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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Spirit of `Eid Al-Fitr*

By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi**
31/10/2005



[Praise be to Allah Who guided us to this (way). Never could we have
found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah.] (Al-
A`raf 7:43)

[If you give thanks I shall give you more, and if you are ungrateful
then My punishment is severe indeed.] (Ibrahim 14:7)

[Remember Me and I shall remember you, and give thanks to Me and be
not ungrateful.] (Al-Baqarah 2:152)

O Allah, We thank You for all Your gifts and favors to us. You sent
to us the best Book, chose for us the best human being as a Prophet,
and gave us the best guidance that You chose for us.

O Allah, we thank You, You deserve all thanks. We thank You in
private and in public.

O Allah, We thank You with love and with our free choice.

O Allah, we thank You that You blessed us with faith in You. You
made it easy for us to fast in the month of Ramadan, to pray in its
nights, and to recite Your Glorious Book.

Today is the day of `Eid, and `Eid is the day of thanks. It marks
the end of the month of fasting. We feel happy and we give thanks to
Allah that we obeyed His commands; we fasted during the month of
Ramadan. Allah's commands are good for us. They are for our benefit.
Allah does not want to put any burden on anyone, but He gave us the
rules of fasting for our own benefit. Fasting has many benefits for
individuals and for communities. It has spiritual, moral, and
physical benefits. It has benefits for the individuals and for the
society. Fasting—

1. Teaches self-discipline

2. Raises the level of God-consciousness

3. Helps human beings to rise above materialism and selfishness

4. Makes people more humble, kind, charitable, and righteous

5. Brings people closer to each other as a community

6. Teaches patience and steadfastness

7. Gives more energy and courage to do good deeds

8. Makes people healthy and strong

9. Makes people mentally alert and psychologically stable

10. Purifies bodies and souls

Brothers and sisters:

As we gather here today, there are two feelings that are clearly
uppermost in our hearts and minds: the feeling of joy and
satisfaction on the completion of our religious duty, and the
feeling of brotherhood, sisterhood, and solidarity among ourselves.

We are the people of faith. We are the servants of Allah. What
pleases us is that which pleases our Lord. We are brothers and
sisters in faith. We feel happy when we come together in the name of
our faith, representing diverse colors, races, and ethnic
backgrounds. We come together in the spirit of Islamic brotherhood,
in the name of Allah, and following our faith, Islam.

Let us keep this spirit of `Eid among us always. Let us strengthen
our bond with our Creator and with each other. Let us be more
united. Let us all become more and more committed to righteousness
in our own lives, in the lives of our families, and in the society
in which we live.

Brothers and sisters:

Islam is the religion of worship, `ibadah. But worship in Islam is
not a mere collection of rituals. It is a whole way of life. Worship
helps us to remain conscious of Allah and of our own selves. It
makes right our relations with every person and with every thing.
The people of worship are the people who are good to their families,
to their children, to their parents, to their neighbors, to their co-
workers, to the environment, to the resources of the earth, and to
the world at large. The people of worship make everything right and
everything good. `Ibadah is the crux of the matter. It is the
purpose of our creation. [I did not create the jinn and mankind
except to worship me] (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56).

Worship has a purpose. Its purpose is to set aright everything.
Worship sets aright our relations with our Creator, with our own
selves, with our families and with others. If we worship, but others
are not safe and secure from our words and our actions, then we have
not learned anything from our worship. If we pray and do injustice
to others, if we pray and ignore the cries of the poor and those in
pain, if we pray and do not care for those who are suffering in our
neighborhood and around the world, then our prayers have not done us
any good. If we pray but we do not try to change the social,
economic, and political injustices and oppressions in this world,
then we have not realized the true meaning of our worship.

The real `ibadah or worship is that which changes the people. It
transforms them into the real people of Allah. The people of Allah
are described in the Qur'an:

[Whatever ye are given (here) is (but) a convenience of this Life:
but that which is with Allah is better and more lasting: (it is) for
those who believe and put their trust in their Lord; those who avoid
major sins and shameful deeds, and, when they are angry even then
forgive; those who answer the call of to their Lord, and establish
regular prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation;
who spend out of what We bestow on them for sustenance; and those
who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, (are not cowed
but) help and defend themselves.] (Ash-Shura 42:36–39)

The people of Allah are the paradigms of virtue and goodness. They
stand for peace and justice in the world. They are not only
satisfied with their own personal righteousness and salvation, but
they work to bring justice, peace, and happiness to the world.

Brothers and sisters:

I am pleased to see so many of you here today. I wish you a very
happy `Eid. May Allah bless you, accept your prayers, your fasting,
your charity, and all your good deeds.

Brothers and sisters:

We are facing many challenges at this time. But with faith and trust
in Allah and with unity and solidarity among ourselves, we can
overcome all challenges and difficulties. We must not succumb to
despair, fear, or anxiety. We must continue working with sincerity,
honesty, and wisdom. We must work together. We must continue
building our institutions, our community centers, our educational
programs, and activities. We must continue and increase our
involvement with others on the interfaith and political level. We
have to remove misunderstandings about us and about our faith from
the minds of fellow Americans. We must continue building the bridges
of understanding with others to keep this society just and peaceful,
diverse and pluralistic. I remind you and myself to face the
challenges with courage, confidence, and wisdom.

The Qur'an tells us that

[Allah is with those who are patient and steadfast (as-sabirin).]
(Al-Baqarah 2:153)

[Allah is with those who are righteous (al-muttaqin)] (Al-Baqarah
2:194)

[Allah is with those who do the acts of kindness (al-muhsinin)] (Al-
`Ankabut 29:69)

It is true that there is a lot of anti-Islamic propaganda today, but
we should be thankful to Allah that there are still a very large
number of people who have goodwill towards us and who want to know
more about our faith. Let us build on this trust. Let us use
whatever freedom we have and whatever opportunities we find to help
others to know us, to know about the universal values of Islam.

We must pay special attention to the next generation of Muslims
growing up here. They need good upbringing and extensive Islamic
education. We must protect them from the wrong influences of drugs,
violence, immoral behavior, and the evils that are affecting youth
and eating them up. We must give them knowledge, give them hope,
give them love and care, and do our best to keep them on the path of
Allah.

Let me close this khutbah with a hadith of the Prophet (peace and
blessings be upon him). `Amr ibn Maymun Al-Awdi reported that the
Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "Take
advantage of five things before five others: your youth before your
old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your
poverty, your leisure before your work, and your life before your
death" (At-Tirmidhi).


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* Based on the `Eid Al-Fitr khutbah delivered by Dr. Muzammil H.
Siddiqi at the `Eid Prayer gathering held by the Islamic Society of
Orange County at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim,
California, on Tuesday, November 25, 2003. Here excerpted, with some
modifications from:http://www.pakistanlink.com

** Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi is the President of the Fiqh Council of
North America.

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