The joy of sharing during Ramadan and Eid
After having lived in the US for one-and-a-half decades now, there is one thing that I have realised better than before, that is, the true spirit of any festival lies in giving and sharing. Every year during Christmas time, I see and read about so many Americans, from individuals to organisations, doing their best to bring joy to others. Every gesture of kindness, small or big, spreads happiness, makes someone's day better. While it is important to be generous all through the year, it is very important to be generous during festival times, because festivals are about bringing people closer and creating a sense of belongingness in the community.
A joy shared is a joy doubled! Eid-ul-Fitr is around the corner, and there are so many little ways by which we can share the joy of Eid and live up to the true spirit of the festival.
Meet your neighbours
There was a time when we knew every family that lived in a building and even the families that lived in adjacent houses. Times are changing and we are moving from being a collective society to an individualistic one, so much so that we do not really know our neighbours anymore. However, it is a duty upon all Muslims to treat their neighbours with love and respect and help them in times of need. Eid is a wonderful occasion to visit neighbours and share with them a portion of that homemade shemai-firni-zarda!
If you have elderly neighbours, visit them during Eid and give them company. They will appreciate your time more than you think.
Have you ever thought of visiting the house of your domestic help? If her house is not too far from yours, pay her family a visit during Eid time with food and gifts. They will treasure this simple act of kindness.
Spend time at an orphanage or old age home
Donate your time to an orphanage or an old age home around Eid time. These individuals are the loneliest of all and therefore will be genuinely grateful for your time. Take gifts of food and clothing to brighten up their day.
Fulfil a child's Eid wish
Do you know a disadvantaged child? Ask them what they would like to have for Eid. Fulfil a child's Eid wish! If you wish, fulfil Eid wishes of as many children as you can afford. If you have children at home, make them part of this act of kindness.
Leave a generous tip
If you eat out or order food online around Eid time, leave a generous tip for the waiter or the delivery man. So many people are struggling to put food on the table right now, your generosity will mean so much to them, especially around this time of the year.
Give your domestic helpers a break
During Ramadan, let's be kind toward those who work for us, I mean our domestic helps and chauffeurs. They will be fasting and praying, too. Therefore, do not order your household assistants to prepare a grand iftar every day or ask your chauffeur to stay late into the evening unless it is necessary. Also, grant your domestic helps and chauffeurs an Eid vacation, for they too have friends and family.
Call or text friends and family
We understand that it is not possible to drop by every friend, relative, or co-worker. However, it is not difficult to send an Eid message to all the people you love and care for. An even better idea is to make a quick phone call to say Eid Mubarak!
Make personalised Eid wishes
When we were children, we used to make or buy Eid greeting cards for friends and cousins. If you are a parent, during Eid time, you could encourage your child to make Eid cards for the people they love. One of these cards may even accompany every Eid gift your family gives.
If you have the time, buy or make some Eid cards yourself and mail them to friends and family. In a world that has gone "high-tech," a "tangible" Eid wish will be greatly appreciated.
We often forget that Ramadan is about abstinence, not overindulgence. We also forget that the spirit of Eid-ul-Fitr lies in sharing and togetherness. Therefore, make every effort to spread the joy of Eid, be it in the form of kind acts, thoughtful words, monetary donations, or gifts. Because shared joy is a double joy, your joy around Eid will be two times over when you share it with friends, family, neighbours, and strangers, old and young, rich and poor.