I don't think words could ever articulate the feeling and emotion behind the concept of Unity. That despite all the differences amongst us, Muslims around the world can come together for a common purpose and share in the excitement that comes with that. It is truly a Mercy and a Blessing from The Almighty to experience this Unity.
The very foundation and essence of Islam is based in the concept of Community... that no man is an island and that we need each other. That is why as a Muslim, your neighbours, the people in your community and their collective well-being are very important and in certain aspects, they share an equal status with one's own family.
Unfortunately, it seems that time and globalisation have eroded our basic morals and values in our modern societies so this ideal holds very little value in the eyes of many average modern Muslims. The idea that I can't eat if my neighbour is starving and that we take care of each other through good times and bad has lost some of its meaning through the years.
And this is where Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr remind us of our duties to The Almighty... in much the same way that Christmas reminds everyone else about the importance of family and providing for the less fortunate.
As Ramadan comes to a close, we all wait with abated breath for the sighting of the new moon to mark the beginning of our Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations. It's a funny thing because even though I'm literally hundreds and thousands of miles away from many of my friends around the world who are also fasting, we share the same excitement.
We wait together. We're sad to see a blessed month go, but at the same time, we're excited to experience that sense of Unity. So we wait.
Moonsighting forecast (click for larger visual) from Moonsighting.com
We wait for the moon to be sighted, anxious but hopeful. We wait to tell our friends and family quite excitedly while making mental notes of what needs to be done in preparation for the festive day. We wait to wear our best clothes and do our hair. We wait to cook up a storm and bake enough goodies for all and sundry. We wait to visit our neighbours, friends and family in each others homes with nothing but joy and well wishes. We wait to sample each other's food and eat all the good little chocolates, leaving the toffees and yucky stuff behind for someone else. We wait to greet each other in the street with nothing but a smile on our faces and the light of goodwill in our hearts. We wait to spend time with our loved ones and to reflect on the month that was. We wait, keeping in mind all those who won't be able to have the grandest of feasts and we are grateful for the bounties that have been bestowed upon us by The Almighty.
We wait patiently. Wishing everyone a blessed Eid Mubarak!