Why Humility And Forgiveness Are Such Important Aspects Of Hari Raya
When I was a kid, I remember Hari Raya as a really happy occasion that I look forward to every year. I know for a fact that when Ramadhan is upon us, Eid al-Fitr or Hari Raya will come soon. This means that the cousins whom I have not met for ages are coming home. We will also decorate our house really beautifully, and my grandmother will bake all the yummy traditional cakes! Not forgetting, of course: duit raya for me!
Important Lessons from Ramadhan and Hari Raya
As I grew up, fasting became mandatory for me. Through the fasting process, I learned a different meaning of Ramadhan and Hari Raya, something more than all the things I just listed above:
1. Hari Raya is about celebrating our success of straining ourselves against worldly affairs.
I learned that Hari Raya has more to do with Ramadhan than just a normal family gathering. It is about celebrating our success of straining ourselves against worldly affairs and temptations. The holy month of Ramadhan is a reminder of how we should be thinking, speaking and acting to improve our relationship with Allah The Almighty. When Ramadhan ends, it can feel like a bittersweet moment. However, I always hope that the spirit of Ramadhan stays with us until the day comes again for us to embrace Ramadhan for another month.
2. I’m privileged to be able to celebrate Ramadhan and Hari Raya comfortably.
In some parts of this world, some people live as if it’s fasting month every day. Even within Malaysia itself, not everybody can afford to have proper meals even once a day. Realizing this makes me come to appreciate Ramadhan and Hari Raya even more. It makes me cherish all the things that I have and appreciate them even more. I also come to realize all the things that I can easily take for granted each day: having food on the table, having a family to belong to and love, and having a roof over my head.
3. I learned to relate and empathize with others.
Ramadhan is the month when as a fellow human, you come to understand the struggles of those who are poor, in need and struggling every day just to survive in this world. We have to care for others and do good deeds while we are straining ourselves during our fasting too. Just because we are hungry and thirsty does not mean we stop helping others. Meanwhile, Hari Raya opens the door for you to share your blessings with not just your family and friends, but with other people in need as well.
Finding Humility in Hari Raya
Hari Raya is not only associated with festivities, but also the concept of humility. It’s not about who has a more expensive car, bigger TV, nicer house, newer pieces of jewellery, or the most expensive designer clothes. It’s about understanding that you have been blessed with more than some people in this world. You also have to realize that you are who you are now because of Allah’s will. Now that you have been through 1 month of fasting, all the privileges are returned back to you with the hope that you do not forget the experience and find it in your heart to share your blessings with those in need.
Source: The Finder
Time to Forgive, Reconcile and Renew
The concept of forgiveness is also closely related to Hari Raya. We rarely hear the word ‘sorry’ if we grow up in an Asian household. This is especially so from elders like your parents, grandparents, uncles and aunties. However, it should be known that sins among human beings are erased only by asking for forgiveness from the oppressed. In fact, the Prophet SAW has stated in a hadith the conditions and consequences for human beings who commit injustice against others in the hereafter.
Therefore, Muslims take Hari Raya very seriously to re-evaluate their relationships with everybody. We are just human beings. We are not perfect and sometimes, we may have unintentionally wronged others. Hari Raya is the perfect opportunity to reconcile any bad blood that has happened before. It is a precious chance to start a clean slate relationship with everybody and to move forward.
So this year, if you think some relationships have gone downhill for an unknown reason, don’t be shy to pick your phone and wish that person a simple “Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir dan Batin”. But what if that wish comes from somebody who did really big unforgivable things to you? In Surah Al-A’raf (Ayat 7:199), Allah reminds us to show forgiveness, enjoin equity, and avoid the ignorant. You have been through a month of soul-cleansing process and it is a waste not to come out of it as a better person. As explained by Ustaz Fauzi Mustafa in his interview with Sinar Islam, it is quite difficult for us to forget a thing, let alone if it is bitter to remember. Nonetheless, you should remember that Islam is a religion that encourages peace and forgiveness. Thus, we should forgive the mistakes of others.
I would like to end this article to wish everybody a Selamat Hari Raya Maaf Zahir dan Batin! To all the “anak perantau’ like me, I guess it’s another Raya munching on cookies in front of the TV. Until it is safe to travel home again, I pray for everybody’s health so we can see each other face-to-face again soon. So stay safe, mask on and don’t forget to wash your hands!