As salamu ‘Alai Kum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. Eid was almost a month back and when I look back, I realized how blessed I have been this Eid. I cannot thank Allah swt enough for how he has gifted me with a special Eid every year and each Eid just gets better than the previous. Every year my mind goes through the same thought process. As Ramadan comes to its end, I start gearing up to make the most of the remaining days but there is always a speck of apprehension- that of a lonely Eid. However, year after year this day has always brought with it immense happiness, surpassing my expectations.
Back in 2007 was my first Eid and I was at home. Aloof from the ummah and ignorant about the practices. Terms like “Eid prayer”, “Eidi” were still alien. I just knew how to randomly rant “Eid Mubarakh!” at every random friend in the spirit of secularism. Early in the morning, I was sleeping making the most of my holiday from school for this very festival. It was my friend- Zahra- my only confidante back then about my reversion.
-“ Hey! Good morning Zahra Eid Mubarakh!”
-“You’re still sleeping! Wake up! Bathe and pray Eid salah”
I jumped out of my bed knowing that there was a ritual to be followed. She gave me a quick agenda of what I should do, how it is to be done and disconnected the call. It was early! My dad was still at home. Using my special spy-senses, I tip-toed down the hallway to check on my parents. Seeing them busy, I quickly got ready, quietly locked the door and prayed. AllahuAkbar! I messaged Zahra “Eid Mubarak “and happily hopped towards my Mom- much to her surpise as I was up so early on a holiday! Deep down my heart I carried a sense of contentment and happiness of the piety that this day carried.
This, was my first Eid.
The next three years were very much the same. I had an idea of what I had to do and Zahra was the only one I had to wish. I used to hear about guests coming, distant relatives and cousins meeting, sheer korma and biryani being made, people wearing white, praying in jamaat, constant phones and messages from family wishing Eid, about Eidi… Slowly the desire to have a muslim family seeped in. I want to participate too, wake up to see happy pious faces of people cleansed after a month of fasting, share the joy of preparing a warm meal, have a list of people to wish too… I want Eidi too. My phone was silent all day, I was sitting there in my pyjamas and tshirt having a normal routine and silently reminding myself “its Eid…”
Came 2011. I found my apa to learn Quran shareef from. Days after days of being with her made me fall in love with her. I was not in isolation during Ramadan for the first time Alhamdulillah. Sometimes Allah swt showers you with small mercies, which you hold close to your heart. My time spent in reading and learning the Quran under my apa’s guidance, come into close contact with my fellow sisters of ummah during this duration was one such mercy I cherish and thank him for. SubhanAllah. I continued attending college during the day and evenings were spent in gathering knowledge of deen.
My apa and other sisters of ummah were kind to invite me for iftari on some days. Alhamdulillah, I remember my first invitation and my excitement for it. I reached before time to help apa with the preparations and to be a part of it. Her’s was a small house but a heart bigger than anyone’s. With love and piety she prepared a meal of Rice and Dalcha (an Indian delicacy of meat with lentils). Soon the women started coming and we sat in a two rows facing each other. Neatly, the dastarkhan was spread between the rows and a large plate was kept meant to be shared by four women each. The warmth, the love and the blessings were immense InshaAllah. At iftari, everyone took a date to open their fasts and I remember being choked in tears taking the first bite, thanking Him for the beautiful moment that I was experiencing.
The next four years, every year I visited my apa for Eid. I would meet other girls of my Quran shareef classes and hear their plans of the day. I could never express my gratitude to them for making me feel so much at home, for the few minutes that they spent with me and celebrated Eid with me. Alhamdulillah that was more than what I ever dreamt I would be blessed with.
Came Ramadan this year. I was looking for a place close to my office to move into. After some search, I was pleased to find a beautiful tiny apartment and the owners were Muslims! Ever since they learnt I am a revert, they have been very kind towards me. I was to move in a couple of days after Eid. This year I was away from my apa and my heartfelt her absence. As I took my first bite every iftari, I would remember those days and smile. To my utmost happiness, a day before Eid my landlord was very kind to give me a call and invite me over for Eid. Since I lived far away, I was late to reach their place and I was humbled to learn that his wife- Khadijah bhabhi- was waiting for me over lunch. Alhamdulillah. I was amongst an entire family that day.
With awe I was sitting right there and watching an entire family come together to be with each other. Every woman there came forward to greet me, wish me Eid and hug me. We had our meal together and with so much warmth, they chatted with me asking my story. Deep within I could only be thanking Allah swt for bringing me there that day and letting me experience those moments. That day my phone rang… it was my apa calling to wish… I was not alone after all.
As I boarded a bus back home, I sat against the window and looked out. I remembered the way I was in 2007 and then my thoughts reflected upon this day on 2014. How far I had travelled! Alhamdulillah. Looking back, the journey seems perfect. Every moment- good or bad- was just meant to be. Each day that I spent in happiness and grief has made me the person I am today. More than that, it has made me cherish the small treasures of my life that I hold in my hands. My faith becomes stronger, my hopes in Allah swt rises yet again. Never has a day been when he has failed to astonish me with his mercies. No matter what piece of puzzle my life seems to be in today, I know when in future I’ll look back even this day shall have a reason to be. Life indeed it a perfectly designed puzzle. How could it not be? The Designer is perfect.