Eid: A Gift from God
On Eid Al-Fitr, a date in the morning feels like the best thing in the world: soft and chewy, and best of all, something sweet during daylight, after a month of fasting. Eid Al-Fitr means “Holiday of the Breaking of the Fast” and it lasts for three days. This holiday marks the accomplishment of completing Ramadan, and we celebrate by having a good time, showing gratitude to God, and making a commitment to continue to seek God. I celebrated with family, friends, food, and, of course, running:
Day 1. Masjid for Eid prayers in Eid clothes; brunch with family and friends at a Japanese restaurant (there is such a thing as too much sushi!); kayaking along the Potomac; tea and baklava with friends; and chilling with mango sorbet.
Day 2. Jummah! Bead shopping and jewelry making.
Day 3. Fifteen miles with the Baltimore Pacemakers; raspberry and blackberry picking with family; Eid party at masjid; and a feast of cabbage rolls plus chocolate chip cookies.
On the last day of Eid, I momentarily felt bad for stepping away from festivities with my family for a long Saturday run. I experience this dilemma whenever I need to squeeze mileage into a packed family holiday; however, on Eid, it felt appropriate to go on a run because for a runner, running counts as celebrating. My family happily scooped me up afterwards on their way to the fruit orchard. We enjoyed a food-filled day, and everything, from the cookies to the berries, tasted almost surreal.
Eid makes food taste better. I believe that the enhanced gustatory experience arises because eating in daylight still feels too good to be true and the food feels earned, much like the goods at the end of a race. The food then symbolizes an accomplishment of Ramadan. And the point of Ramadan actually has nothing to do with food. The point is to attain God consciousness, and after a month of spiritual training Eid presents a special opportunity to pledge anew. This resolution is unlike any other. Most resolutions, like New Year’s, start off as grand goals and eventually fail. A resolve to change on Eid is fundamentally different because the goal is to draw closer to God, which while grander than anything else I could imagine is also more achievable.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Allah says: ‘I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if He remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself; and if he remembers Me in a group of people, I remember him in a group that is better than they; and if he comes one span nearer to Me, I go one cubit nearer to him; and if he comes one cubit nearer to Me, I go a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him; and if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.’ “
If he comes to Me walking, I go to him running. As a mortal runner of flesh and bones, I can imagine no gift greater than that of God Himself. Tabarak Allah.