Reflection No. 125 on Q 5:114 – Eid
قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ اللَّهُمَّ رَبَّنَا أَنْزِلْ عَلَيْنَا مَائِدَةً مِنَ السَّمَاءِ تَكُونُ لَنَا عِيدًا لِأَوَّلِنَا وَآخِرِنَا وَآيَةً مِنْكَ
Qāla ‘Īsa-bnu maryama allāhumma rabbanā anzil ‘alayjnā mā’idatam-minas-samā’i takūnu lanā ‘īdan li-awwalinā wa-ākhirana wa-āyatam-minka
Isa, son of Mary, said: O Allah, Lord of us! Send down for us a table spread with food from heaven, that it may be an Eid for us, for the first of us and for the last of us and as a sign from You. . Sūratul Mā’idah (No. 5), Āyat 114
The disciples of Nabi ‘Īsā (a) asked him to request Allah to send them food from heaven. Nabi ‘Īsa (a) questions them about the motives of their request, and when satisfied with their answers, he prays to Allah. He asks that Allah send down food from Heaven for them, so that it should be an Eid for them. His prayer is quoted in the above verse of the Holy Qur’an. The following questions can be asked after reading the verse:
1. Why does Nabi ‘Īsa say it would be an Eid for them if the food came from heaven?
2. What does the word Eid actually mean?
3. Is good food a condition for Eid?
In Tafsīr-e Namune, Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi explains what Eid really means. The word Eid comes from awada, meaning to return. For example, the day when a nation becomes free of its difficulties and returns to its original state of ease and comfort, it is a day of Eid for them. Nabi ‘Īsā (a) said it would be a day of Eid for them because the witnessing of food being sent from heaven would instill certainty and faith in the heart of the disciples. They would then return to the original fitrat of the human being, in which there is no doubt and skepticism. Eating good food is a manifestation of the happiness felt by the believer at his return to the state of original purity.
The day of Eid thus has the following significances for the believer:
1) A return to purity: The original state of the soul of the human beings is pure and tranquil. In the world a lot of dirt and corruption changes it. When after a period of cleansing and purifying, it returns to its original state, the day becomes an Eid for the human being. Thus Eid-ul-Fitr is a return to original purity after the period of fasting and worship during the month of Ramadan. Imam Ali (a) says: Every day that you do not commit a sin in is a day of Eid for you. (MH, H. 14304)
2) A cause of happiness: The believer is happy that he has been able to fulfill the commands of Allah and is promised the reward of forgiveness and mercy. This gives great joy to his heart. The happiness is then manifested in good clothes, delicious foods, and meeting with fellow believers. Every believer rejoices on the day of Eid, for having being given the tawfīq and chance to worship and fast for Allah. The happiness is not because the month has ended.
3) An occasion for gratitude. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an about completing the month of fasting; . . . that you should complete the number and exalt the greatness of Allah for His having guided you, and that you may give thanks. (2:185): Believers are grateful for the strength given to them by Allah to have fasted and prayed during the holy month.
As you prepare for Eid feel happy and grateful for the right reasons. Then it will truly be an Eid for you as ordained by Allah.
Sources: Tafsīir-e Namune, Aytaullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzi (ed);
Mīzānul Hikmah, Muhammadi Rayshahrī