Eid as a Step Towards Strengthening the Community Bond
(Eid speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie on November 25, 2003)
Allah (SWT) gave us many blessings, and one of the greatest blessings He has given us is the guidance to the Deen of Islam. Allah perfected the laws of Islam and chose Islam to be our true religion, our complete way of life. Allah said to the believers, what may be translated as, “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen Islam as your religion.” (Verse 3,Al-Ma’dah). Islam therefore is the complete religion, which contains all aspects of the human life, and satisfies all of the human needs.
Since long ago, mankinds have had their own days of celebration, but Islam did not leave it up to the Muslim Ummah to decide on its own celebrations. Allah (SWT) is the one who permitted certain festivities. “When the prophet Muhammad (SAW) migrated to Madina, he found that the natives of Madina, the Ansar, had two days of celebration. The prophet asked: ‘What are these two days?’ They answered: ‘There are two days in which we used to celebrate during Jahiliyah’ (Period before Islam). So Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: ‘Allah has replaced them with two better days; the day of the Al-Adha and the day of Al-Fitr’.”
The celebrations of Eid have great meanings and serve a great purpose. Islamic celebrations differ greatly from non-Muslims’ celebrations. Islamic celebrations are different because, we not only celebrate for fun and entertainment, but we celebrate to worship Allah (SWT) in a different way.
The Islamic celebration of Eid is really a way in which we thank Allah (SWT) for His uncountable, seen, and unseen blessings. Allah (SWT) says what could be translated as, “And if you try to count Allah’s many blessings and favors you will not be able to.”
The two holidays of Eid come after fulfilling two of the main pillars of Islam: after fasting in the month of Ramadan and after performing pilgrimage to the house of Allah. Eid also strengthens the relationship between Muslims and eliminates selfishness. Paying zakat ul-fitr strengthens this bond because it feeds the needy and at the same time erases any bad deeds done during fasting. Also, the gathering of Muslims in this place to perform Eid prayer and listening to the Eid speech strengthens this community bond. For that, Prophet Muhammad urged the Muslims to bring their wives and children to the Eid gathering as was narrated by Umu A’atiyyah. “We were ordered (by the Prophet) to bring along the virgins and the women in their menstrual cycle, so they will see the good of Eid and the invitation of the Muslims. And the women in their menstrual cycle must not participate in the prayer.”
The Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) used to bring along his wives and daughters during the two Eids. Ibn Abbas said, “I went out with the prophet on the day of Fitr or Adha and the prophet prayed, then he delivered a speech, then he went to the women and preached to them, and reminded them and ordered them to pay charity.” All of these practices unite Muslims and increase the bond among the Muslim community. We strengthen our bond among each other not only by the celebrations of Eid, but also through all other acts of Islamic worship.
So why does Islam urge the Muslim community to strengthen the relationship between its members? And why does it try to eliminate selfishness? The simple answer is that our religious and worldly matters cannot be fulfilled effectively without group work where each person puts in his hand of help. When everyone puts in his part, then he is becoming part of one strong body—he is like a brick in a tall building. The building will not support itself without that one brick. This is why the prophet (S.A.W.) made the analogy that the Muslims are as one body; if part of this body is in pain then the rest of the body feels that part’s pain and worries. He (S.A.W.) also made this analogy with a strongly built building, parts of it hold up other parts. Can you imagine a human body functioning properly when its parts are scattered about? And how can a building rise strong and high when its bricks are scattered and unorganized?
Dear brothers and sisters, we in this Muslim community are parts of one body, we are bricks of one high rising building, or this is the way we should be. The body includes all its parts with each part serving a specific important task. If each member does his or her job, then this community will be able to face all challenges and it will fulfill its jobs as expected. This is the only way that we will all be able to reach our goals and attain good results individually or collectively.
Dear brothers and sisters, Allah is blessing us with the opportunity to expand our Islamic Center of Raleigh. This expansion project will improve the quality of services for the community; it will add a larger place for prayer for men and a more larger and special place for women to pray. Our three Islamic schools—the full-time, the weekend and the Qur’anic schools will benefit with better facilities like added classrooms, a library, science laboratories and a media center. The new expansion will add to the existing building.
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to practice this collective effort that we talked about in today’s speech to fulfill the goal of expanding the Islamic Center. We need all your participation through your supplications, volunteer work, donations, and carrying this message to others. After today’s speech, please stop by the expansion project table and pick up brochures about the expansion project. We ask Allah (S.W.T) to bless you all in this day of Eid and to accept our fasting, Qiyam, prayers, and charity. “Ameen”