It’s hard to celebrate when there is no one to celebrate with. As we enter the second year of uncertainty and as the pandemic rages on, we expect our religious rituals not just to bring us together but to hold us together. With most dining rooms and living rooms empty, and when attending the Eid prayer with grandma becomes just as much an exercise in tempting the fates as it is a quiz in public health knowledge, one wonders where God is, here and now?
God is Here. Allah is Here. We hold Him in our hearts, and we honor the traditions that He Has Sent down with Prophet Muhammad. Even if the way we honor them this year does not look like previous years, does not look normal; is it not the test of faith to hang on to it when we have least reason to?
By agreeing to sacrifice his son Ishmael, Abraham displayed the utmost level of obedience to God. Eid al-Adha celebrates that. The ritual animals sacrifice that takes place every Eid is in remembrance of that. We have gotten complacent and comfortable. We want all the trappings of a fancy, feast-filled Eid without taking the time to reflect on the symbolism and the metaphors of the holiday. This Eid is a little less colorful than usual but that does not mean that it cannot be an Eid of clarity and contemplation. It almost feels like we have been placed in a universal time out by God, but it will only be a punishment if we see it that way.
I miss my grandmother. I miss my cousins and I miss the constant swinging of the doors as people come in with candy and cookies, hug you close, kiss your forehead and make a wish for you, al sana al jaya zay ma ayza. Next year, my wish for you, is what you wish for yourself. It loosely translates into that, but it also means a lot more; I hope this year brings you closer to your deepest desires. I hope this year brings you closer to your next best self. I know that there is a secrecy between you and God, a confidence I am not privy to, but as I stand here on the outside as someone who loves you, the best of me wants to see the best for you.
That’s what I miss most. The physical touch, the eye contact and the positive vibrations that every guest brings into the door as they come in and bless us with their smiles. I do not pretend to know why this Eid is lonesome, why this pandemic, variants and all, rages on, but I am making a conscious effort to sit in the silence and let God’s company comfort me in lieu of the company of the family and friends I so sorely miss. Maybe it’s so that in the future, I treasure their presence in Eids, all that more.
Eid Mubarak and al sana al jaya zay ma ayzeen.
I hope this year unlocks for you your deepest desires, your secret wishes and your wildest dreams.
To listen to my recitation from the Quaran.