A somber Eid is an opportunity to eliminate sorrow and soften hardened hearts - YUSUF KAPLAN

A somber Eid is an opportunity to eliminate sorrow and soften hardened hearts

We have become used to living with the virus – or at least, we are trying to get used to it.

However, the effect of the virus is felt more than ever during special occasions such as eid.

Even though it does not make it impossible to experience eid, it makes it extremely difficult. The sadness deepens.

In this column, I am going to discuss what sadness has gained us; how it reminded us that we have a heart, how it opened our hearts.

The fact that Eid al-Fitr (Celebration of Breaking the Fast) and Eid al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) cannot be duly observed, that Hajj (Pilgrimage) cannot be fulfilled is a great test.

The pandemic is a great disaster. It is also a global crisis. Turkey became one of the most successful countries in managing this crisis. Thus, if we are going to be able to enjoy eid even a little, we owe this to our effective efforts – both as the government and the people – to curb the spread of the virus.

However, the state of crisis still persists. Evaluating every crisis both as a test and an opportunity is what we as Muslims do.

This is a major test. It is clear that we are trying to pass this test with success. Considering this crisis as an opportunity as well is important in terms of our preparation for the future.

One of the “problems” posed by the crisis is deprivation: at a time when the sacrifice and eid is expected to bring us closer first to the Creator, then to people and nature, the crisis is getting in the way of doing this. The fight against the virus involves social distancing between people. Yet, eid is an event that eliminates all social and physical distances. Placing social and physical distances between people is against the spirit of eid, but we have no other choice. Not being able to cuddle one’s parents, siblings, friends and relatives should give us the opportunity to better understand the value of everything we have lost.

We must think well over the values we have, our deprivation of the forms of amalgamation, solidarity, cooperation, union, association, the atmosphere of brotherhood provided by eid, our deprivation of experiencing this atmosphere to the fullest, and we must pay greater attention and show sensitivity from now on to build the grounds and times when we will fully experience and observe all the values and days of Islam, which present us the opportunity to fight for the sake of the same principles that make us who we are, that unite us, make us brethren, and orient us towards the same goals.

Today, the sadness we are experiencing this eid should be an opportunity, the force driving us to build better tomorrows.

Sadness is an opportunity – a great opportunity too. Sadness shows us our weaknesses and strengths. This is very important. Sadness allows the doors that were once closed to reopen. It opens wide the doors of our hearts. It enables us to understand how a heartless world can turn into a kind of hell. It softens the hearts of those whose hearts have hardened and reminds them that they have a conscience.

We can name this eid as the eid of sorrow: a time period in which sadness is so prevalent in our lives, and remembered so often. However, it is, in fact, a time of mercy, compassion and kindness, when we find the opportunity to look deeper within ourselves, to think back on our lives more, to question the things we have done.

Is this not what eid really is all about? These are the behaviors we are required to exhibit during eids, especially on Eid al-Adha, the fundamental values that build strong individuals and societies: mercy, compassion, kindness. Thus, solidarity, unity, brotherhood. These are the fundamental values that make us human; they are also what form and establish communities.

Experiencing such intense sorrow is a good opportunity for people to mend their hearts, to question themselves, to better understand the value of the things they have lost.

Thankfully, a somber eid this year gives us the opportunity to soften our hearts, to listen to our hearts, to train our hearts to have better insight that would enable us to eliminate the sorrow we feel this eid.

May this somber eid eliminate your sorrow, may the mercy, compassion and kindness afforded to us by this sorrow strengthen our solidarity, unity, and brotherhood. May you have a blessed eid.

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