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For Muslims around the world, Eid-ul-Fitr is an occasion which not only celebrates their observance of one of the tenets of Islam but is also an opportunity for them to reflect on the degree to which they have brought themselves closer to the calling of faith. Ramadan is a time of examination and endurance when we are called upon to remember the munificence of the Creator. That remembrance is but a deep reflection into the purposes behind life and the inevitability of the hereafter. Islam being a set of beliefs that does not draw the believer away from the world of the real even as it dwells on the region of the spiritual, it is only to be concluded that Ramadan is that time of year when Muslims are expected to bring together their devotion to the Almighty and their identification of those around them, especially the less fortunate segments of society.
The essence of Ramadan is therefore of considerably more import than keeping oneself away from such worldly pleasures as eating and drinking and indulging in all those things that make of life a tale of uninspiring ordinariness. It is not so much eating and drinking as it is a willingness to understand the principle of self-abnegation that is of the essence in this holy month. And within that wide circumference of self-denial come the prayers that well up from within the heart. Such prayers relate to the one who prays and yet transcends him, goes beyond him to touch the lives of others. If prayers are a way of unifying the senses with the sensibilities, fasting is the mode in which pain and suffering and denial are comprehended in their fullness. Fasting, in that broad sense of the meaning, is the point at which the individual comes to terms with himself before he can ready himself for the bigger task of doing all those noble deeds his faith expects him to do. With fasting comes the necessity of a purification of thoughts, through zakat and fitra, through feeling vicariously the poverty which millions of people around the world go through every livelong day.
It is these principles that we uphold in Ramadan. On Eid-ul-Fitr, therefore, our gratitude to Allah for all the bounties that flow from Him, for the way in which He takes us back to the true path, is complete and without ambiguity and ambivalence.