Feast of Fitr (Eid al-Fitr) is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal [i]. It marks the end of Ramadan, the month in which Muslims practice fasting (Sawm). This Feast (Eid) is considered one of the most prominent occasions in the Islamic calendar and is celebrated by all Muslims around the world. But what is it that makes this feast (Eid) a special day for Muslims?
“Eid” is derived from the verb “عَوَدَ: Avad’ah” in Arabic, which literally means “to go back”. In Islamic culture, days in which people have been relieved of hardships and catastrophes, and go back to good days of prosperity and happiness, are called Eid.
Two features make The First of Shawwal, Eid or as we call it the Feast of Fitr:
On this day, Muslims are again allowed to eat and drink, and the obligation to fast is lifted from them. In fact, the word “Fitr” literally means “beginning to eat and drink”. And “Iftar” means to start eating and drinking after some time. Now consider Eid al-Fitr something like daily Iftar, but on a greater scale. This is Iftar after a whole month of fasting.
Feast of Fitr (Eid al-Fitr) is a special day. A day that is chosen by Allah. After a month of submission to His will and doing what it takes to get nearer to Him, and win His satisfaction, now is the time to enjoy the outcome. Allah pardons our sins, spreads His forgiveness and rains down His blessings.
As He has promised in the Quran, “…forgiveness and a great reward” (35:33) are prepared for those who fast. This is, indeed, a blessing that comes true in this world. A pleasure that Muslims experience in this world, as well as Hereafter.
So why not be happy on this day? This is a new day for Muslims, in which they go back to the time when they had not committed any sins yet. Feast of Fitr (Eid al-Fitr) is a chance for them to start over.
To start fresh, one should put behind old habits, those actions that harmed one’s self or were harmful to others. Now that we are relieved from the burden of our mistakes, sins, and regrets, born again, pure and innocent, we should protect this gift dearly. From this day on, what counts is our future actions [ii].
On the day of Eid, Muslims are required to pay a certain amount of money if they can afford, that is called Zakat al-Fitr. Giving Zakat al-Fitr is obligatory, provided that the person him/herself is not poor. It marks the fulfillment of the act of fasting.
The amount of this kind of charity depends on the type of usual main food consumed by the believer during the year, which may be rice, wheat, barley, dates, etc. . This amount is given to the poor people of the society or those who are underprivileged.
Feast of Fitr (Eid al-Fitr) is the realization of the lessons Muslims have learned during the 30-day fasting of Ramadan. Muslims give away part of what they consume daily of food or drinks to the poor and destitute. And they learn that in this world there are things that are far more important than bodily desires. That is humanity and the love for human beings.
Moreover, Ramadan is a time for Muslims to wash away themselves from the vices of this world. Similarly, Zakat frees the soul from the weakness of depending too much on material matters and thus, is a way to complete the effect of fasting.
Allah has given us the chance to become a new person and mark a turning point in our lives. Shouldn’t we be grateful for this reward? We praise Allah “for He has shown us the Right Path.” And give thanks “to Him for that which He has conferred upon us” [iii]. This is where the prayer of Eid al-Fitr finds its meaning.
One of the recommended acts on this day is to perform a two-unit (Raka’a) prayer. Muslims all around the world, gather together in their mosques and form a great and unified social occasion. In the Qunut [v] of this prayer, we give thanks to Allah for pardoning our previous sins. And we ask for His help in doing what is good and in protecting our newly gifted purity in the future.
Imam Ali (AS) believed that Muslims should be reminded of the Day of Judgment, at the time of standing for the prayer of Eid al-Fitr. As if they are standing in front of Allah [iv].
Eid is a going back, a change to a better self. So whenever one keeps him/herself from committing sins, from lying, backbiting, slandering, offending, etc. he/ she is celebrating an Eid. Similarly, the day of Eid loses its meaning if one goes on to do whatever wrong he/she used to do. As Imam Ali (AS) puts: “Any day that you do not disobey Allah (or commit sins) is your Eid”.
[i] Tenth month of the Islamic Calendar.
[ii] Imam Ali (AS) said: “ O’ servants of Allah! Beware that the least outcome for the fasting men and women is that on the last day of Ramadan, an angel would call upon them that ‘O’ servants of Allah! I bring you the glad tidings of Allah’s pardon of your past sins, so be careful how you act from now on” .
