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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.
Eid Mubarak 2016 2017-06-06T11:38:02+00:00

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Eid Mubarak

Posted on 2/7/2016

Eid Mubarak 2016

EVENT DETAILS

Almost every nation has religious festivals to commemorate important events in their history or to celebrate special occasions.
There are two religious festivals in Islam. ‘Id al-Fitr, the festival of the breaking of the fast, comes at the end of the month of Ramadan, during which Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. ‘Id al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice, comes on the tenth of Dhu’I-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic year in which the pilgrimage is performed. Both festivals enjoy a very special place in the life of Muslims and leave indelible impressions on the culture of Muslim people.

Religious festivals for Muslims are times of heightened Islamic thoughts and feelings when memories of a long and honourable past are revived, recalled and ‘lived’ afresh with all its joys and sorrows.

Religious festivals are, for Muslims, occasions of paradoxical feelings – pangs of separation and hopes of re-union, regrets and expectations, and joys and sorrows. While on the one hand, they feel sadness over losses in either individual or national spheres, on the other, they feel, paradoxically, the exhilarating pleasure of an expected revival, like the revival of nature in spring after a severe winter.

Muslims enjoy the pleasure of re-union and of a universal brotherhood on festival days. They smile at each other lovingly, greet each other respectfully, and pay visits to each other. Members of divided families whom modern, industrialized life has forced to live apart from each other in different towns, come together and feel the intoxicating pleasure of once more eating together and spending a few days together.

For Muslims, religious festivals are occasions for spiritual revival through seeking God’s forgiveness and praising and glorifying Him. They are enraptured by special supplications, odes and eulogies for the Prophet. Especially in traditional circles where the traces of the past are still alive, people experience the meaning of the festival in a more vivid, colourful fashion, on cushions or sofas, or around stoves or fire-places in their humble houses or cottages, or under the trees among the flowers in their gardens, or in the spacious halls of their homes. They feel the meaning of the festival in each morsel they eat, in each sip they drink and in each word they speak about their traditional and religious values.

Religious festivals are of a much greater significance for children. They feel a different joy and pleasure in the warm, embracing climate of the festivals, which they have been preparing to welcome a few days before. Like nightingales singing on branches of trees, they cause us to experience the festivals more deeply through their plays, songs, smiles and cheers.

Religious festivals provide the most practical means for improving human relationships. People experience a deep inward pleasure, they meet and exchange good wishes in a blessed atmosphere of spiritual harmony. It is especially when the festival permeates hearts with prayer and supplications performed consciously that souls are elevated to the realm of eternity. They then feel the urge to get rid of the clutches of worldly attachments and live in the depths of their spiritual being. In the atmosphere overflowing with love and mercy, a new hope is injected with life.

Believing souls welcome the religious festivals with wonder, expectations and otherworldly pleasures. It is, indeed, difficult to understand fully what believing souls feel during the religious festivals in the depths of their hearts. To perceive the feelings that the festivals arouse in pure souls who lead their life in ecstasies of otherworldly pleasures, it is necessary to experience such pleasures in the same degree.

Having reached the day of the festival after fulfilling their prescribed duty and responsibility, these souls display such a dignity and serenity, such a grace and spiritual excellence that those who see them think that they have all received a perfect religious and spiritual education. Some of them are so sincere and so devoted to God that each seems to represent the outcome of a long glorious history and to be the embodiment of centuries-old universal values. One may experience through their conduct and manners that taste of the fruits of Paradise, the peaceful atmosphere on the slopes of firdaws-the highest abode in Paradise-and the delight of being near to God.

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is a special month of the year for over one billion Muslims throughout the world. During this month healthy adult Muslims fast, from the break of dawn until sunset. Fasting requires abstinence from eating, drinking, and intercourse during the daylight hours; that is, about an hour and a half before sunrise until sunset. An early breakfast is recommended in the prophetic tradition, taken before dawn. At the end of the day the fast is broken with a meal called the iftar.

Ramadan is a time of intensive worship and devotion to God, of reading the Qur’an and reflecting on its teachings, of comprehensive thanksgiving, giving to charity, practicing self-control and kindness, of training oneself to be a better person spiritually and improving relationships with others.

