The Salaf were the community of Muslims who came within the two hundred years after the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him). Islamic tradition raises their status high above any other generation of Muslims. The prophet is reported to have urged the entirety of his ummah (nation) to follow the religion according to the understanding of the Salaf. It is from this group of Muslims that ultra-hardline Muslims, Salafiyyah get their name.
It is reported that the Salaf used to cry bitterly whenever the month of Ramadan was leaving. Were they going to see its blessed days again? Had their prayers been answered? This was a generation of extraordinary worshippers who literally burnt the midnight candle seeking the face of God.
Following in the footsteps of the Salaf is an admirable thing. To be the best, you have to learn from the best and piety demands an attempt at perfection. But how many of us are not filled with glee as Ramadan leaves? Admittedly, we all have some yearning to continue to be running on the Ramadan engine. That restraint metaphysically imbued in you during the daytime in Ramadan is a desirable trait all year round. But do we really miss Ramadan in its entirety? The long hours of prayers at night and the full devotion of God at all time?
With barely a week left to go, Ramadan is seeing its last days dwindle by the minute and that means one thing: Eid Ul Fitr. Eid means celebration and in Islam, there are two legally approved festivals of celebration. Eid Ul Fitr which commemorates the final breaking of the fast and end of Ramadan and then there is Eid Ul Adha which is the bigger Eid. Eid ul Adha is the one with sheep and cattle slaughtering. It symbolizes the time Abraham had to sacrifice Ishmael to please God.
For some, Eid is the end of one month of strict piety. It is a time to let loose and get back to life as usual of sinning and reckless abandon. All what Ramadan held them back from becomes permissible. Eid almost becomes like a liberation from self-sacrifice. It is easier talking about staying true to all the promises we make during the night of Tahajjud than actually living up to it.
But all is not gloom with Eid. It is more merry than morose. People might trip in their journey of faith but Allah’s forgiveness is never out of stock.