A unique festival, Eid-ul-Fitr celebrates the fulfilment of a religious commitment that seeks to bring the best in the followers of Islam through empathy and cement the bond of fellow human fraternity. On completion of the month-long obligation of self-abnegation or siam, it marks the breaking of fast and the right to rejoice over such a great occasion. Simultaneously, the joy and happiness is shared with everyone all around. Remarkably, the devotees are particular about expressing their gratitude to the Almighty Allah in their special congregation at eidgahs (designated places for offering such prayers) because of the blessings He bestowed on all who could perform the month-long rituals without fail. That Islam has been able to bring about a synthesis between the material world and the spiritual quest is evident from the clear edict requiring one to share wealth with those in need and this good deed has to be complemented by unreserved surrender to the Allah, the benevolent.
So the festival assumes the added significance of a collective attempt to make everyone --- irrespective of social status--- happy. Mandatory Zakat and Fitra, if given according to the true spirit of Islam as ordained by Prophet Muhammad (SM), poverty and hunger within the Islamic fold would have adequately been taken care of. Unfortunately, such religious principles are not fully complied with by many. The festivities often get the better of religious duties and obligations. Even aberrations are given in to by cross-section of profit-mongering people, traders in particular. Or, else the abnormal price hikes of essentials, especially of those in high demand during the Ramadan, would have been the most deplorable act to those who engineer it. Instead, they seem to revel in the act of market manipulation at the expense of the people in distress and with little means. The post-Covid Eid could easily be a most cherished one but for the artificially manoeuvred and intrigued inflation.
By any standard, this Eid-ul-Fitr could be the festival of all its kinds in a long time if only people maintained honesty, dignity and integrity. The joy and happiness of sharing and caring could overflow all around if the more fortunate and the privileged classes made it a point to forego their outrageous profit and also part with a portion of their wealth with the most needy. In essence, Islam teaches one to be generous to the fellow human beings in need of support. Thus the social and religious responsibilities find a meeting point at the culmination of the month of siam.
If the Eid celebration is undermined by market volatility, mass exodus will most likely cause more pains to people undertaking journeys by road and water to their ancestral roots for reunion with their families, neighbours and kith and kin. The tailbacks on roads and highways, at ferry and launch terminals this year reportedly are not that long. The situation at the railway stations, however, has been difficult because of the mismatch between the capacity of trains and the number of people willing to buy tickets. Apart from the ordeal, the risky, chaotic and desperate journeys often end up in human tragedies. Let's pray no such thing happens. Wishing everyone a safe journey and a most enjoyable Eid festival. Eid Mubarak.