[iii] It is a famous invocation from Imam Reza (AS) remained from Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah:
"اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ لا إِلَهَ إِلا اللَّهُ وَ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ اللَّهُ أَكْبَرُ وَ لِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ عَلَى مَا هَدَانَا وَ لَهُ الشُّكْرُ عَلَى مَا أَوْلانَا"
“Allah is Great. Allah is Great. There is no god save Allah. And Allah is Great.Allah is Great. All praise be to Allah. All praise be to Allah for He has shown us the Right Path. All thanks be to Him for that which He has conferred upon us”
[iv] Imam Ali (AS) said: “when you leave your houses to perform Eid’s prayer, remember the time when you are resurrected from your graves and go toward Allah. When you stand to perform the prayer, think of the time you are facing divine justice and are examined for your actions. When you go back to your houses from the prayer, remember the time when you go back to your dwelling places in heaven” .
[v] The action of reciting a supplication while keeping the hands in front of the face, turning the palms facing upwards, and keeping both the hands and the fingers close together in the standing position of prayer (Salat).
- Sheikh al-Saduq, Al-Amali, p.100, hadith no. 10.
- Yasin T. Al-Jibouri, Fast of the Month of Ramadhan: Philosophy and Ahkam, p. 111.
- Eid al Fitr
- Nahj al-Balaghah, wisdom no. 428.
One of the most discussed words nowadays among politicians, humanitarians, thinkers, and social researchers is the word peace. It’s one of the favorite ideas among Christians and Muslims. Many of the religious activists try to publicize peace as a social manner and act. Islam, as the last religion of Allah, is a religion of peace, as its name is taken from the word Salaam, meaning peace in Arabic.
On the other hand, Jesus Christ (PBUH) is the other most-followed prophet in the world and one of the chosen ones in Allah's regard. But what is the stance of Islam toward Jesus Christ (PBUH)? Does Islam believe Jesus (PBUH) to be a peace-loving prophet? Here, we are going to bring you some verses of the Holy Quran in praise of Jesus Christ (PBUH) and his peace-loving character.
Believing in a peace-loving God, he treated all the people, whether innocent or sinful, young or old, with mercy and kindness. His amiable attitude not only included human beings but also animals whom he deeply cared for. Thus, wherever he went, he brought peace and blessing to the people, as he puts in this verse of the Quran:
“He has made me blessed, wherever I may be” (19:31)
The holy Quran always refers to Jesus (PBUH) as the embodiment of a dutiful and devoted child concerning his mother, Saint Mary. When it narrates the story of his birth and the disbelief of the Jewish sages, the Quran says that Jesus (PBUH) started talking while he was a newborn in his mother’s arms. He told everyone about the mission Allah had given him and then said:
“…He has enjoined me to [maintain] the prayer and to [pay] the zakat as long as I live, and to be good to my mother, and He has not made me self-willed and wretched.” (19:31-32)
Accordingly, one of the missions Allah has given Jesus (PBUH) is to be kind and respectful toward his mother, which is one of the manifest signs of a peaceful and loving character.
When Jesus Christ (PBUH) started spreading the message of Allah to human beings, he began to advise people to be truthful followers and described his mission as follows:
“When Jesus brought those manifest proofs, he said, ‘I have certainly brought you wisdom, and [I have come] to make clear to you some of the things that you differ about. So be wary of Allah and obey me.” (43:63)
Based on this verse, he was there to clarify the ambiguities and to bring wisdom. And that was all he did; he never used anything, but words of Allah and miracles inspired him to lead people toward what is right.
Virgin Mary was about to find out about Allah’s blessing upon her in bestowing her with a son, without any man touching her and the angels said:
‘O Mary, Allah gives you the good news of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, distinguished in the world and the Hereafter and one of those brought near [to Allah]. He will speak to the people in the cradle and adulthood and will be one of the righteous. (3:45-46)
Also, in another verse of the Quran, Allah refers to Jesus Christ (PBUH) besides other prophets as such:
“And Zechariah, John, Jesus, and Ilyas—each of them among the righteous.” (6:85)
Allah refers to Jesus Christ (PBUH) in the verses above, as his word and one of the righteous ones. But who is a Righteous person? A person characterized by, proceeding from, or following accepted standards of morality, justice, or uprightness and virtues . So, a righteous person is one who is upright, and free from sins or guilt, which ultimately leads one toward peacefulness.
