no nepotism. Whoever wishes to progress in life by toil and endeavour, will achieve his aim; and whoever, owing to his own ineptitude and lethargy lags behind in this temporal life, then that will be to his own detriment. (46:19, 99:7-8).
In this just society there will be no distinction made between a child born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and a boy born in a poor family. In a Quranic society there will be no such thing that the former gets the best education and every luxury, whereas the latter cannot even get a rudimentary education because of poverty. This worldly hierarchical class division was created by Brahminism (priestcraft) that kept a section of society in its iron clutches. The Quran made mankind free from all this, and on this very basis proclaimed that:
“CELEBRATE AND REJOICE ON RECEIVING THIS CHARTER OF FREEDOM.”