Saturday, August 18, 2012

Greeting `Eidulfitri The Proper Way

بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم
In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful

Every beginning has an ending.

It can be sad, it may be happy. Or it can be both sad and happy.

Ramadhan is coming to its end. We may see it again, or maybe it is our last Ramadhan. Either way, let us make the most of it.

Pray, zikr, read Al-Quran, give sodaqoh (charity) and do other good deeds as much as we can within the next 24 hours. Let us pray so that Allah releases us from the chains of hellfire, Insya-Allah, for it is reported that the last days of Ramadhan is "itqun minan naar" (release from the hellfire).

Tears well up in our hearts. Tears of sadness and regret perhaps, that Ramadhan will be leaving us. Tears of joy too, for Eidulftri is almost upon us.

Prophet Muhammad pbuh encourages us to greet `Eidulfitri with happiness, for it is a day of celebration. 

But what are the proper ways of greeting Eidulfitri?

Here are some points:

1. Bathe sunat `Eidulfitri

The first thing you should do after waking up on the day of `Eid is...not bathe. :) Praise Allah that we are still alive. Then, you take a shower. Make the intention in our hearts, "I bathe sunnah `Eidulfitri because of Allah." Make the niat or intention in your own languange. It's okay if you don't know the arabic version, because Allah is All-Knowing, isn't He? Of course He understands all our languages. :)

2. Show your happiness

Prophet Muhammad pbuh likes us to display our happiness on `Eidulfitri. Be in the festive mood. Be happy. Smile, don't forget. :) Greet people, especially our muslim brothers and sisters.

Malaysians have this wonderful habit of saying, 

"Selamat Hari Raya, maaf zahir batin." as the greeting between muslims. 

But did you know, how the prophet pbuh and his companions greeted each other on this joyful day?

They said,

"Taqabballahu minna, wa min kum, taqabbal ya karim." (May Allah accept our deeds during the past Ramadhan, from us, and from you. Accept from us, Oh Ya Karim (referring to Allah) )

Let us add this greeting, because then we would have practiced a sunnah, something that the prophet loves to do.  

Furthermore, put on our best clothes as this is also the prophet's sunnah. The best may mean new clothes, for the able. If we can't afford it, the best clothes also mean the prettiest and cleanest pair we have. The message is to be happy with what we can afford. See, Islam never burdens its followers. :)

Spray on your best perfumes, for instinctively, humans love to be near things that smell nice. When we greet each other, the nice aroma will instill happiness in their hearts, insya-Allah. What a wonderful thing to put happiness in people's hearts, insya-Allah. Women however, are encouraged to not overdo it (do not use a strong scent), for we fear we might put something else other than happiness in MEN's hearts. (Read: fitnah). Just use a mild scent, so that people won't remember us for being the smelly armpit during `Eid prayer. :)

3. Breakfast before going to the mosque

Before going to the mosque for sunnah `Eidulfitri prayer, it is sunnah to eat something first. The prophet pbuh also prayed `Eidulfitri when the sun was quite high in the sky. In contrast, he would pray sunnah `Eiduladha early, and did not eat before praying. We can see the relevance, as we have to slaughter the animals after prayer, so the prophet prays early.

Thus, it is allright to snack a little lemang or grab a piece of ketupat before prayer. If your mother yells at you, tell her that "I am doing the prophet's sunnah!".

4. Go to the mosque early for prayer

For the makmum, it is sunnah to arrive early at the mosque, although the imam is sunnah to arrive later than the jamaah.

The women may say,
"I have to cook this kuah kacang (peanut gravy) first, it's okay, you go on without me!"

My dear muslimah,
it is undeniably our duty to take care the household. But not on this day! For Ummu `Atiyyah said,

"We (women) were commanded to go out (for the `Eid prayer) on the day of `Eid - to the extent that we would take the virgins out of their private rooms, and take the menstruating women so that they would sit behind the people, echoing takbir and supplicating with them, and looking forward to (gaining good from) the blessing and purity of that day." (Recorded by al-Bukhari, Muslim and others).

Prophet pbuh commanded all women, even the menstruating ones, to be at the mosque, takbir and dua together, to get the blessings on that day.