Finally, the Holy Quran and Islam, as the religion of peace, admire prophet Jesus (PBUH) as the word of Allah and send peace and blessing upon him. In this verse of the Quran, Jesus addresses himself and says:
“Peace to me [Jesus] the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I am raised alive.” (19:33)
Just as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) who, according to the Quran, was sent as a mercy to humankind (21:107) and perfect moral virtues, Jesus Christ (PBUH) was also sent to accomplish the same mission; as the prophets before him were also after spreading this peaceful message. Thus, Muslims who believe in all the prophets as the best role models, do not doubt in the peace-loving character of Jesus Christ (PBUH), the blessed son of Mary.
- Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000,3,6,7,9,11,14
As a person who has grown up a Muslim, I don’t understand why this question may come up for some people; can Muslims have fun and joy?
Before anything, Muslims are human beings with the same needs that all human beings have, such as eating, sleeping, working, earning money for a living and enjoying their life. It is after having all these primary needs that they choose to follow a specific framework in their life; Islamic lifestyle.
As far as I have observed and studied the issue of fun, entertainment, and joy in non-Muslim cultures, it is usually based on weekends at bars or nightclubs, spending all time gossiping, chattering or dancing and coming home drunk and tired.
Or some families go out for a family meal at a restaurant. Some may go on a picnic or camping in nature. Some families plan parties at home with friends or relatives.
Another activity which is called fun in non-Muslim cultures is having fun and spending time with the opposite sex. Some youth would like to have their personal vehicles to play their favorite music tracks and hang around with friends in their cars. Staying home and watching movies or playing video games is also another form of entertainment.
Now, let’s see what the status of fun and entertainment is in the Islamic lifestyle! And what the difference between Islamic and non-Islamic lifestyle is.
There are many verses in the holy Quran that mention this worldly life is nothing but play and diversion [i]. But does it mean that we have to take this life as fun and entertainment? Of course not. The aim of calling this worldly life as play and diversion is to draw our attention towards a more important lifestyle: a useful lifestyle that guides us towards success in this world and the afterlife. Allah says in the Quran:
“Leave alone those who take their religion for play and diversion and whom the life of this world has deceived …” (6: 70).
Therefore this world should not entertain us so much that we forget why we have come to Earth, where we are going after death, and what the whole goal of living in this world is.
Talking about the goal of life does not mean that Muslims should spend all their time working and praying. There are many narrations that recommend Muslims to divide their day into four parts. Imam Reza (AS) says: “try to divide your day into four parts; one part for praying and communicating with your Lord, one part for earning lawful (Halal) money for a living, one part to communicate with your religious brothers who will help you know your deficiencies, and a part to entertain your soul with lawful pleasure, and in the fourth part you will gain liveliness to fulfill other three duties.” 
Therefore Muslims should set aside a part of their time to have fun, rest and have lawful (Halal) pleasure, as well as spend some considerable time with their family, talking to children to find out if they have any issues, reading different books and keeping themselves up to date. Specifying some time to pleasure and entertainment helps people have a more organized plan to fulfill their duties.
Muslims should plan their lives in a way that they would find no spare time. Spare time makes people feel useless, and then they would try to find some ways to get rid of those times. That is usually where aimless entertainment enters one’s life.
Allah says in the Quran: “So when you are done, appoint,” (94: 7), that in some interpretations means when you finish one task, you have to start a new one.
That new task might be planned as having fun, of which I will bring some examples later on in this article. So, it is important that Muslims plan their lives in a way that they find no spare or unused time in their day.
The most important point in having fun from the Islamic point of view is that one should choose a sort of entertainment that does not harm one’s self and others.
So if you have a careful look into the Quranic verses that name some kinds of pleasure forbidden, you can realize that those may lead into harm for the person him/herself and people around him/her.
Therefore, any entertainment in which people use drugs or alcohol, such as parties in which alcohol or drugs are used, or even nightclubs and bars that are the exact places for these kinds of entertainment are totally rejected in Islamic lifestyle.
Also, any Entertainment related to gambling is forbidden (Haram), simply because in gambling there is harm for at least one person. Also, all kinds of entertainment that divert our attention from a Godly life are forbidden (Haram).
The type of entertainment that a Muslim chooses should not be against the laws of Islam such as modesty. A Muslim should not have an aimless pleasure and as mentioned in the Quran; “Indeed Allah does not like the boasters.” (28:76)
The least usefulness that a form of entertainment should have for a Muslim is to refresh his/ her soul and to strengthen his/ her body.
See the second part: What is Lawful (Halal) Fun?
[i]“The life of the world is nothing but play and diversion, and the abode of the Hereafter is surely better for those who are God-wary…” (6:32)
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol.75, p.346