Well, well, well and aren’t you all proud of yourselves right now! Many of you must have fasted during Ramazan even though, as is often the case, you wilfully ignore basic Islamic injunctions for the rest of the year, but to be fair, that is your personal business, not mine. The majority must also have rushed around in frenetic fashion ensuring that all was in perfect order for Eid: new clothes of course — designer labels if possible — new shoes, henna for the ladies and girls, new gadgets and gizmos for the males of the family as has become the new ‘fashionable thing’ to splurge on. And then there was the food, lots and lots of luxurious food in which, not content with stuffing yourselves silly at iftar all throughout Ramzan — which is supposed to be a month of fasting and abstinence — you probably must have overindulged without sparing as much as a single thought about what there was, or even is, to celebrate.
Of course you must have celebrated Eid, maybe even all three Eids if you were so inclined. You even celebrated the end of fasting — although sleeping all day and eating all night hardly equates to the spirit in which fasting was intended to be undertaken. You probably celebrated all of the joys of life in the middle of an Islamic region in which those existing in the ‘real’ world are being ruthlessly murdered all around you and in which millions of your brothers and sisters go hungry to bed every single day of their increasingly desperate lives. And in light of societal mores being what they currently are, this has absolutely nothing to do with you, does it?!
Take a quick look at the Islamic world today. It is riven apart by bloody wars, by exploitative foreign occupations, the perpetrators of which view our religion in the worst possible terms, by increasing economic disparity, by greed and profiteering at every level, by a social fabric rapidly falling apart at the seams and which is inhabited by an escalating number of people who have, if they have anything, almost nothing at all. Many of these people do not even have access to the basic human rights of food and water, let alone a secure roof over their heads. Once we digest the pain and chaos amongst which we live like ostriches by burying our heads in the sand rather than accept the hard facts of life, we need to seriously decide if celebrations were, or are, warranted. And one hopes that even if belated, we realise that there is no way to justify the excesses of Eid.
People should not attack me for stating what should be obvious to all and, by the same measure, do not shrug off their responsibilities as human beings, and as Muslims, who are supposed to have at least a ‘respectable’ level of care and concern for the community. Above all, refusing to accept that the current deplorable situation on our very own doorstep and throughout the Islamic world is partly our fault, too, does not make us better human beings. It is high time that we opened our eyes and realised that change must come and that change must be brought about by us alone!
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2012.
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