Read the Eid-ul-Fitr Sermon Below:
Peace and Happiness
Eid-ul-Fitr is the gift of Allah (swt), so I wish to convey my warmest greetings and best wishes to all my Muslim brothers, sisters, and children, and especially all my dear and sincere disciples around the world. May Allah (swt) reward all Muslims for their endurance as well as their obedience and devotion to Him during the Holy month of Ramadan. Since fasting is obligatory on all Muslims during Ramadan, celebrating Eid today is incumbent upon all our Muslims brothers, sisters and children as a community; it is the occasion offered to us all to enjoy the divine favours upon us, to rejoice, to wear our best, to be at our best and to eat and drink what best has been prepared for it is expressly forbidden to fast on this festive day. But as always in Islam, all in the spirit of moderation!
Eid-ul-Fitr is a day of sharing, happiness… Why happiness? This is because we have obeyed our Creator in that which we have observed one month fasting according to His divine commandment. So like you heard, I have used two words: peace and happiness. Islam means peace and submission to Allah only. In its purest form, peace is inner silence, the inner tranquillity [Sakina] filled with the power of truth. Peace is the prominent characteristic of what we call a civilized society and the character of a society can be seen through the collective consciousness of its members.
Peace consists of pure thoughts, pure feelings and pure wishes. When the energy of thought, word and action is balanced, stable and non violent, the individual is at peace with the self, in relationships and with the world. To exercise the power of peace embraces the fundamental principle of spirituality: look inward in order to look outward with courage, purpose, and meaning. The first step in that process takes careful examination of one’s thoughts, feelings and motives. By opening the window of the inner self, individuals are able to clarify and pinpoint attitudes and behaviour patterns which are destructive, causing chaos and peacelessness. People say in one breath that they want peace of mind and in the next breath they say hurtful things. Wasteful gossip spreads peacelessness, as does anger.
Peacelessness initially begins with a few angry, forceful thoughts which are then expressed in words and in some instances escalate unto uncontrolled proportions of violence. People say they want peace in the world but what kind of peace do they desire? People ask for peace, but whose responsibility is that? Can anyone who remains peaceless be an instrument for peace? Authenticity of action depends on authenticity of person. Today, policy makers are dedicated to making construction, and keeping peace. A tremendous amount of human resources and research is invested in establishing world peace. Even prizes [like the Nobel Prize and other decorations and awards] are given to people for their work toward peace.
Emphasis is placed on the value of peace precisely because of the great peacelessness that exists and which has infiltrated our lives far deeper than we [humans] care to admit. In its most common form, peacelessness can be felt as stress and pressure due to family, work, social and other obligations. In its more serious condition, peacelessness is manifested in breakdowns, addictions, abuses, crimes, emotional imbalances and psychosomatic ailments. While medical science has helped relieve symptoms of stress, and psychology has contributed toward understanding the psyche [i.e. the consciousness, spirit, mind (mental state) and soul], there continues a genuine search for a functional and empowering spirituality which can produce within the individual a calm and relaxed state of mind.
The promise of peace gives hope, but like the liquid piece of quicksilver, it sometimes seems slippery and evasive. We are at a crossroad of human civilization. On one hand, things are rapidly disintegrating. That is made bitterly apparent by wars, civil strife, riots, ethnic cleansing and so on. However, on the other hand, an almost invisible integration involving alternatives and possibilities is printing the pieces together. Bringing peace back into the social, economic, political and other fibres of society would require looking at peace from two levels: the external and the internal. Peace education, conflict resolution and all peace initiatives must take seriously the critical connection between individual and world peace.
So peace must begin with each one of us. Through quiet and serious reflection on its meaning, new and creative ways can be found to foster understanding, friendships and co-operation among all people.
As for us, Muslims, Allah (swt) has given us the golden opportunity to live with peace. Even when we are fasting, and someone insults us, we have to tell him: ‘I am fasting’. So, for us, Muslims, living in peace is not only reserved for the month of Ramadan, but also for the eleven months to come to the next Ramadan. Insha-Allah, this will continue like this where finally we will know the true meaning of Islam which Allah (swt) has purified as His Deen [way of life/ religion] and given its name, i.e. Islam.
And concerning my second word which I used at the beginning of my sermon, i.e. on Happiness… Why Happiness? Through the power of truth there is wealth, and through the power of peace, there is health. Together they give happiness. Happiness is earned by those whose actions, attitude, and attributes are pure and selfless. At present, many question the purpose of life. Some are tired of living, others have lost hope. Some makes effort to earn wealth, believing that will bring the happiness. Some who have wealth may not have health and that causes unhappiness. Some choose certain professions, believing that will give happiness; others seek happiness through relationships.
Yet, however much happiness such measures may bring, they are temporary and limited sources of the material world and in many instances, they bring equal amounts of sorrow and happiness.
Such inability to hold onto pure and lasting happiness results from bankruptcy of spiritual values and powers. Awareness and application of spiritual truths provide the true source of happiness. Through the power of truth there is wealth, and through the power of peace, there is health. Together they give happiness. Like a tonic, spiritual knowledge makes the hopeless ones hopeful. Pure happiness returns to anyone who seeks such new and hopeful horizons. Important things forgotten are remembered. The feeling can be compared to returning home – as you see the trees and smell the breeze, you know you are nearing something close to your heart! The warmth and comfort of happiness is hidden within the self. When individuals turn within and take strength from the internal powers of peace and silence, they revive their virtues and allow the mercury of happiness to rise. The soul becomes open to the secrets of how to live, in an interdependent way without becoming a victim of the material world which by its very nature robs people of their happiness.
The vault of spiritual knowledge holds treasures on how to live and act with truth. True actions are pure and purity is the mother of happiness and comfort. True actions bring strength and happiness to the self and pleasure to others. Spiritual treasures include guidelines on how to reform character and activity. For many, self-progress, and personal transformation are keys that unlock the gate of happiness.
So my brothers, sisters and children Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting and abstinence. It is a day of rejoicing and conviviality characterised by charity and piety. Amidst joy and mirth, the festival marks the accomplishment of a spiritual revival after a month-long period of austerities and introspection. I am confident that with our spiritual training we got in the holy month of Ramadan we shall march ahead and converge together, hands in hands, towards the unicity of Allah (swt) and follow the step of our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) till our last breath in this world. Ameen Summa Ameen, Ya Rabbul Aalameen.
Once again on this happy occasion, I wish all my Muslim brothers, sisters and children - and especially my dear and sincere disciples around the world “EID MUBARAK”.