In these moments between the sunset of the last day of Ramadan and the twilight stars of Eid, I can’t help but remember as Um Ayman, the Prophet Muhammad’s foster mother, wept tears of grief on the death of the Prophet peace be upon him. When she was asked why she was crying she explained that she knew he would eventually pass away, but her tears and grief were because revelation from on High had ceased forever.
We too knew Ramadan would inevitably end, but our hearts twist and hurt to have to let go of a month full of forgiveness, self-restraint, love, and mosques that overflow with worship, tears and hearts that are alive. Our pain is that divine mercy and grace no longer cascade down on us unrestrained.
The month of Ramadan is like the opening of floodgates, while your works and intentions during Ramadan are how many pails of water you manage to carry away. If you began working steadily to take as much as you could from Ramadan, you will have pails of water to last you until the floodgates are opened once more. Ramadan is a school, and the most important lesson is something we realize within ourselves: a surprising ability and readiness to give ourselves up and seek God as He wants us to.
As astonishing as Ramadan is in its utter generosity and pervading mercy, we must never forget that the mercy of God inundates us throughout the year in ways we are unable to be fully thankful for. It knows no limit, undeserving as we are. And so, Eid was given to us too in order to ease the pain of Ramadan. The word Eid in Arabic means to return. And Eid is truly a return to God in everything we have been able to acquire throughout Ramadan, begging Him to further bestow us with His generosity and allow us to keep our new habits throughout the new year ahead. It is a return to His blessings of sustenance and pleasure which we abstained from during fasting, with hearts full of thankfulness and appreciation. It is a return to new resolve, new promises and goals. It is a return to the end of another full month of Ramadan, that God has allowed us to come back to in health and fortitude. Alhamdulillah!
And as our teachers have said: to enter into Eid reminds us that we are always returning and coming closer with every year to the greater Eid. It is a return to God in everything, before our souls undertake the bigger Return unto Him for Eternity.
“Now it’s time again for Eid / Ramadan ran with speed / Please come again! / Like an old friend.” — Yusuf Islam
And so, with a full heart, I wish you a very Eid Mubarak.
Ruqayyah Ahdab recently completed an honours degree in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Toronto, and is currently the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Muslim Chaplaincy.