One of the most important characteristics of Islam is its egalitarian approach to life, although sadly some countries and regions have compromised this glorious dictate of the Holy Quran.
A true Muslim is one who prays, works and lives in a society that treats the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor on a par, just as God considers all His creations equal, irrespective of their place of birth and lifespan.
Islam shuns those who create divisions based on income or any other factor. It preaches love, mutual respect, goodwill and understanding among all living beings.
It also preaches the spirit of oneness through the Holy Month of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid Al Fitr.
The spirit of a religious festival manifests itself in fostering the goodness of mankind, in promoting understanding and in the fact that men, women and children of this world belong to a single, large family.
Eid Al Fitr signals an occasion to rejoice, forgive transgressions and forget differences-for, what is a world if it cannot keep its people together?
Islam, like most other religions, specifies strict codes for its believers to follow but but there is no prescribed supervision. Like all other faiths-the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament and the Bhagavad Geeta-the dos and don’ts are mentioned for human observance. Therefore, it is unfair to paint Islam as an extreme religion.
Scholars say that moderation is a tenet in Islam and those who condemn other religions are not true Muslims at all.
We carry excerpts of an interview and a lecture given by Pakistan born Scholar, writer and orator Dr Muhammad Tahir-Ul-Qadri in this Special Report. He explains in no uncertain terms the humanitarian aspect of Islam and how it is a religion that practices tolerance and peaceful co-existence.
Whether announced the previous night or in the morning or by default at the end of the 30th day (if the Eid Crescent is not sighted), Eid Al Fitr begins with early morning prayers, some of which are attended by even non-Muslims.
The fast, which officially ends with the Holy Month, is broken and then people-men, women and children greet members of the family, relatives and friends.
In the Muslim world, Mosques, public and private buildings, parks and gardens would wear a festive look with colourful lights as men, women and children, resplendent in their new attire engage themselves in family gatherings at lunch.
Indian clubs and associations, like their Arabic and European counterparts, organise special programmes, often flying in well-known artistes from India, while hotels and other local bodies organise entertainment with popular Arabic singers and dancers. Television programmes extol the values of the society and the oneness of the family with special items for children.
The second day of Eid Al Fitr is spent visiting friends, exchanging good wishes and promoting the spirit of commonality, while the third and final day is devoted to self and immediate family. There is little scope or time for anything other than happiness.
In some Islamic countries, it is customary for the Head of State to pardon a number of criminals and order the release of many others held as prisoners. There are cases of people emerging from the confines of the state to reform themselves and integrate into the main social fabric.
That is the true spirit of Islam and Eid Al Fitr: to forgive when asked to be forgiven and to forget, even when not asked. To forget the wrong doing of the other is a quality that is promoted in the mood of Eid, provided of course, there is a true sense of atonement on the part of the latter.
The Special Report
Indian Newslink believes in the inherent goodness of mankind; that manmade differences should be swept aside to foster the spirit of oneness, which is indeed the spirit of Eid Al Fitr.
In presenting this Special Report, we greet our Muslim brothers and sisters and wish them a happy and peaceful Eid. May Allah, the Most Benevolent and the Most Merciful, shower on them His choicest Blessings on the occasion of Eid Al Fitr and continue to guide their lives and destinies.
If the Holy Month of Ramadan is a period of abstinence and introspection, Eid Al Fitr should be an occasion to celebrate humanity.
For in the ultimate analysis, we can trace back our ancestry to but one tree of life.