To non-Muslims fasting in Ramadan may appear to be a time of hardship and deprivation, but that is not the experience of Muslims. There are at least five ameliorating factors that make fasting much easier than it appears. These are;

(1) the magic of intention,

(2) the community spirit,

(3) the ability of the human body to adapt,

(4) social/cultural cooperation, and

(5) divine help.

The initial intention significantly reduces the perceived difficulty. Once one commits to fasting, it becomes much more doable and feasible. Knowing and seeing that fellow believers are fasting with you and sharing the early breakfast or the dinner with them strengthens the community spirit. Thirdly, the human body is amazingly adaptable. Within the first few days of fasting the body adapts to the new schedule and one does not feel hunger as one normally would. In communities where Muslims are a majority or a significant minority, there is assistance or cooperation offered to the fasters, such as flexible holidays and working hours. Finally, for any worshipper, there is divine help which eases the task once the worshipper has committed to doing it.

Over 500 million Muslims, from age 9 to 90 fast every year. Fasting does not prevent them from conducting their mundane work or business as usual.

As a pillar of the religious life in Islam, fasting is probably the most practiced form of worship. Muslims think of Ramadan as a kind of tune-up for their spiritual lives. As the third “pillar,” or religious duty in Islam, fasting has many dimensions: The behavioural dimension, the religious dimension, the social dimension and the spiritual dimension.

Fasting in Ramadan is a means of learning self-control. Due to a lack of preoccupation with the satisfaction of bodily appetites during the daylight hours when fasting, the spirit gains a measure of ascendancy. The soul is freed of the chains placed by carnal desires. Fasting provides a break in the cycle of rigid habits or overindulgence.

During fasting, not only the stomach, but also the tongue, eyes, ears, other limbs, and the heart and mind are equally obligated to be restrained. Just as we control our physical appetites, we also must control our negative emotions and actions. The Messenger of Islam, Muhammad, peace be upon him, expressed that fasting is not only restraining from food and drink, but that it also means refraining from impious acts. He said that if a person does not control their senses and behaviour, then God does not require that person to refrain from eating. He added that if someone verbally abuses you, acts ignorantly towards you, or even hurts you, you should respond by only saying, “I am fasting; I am indeed fasting.” According to the masters of Sufism, the spiritual dimension of Islam, not only one’s organs, but also one’s thoughts and feelings need to be tightly controlled during this month.

As far as the social dimension is concerned, fasting is a way of experiencing hunger and developing sympathy for the less fortunate and thus learning thankfulness and appreciation for all of God’s bounties. Fasting increases people’s sympathy and compassion for those who have been deprived of their daily means of survival. Although everybody knows, in an abstract sense, that there are people who suffer from hunger and poverty around the world, this knowledge may not be great enough to have an impact on our daily behaviour. During the fast of Ramadan, this knowledge is internalised, because we now not only know that there are hungry people, but we have a glimpse into their experience of hunger. This deeper, internalised knowledge helps us minimise wastefulness and to sincerely do our best to help those in need.

Ramadan is also a time of generosity. People are more generous, more cordial, and more ready than at other times of the year to do good and charitable work. Muslims often invite one another, friends and guests, Muslims and non-Muslims, in particular neighbours, regardless of creed, to share the evening meal and exchange gifts and best wishes.

Fasting establishes a continuity of practice with religions such as Judaism and Christianity, in which fasting is recognised as an important element of devotion to God. The very verse in the Qur’an that commands Muslims to fast reminds them of this connection: “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed on you just as it was prescribed on the people before you.”
In the spiritual dimension, fasting during Ramadan is an act of obedience. It leads to sincere thankfulness, which is the heart of worship. It also empowers our spiritual side over our physical tendencies. If we imagine our body as a vessel, such as a ship, our mind, heart and carnal desires are like hands that are trying to control this vessel. Fasting weakens the effect of the carnal self and strengthens the effects of the mind and the heart on the control of the body.

The experience of hunger in fasting breaks the illusory lordship of the carnal self, or ego, and, reminding the carnal self of its innate helplessness, convinces it that it is only a servant. Self-consciousness, or the notion of “I,” is part of the “trust” that has been given to humans as the vicegerents of God on earth [The Qur’an, Ahzab 33:72]. “The All-Wise Creator entrusted each human being with an ego that has clues and examples that urge and enable them to recognize the truths about the attributes of the Lord of Creation and His essential qualities. Ego is the measure that makes known the qualities of His Lordship and the functions of His Divinity.” [Nursi, 2005, 552] Although God is closer to us than our jugular vein [The Qur’an], His names and attributes cannot be fully comprehended as they are infinite and we are finite, mortal, limited creatures. The virtual attributes that God gives us can serve as units of measure for comparison and for a better appreciation of God’s names and attributes.

