Wrapping up the month of fasting, world Muslims are actively preparing a most anticipated `Eid, ready to enjoy the celebration and traditions of this blessed festival, surrounded by family and friends.
Yet, `Eid Al-Fitr will be somewhat different this year as many countries in the Islamic world continue to find themselves within the grip of violence and wars, plagued by economic difficulties and heartache.
Syrian refugees in the UK are not an exception.
“We understand how lucky we are to be here in the UK where our children are safe from the ravages of war but we cannot help but think about all those we have left behind and how our family stands now divided,” Muhammad Abadi, a Syrian refugee whose family arrived in the UK from Syria this April, told OnIslam.net.
For Abadi, his wife Elham, and two daughters, Zaynab and Leena, this `Eid will be bittersweet.
“We have left a lifetime of memories and laughter behind us. I fear I will never see my homeland anymore or pray on my parents’ grave. I fear my children will not know their cousins, uncles and aunties because we can no longer be together as we were,” he said.
“This `Eid will be lonely … It is very difficult to smile when your heart weights so heavy and yet we have so much to be thankful for.
“This `Eid will be a quiet one for us. We feel ostentation will be disrespectful for our people back in Syria. This year it is about remembering God and striving to be better people. I don’t want to squander the blessings my family was given by being selfish and insensitive to the pain of others,” said Muhammad.
`Eid Al-Fitr is one the two main Islamic religious festivals along with `Eid Al-Adha.
During `Eid days, families and friends exchange visits to express well wishes and children, wearing new clothes bought especially for `Eid, enjoy going out in parks and open fields.
While `Eid needs to be remembered as a joyful occasion, it is also a time for reflection and most certainly a time to implement Ramadan lessons of modesty and generosity as taught by fasting and praying.
Since all Muslims strive for security and safety from all harms, whether physical, emotional or financial, it is important that as a community, Muslims remember those less fortunate which they owe protection to.
In Swansea where she is now living with her maternal uncle and aunt, Doha Saeed from Yemen recalls how while she managed to escape the violence of Yemen, her brother and father could not.
Heartbroken and torn in between happiness and concern for her family, Doha’s `Eid will be a mixture of complicated feelings.
“I know how lucky I am to have escaped war and I know that both my brother and my dad are breathing a little easier now that I am safe with my uncle but I feel so guilty!
“`Eid is suppose to be a time when family gets together around a big meal. Eids in Yemen are always loud and happy … My house is usually filled with the smell of meat and sweets. This year `Eid will be somewhat sad.”
Finding security during Ramadan days, Doha decided to keep Ramadan lessons alive to give her power to go on.
” I have decided not to feel sorry for myself! I have too much to be thankful for … that would be ungrateful of me. So this `Eid I will say a special prayer for my family and I will make sure that I remain committed to my Ramadan goals: I will be generous to others, I will remember to pray on time and not be lazy in my religion and I will try to be patient,” she said.
“This year for me it is not about the cakes and the presents … it is about being thankful for what God gave me and pray that he keeps my loved ones safe and happy … always!”
Just like Ramadan is not meant to be a food festival indulgence, maybe `Eid does not have to be all about the lights and the money spending. Maybe this year, we ought to stop and think about how `Eid is really a lesson in love and brotherhood.
“And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, Al-Masakin (the poor), and those who left their homes for Allahs Cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” – Quran 24:22] ONISLAM