Throughout Ramadan every community has held events designed to bring Muslims together for worship, contemplation and enjoyment. Our community iftaar, classes and late night dhikr forged new bonds of brotherhood and friendship or made existing bonds stronger. Each Muslim challenged the next to increase in prayer, devotion, worship and charity. Fundraisers shattered expectations and made us all believe that Allah has truly blessed the Carolina Muslim community. Now at the end of Ramadan, Muslims can reflect upon the blessings of the month as we have striven to draw closer to Allah and have asked for Allah to reveal more of His divine mercy and wisdom to each one of us. The Eid prayer is a culmination of the month-long worship and devotion as we seek to praise Allah with the best of praise and to submit to the guidance and Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).
Joyous events throughout Ramadan culminated in an Eid of unity and a call to action for the future. The takbirs had been called for 12 hours or more by the time most of us filtered into The Park for Eid prayers on Monday, July 28th. The joy of Eid on everyone’s hearts and minds as brothers and sisters from across the greater Charlotte metro area gathered together, some seeing each other for the first time since last Eid. These community prayers in Charlotte are so special because it is one of the few occasions that we have to mix and join together with members of the other communities. People from all national origins, ethnicities and backgrounds come together under one roof as one body to praise the One God, Allah (SWT) and give thanks for the blessings of Ramadan in a uniquely American way. Where else but Mecca can one find such ethnic diversity among the faithful? As the time grew closer to 10am, the crowd swelled to an uncountable number somewhere in the thousands, perhaps more than 10,000 people filling the halls with voices raised in takbirs of praise and adoration. Calls were made early on for donations to be made for Gaza; in fact, all the proceeds from parking (after paying for the venue), Zakat ul-Fitr and Sadaqah collected during the Eid prayer were designated to provide aid to Gaza.
Following the much anticipated Eid prayer, Imam Altayyeb Abu-Alyamen gave a thought-provoking lecture about the accountability of the Muslims. As individuals, what we are accountable for in worship and in knowledge; as a community, what we are accountable for toward each other and in caring for the weaker or poorer in our community; as a global Ummah, what we are accountable for in the betterment of Muslims worldwide. This third aspect of the khutbah strikes a chord with everyone this year as the khattib emphasized the chaos and tragedy that our brothers and sisters all over the world have had to face. He emphasized our duty to uplift our brethren in whatever capacity we have to fight against the tyranny, oppression and massacre that is happening in Gaza, Burma, Africa, Philippines and indeed everywhere that Muslims face difficulty. We are accountable for what we do and for what we do not do. Are we raising our voices against injustice? Are we contributing to cures for disease or succor for the helpless? Are we doing everything we are capable of to help Muslims that are crying out for help?
This Ramadan has been so hard for many in our global family and for that reason iftar for us here in America was often made bitter from the tears we have shed from their losses. How many of us dedicated nights of duaa supplicating to Allah for guidance and mercy? How many of us gave our last dollar in sadaqa to ease the troubles of our ummah? How much more can we do?
All of these questions were punctuated by the message delivered this Eid and the challenge was made clear to all who heard it: Ramadan has ended; your purification through fasting, charity, prayer and devotion has been made whole. Now the year faces you, what will you do with it?
|“And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided. And remember the favor of Allah upon you – when you were enemies and He brought your hearts together and you became, by His favor, brothers. And you were on the edge of a pit of the Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be guided.” – Qur’an 3:103|
|“The Muslim Ummah is like one body. If the eye is in pain then the whole body is in pain and if the head is in pain then the whole body is in pain” – Prophet Muhammad(SAWS) as narrated by Nu’man Ibn Bashir|