Eid Mubarak!

– CIOG president

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam and Humanity,
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuh.
May the Peace, Guidance, Mercy, and Blessings of Allah (swt) be upon us all!
Eid Mubarak, Eid Mubarak, Eid Mubarak! On this joyous day of Eid-ul-Fitr, the Executives and Staff of CIOG join you in celebration.
Alhamdu-Lillah, (Praise be to Allah) we were honored by Allah (swt), the Infinitely Merciful, to have graduated from the university of Ramadan. A month in which we practiced patience, self-control and restraint. We have participated in private and communal worship, engaged in much reflection and introspection, enhanced our caring and giving and refined our character; all with the expectation of attaining closeness to our Creator, Allah (swt). Now, after a month of fasting, we celebrate with the intention of being Abdun-Shakoor, thankful servants. Allah (swt) says in chapter 10 of the Holy Quran, entitled Yunus (Jonah) verse 58:
In the grace of Allah (swt) and in His (swt) mercy, in that they should rejoice; it is better than all [the worldly wealth] that they may amass!’

On this 1st day of Shawwal, the day of Eid, as we celebrate and rejoice in the grace and mercy of Allah (swt), we ponder on the many lessons of Ramadan. However, this year was immensely more difficult not because we deprived ourselves of food and water but because of what we endured as an Ummah. Our Beloved Prophet, Rasoolullah (peace and blessings be upon him), said, “The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.” Yes, this Ramadan was painful as we watched in disbelief at the first publicly televised genocide of our Brothers and Sisters in Gaza. We were given many lessons this Ramadan but the greatest lessons came from them while under-siege. Notably, the concept of Imaan (faith) and Tawwakul (intense and hopeful trust in Allah (swt)).
Emerging from Ramadan this year cannot mean the same as last year. The lessons we were thought in and out of the Masjid must be coupled with action. Gratitude is not just expressed on the tongue. Self-restraint and control must be extended to other aspects of our lives. We witnessed our Brothers and Sisters break their fast with soup made of grass and water, and some are in perpetual fasting. Despite their homes and places of worship decimated, they still prayed the night prayers between the rubble. I ask, what is the source of their strength? What we witnessed is their constant dua (prayer) of our Father Ibrahim (Abraham), peace be upon him.

“Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us).”

(Holy Quran Surah Al-Imran 3:173)
Ibn ‘Abbas said in a hadith, “When (Prophet) Ibrahim was thrown into the fire, he said: “Allah (Alone) is sufficient for us, and, He is the Best Disposer of affairs.” So did the Final Messenger, Rasoolullah (saw) when he was told: “A great army … [has] gathered against him, so fear them”. But this (warning) only increased him and the Muslims in Faith and they said: “Allah (Alone) is sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us)”. [Al-Bukhari].

Our Brothers and Sisters invoked the prayer of the Prophets (peace be upon them) often with a smile, Hasbunallu Wa Nia’ Mal Wakeel, “Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us).”

This year many lessons were taught to us at great expense and sacrifice. We must now go beyond the Masjid and couple this with civilization changing action. Belief is not just expressed on the tongue, but it must also be manifested in our deeds and lives. This is the legacy of Muslims everywhere we went. In a time that is seemingly filled with darkness and loss of hope, let us fulfill the rights we have to those around us and this Ummah – and by extension – the entire world. Be that beacon of light and hope.
In our celebration, let us not forget those among our brothers and sisters who face difficulties and hardship, those facing the challenges of illness, hunger, and despair. Reach out, find ways to help, comfort and sustain others, while filling them with hope and reminding them that Allah (swt) is Gracious, Merciful and Abundant.
Today does not signal the end of worship or letting go of the concerns of the Akhirah (afterlife). On the contrary, it is our duty throughout the year to build on the progress we made in Ramadan so that each Ramadan finds us stronger and closer to Allah (swt), as individuals and as a community.
Let us reaffirm the importance of prayer. The strength of our community and the quality of our lives will be improved as more of us observe the five daily prayers, which are the spiritual sustenance of the believers. Let us fill the Mosques as we did in Ramadan. We should leave aside all excuses and delays and observe our prayers, a seemingly small act that yields countless benefits and blessings. Allah (swt) reminds us in the Holy Quran:

“Be steadfast in prayer and regular in charity. Whatever good you send forth for your souls before you, you shall find it with Allah. For Allah sees well all that you do”.
(Holy Quran Surah Al-Baqara 02:110)
Let us nurture harmonious relationships in our families, communities, and our nation. I encourage you to invite our non-Muslim brothers and sisters to join in our Eid Celebrations. It is our duty to promote the core Islamic values of coexistence, tolerance, and khidma – to be in the service of others. Let us lovingly serve and protect all of Allah’s (swt) Creation. Allah (swt) reminds us in the Holy Quran:
We have appointed a law and a practice for every one of you. Had God willed, He would have made you a single community, but He wanted to test you regarding what has come to you. So compete with each other in doing good. Every one of you will return to God and He will inform you regarding the things about which you differed.” (Holy Quran Surah Al-Ma’ida 05:48)
May Allah (swt) Bless and have Mercy on us all. May Allah (swt) Bless and have Mercy on our country and the entire world. We beseech Allah (swt) to accept all our good deeds and forgive all our shortcomings, (Ameen).
May Allah (swt) graciously grant us Healing, (Ameen). I close with the pillar of reliance and absolute trust in Allah (swt). The prayer of prophet Abraham ()A.S.)

“Allah (Alone) is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs (for us).”
(Holy Quran Surah Al-Imran 3:173)

Eid Mubark! Eid Mubarak! Eid Mubarak!

Wa-Alaikumus-Salaam WaRahmatullahi-WaBarakaatuh.

Al-Hajj Shahabudeen
President CIOG