Eid on Foreign Terrains
Two Bangladeshi students, who spent their first Eid outside the country, express their feelings
Nafid Haque (Graduate Student, University of Groningen, Netherlands) :
This Eid was very different from all the other Eid's of my life. This time no one was there to wake me up and push me to get ready for the Eid prayer. The first time in my life I went for the Eid prayer cycling, the first Eid where I did not get to hug my dad and my brother on the Eid day. It is just about two months I have been living in Holland and here I met Mr. Asad who is well settled here for over 15 years now. He has been very kind and helpful to me since I arrived here though I met him after I came here. He invited me to his house on the Eid day and finally I felt somewhat like home while I spent my first Eid with them. Sonia Sharmin Islam (Graduate Student, North Carolina State University, USA) :
Eid at Raleigh was not that bad. Every year, on Eid, there is a big Jamat and around 5000 people including both men and women gather there. On the Eid day, I went to the Eid prayer and there were Muslims from several countries including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Indonesia. People were gathered to pray and see each other. There are several Bangladeshi families here. Usually the people cook food at home and they try to see each other by turn. Each family fixes a time slot and other families go there in that alloted time. Students really enjoy Eid here. Most of them are unmarried or live single. So they go to these families at each time slot and move around the whole day .
I went for breakfast and dinner only and we had lots of fun since it was a weekend. If eids are on working days and children have important classes and exams at school, parents like to send their children to school. Otherwise, they just take one day's break from everything (office or chidren's school) and try to celebrate the great festival.
The true meaning of Eid
Having fun, shopping, watching different TV programs, receiving eidis or enjoying tons of sweet items prepared by our mothers- which one from all these can be called the true meaning of Eid! Well! May be all of them are part of the festival, but what is the actual meaning of it, how many of our young generation understand what Eid is!!
After a whole month of fasting with devotion and patience in order to satisfy Allah; Muslims celebrate the day of Eid-ul-fitre. Ramadan- a Month of devotion, a month of self-restraint, a month to understand the sufferings of the poor, those who starve not because they wish to but because they have to.
But what do we see around us? Fashion Collection with high price tags in every boutique, in every super market and people are buying, buying and buying till they drop!!
During the Iftaar, all the shops, restaurants arranging “mukhorochok Iftaari” with “shahi” everything are tagged with high prices as well, but are flooded with people jumping to buy as much as they can.
Surprisingly we see on television and in newspapers reports on price hike of essentials, the rising inflation causing people's life and living tougher. But I can't see any difference in reality. May be the consequences are borne by the lower middle class and the poor. But the whole bunch of people enjoying the shopping at the “shopper's world” and attending the Iftaar parties at “Sheraton” or “Shonargaon” seem to be completely unaware.
Another surprising fact is that the TV news channels that are constantly showing the consequences of the inflation, price hike of edible oil, onion, chili etc, are the same to broadcast “live” the so called “utshob” of buying pricey iftaar!
For the young generation one dress for Eid is insane, iftaar with only the daily meal like “bhat-mach” is insane to our elders. But in the name of culture, isn't the practice of selling tons of rich items as Iftaar at “puran Dhaka” insane!! We are told to practice self-restraint in the moth of Ramadan and so forth, but there is no sign of it.
The Muslims are told to give Zakat and that we should ensure that the quality of cloth we give should be of good quality. We are not even ordered to give Zakat to thousands of people excepting those rich people who can afford. We are to give Zakat according to our ability and it can be to one poor person only. But we have set a rule of our own to distribute very low quality clothes among thousands of poor people in the name of Zakat. We are also ordered to deliver the Zakat to the recipient's home, as it is their right on us, but we distribute it in a hazardous way which often results in stampede and deaths. Zakat is not to be treated as alms!
I am not saying to stop shopping or having traditional iftaar. All I am suggesting is to stop wasting. We are a nation which cannot afford wastage. Wasting money on 5 or 6 dresses or on expensive jewelry for Eid is not the way to prove ourselves trendy enough. I wish everyone will understand the true meaning of Eid and have a wonderful time next year. Advance Eid Mubarak!!
(Dept. of Economics (83rd batch) University of Dhaka)