It is our duty to build on progress made in Ramadan throughout the year – CIOG President Al-Hajj Shahabudeen Ahmad

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 with you in celebration. Congratulations for having fulfilled the honorable obligation of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan which was a time for patience, discipline, and cleansing.
Now comes the time of celebration, reflection, and gratitude. Let us Glorify Allah (SWT) with pure love and immense gratitude for all the Blessings He has bestowed upon us. The 1st of Shawwal is a day of Eid, great Joy and Reward.
The Prophet (SAW) said, When the day of Eid al-Fitr [begins], the angels descend on earth, where they take their positions at access points of roads, calling out with a voice that is heard by the whole creation of Allah, except men and Jin, “O Ummah of Muhammad (saw)! Come out to your most Noble and Gracious Lord, who grants much, and pardons the major sins”.
When they (the Ummah) proceed to their places of prayer, Allah, Exalted is He, says to His angels, “O My angels! What is the reward of a worker when he has done his work?” So, they (the angels) say, “Our Lord and Our Master! To receive his reward [for the work, in full]“. So, He [swt] says, “I call you to witness that, for their fasts [during Ramadan], and for their standing in prayer at night, I have made their reward My Pleasure, and my Forgiveness. Depart [from here], you are forgiven”’.
[Lataif al-Ma’arif] 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. 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.
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 AlMa’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 and Abundance, (Ameen). I close with the pillar of reliance of trust in Allah (SWT).
Wakeel Mal’ Nia Wa Hasbunallu Allah (SWT) is enough for us; and how excellent a guardian is He (SWT) Wa-Alaikumus-Salaam WaRahmatullahi-WaBarakaatuh.