So, let's change our mindset that women are not encouraged to go to the mosque on this joyous day, for we have seen it is the other way around. Let's integrate this wonderful sunnah as part of our culture.

5. Give zakat fitrah

Zakat fitrah is an obligation to all muslims to pay once a year, during Ramadhan. Zakat is means of purifying one's wealth and for the property to be blessed by Allah. Allah Taala says in the Quran which bears the meaning:

"Take alms (zakat) out of their property, you would cleanse them and purify them thereby.." (Surah at-Tawbah: 103)

Ibnu `Abbas said:

"Allah's messenger has made zakat fitrah compulsory in order to cleanse those who fast  from meaningless chatter and dirty words, and to feed the poor". (Reported by Abu Dawud).

The best time to give zakat fitrah is after sunset of the last day of ramadhan until the morning before `Eid prayer. Based on a hadith, it is the time when zakat is makbul, or in simple terms, Allah is sure to accept it, insya-Allah. However, it is allright to give early, during the month of ramadhan starting from the first day. It is makruh if you give it after `Eid prayer, where its value is the same as normal charity, and sinful if given after the end of 1 syawal. You still have to give it even after the said time has passed, as a sign that you have fullfilled your obligations to Allah.

Notice that the word "give" is more often used than "pay". I believe that zakat is something that is given away sincerely, and not something so much tied to worldly matters to use the word "pay". You PAY when you buy something, something that you need to survive in this WORLD. But zakat is a matter closely tied to the HEART. By GIVING part of your wealth willingly, because Allah commands you to, and because you care for your muslim community, is what I believe zakat is all about. Zakat fitrah -  something given away in return for something else: purification of the soul, insya-Allah.

6. Forgive and Forget 

Ask forgiveness for all our sins to people, because those sins are not forgiven by God, unless the people we wronged forgives us.

Prophet Muhammad pbuh said:

"Do you know who is the bankrupt one on the Day of Judgement? It is the person who comes to Allah full of rewards for his good deeds(fasted, prayed, gave zakat, performed hajj, etc) but he has fault with the people around him (through backbiting, taking and eating from other people's property, etc). Therefore, Allah commands that man/women's rewards be given to the people he/she wronged, until there is nothing left. Then, Allah commands that the sins of those he/she wronged be given to him, until at last he will be thrown into the fires of hell."

Astaghfirullah...this hadith sends shivers down our spine, doesn't it?

Tomorrow when we meet our fellow muslims, let's ask for their forgiveness sincerely, and also forgive their wrongdoings toward us. As much as we fear to be "The Bankrupt One", we also fear the same fate for our brothers and sisters. Cry, if we must. Do not fear what other people will say. Only think about what Allah thinks of us, and the fate that we want to avoid on the Day of Judgement.

7. Put happiness in the needy's hearts

Orphans, single mothers, old folks' homes, the homeless, the beggars. Just to name a few categories of people who are not so fortunate as we are.

Wouldn't it be great, if we can also put smiles on their faces? No, we don't need crayons to draw smiles. What we need is to touch their hearts by showing that we care. Show that we care for them all year round, not just during Ramadhan. Show that we are here for them for the other 11 months.

Donate money, clothing, even just pay a visit. Insya-Allah, that would leave a smiley impression in their hearts. :)

8. Be grateful to God

Let us takbir a lot as sign of our gratitude to God's bounties and blessings. He has blessed us with the gift of Ramadhan, where rewards are abundant, the gates of repentance are open as wide as the sky and the doors of hell are shut close. He grants us the bounties of Syawal, when we rejoice to the success of pinning down our desires.

"Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar. La Ilaha illallahu walllahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar, walillahil hamd."

Let us greet `Eidulfitri the prophetic way, the Islamic way, for we are muslims, and we hope to die as muslims. Insya-Allah.

1. TV show "Tanyalah Ustazah". Dated 17th August 2012.
2. TV show "Tanyalah Ustaz".  Dated 18th August 2012. By Ustaz Rujhan Mohamed Razali.
3. Muhammad al-Jibaly. (2001). Regulations of Worship During Menses. pg 26. Al-Kitaab & as-Sunnah Publishing: Texas.

1 comment: said...

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