Ahhhh Eid….Ramadan fasting completed successfully Alhamdullillah. It was an awesome Ramadan. This might have been the best Ramadan of my life. I enjoyed the company of very dear brothers who helped me learn a lot about myself and about the world around me. I pray that Allah blesses them and their lives and enriches them with his love in their hearts. Eid ul Fitr was a busy day for us this year which is stark comparison from the past several years. But this year, it was different.
Eid Salah was at Reliant stadium close to downtown Houston. Houston has a very unique situation when it comes to the Muslim community. The masjids are run by an organization called Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH). ISGH organizes the two eid prayers each year at a large venue. I am sure just like other cities, Eidul Fitr salah is a bustling, crowded ordeal. Sometimes our family did not go to the large venues such as this because there were several sisters who dress inappropriately with tons of makeup. The setup which did not have proper entrance and separation created space where people would bump into each other.
This year though something changed dramatically. I had the best experience of my life at the eid salah. I am not sure if this was due to actual organized effort by ISGH. I really think this positive experience was due to my changed view of the whole Ummah. I read this amazing quote from Imam As’Shafee:
“Be hard on yourself, easy on others.”
I read this story somewhere which also caused a paradigm shift within me:
A newlywed couple moved to an apartment in a very busy neighborhood. On the first morning in their new home, after she had made coffee, the young bride looked through the window and watched her neighbor hanging sheets out to dry. “What dirty sheets!” she thought to herself. “Maybe she needs to buy a different kind of detergent. I should go and teach her how to wash them properly.” Every few days, she muttered the same thing to her husband with disdain while watching her neighbor hanging out the dirty laundry in the early-morning light. A month passed, and one day the young wife was surprised to see that her neighbor was hanging out perfectly clean sheets. She exclaimed to her husband, “Look! She finally learned to wash her clothes. I wonder who taught her how.” The husband replied, “Well, in reality, darling, the only difference is that I got up early this morning and cleaned the window.
I also noticed that this time around, I worried about mine and my children’s positive experience. As we were walking into the hall, I started walking towards the front of the prayer hall. My son told me “ Daddy, are you trying to go to the front of the hall so we can as close to the imam as possible?” I said yes Yousuf. Also, keeping your gaze low and reciting the takbeerat gives you this sense of spirituality and removes the worldly sights around you and puts your sight to the goal of getting near to Allah.
Was my great eid salah experience due to the changes in the organization of the eid salah? Maybe; I believe it was because of the change in the lens through which I chose to view the Ummah .