Allah is Great; Allah is Great; Allah is Great.
O Allah, to You, belong all praise and all thanks.
You created us, provided us with sustenance, guided us aright, and showered us with Your blessings. We thank you for the gifts of life, faith, health, family, and peace in our country.
You honored us to pray, fast, and observe vigils.
So, honor us also to be ever grateful to You and to acknowledge Your blessings.
Brothers and sisters
I stand here today with mixed feelings of joy and sorrow.
I feel great joy that after 2 years we are able to gather here to celebrate Eid as a community. We must thank Allah for His favor.
We are also happy that we have completed the spiritual training of Ramadan and are celebrating Eid.
Eid is a celebration of this blessing and a time to rejoice and give thanks and share the blessings.
At the same, I feel sad that the blessed month of Ramadan has left us; we relished its sweet spiritual fragrances: melodious recitations of the Quran, and the spiritually uplifting vigils, and iftar and suhoor.
I pray to Allah to bless us with many more Ramadans.
May the Beneficent Lord accept our prayers, fasts, charities, and all our good works. May He also forgive our many shortcomings and sins.
I wish you all a most joyous Eid.
Before I proceed, let me remember our beloved parents, brothers, and sisters, and friends who were with us in previous years; they are no more with us. May the All-Merciful One shower them with His mercies, forgive them, and admit them to paradise. And may He also honor us to join their company when we pass away.
Let us also remember many brothers and sisters who could not make it here as they are sick; may the All-Merciful have mercy on them, bless them with a speedy recovery, and make their suffering a means of purification.
Brothers and sisters
We already bade farewell to Ramadan.
That in no way means that we should forget its great lessons.
To make the experience worthwhile we need to heed its valuable lessons.
We ought to imbibe them and act upon them.
Acts of worship in Islam aim at changing us from within. They train us to lead a morally responsible, productive life. Prayer celebrates the remembrance of Allah; it also teaches us human brotherhood, and value of time.
Zakah purges our hearts of greed and teaches us to share the blessings with the less fortunate.
Hajj reminds us of our final journey and instills in us the sacred bond of a single human family under the Lordship of God; it also ought to help erase racism and pride associated with our lineage.
Ramadan takes these lessons to a deeper level:
It deepens our spiritual awareness, trains us to gain mastery over our carnal souls, develops self-restraint, empathy and instills compassion.
It comes every year to remind us of the transient nature of our existence; that we are destined to meet our Creator for the final reckoning.
So, let us never forget its valuable lessons.
Instead let us take the lessons with us to the days, weeks, and months ahead.
By doing so, we can make a difference in the world.
I want to focus on three points.
1) Mindfulness of Allah
2) Empathy and compassion
3) Self-restraint, discipline and struggling for truth and justice.
1.The consciousness of Allah and being mindful of Him entails accepting His sovereignty and Lordship and leading a life of submission.
Allah says: “Remember Me; I will remember you.” (Qur’an: 2: 152)
By developing mindfulness of Allah, we gain inner peace, joy, and contentment.
The consciousness of Allah ought to make us responsible.
It makes us aware of the watchfulness of Allah and of the final reckoning.
“And be mindful of a day when you shall be returned to God. Then every soul will be paid in full for what it earned, and they shall not be wronged.” (Qur’an: 2: 281)
Since Quran is the supreme form of dhikr, we ought to continue our connection with the Qur’an.
It ought to go beyond recitation: to pondering its lessons:
“A blessed Book that We have sent down upon you, that they may contemplate its verses and for the people of intellect to reflect.” (Qur’an: 38: 29)
Let the Quran be our companion in this world; and let it be our light in the grave and upon our resurrection.
The 2nd point is to develop empathy and compassion.
Fasting forced us to experience hunger and thirst: a daily experience of the millions of people worldwide, except they don’t get to feast at the end of the day.
Let the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) be a constant reminder for us:
“He is not a believer who fills himself up when his neighbor is starving.” (Bayhaqi)
Today the entire world is like a global village; so we cannot be indifferent to the starvation of our brothers and sisters in humanity. The mere sight of malnourished children in Yemen and elsewhere ought to remind us to act: To take responsibility for fighting poverty:
To do so with integrity we ought to condition ourselves to use the blessings of Allah wisely; curb waste and stop squandering valuable resources on ostentatious habits.
Allah reminds us in the Qur’an that on the Day of Reckoning, we will be questioned about our indulgences. So, let us curb our wasteful habits; set aside valuable resources for charitable purposes.
The third point I want to stress is the lessons of self-restraint, patience, and sacrifices.
Today, Muslims worldwide face a tidal wave of Islamophobic attacks; it is a juggernaut of forces mobilized against us worldwide.
We can only ignore it at our peril.
So far, our response has been only kneejerk, with occasional, erratic outbursts and protests.
It is not different than dogs barking in the backyard when the party is going on in the living room.
We fail to recognize that Islamophobia is a multi-billion-dollar industry worldwide funded by private foundations, hate groups and even some corporations and governments.
Let us never forget the idiom Put your money where your mouth is!
As a community, we fail to prioritize our spending; we are good at building mosques; and continue to do so where there is no shortage of mosques; most of them will end up empty of worshippers when the first generation is gone.
When it comes to funding think tanks, advocacy groups, media, research institutes and the like that would assist us to stand up against this onslaught, we are complacent.
That must change; most of the mainstream media in general fail to address Muslim grievances; genocide is being preached and perpetrated against Muslims all over the world, yet much of the media appears to pay no heed; Muslim lives do not matter.
Compare the coverage of Ukraine with the coverage of Palestine or lynching of Muslims and calls for genocide against Muslims in India, Myanmar, or elsewhere.
The plight of innocent Ukrainians caught in the politics is sad and must be highlighted and they must be helped. The same concern must be extended to all innocent people suffering in Yemen, Kashmir, Syria, and too many other places to list here.
We see hypocrisy and preferential treatment based on race and religion. Why else is the media silent on the brazen attacks on the worshippers in Aqsa mosque; compare this with their united stand with Ukraine;
Surely as Muslims we can never be complacent on the suffering of the innocent anywhere. However, the world must recognize that Muslim lives do matter; our lives are as valuable as those of others.
So, we cannot depend on the biased media and governments to take up our issues.
We ought to promote or fund other channels to make our voice heard and present our narrative.
Let us support those who are working to fight racism, islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and discrimination of any type and promote justice and peace.
We must never separate our stand against Islamophobia from our stand against racism and discrimination in all forms.
To make a difference, we ought to plan, strategize and take affirmative action. It is well past the time to support organizations like the National Council on Canadian Muslms (NCCM) and other entities that are advocating for us at the national level.
May Allah bless us in our endeavors.
Let us pray:
O Allah, we ask of You to accept our prayers, fasts, charities, supplications, and good works
We beg You to shower Your mercies on those who have passed away; forgive their sins and admit them to paradise.
We implore You to send down healing and cure on those who are sick; to ease their pain and suffering and bless them with sound health and long life.
We beseech You to guide us all to the truth and guide others through us to the truth
And bring back to the fold of Islam those who are straying away.
We ask you to protect us all from deadly diseases and purge our hearts from all character vices
We invoke Your mercy on those who are oppressed all over the world; we beg you to come to their aid and help them gain their dignity, freedom, and rights.