Prayers, plans and the perfect day

(How I celebrate Eid ul-Fitr / How can I make my child’s Eid interesting?)

With one more day (or two) left for Eid al-fitr, all festivities begin in a joyful and zealous manner. As everyone at home begin ‘Eid’ preparations, colourful, shiny decorations and stationery items spread across the table. The drawing room becomes an activity zone where children are laughing and suggesting interesting ideas. ‘Let’s fill the wall with moon and stars!,’ exclaims my elder one. She is highly excited and thinks of ‘Eid’ as a day filled with surprises and celebrations.

  • Teach, entertain and decorate – I make it a point that my children enjoy the concept of Eid on their level.Simple, fun-filled activities where they can cut shapes and sizes to make home based décor pieces are encouraged. A certain portion of the house is redecorated to make it look like a celebration is taking place. The aim is to make children realise the importance of ‘Eid’ and to instil in them the concept of celebrating what Allah (swt) has enjoined on us. ‘This is how Allah (swt) expects us to have fun and make memories,’ I inform them. While on the topic, I also tell them why other days and events that are celebrated generally are not meant to be practised or propagated as a tradition. Though not completely forbidden in Islam, they do not fulfil any significant purpose on a larger scale.
  • Dress up and design – For the past one month, I am constantly being questioned about when the new outfits will exit their wardrobes and find place on their respective owners. ‘So, we will wear our princess dress tomorrow?’ my children inquire. As suggested by experts, I shop for ‘Eid’ clothes before the start of ‘Ramadan’. It helps stay ready and avoids any form of distraction during the month. It also negates any form of last-minute cancellation which can leave children disheartened. The only side-effect of shopping beforehand, is that my children cannot contain themselves and keep asking me to show them their new clothes, time and again – their excitement at its highest every time they see it. This is also a good time to reuse those accessories which otherwise don’t leave the dressing table. While on the subject of clothes, one can also donate a pair of unused clothing to someone in need. There is no better way to gain lasting ‘barakah’ (increase) in any aspect of life without sharing it with a needy person.

“Never will you attain the good [reward] until you spend [in the way of Allah] from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” (Quran 3:92)

  • The clean-up session – A day prior to Eid is always busy for all of us. Getting the house organised and uncluttered to receive guests is always a top priority. Besides being an unprecedented chore, this is also a training ground for young ones to understand the importance of tidiness.

Abu Malik al-Ashari (RA) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Cleanliness is half of faith. SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah) and Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth…..’ (Muslim, 432)

  • Meals and Dessert – I believe that one should prepare what best suits them for this day. I personally do not have any strict recipes for ‘Eid’ but I like to try different types of sweets on this occasion. Sharing food with loved ones and those in need is one of the best forms of gift one can give to others on this particular day. This further highlights the importance of ‘Zakat al-Fitr’ given few days prior to ‘Eid’.

“The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) enjoined the payment of one Sa’ of dates or one Sa’ of barley as ‘Zakat-ul-Fitr’ on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the Eid prayer.” (Bukhari)

  • Prayers and plans – On this auspicious occasion, I have to take special precaution so as not to miss any of the daily prayers. Unfortunately, the end of ‘Ramadan’ also brings the beginning of many tests and trials. Praying on time and being mindful of my prayers is one such test. Taking special care to pray ‘tahajjud’, ‘Fajr’ and also ‘the Eid prayer’ on time on that particular day is utmost important. Teaching children to be mindful about their prayers during good times is necessary. To extract the most out of our happy moments, one needs to make Allah (swt) the centre of it. Though we have many plans for the day of ‘Eid’, worship should be at the top of the list.

“So remember Me, I will remember you…” (Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 152)

  • Create memories and buy a cake – Create personal memories so children can always look back at these precious moments. Even today, I can clearly recall those wonderful ‘Eid’ mornings where my brother and I would accompany my parents to the local mosque in our new clothes. We would take one route on our way to the mosque, reciting the ‘taqbeer’ and return from a different route. Then we would have our family breakfast and start our day attending to guests. It is amazing how Allah (swt) encourages us to build memories as a family during this festive time. Generally, children love to cut cakes and often complain why they aren’t allowed to celebrate the way their friends do. I feel ‘Eid’ is a perfect time to surprise them with a cake and let them have their share of fun and happiness.

“And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 272)