Selamat Hari Raya to All!
It's Eid! Raya in Bahasa Melayu and this Eid is quite special; it's one of my only raya ever in Malaysia. And the one thing that's different here is that people take Eid really, really seriously.
In Dubai, we do go to Eid prayer, do Takbir, go to friend's houses, and wish everyone well wishes... But that's it. I don't feel that Eid is any special a day than the other 364 days that we have to go through until the next Eid. But that was all in Dubai.
In Malaysia, huge numbers of family members go to a single house and there they enjoy the company of each other. This is in the NIGHT before Eid. Then, after Isha' prayer, the people who just prayed would go to people's houses and then Takbir and eat, and again, enjoy the company of the others. What's amazing about this is that they willingly welcome people into their houses and prepare food and drinks for their late night guests, which can easily number over 30 people. Even though I did take part in this at first, I left for home after a few houses, but I had heard that they would go on until ALL the houses would have been visited, sometimes going on until 1 or 2 am!
That is the spirit of the Malaysian Muslims. They would go so far to make sure that all the houses would be blessed by Allah, making His name resound in their halls, across the streets, throughout the entire neighborhood. I just wished that this spirit would have been passed down to the next generations, who seem to have lost their way. I include myself as one who has lost his way. I hope I can find my way back and soon.
Another aspect of the Malaysian Raya that I find intriguing and inspiring is the phrase: Maaf Zahir dan Batin. If translated, it loosely means Forgive me, physically and spiritually. I say it is inspiring because it is not easy to seek forgiveness. To do so, you have to humble yourself and admit to your mistakes. You have to realize that you have wronged others and trust in them to forgive you. That is truly inspiring as it takes A LOT to do all of these things.The people nowadays, especially politicians, refuse to admit they're wrong, no matter how much evidence is piled up against them. It's in their nature. And then in the eyes of others: the ones who forgive are only the most divine of people. That is not so. Everyone can find in themselves the strength needed to forgive others.
And in that very same spirit, I seek from all of you the same forgiveness. I may have written something that has offended someone, somewhere, and if I did: Maaf Zahir dan Batin.
Selamat Hari Raya Eid-ul-Fitri.