Muslims have two Eids per year, and they’re only two months apart.
This makes it a season worth preparing for.
But, why should we prepare for Eid before Ramadan?
Well, by preparing for Eid ahead, we’re making sure we won’t be wasting the final prime days of Ramadan. Preparation for Eid also entails a “worship plan” for the holy month because the celebration is the reward for the achievers. If Ramadan is like any other month for you, your Eid will likely feel bland.
The Worship of Rejoicing
In May 2021, the heartbreaking events of Gaza deprived Muslims around the world of the joy of Eid Al-Fitr. I still remember Dr. Eyad Qunabi’s words on that unfortunate morning:
“Allah, who has commanded us to show compassion for the pain of Muslims, has also decreed the cheer of our worship (Quran, 2:185).
Express your joy for Eid for the sake of unnerving the enemies who want to spoil it for us. This is a form of worship (Quran, 9:120).”
I want to highlight that appreciating the Islamic festive practices is complementary to worship. This is the balanced implication of being a “Middle Nation” (Quran, 2:143). Let’s remember how the attack on Gaza didn’t halt the Takbeerat تكبيرات of Eid, and that many Palestinians were killed during the festive family visits.
As Muslims, we intentionally demonstrate contentment on Eids out of gratitude for being guided to this religion and achieving its practices. We should also refrain from other celebrations because we believe that Islam’s perfection is needless of extra festivity.
Be aware that Eid is the alternative we have been promising our children for resisting the Christmas glamour. We’d better make this worth their patience.
The best way to celebrate Eid is to follow the narrated Prophetic practices on that day.
There’s no better day to perform the worship of “making a Muslim happy” than that day. Our close community is the most worthy of this favor.
I like the suggestion of planning for an “Eid party” for the children. Allocate the resources and gather the contributors before Ramadan. Take this as a chance to bond with the Muslim community and instill a sense of belonging in the children.
Engage the youngsters in collective preparation activities. Children get excited over packing Eid giveaways and walking between rows of prayer mats to give them away. Prepare the gifts ahead of Ramadan and leave some final touches for a fresh vibe on the night before Eid. Similarly, bake the cookies before Ramadan and sugar-coat or glaze on that night.
Also, remember that adults lead by doing, so be expressive of your joy. Cherish the details of wearing a special outfit, showering, scenting the house, hanging the balloons, and gathering the family around a special box of dates before leaving for prayer.
Ramadan: The Racer’s Mindset
If you have an extra Ramadan in your life, you’re way ahead of your peers. Feeling indifferent towards the rivalry in worship is a sign of a weak belief in the rewards of the hereafter. Allah has stated that this is what we should be competing for (Quran, 83:27). If you feel like your local community is pulling you back, seek a virtual community.
Preparations for the marathon are already heated in other parts of the world. If you wait till Ramadan starts, you will likely waste the first ten days before you build momentum.
Let’s make things simple. Look up the prayer times during the 30 days of Ramadan. Grab a pen and a paper and draw two separate lines for the 1st and 30th day of Ramadan. Mark the prayer times of Fajr and Maghrib for each day on the respective lines.
Now that you have the basic structure of the day, fit in your daily activities. Allocate time for Quran and Qiyam (night prayers). Dedicate at least 15 minutes per day for strengthening your relationship with the Quran.
Any voluntary prayer after Isha’ is considered Qiyam. Aim for at least two extra raka’s in addition to Shaf’ and Witr. Ideally, Qiyam would be performed during the final third of the night when our dua is most likely to be answered. Walking up thirty minutes before suhur is a simple way to achieve this.
Finally, unless you’re isolated from Muslim communities, try to scarcely spend time online. If you intend to listen to some Islamic lectures, download them before Ramadan.
Eid is for those who make changes in Ramadan. Inclusively, you can aim for worldly gains. However, our time should be primarily dedicated to the Hereafter. Being conscious of our intentions can double our worldly efforts into rewards in the next life. Regardless of what you work on, aim for quality and consistency over quantity.
