Another Ramadhaan completed and another flood of tears to mark my heartache at its end. Ramadhaan represents so much to me, with a complete change of focus and atmosphere in our household, mashaa'Allah. Simply the lack of having to prepare food during the day leaves me so much time for ibaadah and tarbiyyah, mashaa'Allah. Al hamdul'Illah for the blessing of another Ramadhaan and dua' for us all to see many more - ameen.
This morning I awoke at 2:45 a.m. and started readying the children to leave the house before fajr prayer. We were blessed with praying Fajr at Masjid al Quba, where the imam recited Surat ar-Rahmaan mashaa'Allah. Then we sat there afterwards reciting the takbeer, watching as hundreds of people arrived for the Eid prayer. We were offered sweets, dates, and water, mashaa'Allah. We watched the edges of the clouds turn pastel shades of marshmallow fluff as the sun rose, then we prayed and listened to the khutbah. Afterwards, we returned home, and had juicy watermelon and hot tameez and adas (fresh tanoor-baked wholewheat bread and tasty lentils) for breakfast. The children spent the morning looking at the books they were gifted for Eid and making crafts from them. They were given their tins and jars of homemade Eid goodies and spent the morning buzzing around excitedly as the adults took some rest. After Dhuhr prayer, a light lunch of homemade pita bread and sticky sweet rolls, with minted soft cheese and torshy (crisp pickled vegetables) was enjoyed. Afternoon tea is planned for after Asr and after Maghrib we will go out for dinner inshaa'Allah. Tomorrow, after Fajr, we set off for Yanbu with its beautiful beach on the Red Sea, staying for the night until the third day of Eid. Everyone can enjoy the blue sea, fresh fish, and relaxing atmosphere inshaa'Allah. Such is my Eid now that I have a family - a husband, children, and as a special gift this year, my father.
It is such a contrast to the Eids gone by, when I was single and living in Bahrain. Initially, I found myself sitting at home after the Eid prayer all alone with nothing to do and no-one to visit. All my friends were married, busy with family and extended family on the days of Eid. I just didn't fit in. Then, one year I met an older sister, her daughter and her two small grandsons. I also met the same year three other sisters who were single and in a similar situation to me, just left hanging around with nothing to look forward to at Eid time. An idea came to me and, al hamdu l'Illah, it became a tradition that continued until my departure from Bahrain and marriage in 2002. I arranged to meet all the sisters (or take them if they weren't driving) at the Eid prayer. Then afterwards, I invited them to huge buffet breakfast in an hotel - sometimes the Sheraton, sometimes the Gulf Hotel. We would take a long, leisurely breakfast, which usually turned into brunch, and then go for a walk along the corniche. Before going our separate ways, I would give out plates of homemade treats and gifts. Eid went from being something dreaded to something anticipated and filled with barakah, mashaa'Allah. Still, over 10-15 years later, those same friends still send me e-mails telling me how much they miss those Eids, wa al hamdul'Illahi Rabbil aal ameen!
Must seem like I'm blabbering a bit today, but I guess what I want to point out and remember myself is that Eid is what you make it...not just for yourself, but for others. Now the days are gone when I have to find solutions for Eids alone, but they aren't gone for everyone. For those of you who are single, without Muslim family to celebrate or gather with, remember that there are others who are in the same boat. Plan something special together. It's not about how extravagant or expensive it is, it's about being together and enjoying the blessings of good companionship and support on these days that Allah has given us as a time to celebrate following Ramadhaan and/or Hajj. Eid is for everyone and everyone should FEEL Eid, bi ithn Illah.
As always, may Allah accept our fasting, our worship, our dua', and pardon our omissions and errors during this Ramadhaan and bless us to benefit and improve from many more - ameen.
Taqabbal Allahu minna wa minkum!