As we celebrate Eid Al-Fitr… Happy Eid!
After going through a month of fasting and watching every single step, one wonders, now what? With Ramadan ending this coming Friday, the fasting, the celebrations and the glorious dinners are over. Nonetheless, it is important to remember the higher ends of the most sacred month. While it is important to recognize that practice is basic in Islam, Ramadan calls Muslims to aim for higher purposes in life.
For those who pray five times a day and fast often enough, it might seem that they are in a higher point than those who don’t. This is because we have been trapped in a greedy system of rewards. Yes, all believers in most faiths expect and aim for some kind of reward due to their piety and their discipline. Nonetheless, let’s not forget that thinking that we are worthy of higher rewards than others is like asserting that we believe ourselves closer to Allah. And although sometimes we are tempted to feel that way, we must remember that we stand shoulder by shoulder with Muslims and non-Muslims in the scale of life and afterlife.
However, the greater meaning of Ramadan remains in our actions and intentions. As a blessed month, Ramadan calls us to reflect on our lives and our status as a greater community. Nonetheless, as we celebrate little Eid carnivals, differences among members of our communities, among the different sects of Islam and Muslims and non-Muslims remain. So what have we learned? Ramadan is about tolerance, endurance, discipline, love, openness, etc. Fasting was not the only purpose of this month. However, we have been left with the opportunity to once again, go beyond the practical aspects of Islam.
Yes, fasting, praying, pilgrimage and charity are some of the pillars of Islam, but no pillars stand without a good engineering and architectural design. We need to construct a system of values and morals that last beyond the sacred month. It is not about scarifying something for a month, and then giving in to the habit again. It is about perfectioning little pieces of our beings. We got the discipline to fast for a month, well, now it is time to continue working for this discipline. We should not wait for next Ramadan to approach to be “religious.” Religion is not a temporary state of mind, but a permanent state of the soul. It is about doing greater things for the greater good.
Understanding that we are not alone and isolated, is important to be able to work towards a better understanding of ourselves and our role in this life. Ramadan is not a call to abstain only, but a call to give to the rest of the people… Muslims and non-Muslims. Thus, we must keep giving to those around us; and this doesn’t only mean material things. We must keep giving out love, tolerance, truth, knowledge, etc. We must remain disciplined and working towards improving the practice of Islam. Praying five times a day is good, but what value do the prayers have if they are empty? We must aim for something.
Of course everybody wants a reward, but it must be a well-deserved reward. Practicing is not enough; practice is a reflection of higher values and principles. What good do we do to the world if our prayers are not directed for a greater good? Why spend hours at tarawee prayers if at the end of the month we go back being the same imperfect people? What have we learned?
The importance of Ramadan is how much can we improve and how much can we transfer to our daily life. What can we do for the world?
After Ramadan is over, it is all about devoting ourselves to Allah’s creations. Without this devotion we end up with empty prayers, fast, pilgrimage, charity and even a meaningless declaration of faith.