Thursday, 7 July 2016

Reflections on Eid

BBC Radio Scotland
Thought for the Day
Thursday 7th July 2016
Dr. Amanullah De Sondy
Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam
University College Cork, Ireland

The month of fasting has ended with Eid celebrations throughout the world.  Muslims fasted for a full month from sunrise till sunset, without food or water, with the sole purpose of remembering God and as a point of refreshing their faith for the year ahead. 

It comes amidst some horrific tragedies around the world.  From the Orlando shooting, to bombs and killings in Istanbul, Baghdad, Dhaka and even the holiest of cities for Muslims, Medina, was not spared.  Closer to home, Eid celebrations for over 2,000 attendants was cancelled in Southampton due to escalating racial tensions after the EU referendum vote.  These are troubled times for us all.

I returned back from Cork to spend Eid with my family and friends in Glasgow.  It is a time of celebration and a time to reflect.  

I watched an interview with a young Iraqi man the other day in Baghdad who cried as he asked if this was how Eid was to be celebrated. He told the interviewer that people had come to buy presents and clothes for Eid and were now returning to buy coffin boxes.  As I watched this and listened to his words, I felt numb.  It has made me think about how difficult it is to celebrate any religious festival in the world we live in today.
Happiness and sadness are better understood in connection to each other and it is important to reflect on how sad realities in the world place happiness in perspective.  Muslims globally may be celebrating Eid but they don’t all have the same Eid experience.  Sharing the sorrows and joys within any community is important.  

As I watched my own baby niece smiling, making us laugh all day, innocently unaware of the destructive realities that surround us, left me hoping that those grieving globally, from all walks of life, were able to find a smile and cheer during the day, and that my niece might grow up to live in a kinder, more tolerant world.

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