At IIT grounds on July 20, 2021
Allah is Great. Allah is Great. Allah is Great.
Glory to Allah for His countless blessings. I thank Him for the gift of life, health, family, and community.
I testify there is no god but God. He is One, and has no partner. I also testify that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger. May Allah bless him, his family, and companions, and all those who follow their ways until the end of times.
Brothers and sisters,
I wish you all a most joyous Eid.
Today we are celebrating Eidul Azha or the Festival of Sacrifice. We join the thousands of pilgrims who have converged on the sacred sites. They have completed the most important rituals of Hajj and are celebrating. We also join the millions of Muslims all over the world, celebrating Eid.
Eid Ul Azha is a time for thanksgiving and sharing the joy and blessings of Allah.
It is also a time of reflection on the ideals we cherish – the ideals of faith, trust in God, and sacrifice.
The ideals we learn from the story of the great Prophet Ibrahim.
The Quran teaches us that Prophet Ibrahim discovered the meaning of faith in God by observing the natural phenomena. He reflected on the movement of the sun and moon and everything around him.
His reflections and critical questioning led him to recognize God’s Oneness and transcendence.
Thus, he came to distinguish the realm of the Creator as distinct from that of His Creation.
Abraham believed that it is folly to attribute divinity to the created beings. Creation is transient and ever-changing while God alone is the Absolute and Eternally Alive.
All of creation derives its existence from God, who alone is Transcendent, the Absolute, and the Incomparable.
“When Abraham’s Lord tested him with certain commandments, which he fulfilled, He said, ‘I am making you a leader for mankind.” (Qur’an: 2: 124)
“Abraham was truly a model, obedient to God, and devoted; he was not an idolater. He was grateful to the favors of God, who chose him and guided him to a straight path.”
(Qur’an: 16: 120-122).
Ibrahim’s faith taught him to surrender his will to the will of God. He was willing to go to any length to sacrifice for the sake of God. God ordered him to take his wife Hagar and son Ismaeel to settle them in a barren desert. He trusted in God’s promise. So, today that barren place is a thriving city; it is the greatest site of pilgrimage in the world visited by millions of people from all over the world.
That city is Makkah where the Prophet Muhammad was born; His coming was the fulfilment of yet another promise of God to the Prophet Ibrahim.
Prophet Muhammad was born into the lineage of Ibrahim’s first son, Ismaeel, whose name very name means God has answered the prayer.
Ibrahim believed in God’s promise.
Ibrahim is the link that connects the three great religions of the world: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
Today we are challenged to come back to the common faith and ideals we cherish: the faith, trust, and hope that Abraham treasured and practised.
Thanks to this concept of Oneness of God, in Hajj Muslims are taught to learn the brotherhood of humankind under the Lordship of the One and only God.
The Prophet proclaimed this message to the thousands that gathered in the plains of Arafat.
“O People, Your Lord is One and Your father is one. An Arab has no claim to superiority over non-Arabs, nor any non-Arab can claim superiority over an Arab; neither a white- man has any superiority over a black man, nor a black man has any superiority over a white man; all of you are descended from Adam and Adam is created from the earth.”
This was the message that transformed Malcolm-X from a black-nationalist to embrace the universal brotherhood of all races.
It is the same message that we ought to imbibe and practice in our dealings with others.
It is only when we do so that we can purge our hearts of all distinctions based on race, language, ethnicity, and creed.
And it is only then that we can overcome the divide between ‘Us’ and ‘They’ mindsets.
It is that divide that is at the root of the colonialist legacy of genocide against indigenous populations.
The grim discoveries of unmarked graves of thousands of children plucked from their homes ought to make us aware of the toxic violence caused by ideologies rooted in racism and xenophobia
It is ironic that religion was used as a tool to promote division and violence.
It is high time that Canada owns up to these crimes and pay reparations and implement measures to restore their rights and treat them as equal citizens with dignity and honor.
Islamophobia is another manifestation of this colonialist legacy. It is rooted in the same disease that fails to see the humanity of Muslims.
Islamophobia and violence against Muslims are on the increase: the cold-blooded murder of innocent worshippers in the mosque in Quebec, the slaughter of the mosque volunteer in Brampton, and the mowing down of four members of a family going out for a stroll on a Sunday morning are not the last.
Despite assurances of our leaders, almost daily we are waking up to hear the news of acts of violence against Muslims.
Muslims have every reason to be worried about their safety, and the safety of their children.
We demand that our government walk the talk and guarantee the safety and security of Muslims and of all peoples that make up this country.
It is important for us Muslims to get united and make alliances with our fellow citizens and brothers and sisters in humanity to work together for a world free of violence and hatred.
Let us come back to the roots of our religious traditions and stop using religion to demonize others.
The change must start from our homes, mosques, churches, synagogues, temples, schools, and communities.
Challenges facing us today may seem overwhelming and formidable.
However, there is no reason for us to lose hope.
That is the lesson to learn from the stories of Ibrahim, Hagar and Ismaeel.
They teach us to work hard and learn to see the light at the end of the tunnel by placing our trust in God.
So, let us commit ourselves to purge our hearts of all forms of racism and violence.
To embrace all peoples as our brothers and sisters in humanity.
To bring peace through acceptance and caring for the vulnerable.
Let us not forget our dear ones who are not with us; many of them were with us in the previous years. May the All-Merciful One shower them with His mercy and forgiveness.
May the Beneficent Lord turn in mercy towards those who are suffering from ailments and health challenges; may He send down healing and cure
May he grant them patience to overcome the difficulties.
Let us not forget the many millions suffering from wars of occupation and aggression and racism and bigotry of political demagogues who are moving the world to greater and greater conflicts.
Let us never forget the people of Palestine, Rohingya, Kashmir, Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the victims of brutal wars in Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere. Let us not forget the flood victims in Europe and those affected by wildfires in Western Canada and victims of other calamities elsewhere in the world.
Let us pray Allah to guide us to the way of peace and harmony
Let us pray that our children and grandchildren remain protected from the virus of racism, agnosticism, and atheism sweeping all over the world.
Let us pray that this Eid ushers a period of peace, glory, and success for us all, and may the All-Merciful Lord heal us and protect us against all deadly diseases.
And May He honor us to remain as Muslims and die in true faith and honor us to be gathered in the company of the righteous.
Once again, I wish you all a most joyous and blessed Eid.