In central London this morning you may witness hundreds of dish dashes roaming around. Your eyes are not deceiving you. You are not in the Arabian desert. You are simply near Regent’s Park mosque and you have just witnessed the start of this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations.
Millions of Muslims worldwide woke up today and headed to the mosque to pray their ‘Eid namaz’ – their Eid prayer. I say millions – some are celebrating tomorrow, some others are celebrating on Sunday. That’s the beauty of Islam. There’s no uniting force when it comes to festivals. When I tell colleagues about the hilarity of not knowing when Eid is they look at me as if I’ve forgotten how calendars work.
Could you imagine if you didn’t know if Christmas was definitely on the 25th? (I’m aware the Germans celebrate on the 24th). Holiday planning and train timetables would be all over the place. The TfL Twitter account would have a field day.
And yet somehow we Muslims manage it. I find the uncertainty hilarious. The reliance on a ‘moon sighting’ even more so. That’s the beauty of it all. It forces you to let go and just see what happens. There are so many things we’re not in control of – particularly our emotions after 18 hours without food or water – and yet we still do it. Because life’s far more fun when you let go (that is the only way I can explain why ‘Let It Go’ has almost 500 MILLION views on YouTube).
That’s the biggest thing I’m taking away from Ramadan this year: embrace uncertainty. There’s so much in life – right down to what day one of your biggest festivals falls on – that you just can’t control. Rather than fight it, just see what happens.
And so whether you’re celebrating today, tomorrow, Sunday or (heaven forbid) Monday – Eid Mubarak.