Ramadan has been a splendid month, celebrated by many of us by increasing our spirituality and strengthening ties with family, friends and the community at large. We have welcomed this Month of Mercy (Rahmah) by extending mercy to others. The blessed month of Ramadan has taught us that, indeed, we can be better versions of ourselves if we seek to improve and reach for the best.
Naturally, we are sad when we bid farewell to the month of Ramadan. We will miss the spiritual experience that we have gained throughout Ramadan. We always pray that Allah s.w.t. grants us many more opportunities to meet more Ramadan to come, Insya’Allah.
However, let us not despair, as the end of Ramadan is not the end of God’s mercy on His servants. After all, there is a popular quote about Ramadan which reminds us,
كُن رَبَّانِيًّا وَلَا تَكُن رَمَضَانِيًّا
“Do not be a servant of Ramadan, be a servant of Allah s.w.t”
Indeed, the mercy we have been blessed in the month of Ramadan will continue in the month of Hari Raya and beyond if we constantly seek it from The Most Merciful.
As we celebrate the joyous Eid or Hari Raya Aidilfitri, let us ensure that we do not turn this festive occasion into a nightmare for others. The inculcation of mercy and goodness in the month of Ramadan should continue in the month of Syawal and beyond.
Here are some of the ways for us to extend mercy and avoid turning our Hari Raya into a nightmare for everyone:
Every Hari Raya, there will be some people who will dread visiting due to the prospect of having to face some unwanted questions and comments that may be offensive to them.
Here is a list of questions/comments that some people are uncomfortable being asked during Hari Raya visiting:
Let's pay special attention to what we say to others. We need to be sensitive to other people and refrain from uttering things that may be offensive to others, especially towards our loved ones and guests who come to our place for Raya. It is part of showing Rahmah (being merciful) – to be sensitive to others. Rasulullah s.a.w reminded us to,
فَلْيَقُلْ خَيْرًا، أوْ لِيصْمُتْ
“Speak a good word or remain silent”
Therefore, let us ensure we avoid asking sensitive questions and instead pray for the best for everyone.
Also, we should be considerate of the host whom we are visiting. As respectful guests, here are some conducts we should be mindful of. Do not:
1. Make excessive noise
2. Only speak to each other
3. Be engrossed with our gadgets.
Instead, we should try to strike up a conversation with the host and show appreciation to him/her for hosting us. Come at the right time, and do not stay too late unless the host is fine with it.
Let us avoid tarnishing the Hari Raya spirit with actions that may lead to hatred and enmity among us. Instead, let us use this opportunity to strengthen our bonds and spread goodness to everyone.
Hari Raya is an opportune moment for us to renew our ties of kinship with family members and bonds of humanity with everyone.
Our Malay culture and tradition encourage us to visit our family members, relatives, and friends. We meet to find out more about each other and cherish our ties with one another. We also seek forgiveness from one another and make attempts to heal any old wounds that we may have. This is an exemplary practice that we should continue to practice and uphold with sincerity.
Let us ensure that when we say ‘Maaf Zahir Batin’, it is not mainly just our verbal expressions but out of sincere conviction in our hearts that we are indeed asking for forgiveness from others and also for us to forgive others.
We must also be conscious of respecting everyone and do not tarnish the sanctity of Hari Raya by saying things that may offend others or do any act that may hurt our loved ones. The Prophet s.a.w. reminded that,
ليس منا من لم يرحمْ صغيرَنا، ويُوَقِّرْ كبيرَنا
“Those who are one of us, those who do not have mercy on young children, nor respect the elderly”
Therefore, the young must respect the elders and give them due attention and honour, while the older ones must show love towards the young and not hurt their feelings.
Every day, we invoke the name of God, Bismillahirahmannirrahim. We call upon our Lord, Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Gracious. The Lord that we submit to is the God of Mercy.
Therefore, as servants of Allah s.w.t, we should always be conscious that we should show mercy to others and spread love and peace, and not hate and destruction. Today, some Muslims commit acts of violence and aggression in the name of Allah. Worst, they proclaim the name of Allah, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim, before committing atrocities against humanity.
Had they internalized the essence and meaning of Rahmah in the name of Allah, they would not have been blinded by hatred and succumbed to violence and terrorism. They would instead dedicate their life's mission to spread goodness to others and promote love and harmony in society.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said:
ارْحَمُوا مَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ
“Be merciful to those on earth, so the One above the heavens will be merciful to you.”
In another hadith, the Prophet s.a.w. said,
لَا يَرْحَمُ اللَّهُ مَنْ لَا يَرْحَمُ النَّاسَ
“He who does not show mercy to others will not be shown mercy.”
Source: @fizzghazali’s Instagram
Hence, beyond this month of Ramadan, we can continue to spread goodness and mercy in celebrating Hari Raya. We should avoid wastage as we feast and be eco-conscious as we serve others. It only needs a small commitment to care for the environment. It is a good practice to use biodegradable tableware and recycle our drinking bottles.
Let us play our part in safeguarding our planet from the climate crisis. These are among the acts of mercy that we should be conscious of, as Allah mentioned in Surah Al-Baqarah:
كُلُوا۟ وَٱشْرَبُوا۟ مِن رِّزْقِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِين
“Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.”
(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:60)
May Allah s.w.t. continue to shower us with His mercy, and may we be a community that spreads mercy and kindness to all. Wishing you the best of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and may we celebrate Hari Raya with love and happiness. Amin.
Allah knows best.