In his book Al-A’yad Fil-Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Jibaly defines Eid as “any day of gathering, from `Aada (meaning returned), because people return to it periodically. Some scholars say that it comes from `Aadah (custom or practice; plural A’yaad) because people are accustomed to celebrating it. According to Lisan-ul-Arab: “It is called Eid because it returns every year with renewed happiness.”
We feel joy at the end of Ramadan for fulfilling our duty to our Lord and for obeying Him. We have a sense of accomplishment, knowing we prevailed over our physical desires seeking Allah’s pleasure. These abstract pleasures are coupled with the physical pleasures of eating and drinking.
The fasting person’s joy will be immense on the day that we meet our Lord and see the great reward that is in store for us. We feel joy in this world knowing that Ramadan is the month of forgiveness and atonement. We have every hope that Allah will forgive us and give us the strength to avoid sin. This makes Allah happy with us.
Prophet Muhammad said: “Allah is happier with His servant who repents than the happiness one of you would feel if he was wandering in a barren wasteland to find his steed had wandered off with all his food and provisions. Then, after the heat and his thirst become severe, he falls asleep in the same place and wakes to find his steed standing before him, so that he grabs its reins and says: “O Allah! I am your Lord and You are my servant”, mixing up his words on account of his extreme joy.” [Muslim]
Happiness is a natural emotional state we as human being are meant to experience, no less than sorrow. Happiness inspires us to work and be productive, and it allows us to enjoy life. It also inspires us to be grateful to our Lord and thank Him for His blessings.
We need to make sure to enjoy our lives in an excellent manner, without acting in excessive and inappropriate ways that only bring us back to sadness, fear, and shame. Happiness is not an exceptional state of being that only occurs outside of normal bounds. Quite the contrary, the closer our happiness is connected with what Islam teaches, the more lasting and stable it will be.
Happiness is natural. This is why Aishah enjoyed the Eid and watched the Ethiopian acrobats perform in the mosque, with the Prophet watching the show alongside her. [Bukhari and Muslim]
On the days of Eid, the people are supposed to all go out to attend the congregational prayer, men and women alike, young and old. We are called upon to give in charity on the two Eids. This enables the poor to enjoy these days and share in the celebration. [Bukhari] The Eids strengthen our collective identity and cultivate social cohesion. This cannot happen if there is great material inequality between the members of society, or where there is no affection and no sense of others’ suffering.
This should inspire us to forgive one another on the occasion of Eid, visit each other, and rekindle old friendships. Disputes between neighbours should be put aside, and husbands and wives should resolve their problems. Eid is a time for us to come together, to be with our families, play, and have a good time. This is praiseworthy fun.
There are also blameworthy ways to celebrate Eid. This comes as the result of one of two things. The first is to celebrate in ways that are forbidden by Allah. The second is to go to excess in celebrating. Excessiveness in joyful things inevitably leads to sorrow. This is because those who exaggerate their joys also exaggerate their sorrows, and their hearts turn very quickly from the state of happiness to that of grief. Excess in celebrating also happens when we take that which is lawful in and of itself and engage in it in a way that it leads us to transgress Islamic teachings. This happens when we fail to keep ourselves in check and lose control of ourselves.
“Celebrate the Eid” – Salman al-Oadah
“How did the Prophet & his companions celebrate Eid?” – Rahla Khan