Eid al-Fitr Sermon
Eid-ul-Fitr is a unique festival. It has no connection with any historical event nor is it related to the changes of seasons or cycles of agriculture. It is not a festival related in any way to worldly affairs.
Its significance is purely spiritual. It is the day when the believers of Allah, the ones who surrender to the Truth, Muslims, thank Allah for having given them the will, the strength and the endurance to observe the fast and obey His commandments during the holy month of Ramadan.
Today, we are celebrating is the apex of thankfulness to Allah, who creates us, takes care of us in the best way, and loves and guides us to righteousness.
But what is shukr? What does it really mean to be thankful to Allah? How can we be thankful to God? Saying I am thankful to God… But more importantly, putting this into action!
- By realizing Allah’s blessings on us, such as our intelligence or friendliness.
- By using His blessings on us for the good of humanity, like writing and talking with Godly wisdom, or re-instating peace among friends.
- Wearing nice clothes, or perfume… etc. and remembering Allah is Jameel/the Beautiful!
- Helping the poor, and donating meat… etc. and remembering Allah is Razzak/the Provider!
- Visiting the sick, the elderly, and all relatives, and remembering Allah is Shafi/the Healer!
- Sharing our love with our neighbors and all those we meet.
- Declaring God’s greatness, and praising him enthusiastically.
- We are always showered with the gifts of The Most Compassionate. Only if we would open our eyes, and realize…
- “Is, then, He Who creates, comparable to any that cannot create? Will you not, then, take heed? For should you try to count God’s blessings, you could never count them…” (An-Nahl, 16:17-19).
- Yes, we can never count God’s blessings.
- But, we need to be aware to be ever grateful to God for everything.
- For our health, our wealth, our intelligence… For every breath we take, and most importantly our life and faith.
- Creation is a gift, bestowed on us out of God’s compassion.
- We would not have existed, if He did not wish us to exist.
- God says in the Qur’an: “Indeed Allah is the possessor of blessings for all people, but most people do not give thanks” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 243).
- Yes, Allah’s Mercy is for all… but most people will remain ungrateful.
- He shows and gives mercy to all… even those who continue to be ungrateful and rebellious towards Him.
- He says in the Qur’an: “Which, then, of your Lord’s blessings do you both deny?” (Ar-Rahman, 55:16).
- But what happens if we give thanks or not?
- Allah reminds us in the Qur’an: “And whoever is grateful, he is only grateful for the benefit of his own self” (Luqman, 31:12). And again: “For surely if it was not for the grace of Allah on you and His mercy, you would have been among the losers” (Al-Baqarah, 2:64).
- Thus, when we thank Allah it is us who benefits from it.
- And when we are ungrateful, we suffer from it.
- The utter importance of thankfulness can be understood when we compare it to its opposite. The opposite of shukr/gratitude is kufr/disbelief/covering up the truth!
- In many places in the Qur’an, God compares the terms shukr and kufr. For example, He says in the Qur’an: “Then remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not cover up the truth” (Al-Baqarah, 2:152).
- A mumin/believer is one who is ever thankful for all that Allah has given him. A mu’min is the one who is aware… This as opposed to ungratefulness.
- Hence, we have to realize that when we are ungrateful to Allah, we are not living our iman practically.
- Gratitude is a purpose of our creation: “It is He who brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers when you knew nothing; and He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affection: that you may give thanks (to Allah)” (An-Nahl, 16:78).
- True worship means sincere thankfulness to God. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him you worship” (Al-Baqarah 2:172).
- Gratitude is the gist of worship.
- Gratitude entails humbleness. It is to acknowledge that all is from Him and nothing is from us!
- Whereas being arrogant takes us away from being thankful.
- God says in the Qur’an: “If you are grateful, I will surely give you more and more” (Ibrahim, 14:7). Hence, thankfulness increases God’s favors, which are unlimited and unconditional.
- All of us are yearning for happiness, a lasting feeling of inner peace.
- God provides the answer, out of His Compassionate, in all His guidebooks.
- Gratitude is the inner Heaven on Earth!
- Gratitude is bringing Heaven to Earth!
- Gratitude is living in Heaven why we are still in the world!
- Gratitude is the water to the seed of Heaven
- The feeling of gratitude is the most great gift to us.
- As a saying attributed to Prophet Moses.. How can I thank you enough o my Lord? Since even when I thank, that also requires me to thank you once again!
- Through realizing that God’s blessings are showering on us constantly, we can achieve ultimate inner peace…
- So brothers and sisters, let’s make this Feast an occasion to remember practicing ‘gratitude’!
- Let’s increase our awareness to see God’s innumerable blessings, be it tripping over a stone or getting an A from an exam.
- Let’s practice seeing His Wisdom and His Compassion in all and everything.
- And if we cannot, let’s practice being humble and acknowledging that we have limited capacities and He is the Ultimate…
Lastly, I would like to remember everyone who is oppressed and is in difficulty, in all over the world, whether it is the middle east, Africa, America, or Asia. We pray that Allah make it easy for them, and shower his mercy to all of them. Amin.
By Dr. Omar, Rumi for the Soul