By Sher Ilyas
We just celebrated the third Eid in the embrace of a strangulating pandemic that has wreaked havoc the world over and stymied any attempts of normality hitherto including murkiness over the once-in-a-year Eid celebrations. This continued paralysis coupled with our amnesiac tendencies has somewhat blurred our memories of good old days, so here is to the reminiscence of by-gone days that characterized the days-long rumbustious merrymaking on the occasion of Eid.
Since I am yet to join the salaried camp, so my poignancy is largely owing to the deprivation of gratis bestowals.
Nostalgia grips me when I think of the days leading up to Eid that would be spent ransacking the shops in search of the desired items. Unlike the normal practice of whipping through, this would be the time to meticulously and thoroughly look for the item in a very panic-free environment. Boys and girls alike looking for matching pairs, be it a shoe-belt combination for the former or dress-complimenting bangles and jewelry for the latter. But, ever since the pandemic has set in, everyone has succumbed to the vulnerability of contraction and has involuntarily been confined to home.
I reminisce the good old practice of unity and peace personified pleasantries of ‘Eid Mubarak’ after congregational Eid prayers that would dulcetly permeate the whole atmosphere. Men and women, old and young alike embracing each other with religious fervor alien to the word of social distancing and sanitization. Most importantly the commonality of the prayer without any sectarian difference is a binding force that externalizes the ultimate fact of Muslims being an Ummah. In this day and age, that is what seriously lacks in our ranks but the pandemic has denied us of that facility too.
I long for the vivacity and heart-warming embraces of the children clad in the traditional attire who would go round frolicking and flaunting their new dresses. The sturdy bundle of crisp notes they would receive as Eidi would redouble their joy and provide an opportunity to have a peer party for days. Children making whoopee in streets and parks with youthful vivaciousness is deeply missed amid the pandemic hence accounting for the vapidity of Eid festivity.
Moreover, how one could not miss the tantalizing aroma of the celebratory meals that would await you next door. Our memory of Eid celebrations is unmistakably about days-long merrymaking characterized by scrumptious dishes at different places. Particularly in villages, it is of immense significance. Any up or down in the invitational checklist could create problems or strain the relationship as it is regarded as a moment to re-cement and re-solidify the ties. Reciprocity back then was obligatorily observed stretching the celebrations up to three to four days. The time that would spend in visiting relatives is now being spent in the company of four walls of a room.
This Eid in particular calls upon Muslims to observe simplicity and modesty in wake of the prevailing pandemic and paramountly, our Muslim brethren in Palestine and Afghanistan are up against the inhumane atrocities. Perhaps it is more pertinent and rational to stand in solidarity with the Palestinians in the name of Islam instead of rampaging the streets of Lahore setting fire to the properties of their own fellow Muslim brothers or the state.
Importantly, instead of vituperating Israel profusely, we need to employ some sagacity and rationality to think as to how a tiny portion of Israel is so powerful amid the encircling giant Muslim states? This is a million-dollar question and once you get your head around, you truly understand why Muslims around the world are oppressed.
As they say ‘health is wealth’, so stay healthy and safe by unfailingly observing the Covid-19-related standing operating procedures (SOPs), lest it may fare up any further.