Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a major occasion celebrated by Muslims globally. After a month of fasting and engaging in deep spiritual activities, Muslims mark the end of the Ramadan with the celebration of Eid or Hari Raya Aidilfitri, as the Malay community refers to it here in Singapore. As much as we will be in our celebratory mode with the arrival of the new crescent of Syawal, we are naturally sad to leave the beloved month of Ramadan.
However, Syawal marks the beginning of a new Islamic month and the 1st day of Syawal is commemorated by Muslims as Eid or “The Day of Victory”. It is a day of joy and happiness, a day of achieving moral victory after a whole month of fasting and spiritualities. Allah s.w.t. grants His servant this beautiful day for us to celebrate with family, friends and the community-at-large. Allah s.w.t said in the part of verse 125 of Surah Al-Baqarah,
وَلِتُكَبِّرُواْ اللّهَ عَلَى مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“...And that you extol God for His having guided you aright, and that you render your thanks”
It is a day where we celebrate by praising Allah s.w.t. and show our deep appreciation to The Most Merciful for his endless blessings on us. It is also a day where we celebrate by strengthening our bonds of faith and bonds of humanity with those around us. We seek forgiveness from one another and cement a better relationship with everyone as part of celebrating this joyous occasion.
In making this Syawal a more meaningful month and celebration for all of us, here are three things that we can do as we celebrate this joyous occasion:
We are highly encouraged to perform the Eidulfitri Prayer or Solat Sunat Aidilfitri on the morning of 1st Syawal. We can either perform at the mosque of our preference, or at the open field areas, or other places that offer the prayer service such as void decks and community spaces. Eidulfitri prayer is an important prayer and a sunnah that we should attempt not to miss performing in the congregation.
In planning to go out for the Eidulfitri prayer, one is encouraged to take a different route when heading to the prayer venue, and take another route when returning from the prayer venue. It is believed that this practice is encouraged to allow us to meet more people and strengthen our social relationships with others. After all, Eid is about expanding our social network and make more friends with others. It is hence part of the sunnah to greet others and wish them for a festive Eid. ‘Selamat Hari Raya’ or ‘Eid Mubarak’ are suitable examples to brighten up others.
Also, before we leave our house for the Eidulfitri prayer, we are encouraged to grab a bite or drink water in the morning of Eidulfitri. It is one of the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. In a hadith, it was reported that:
“The Prophet s.a.w. did not go (to the place of prayer) in the morning on the days of Eidulfitri till he ate some dates, and he used to eat an odd number.”
(Hadith by Imam Al-Bukhari)
It is encouraged that we put on new clothes on Hari Raya, especially when going out to perform the Eidulfitri prayer. It need not be expensive clothes, but decent enough for prayer. However, if we do not have any new clothes for Hari Raya, we can always choose to put on the best clothes from our wardrobe.
The intention behind this is not to brag of our wealth and looks. Instead, Hari Raya is a joyous occasion, therefore, we should celebrate it by wearing the best clothes we have in celebrating this event. It is also part of the sunnah to dress well and in accordance to the occasion upon meeting others. Also, don’t forget to put on nice cologne, the musk of perfume as well.
“You are on the way to meet your brothers, put on a nice dress and fix your saddles so you appear distinct among people as a beauty mark [on a beautiful face]. Allah, neither likes roughness nor rough manners”.
(Hadith by Imam Muslim)
In Singapore, we celebrate Hari Raya for almost a month in Syawal. This allows us to visit as many houses as possible during this month. We also open our houses for visitors and there are rewards in honouring our guests. However, as we also visit others, we should also be mindful of some etiquettes while doing our visiting.
For example, when we call the host to tell them that we are coming after Asar, let us try to ensure we do not reach after Maghrib. If we have set a certain timing, we should try our best to be at the host’s place on time. Imagine if you have informed the host that you are coming at 3pm, but you only arrive at 8pm. The host may have already prepared food for you and by coming late the food may have turned cold. Also, the host may also have other plans or have to entertain other guests. So, let us try to be punctual and not to make our host waiting for us after we have committed to them that we will be there by a certain time.
Upon reaching to our host’s place, it is part of the prophetic manners to stand by the side of their opened door and give salam rather than standing directly in front, peeking into one’s household as we wait for the host to welcome us in. Should we arrive at a closed door, knock on the door three times politely with short intervals.
When visiting, let us refrain from being too demanding such as asking for so many things from the host, especially the Wifi password, except of course we know the host would not mind us asking. At times, we should also extend our help to the host such as serving the food or washing the dishes. This is especially so when the host is significantly outnumbered by the number of guests coming. An act of kindness goes a long way and extending this act of kindness while doing our visiting will increase the love and mercy between our hearts.
Beyond that, we should not be roaming people’s houses freely except we know that the host is comfortable with us doing that. We should also show our appreciation to the host. If we are served with food that does not conform to our preferences, refrain from giving remarks that might hurt their feelings. If for some reason the food does not conform to our dietary requirements, we can politely explain to the host why we are not eating.
And for us who have children, let us ensure our children do not ask for the duit Raya or “green packet” from the host. Be mindful that not everyone can afford to give money to all children. If our children receive the green packets, ensure they say thanks to the host, and also it is best to remind them to open the green packet later and not in front of the host.
Let us pray that we can celebrate this Hari Raya with love, peace and mercy to everyone. May Allah s.w.t. grant us a joyous month of Syawal and make our hearts yearning for His love and for us to spread the love that He has blessed us with. Amin.
And Allah knows best.