Eid al-Fitr and the Nation's Local Wisdom

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Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • A woman purchases ketupat wrappings for Eid celebrations in Palmerah, Jakarta, Monday, June 3, 2019.  TEMPO/Fajar Januarta

    A woman purchases ketupat wrappings for Eid celebrations in Palmerah, Jakarta, Monday, June 3, 2019. TEMPO/Fajar Januarta

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Ramadan has nearly come to an end. Millions of Indonesians are returning to their hometowns to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, otherwise known as Lebaran. Seeming untroubled by the annual traffic jams and hullabaloo of the Eid rush, they embarked on their journey home to celebrate Eid with their families, relatives and neighbors.

    Muslims are not the only ones basking in the joy of Eid, but non-Muslims as well, as they delight in and share togetherness with others while exchanging forgiveness: rebuilding the social structure that may have been spoiled.

    This is consistent with Rasulullah SAW, who was sent not only for one particular community, but rather on a mission to spread love and blessing to all mankind: regardless of their tribes, nations or races. The Prophet Muhammad SAW took on a mission of betterment and goodness for the universe –Waama arsalnaaka illaa rohmatan lil’aalamin.

    On one occasion, Rasulullah SAW underscored His mission was to perfect the already good ethics—Innama bu’itstu liutammima shoolihal akhlaq. He, for instance, was not sent to coerce all mankind into embracing Islam or bring the world to his knees.

    Islam is also not always about prohibitions and religious obligations of mahdhah nature. If Muslims do not “misinterpret” it, it was clear that humanity, peace, harmony and love were the true core of the Prophet Rasulullah SAW’s message, besides the tauhid that was taught sans coercion.

    Rasulullah also teaches us that the best of people are the ones who give the most benefits to the world—Khoirunnaas anfa’uhum linnaas.  He also mentions that those most loved by Allah are the ones who are most useful to the world—Ahabbunnas ilallaahi anfa’uhum linnaas. And Allah despises those who inflict destruction.

    Besides issues of qoth’iyah and tsawabit (not subject to change) nature, the Islamic teachings also encompass matters of mutaghoyyiroh, which are a string of good deeds and acts of devotion, to which Muslims are given freedom to make adjustments.

    Concealing aurat (body parts that should not be exposed to sight) during shalat is an instruction of qoth’iyah nature, but the types of fabric to cover them is mutaghoyyiroh. Paying zakat fitrah alms is a qoth’iyah instruction, but Indonesians are free to pay alms with rice, as opposed to wheat or dates since quutul balad may vary between one country to another.

    The establishment of a government and leadership (nashbul imam), which is hoped to usher in security and stability (al-amnu wal-istiqror), is also the duty of all Muslims. However, Muslims are free to make their own arrangements as to how the leader is chosen and the type of government they prefer.

    The four al-Khulafa al-Rosyidun who are chosen as leaders after the passing of Rasulullah SAW are the undisputed historic evidence that the issues of leadership and forms of government are matters that are mutaghoyyiroh.

    When the Indonesian ulemas agreed on the form of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia and the Pancasila ideology, they were aware that they had executed the order to form a government and a valid leadership appointment system (nashbul imam).

    Local Wisdom

    There are many issues in Islam that according to the fuqoha spare some room for the inclusion of local wisdom—Islam leaves its additional beauties to local wisdom. In Indonesia, we are familiar with a piece of local wisdom dubbed Pancasila. Religions and Pancasila cannot contradict each other—one example is the Eid al-Fitr celebrations, which have transformed into more than just religious festivities, but rather cultural ones.

    Indonesian Muslims are also free to observe local Islamic traditions that are absent from the Arab world—from the system of governance to the fashion of celebrating holidays. We will never hear the unique sound of Indonesian takbiran (recitation of Allah is great) in the Arab countries. But Arabs also boast their own Islamic traditions alien to Indonesians. Even in fikih, there are issues of discussion in the Arab nations that are nonexistent, particularly in Indonesia, such as dhihar.

    The Arabs also have different kinds of foods for different types of festivities. If they have unique dishes reserved only for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, Indonesians have ketupat (boiled rice cakes wrapped in coconut leaves). No group should feel more superior and better than others, because the measure of goodness is not based on groups, but rather the degree of good deeds and benefits rendered.

    All people, all nations, they have their own superiorities and flaws. And Allah SWT created different people in different tribes, cultures, and even religions. Many verses in the Al Quran have shed light on this—that the difference is the will [of Allah] and sunnatullah, and that Rasulullah SAW is not ordered to make all people and nations homogenous. In the frame of the sunnatullah diversity, it was the duty of mankind to vie in making good deeds.

    The Lebaran traditions in Indonesia facilitate and allow people a chance to exchange forgiveness, visits, words, and mend the ties of silaturahmi (communal relationship). As mentioned earlier, the traditions of Lebaran in Indonesia do not only bring about joy, blessings and goodness to Muslims—they have now belonged to all people in Indonesia. In all of the country’s corners, we can witness how people forgive one another regardless of their religions. And this only exists in Indonesia.

    Thus, the harmony of the nation’s children, which was ripped by the evil hands of the political stage recently, can be fixed with the blessings of the Lebaran traditions, which teach us to forgive one another and shake off our grudges. Let us use the Eid al-Fitr as a momentum to reunite Indonesia. We should perceive Eid al-Fitr as the antithesis to disintegration. Eid al-Fitr is unity. We forgive one another. We acknowledge our faults, so that we can reunite and once again strive for a developed and prosperous Indonesia. A greater Indonesia that makes us even more proud.

    In this decent momentum, I would also like to wish Happy Eid al-Fitr 1440 H. Happy Lebaran. Please forgive me physically and emotionally. Ja’alanallaahu wa iyyakum minal ‘aaidiin wal faaiziin.

    YAQUT CHOLIL QOUMAS—Chairman of PP GP Ansor