I know you’ve heard of spring cleaning, but this somehow feels like the eid version! Eid-al-adha, will fall on either Friday or Saturday Insha Allah (depending on your marjah), and while celebrating wasn’t, (and isn’t) really on my agenda this year, (first eid since Narjiss died, and just generally not feeling up to it!), this eid feels like the ideal opportunity to break free from the shackles of the year gone by! The week started with the long-awaited written confirmation regarding my new job! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put in to words how much relief this brought! I have longed for new jobs in the past, but have never desired to break free quite so much as I have from this situation at Inclusion Scotland, (will explain it later for those not across the case). So, was able to hand in my notice with a very cheeky smile and an air of “get it up ya!”, (Allah forgive me but it soo helped!). I’ve of course got a month to go before I quit, but I’ve told them that if they don’t want me to resign with immediate affect, they’ll have to let me work from home, (for once in my life I am calling the shots this time!). If they agree, (which in reality they’ll have to), I’ll be able to work to my own crazy insomnia driven time schedules (well, they work for me so who cares!), and generally wined down from the chaos and pain this situation has ensued!
Today I woke up, took a bath, did namaz, and set to work hovering and cleaning the house! When my health is poor the house work tends to be the first thing to go, taking my routine and order along with it. Being alone, I don’t tend to entertain over eid, (thankfully I’m still the one that gets asked out by folk), but the notice thing seemed to spark something within: if I’ve been desperately ill over the past year, its largely due to stress and the build-up of toxins, and if I don’t start putting my house in order (both physically and emotionally), I’ll never succeed in the new place.
In January, I’ll take on a poorly paid job and a fully funded degree course. Life will be taxing and busy and difficult, but I won’t be harassed, degraded and bullied by my boss, and I won’t feel like a leper just for being a Muslim! Challenge away! Challenges are healthy and stimulating: intimidation does nothing but queue the self-destruct button! And as an abuse survivor I need no help in that department! The reality is that I do struggle with conflict, and some might argue that all I’ve done here is run away, rather than look the problem in the face and take these people on! But when faced with a choice between saving your own sanity, or battling a racist, sexist asswhole, then sanity has to prevail: I might be able to fight him, and I might get him fired! But none of these will undo the hurt he has caused me, so best to walk away with my head held high, and use the eid/Christmas vacations to shake off the bitter and twisted undertones which lurk lasciviously below the surface!
There is another reason for an eid clear-out though. Until a few days ago, I never understood why for me, this eid always felt less about celebration than eid-al-fitr, and more about reflection and contemplation! This probably has more to do with my lack of knowledge than any thing else, coupled with the fact that I’ve never actually been to hajj! But in an interview for Radio Awaz, Shaykh Abdal Aziz Ahmed hinted at the reasons behind my response to eid: the answer is hidden in the day of Arrafat (before eid). Arrafat, (the day before eid), is the day when the prophet Adam (A.S), after 40 years of walking alone through the earth (both physically and emotionally!), arrived at the flat dry plane that is Arrafat near Makkah, and opened his heart to his creator, expressing his regret for disobeying his Lord, and his desire and need to reconnect with the creator in this new life of his, as he craved only to return to his homeland one day. Just as a refugee or an exile yearns for the familiar lands of his birth, so does the human soul (consciously or unconsciously), crave for closeness to Allah (SWT), and ultimately, to reaching the jannah!
Arrafat is signified by the fasting that most Muslims undertake, thus bringing about a turning back within the human psyche, recognising where we came from, the direction our lives need to take in order to reach our desired destination. This contemplation during Arrafat should, by nature of its practises bring about an eid that is more about reflection, self-discovery and rebirth than revelry! This doesn’t mean that eid cannot be enjoyed and celebrated of course! But when we look at the signature sacrifice of an animal on eid and what it represents, we realise just how close we are to a period of sorrow: (Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice of his son was not required: instead, the intention was what counted: the son, was replaced with a sheep for the creator new that a greater sacrifice was to save humanity: the sacrifice of course being, the sacrifice of Karbala). Realisation of this brings us even closer to muherram: not only in the time sense (less than a month away), but spiritually too. As far as possible, I like muherram to be a time when I can withdraw in to myself, drown in sorrow and pain, not only in order that I connect to the Ahlulbayt (A.S), but in order that I immerge from the suffering a stronger person, recharged and empowered, with a greater sense of being, direction and spiritual energy. So, when you tuck in to your eid dinners this year, and dress up for meetings with family and friends, try to take some time out, even if it be only a second. Think of the year gone by and the one to come, who you are, where you’ve been and where you are going: it might evoke some eid cleaning of your own! But if nothing else it will inspire you to strive further and further to attain the perfection that your soul deserves, Insha Allah.