Celebrating our ‘new’ self

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TODAY marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and the beginning of Hari Raya Aidilfitri when Muslims all over the world rejoice in celebration of their victory against worldly desires.

They have proven their obedience to the Almighty not only by refraining from eating and drinking during the day but also by eliminating everything that’s negative from their mind and soul. However, the celebration this year will be different. With the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) still in place, many of the regular features of Raya will need to take a back seat. The balik kampung exodus is one of them.

Hari Raya has always been synonymous with balik kampung. Many people are disappointed with the government ruling that no interstate travel will be allowed during this CMCO period.

For some, it feels like Hari Raya has lost its meaning and glitter.

But is it really true? Let’s take a look at the real meaning of Hari Raya.

After 30 days of containing and controlling one’s desires, God has ordered us to celebrate our success. It’s no small feat by any means. A good analogy for this is a cloth-washing process.


The process of fasting can be likened to the process of washing a very dirty piece of cloth. Over a period of time, even the cleanest linen will be tainted after repeated use. It needs a good scrubbing to be clean again.

Similarly, the “dirty cloth”, in this case, is our heart and soul which may be full of undesirable elements collected over the past year.

There are many types of stains that may taint our hearts. Chief among them are envy, greed, ego and prejudice. These are clear signs that the heart isn’t clean and the unlucky person afflicted with this will never experience true happiness in life.

We sometimes forget that the real enemy isn’t out there but is within us. However, fighting it isn’t easy. The fasting month provides an opportunity to tame the heart and purge all these negative elements.

For 30 days, we are taught how to be patient, humble and considerate to our fellow human beings. Rich or poor, powerful or not, everyone learns to control their worldly desires.

In doing so, they’re cleaning their hearts by rediscovering the true meaning of compassion, humility and love.

And today, we celebrate our “new” self. We are like a freshly clean piece of cloth. While it would be nice to celebrate the occasion with all our family members, the risk is too great.

Almost 85 per cent of Covid-19 carriers are asymptomatic. This is scary because while our intention is to celebrate together, we may inadvertently be spreading the disease further.

Let’s not spoil our celebrations and just focus on how to push aside envy, prejudice and selfishness forever. Be compassionate to people in our lives, be they our employees, maids, children and even people we don’t like.

Find humility in our hearts to put ourselves in their shoes and truly feel what they feel.

Once that’s done, be grateful that we’re in a relatively good position compared to others. Look forward to happier and brighter days ahead and take some time to celebrate our newfound self — albeit in our own home.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri, everyone!

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