Eid ul-Fitri and Social Health
As the Eid ul-Fitri has just been celebrated, the most important point to ponder on, for us Muslims, is that the celebration is actually a gift from The Almighty after a full month of performing compulsory fasting throughout Ramadhan. Many invaluable lessons and benefits are uncovered from the practice of fasting. Indeed, Muslims who fast for the whole month are able to feel positive changes and good transformational experience brought about by the practice.
The Ramadhan fasting is supposed to transform us all into better Muslims with good personalities that fully inculcate good akhlaq (moral) and behaviour for the rest of our lives, or at least until the next Ramadhan. Indeed, such is the impact of Ramadhan on us. When Ramadhan is not only showered with countless blessings but Satan is strapped down from spreading its evilness, Allah is actually doing us His utmost Favour by spreading His Mercy to Muslims and the universe. Furthermore, Ramadhan has also taught us Muslims that the month is granted with nothing but only goodness in life teachings so as to educate us to be good or even the best possible Muslims. So, what does it mean to be good a Muslim as taught by Islam.
In this regard, it is good to consider one of the sayings by Imam Hassan al Basri about being a good Muslim. Being a good Muslim means a Muslim with good manners, or a Muslim who practices good behaviour all the way throughout his life. He defines a Muslim with good manners as one who has three distinct traits that include refraining others from harm, doing good to others and putting a smile on the face. Indeed, such is a succint definition of a Muslim with good manners as according to him, this entails not only the teaching of virtues as depicted by Islam, but it has some personal and social implications for the Muslim ummah as a whole. In fact, this constitutes the stability of social integrity within the Muslim society, as it is a key feature of good social health. It is a good component not only in establishing what it means by social health, but also in maintaining the stability and homeostatic balance of the Muslim ummah in general.
Essentially, humans are social beings. They need to live life socially. And they need other members in their social ecosystem in order to protect and maintain their survival. As part of the members in their social ecosystem, they need to help others and at the same time being helped by others as well. This pattern of social system has set its nature throughout the history of the human kind. Similarly, human will come into extinction if they are neglected or marginalised by other members socially. Believe it or not, historically, humans have taken the power of social isolation as a mechanism to destroy other fellow members.
The significance of social aspect to humans is that social and psychological circumstances can cause long term stress. Moreover, prolonged state of anxiety, insecurity, low self-esteem, and social isolation, would all have powerful effects on human health and wellbeing and that would finally lead to morbidity and mortality. Therefore, Islam came just about to educate them so that they would become good members of the society, who would help each other in respect, honesty and sincerity. The main objective of this is to establish the situation where humans could live better lives happily and cooperatively with the help of others. As the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w said to this extent in a hadith: “You will not enter Paradise until you have faith and until you love each other”.
Social health has been generally understood as what aspects in the society that could affect health or how social influences affect human overall health and general wellbeing, and what social factors that maintain or destroy human health. Inevitably, fortunate or not, there are social injustices in relation to human life, discriminations that occur in social interactions among members of the society, poverty, economic and wealth inequality, and so on. Definitely, all these, directly or indirectly would have tremendous effects on human life, their health and wellbeing, as well as their relationships and productivity. Therefore, among the lessons that we could learn from the celebration of this Eid is to become more humble to Allah with the intention in mind to be at the level of the Muttaqins (those with taqwa—fear to please Allah), and to establish and maintain good social interaction with others. This simply indicates that the celebration of the Eid ul-Fitri is a sign of continuing education and practices that we perpetuate from the month of Ramadhan.