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From Celebration to Commemoration


Mohsen Rizvi


Tomorrow the Muslim world will be rejoicing and celebrating the day of Eid ul Fitr. There is no doubt that it is in the tradition of the Prophet (saw) to mark the day of Eid ul Fitr as a day of adorning oneself with new clothes, gathering and praying as a community in a mosque, and meeting the believers, and spending time with family and friends. However, after the demise of the Prophet (saw), the celebration of Eid began to transform into a day commemoration of tragedy by the household of the Prophet (saw). The tradition of infallible Divine leaders began to transform into a day of mourning. The tragedy of the martyrdom of the Prophet (saw) in the month of Safar, followed by the martyrdom of Lady Fatima (sa) in the month of Jamaad Al-Thani. There were approximately twenty-five years between the martyrdom of Lady Fatima (sa) and the martyrdom of Imam Ali (as). Every moment of that period was difficult and a test of restraint and tolerance for the household of the Prophet (saw). The door from where the illiterate Arabs took the wealth of religion, faith, and honor, was ignored and isolated.

The believers robbed the owners of the religion and became its leader and went on with their lives rejoicing during the festivals. To this day, we observe the indifference of the believers when it comes to the tragic martyrdom of Amir ul Momineen (as) in the month of Ramdhan. It is a clear message that for a majority of Muslims, Eid ul Fitr is more important than the tragedy that befell the household of the Prophet (saw). Hence it becomes necessary to underline the transformation from a celebration to a commemoration and reflect on the recommendations by our Imams (as) as to how we should conduct ourselves on the Day of Eid.

The grand scholar of the subcontinent, Hazrat Allamah Rasheed Turabi (RA) use to say, I would suggest to you to take out time to read Ziyarat al Jami’a on the night of Eid, it is an astonishing supplication. There is also a special supplication that you will read tomorrow during the prayers, saying – “O Allah! Make us enter all the good which You have made Mohammed and Aali Mohammed enter, and keep us away from all the evil that You have kept away from Mohammed and Aali Mohammed”. In essence, you haven’t asked for sustenance, you haven’t asked for a cure, you haven’t asked anything for yourself, rather you pleaded to make sure that you enter that good which Allah (SWT) has reserved for Mohammed and Aali Mohammed (as). Similarly in the finale of the supplication of Ziyarat al Jamia you plead:

أَسْأَلُكَ أَنْ تُدْخِلَنِي فِي جُمْلَةِ ٱلْعَارِفِينَ بِهِمْ وَبِحَقِّهِمْ

I beseech you to make me enter those who possess the Ma’arifat of Aali Muhammed, and those who know the rights of Aali Muhammed, and make me enter the assembly of those who have received the mercy of their intercession. Seeking Ma’arifat of Aali Muhammed is my life and seeking the mercy of their intersession is my hereafter, and this is the summary of Ziyrat Jami’a and in essence, our supplication is our real Eid. When commemorating the tragedy of the beloved, you seek the proximity of the beloved - to share the pain with the hopes that our tears will lighten their grief. As Imam Sajjad (as) said -

هذا زين العابدين عليه السلام، ويروى له عليه السلام:

نحن بنو المصطفى ذوو غصص * يجرعها في الأنام كاظمنا عظيمة في الأنام محنتنا * أولنا مبتلى وآخرنا يفرح هذا الورى بعيدهم * ونحن أعيادنا مآتمنا والناس في الامن والسرور * وما يأمن طول الزمان خائفنا وما خصصنا به من الشرف * الطائل بين الأنام آفتنا يحكم فينا الحكم فيه لنا * جاحدنا حقنا وغاصبنا

"We, the children of the Chosen One, are afflicted with calamities that others can hardly bear. Our sufferings are great, and our trials are many. We are the first to be tested and the last to rejoice. The people of this world celebrate their joyous occasions, while we commemorate our tragedies. They live in peace and happiness, but we are never secure from the fears of the passing of time. Despite the honor bestowed upon us, our afflictions are pervasive among people. They judge us unfairly and deny us our rights, and they oppress us."[1]

So, do not go overboard in celebration while overlooking your duties to recompense the Prophet (SAW) for the unsurmountable gift through our love & obedience towards the holy household of the Prophet (saw). The foundation of Mawadat is to derive your grief and joy from the grief and joy of the Imam (AS).

[1] Bihar Ul Anwaar – Allamah Al-Majlisi Vol 46, Page 92

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