Saturday, November 10, 2007

Enlighten Your Hearts, Don't Burn Them!!!

Divali or Deepavali is a Hindu Festival celebrated annually by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs throughout the world. The Sanskrit word Deepa [feminine of deep] means earthen lamps and the word avali means “a row”. Hence Deepavali which was later shortened as Divali literally means "rows of clay lamps". According to Hindus there are different stories affiliated to it, the mention of which is beyond the scope of this blog. The crux of the celebration, however, lies in “the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance”. In reality, therefore the cause of celebration stems from an innate attraction towards good and repulsion from evil, something which all the heavenly religions highly encourage. The way it is celebrated, however, is worthy of consideration: many people, as it is clearly witnessed, light fire crackers to enhance the festivity and joy of the occasion, or perhaps to symbolically reveal the “inner light” of the victory of good over evil. Past history, however, has clearly taught us the dangers and threats such fire crackers have on innocent people. So many have ended up in the hospital with incurable injuries. According to a recent report houses were burnt due to the use of such fire crackers. Besides all these, the disturbance caused in the neighborhood due to the sound pollution is inexpressible. If the Hindu nobles which are remembered in this occasion were present today, and they would witness the impact such sounds can have in young children, the old and the physically weak of the community, wouldn’t they have prohibited it and advised them to employ means that would instead of covering the true meaning of Deepavali, manifest it better? Furthermore, as the Hindu scholars believe, Deepavali is the celebration of "inner light". The human being must therefore light the inner lamp of his being. The most pathetic situation is that some Muslims likewise spend a lot of time and money to finally light these crackers and thereby crack the hearts of so many in the neighborhood. Some years back, when I lived in Daressalam and my son Muhammad Zaynul Abidin was very young, we had witnessed one of the most agonizing moments of our lives: people in our neighborhood, disregarding the impact these fireworks can have in children continually kept on cracking “their own hearts” and “extinguishing the inner light of their beings”. My family and I know what actual moments of fear our son, who was very young at that time, experienced, until he finally went to sleep. Is this truly Deepavali? Should we the Muslims encourage our children to light firecrackers and spend the night in wasting time and money, which if collected from all those Muslims who join in this celebration, can feed so many of the deprived people? Does it behoove of us to spend the night in cracking the hearts of others instead of lighting the lamp of our beings. The night, we are told, is a great opportunity for transformation. The Holy Qur’an says: "Indeed that which transpires at night is deeper in impression and better in harmony with one’s speech”


  1. Dear Shaykh Khalfan,
    Salaam Alaikum,

    Ahsant for this Enlightening article.Frankly speaking,
    It is today that i really understood the real meaning of diwali. I witness it every year and understand from other sources that it is celebrated because it marks a begining of their new year. Is that true?

    I totally agree, that we as muslims must not engage in this act. Indeed, Islam is the most perfect of religions, a way of life that teaches us the best of morals and conduct.

  2. Wa 'alaikum Salam wa Rahmatullah

    Dear Reader

    According to one study, some North Indian business communities start their financial year on Divali and new account books are opened on this day. Perhaps this is what some people refer to, when they speak of new year.

    I wish to thank you for your excellent comment.

    Salams and Du'as