It may be asked, “Why did God make our ego a means to know His attributes and names?” Nursi answers this question as follows:

An absolute and all-encompassing entity has no limits or terms, and therefore cannot be shaped or formed, and cannot be determined in such a way that its essential nature can be comprehended. For example, light undetermined by darkness cannot be known or perceived. However, light can be determined if a real or hypothetical boundary line of darkness is drawn. In the same way, the Divine Attributes and Names (e.g., Knowledge, Power, Wisdom, and Compassion) cannot be determined, for they are all-encompassing and have no limits or like. Thus what they essentially are cannot be known or perceived. A hypothetical boundary is needed for them to become known.

In our case, this hypothetical boundary is our ego. Ego imagines within itself a fictitious lordship, power, and knowledge, and so posits a bounding line, hypothesizes a limit to the all-encompassing Attributes, and says: “This is mine, and the rest is His.” Ego thus makes a division. By means of the miniature measure it contains, ego slowly comes to understand the true nature of the Divine Attributes and Names.

Through this imagined lordship, ego can understand the Lordship of the Creator of the universe. By means of its own apparent ownership, it can understand the real Ownership of its Creator, saying: “As I am the owner of this house, the Creator is the Owner of this creation.” Through its partial knowledge, ego comes to understand His Absolute Knowledge. Through its defective, acquired art, it can intuit the Exalted Fashioner’s primary, originative art. For example, ego says: “I built and arranged this house, so there must be One Who made and arranged this universe.”

Ego contains thousands of states, attributes, and perceptions that, to some extent, disclose and make knowable the Divine Attributes and essential Qualities. It is like a measure, a mirror, or an instrument for seeing or finding out, an entity with an indicative function. [Nursi, 2005, 552]

It is not necessary for a unit of measure to actually exist; like hypothetical lines in geometry, a unit of measure may be formed by hypothesis and supposition. It is not necessary for its actual existence to be established by concrete knowledge and proofs. The self, however, sometimes forgets its true nature and imagines its “knowledge,” “power,” “ownership,” and “ability” to be real. When the self forgets its true nature and the purpose of these feelings, it becomes a seed that may grow into a tree of arrogance. Nursi points to the importance of fasting for keeping the self under control:

Fasting Ramadan breaks the carnal self’s illusory lordship and, reminding it that it is innately helpless, convinces it that it is a servant. As the carnal self does not like to recognize its Lord, it obstinately claims lordship even while suffering. Only hunger alters such a temperament. God’s Messenger relates that God Almighty asked the carnal self: “Who am I, and who are you?” It replied: “You are Yourself, and I am myself.” However much God tormented it and repeated His question, He received the same answer. But when He subjected it to hunger, it replied: “You are my All-Compassionate Lord; I am Your helpless servant.” [Nursi, 1995, 222-3]

Fasting in Ramadan may appear to be a difficult form of worship to those who have not experienced it. But there are many factors, some of which are listed above, that help the faithful to fulfill their commitment. Only God knows the true wisdom behind fasting, but we get a glimpse of it through the Qur’an, the prophetic tradition, and our personal experiences. Fasting is first a means of self-control, a way to increase in piety and find freedom from the tyranny of carnal desires. Secondly, fasting provides an opportunity for reflection, intense worship, and thankfulness. It enables members of the community to empathize with those who suffer from poverty and hunger. In the spiritual dimension, fasting leads to a sincere appreciation of God’s bounties and deep gratitude for the same, which is the essence of worship. Finally, the experience of hunger in fasting reminds the self of its true nature; that is its weaknesses and its dependence on the grace of God. It breaks the illusory lordship of the self and it reminds the carnal self of the purpose for its creation, which is faith, knowledge, worship, and love of God, as well as service for humanity.

The views and opinions expressed on this posts/pages are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Pearl Institute, its staff, other authors, members, partners, or sponsors.

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