Brothers and Sisters,
All praises to Allah for His countless blessings. I thank Him for gift of life, faith, health and family. I thank Him for honoring us to experience another blessed month of Ramadan. I thank Him for the peace, security and freedom we enjoy in this beautiful country of ours-Canada.
I wish you all a most joyous and happy Eid.
Today, when we gather to celebrate Eid we experience mixed feelings of joy and grief. We rejoice in celebrating Eid after completing the month long fasting. Allah wants us to express joy and thank Him for honoring us to complete the month long fasts.
We thank Him for granting us this great opportunity.
We pray that He accepts all of our good deeds in the blessed month; we also pray that He honors us to witness many more Ramadans.
We feel sad that the blessed month has departed us. Ramadan brought us together; we prayed together; we listened to the beautiful Qur’anic recitations; we broke fasts together.
It was indeed a tremendous blessing.
Now all of this is gone.
Ramadan came to help us renew our faith.
Ramadan brought us closer to Allah as we fasted and prayed and deepened our spiritual awareness.
It helped us to break bad habits and develop positive habits.
Ramadan instilled in us empathy for the poor. Through fasting we tasted the bitter taste of hunger and thirst that millions of fellow humans all over the world experience on a daily basis.
It made us aware of our responsibility to share the blessings with the less fortunate and thus take direct responsibility to fight hunger and poverty not only in our own province and country but also everywhere in the world.
We learned how Allah connected feeding the poor with prayer:
“HAST THOU ever considered [the kind of man] who gives the lie to religion (or all moral law)?
Behold, it is this [kind of man] that thrusts the orphan away, and feels no urge to feed the needy.” (Qur’an: 107:1-3).
Brothers and sisters,
Ramadan reminded us of the shortness of our life in this world and taught us to prepare for our journey to Allah.
Now that the blessed month of Ramadan has departed us we ought to reflect on relating its lessons to our everyday lives.
Ramadan was a training course to develop mindfulness of Allah so that we take responsibility to change ourselves.
This calls for taking tangible steps.
I would mention three points to take with us to the weeks and months ahead of us.
- Invest in our future
- Integrate to the society and contribute to it positively by reliving the universal values of Islam
- Reconnect ourselves with the Qur’an and the nature around us.
Let me start with the first one. What do we mean by investing in our future?
I mean two things:
Firstly, we ought to remind ourselves that we are travelers in this world; our final destination is the hereafter. Sooner or later, we will face death and meet our Lord.
We need to prepare for it. If we don’t, we will regret it at the time of death as Allah reminds us in the Qur’an:
When we are in the throes of death we would be crying out in vain:
“My Lord, return me once again, so that I can do some good works!”
The investment for the hereafter is the legacy of good works we do.
“And send forward (good deeds) for your life hereafter, and be mindful of Allah and know that you will meet Him.”
The Prophet ( peace be upon him) reminded us:
“When a person dies, he is cut off from all of his works except three: an ongoing charity he has instituted, righteous children he or she has trained, who shall pray for them, or beneficial knowledge they have passed on.”
Secondly, the only way we can translate this into practice is by setting up institutions that would strive to make Islam a living reality in our children and grandchildren.
Unfortunately, we are still focusing on building mosques. We need to go beyond this to build viable institutions to train and mentor leaders through effective spiritual and moral training and education.
Mosque alone would not serve this purpose unless we model ourselves on the mosque of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
The Prophet’s mosque served as a spiritual oases, an educational institution, as well as a community center.
The second point I would like to stress is: We ought to integrate Islam to our milieu by imbibing the universal values of Islam.
We cannot simply hope to keep Islam alive in the lives of our children and grandchildren unless we relate it to real life situations.
It is here that the need for institutions comes – institutions empowering Muslims to tackling issues facing them in this milieu.
One of the greatest obstacles facing us today is that we often confuse Islam with the cultural baggage we have inherited.
Islam must be lived as a spiritual and moral vision and not as set of inherited, inflexible dogmas and rituals.
Islam in the past was successful only because of its creative and synthetic nature.
Thanks to this, Islam successfully integrated people of diverse races and ethnicities by creating new cultural forms.
Let us therefore empower our children and instill in them the true Islamic vision of tawhid (Oneness of God).
This calls for a spiritual revival.
Relating Islam to our milieu calls for taking responsibility to change our society.
We cannot do so by living in cocoons.
Rather, we need to participate in the nation building.
Islam calls us to serve as witnesses of truth and justice.
“O YOU who believe! Be ever steadfast in upholding equity, bearing witness to the truth for the sake of God” (Quran: 4: 1135).
Today powerful forces are at work in this country to move it away from its great pluralistic and democratic tradition to make it less and less inclusive, thus creating different levels of citizenship.
Muslims ought to stand united to reverse this trend. We need to exercise our voting power.
If we don’t, I am afraid, we will only be blaming ourselves.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us to act morally and responsibly and warned us against being opportunists simply flowing with the tide.
The third point is reconnecting with the twin revelations: The Qur’an and Nature. Allah ordered us to fast in order commemorate the revelation of the Qur’an.
So, it behooves us to strengthen our relationship with the Qur’an.
The Qur’an came to change our moral vision. It calls for reflection and molding ourselves in the mold of tawhid.
We cannot benefit from the Qur’an unless we reflect upon its message and read it in conjunction with the other great work of revelation: the nature.
Reflection of the Qur’an and contemplation of nature must go hand in hand.
That is the Qur’anic prescription for building morally responsible individuals – who shall serve as stewards of the earth.
Let us therefore come back to Allah through His revelation and change our destiny.
This is the way to love the Prophet and follow his Sunna. This was the secret of his success as a leader.
I pray to Allah to guide our steps and inspire us all to follow His messenger.
I pray to Allah to accept us in His mercy and forgive our sins and mistakes.
I pray to Allah to accept our prayers, fasts, charities and devotions in the blessed month and grant us many more Ramadans to redeem ourselves.
I pray to Allah to shower His mercy on those who have passed away.
I pray that He brings ease and comfort to those suffering from diseases, afflictions, fears worries and anxieties.
May the beneficent Lord send down healing and cure to those who are sick and suffering.
May He inspire them with patience to accept His decree and surrender to His will.
And may He replace their suffering into bliss in the next world.
I pray that Allah save us and our children and grandchildren from the winds of agnosticism, atheism, and materialism sweeping all around us.
May He bless us to remain steadfast and may He illuminate our hearts with firm conviction and faith in His promise and the realities of heaven and hell.
I pray that He inspires our youth to find partners to form fulfilling marriage relationship and may He grant us joy in our spouses and children and make us all role models for the virtuous.
I pray to Allah to have mercy on the millions who are struggling under varying conditions occupations, tyranny, and oppression and denial of basic rights.
May the Beneficent Lord grant them victory in their struggle for freedom, dignity, and justice.