Equal Ground

Published: Sunday August 3, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday August 3, 2014 MYT 10:12:25 AM

Eid or Bayram, it's still Hari Raya

Indonesian Muslims walk towards a mosque to attend prayers marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan in Denpasar, Bali. - EPA Filepic

Indonesian Muslims walk towards a mosque to attend prayers marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan in Denpasar, Bali. - EPA Filepic

It is a time to remember the less fortunate, to reflect on one's misdeeds in the past and to seek forgiveness.

HORDES of families who had visited their ancestral homes for the Aidilfitri holidays have returned and, for most of them, it’s back to putting their nose to the grindstone.

It’s been a week since Ramadan ended and traffic that had clogged small town streets and rural roads during the festive balik kampung exodus has begun to decrease.

Recently, a foreign acquaintance celebrating Aidilfitri for the third year in Malaysia told this writer that he has grown accustomed to the highway crawls.

More important, he added, he has got used to saying and receiving the greeting Selamat Hari Raya.

Where he comes from, Muslims greet each other with the Arabic salutation Eid Mubarak (Blessed Eid) to mark Aidilfitri.

Also, he said, when he was once in Turkey, the typical greeting was Bayraminiz kutlu olsun (May your Bayram be blessed). Bayram is their word for Eid.

For one who has celebrated Hari Raya in various parts of the world, this foreign friend sees in Malaysia a national festival that invites every one of its multi-ethnic and multi-religion people to join in.

That’s not surprising, this writer told him, as the Malaysian masses also celebrate in a common show of unity the other prominent festivals: Christmas, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Gawai and Kaamatan.

These festivals have actually grown bigger by the year with national and international programmes gathering both Muslims and non-Muslims together, particularly at the community “open house” sessions where people of all denominations mingle with each other.

So, whether Aidilfitri is observed as Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Lebaran, Eid, Bayram or the various names used by different communities and nationalities across the world, it is a season for rejoicing.

It is also a time to remember the less fortunate and to reflect on one’s misdeeds in the past and to seek forgiveness and forget differences or animosities with others that may have occurred during the year.

Time to forgive

So, we hear the phrase “maaf zahir batin”, which simply is an apology for wrongdoings that were seen to have been done or discreetly intended over the past year.

The young have their own fun way of putting the message across. “Kosong-kosong”, they say, borrowing the badminton parlance “love all” to indicate the score is even between them.

This means there shall be no more prejudices, being fair in words and deeds and bringing into each other’s lives a feeling of being true, just, caring, loving and, perhaps, becoming better friends than ever.

This, of course, is easier said than done as, usually, when the euphoria of celebration is over, it will be back to the old habits and attitudes.

The writer, however, believes everyone can put aside their hate and live together in peace and harmony with each other.

The country – and the world – can be a better place for all and it’s not too late to heal the earth and unite everyone.

For instance, we can treat others the way we want others to treat us, which is with respect. This basically entails thinking about their feelings.

Within a group, we can help with some small chores. For example, we can help a neighbour unload the shopping from his car or we can work together to raise funds for a deserving cause.

A common act of peace is to welcome people into your group so that almost everyone will eventually have a role in your social responsibility programmes.

And if someone is mean to you, don’t fight back. Just walk away or try to make up, and remember that he or she is probably sad inside, so respect his or her feelings.

The writer prays for peace to prevail in all places in the world where there is war and civil strife.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilitri, maaf zahir batin minal aidin wal faizin.

> Shah A. Dadameah is an associate editor on the Newsdesk.

> The views expressed are entirely the writer's own.

Tags / Keywords: Eid celebrations; community

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