RELATED: Take What You Can of Ramadan
“Allah has already forgiven the Prophet and the Muhajireen and the Ansar who followed him in the hour of difficulty after the hearts of a party of them had almost inclined [to doubt], and then He forgave them. Indeed, He was to them Kind and Merciful.”
Repentance is not exclusive to the sinners, although we all are. Muslims have to habitually repent for their ungratefulness, insincerity, and imperfect worship. Notice in the aforementioned Ayah, that Allah was addressing Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his Companions after going through numerous hardships for the sake of this religion.
Falling into sin should not be a reason for despair. The worship required from people is different from that of the sinless angels (Quran, 2:30).
“By the One in Whose Hand my soul is! If you do not commit sins, Allah would replace you with a people who would commit sins and seek forgiveness from Allah; and Allah will certainly forgive them.”
If the sin has brought you humility and awareness of your dire need for Allah’s support, then it can be more valuable than years of worship. Capitalize on this state of sincere servitude by pushing forward with repentance. Keep in mind that true repentance has prerequisites.
There are multiple layers to the relationship with the Quran. You can bond through listening, reading, perfecting its recitation, understanding its meaning, interpreting its message, and most importantly, practically applying it.
None of those layers is trivial and all of them will bring blessings to your life.
This Ramadan, approach the Quran intending to heal your spiritual ailments (Quran, 10:57). Quran is not an outdated scripture. This is Allah’s words addressing you personally. Contemplate the message in every Ayah. Be responsive while reading and ask Allah for the favors that He mentions.
The Quran was revealed for practice. However, relating to it in any way should open more doors for a deeper relationship. Make no excuses, take a step, stay persistent and Allah will facilitate the rest.
This is a piece of uncommon advice for spiritual change. For Quran’s remedy to work, you need to clear any obstacles. We’re in control of our internal state if we can manage to control what gets absorbed by our senses. Plus, we shouldn’t expect guidance from media producers who have no faith. Defeat on the ground is an expected outcome of the intellectual submission to this external programming.
In this video, Dr. Mohammed Faid states that dissociating eating from smoking is a proven method for quitting the habit. He also suggests following a vegan, sugar-free diet and taking certain supplements to ease the process. Finally, committing to this life-changing project with a group of people is a key factor for persistence.
If we’re required as Muslims to prepare whatever we’re able of power to deter Allah’s enemies (Quran, 8:60), then being healthy is probably the baseline. This Ramadan can be the time you take control over your life. Even if it turns out as a failed attempt, you wouldn’t miss the reward of initiating change.
“… And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him – his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah. And Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.”
Whether secular or religious, information becomes knowledge only if it leads us to Allah. The Quran states that the same knowledge can mislead some people while guiding others (Quran, 9:124-127). According to the Hadith, a path that seeks knowledge is a path towards Jannah, if the intentions are sincere.
Knowledge to seek in Ramadan
Let’s start with the intention of seeking knowledge that increases our faith. In parallel, we need to seek the branch of knowledge that’s related to everyday Muslim practices. Islam is a religion that requires actions as proof of true belief. We are obliged to search the Islamic rulings on all our affairs.
Knowledge of Tahara is strongly needed before Ramadan, especially for women. Perfecting our Taharah (purity) is not an unnecessary obsession. This proves sincerity because only Allah knows about such private hygiene-related matters.
The fasting intention and the end of menstruation before Fajr are both required for a fasting day to count. Otherwise, the day has to be made up for after Ramadan. This probably requires knowing what marks the end of menstruation.
The Hijri Calendar
I find it unfortunate that we tend to undervalue many Islamic occasions because we lose track of their timing. The Hijri calendar shaped the mindset of earlier Muslim generations and tied them to their past. A complete shift from the “globalized” calendar might not sound possible soon. However, we can individually integrate the Hijri calendar to capitalize on worship opportunities.
Finally, may we all have a blessed Ramadan and an unforgettable Eid.