Eid ul Fitr

Nov 07

30:30 (Asad) AND SO, set thy face steadfastly towards the one ever-true faith, turning away from all that is false, in accordance with the natural disposition which God has instilled into man: for not to allow any change to corrupt what God has thus created,  this is the purpose of the one ever-true faith; but most people know it not.

 

God is the Greatest, God is the Greatest, There is no God but He. God is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, and to Him goes all gratitude and thanks.

All praise belongs to God –we praise Him, we seek His aid, we repent our sins to Him and in Him do we place our trust.

We bear witness that there is no god but God, God the One with no partner, Lord of lords, Causer of all causes, the Fashioner of the Seven Heavens, Creator of all that is.

We also bear witness that Muhammad, the Unlettered Prophet, is His slave and messenger, Seal of the Prophets and most noble of the Messengers.

 

Assalamu alaikum and Eid Mubarak to all.

Today is Eid ul Fitr, a day of celebration, the festival of breaking the fast, the end of the Holy month of Ramadan.

The word Eid comes from the verb ‘to return’ :Ibn-ul- ‘Arabee said: “‘Eid was named ‘Eid because it returns every year with renewed happiness.”

But today I want to focus on the distinctive part of this Eid, the word Fitr.

The root Fa Ta Ra comes from the Arabic verb fatara, meaning, he split, he broke apart, he brought forth, or he created. I repeat: he split, he broke apart, he brought forth, or he created. This root can mean the very essence of creation. And from this word come many other related words. It is from the root that a great tree grows.

-There is the word Al Fatir, the Creator, the title given to surah 35.

-There is the word fitrah, meaning our primordial nature, our natural disposition with which we were created. As Muhammad Asad says in his note to Chapter 30 v 30, the verse just quoted: fitrah is man’s inborn ability to work out the difference between right and wrong, and thus man’s intuitive ability to sense God’s existence and oneness.

-There is the word iftar, meaning break fast, providing us with both physical and spiritual essence or nourishment.

– And there is Eid ul Fitr, the breaking of the fasting period.

– And there is zakat ul fitr, also known as fitrah, the charity to purify the one who has fasted from any indecent act or speech, to bring him back to the essence of goodness.

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I want to look at this word fatara, firstly in connection with our relationship with Allah, secondly our relationship with our children, thirdly our relationship with those new to Islam, and finally our relationship with the wider community.

 

(1)  Our relationship with Allah

 

  • Allah is our Creator. He is referred to in the Quran as ‘fatir as samawati wal ardh’, the Creator of the Heaven and Earth. And we are the human beings He has created.

 

  • Every day we have been fasting simply because Allah has commanded us. We haven’t been fasting to clear our digestive systems, although they might now be clearer. We haven’t been fasting to lose weight – although some of us have, some of us wanted to, and some of us haven’t. We have simply been following Allah’s command, His command to fast.  We know that every day we should be following Allah’s commands, but during the period of Ramadan this sense of God consciousness is heightened.

 

  • As I was making my celebratory Eid chocolate cake yesterday afternoon and getting covered in chocolate cake mixture, I just knew I couldn’t even contemplate licking the remnants of the bowl. My youngest daughter who is only six had no such qualms. But I knew that Allah is watching me, and that Allah has commanded me not to eat or drink during daylight. When we are convinced that the command is the truth, it is amazingly easy to obey that command.

 

  • Our sense of God-consciousness is heightened in Ramadan, and so often in Ramadan it seems easier to follow his guidance. Whilst many of us do not always rush to pray our five daily prayers immediately at the time for the adhan, at maghrib during Ramadan, we rush to follow the guidance about hastening to break our fast at iftar. It is the one time that Muslims can almost be guaranteed to be prompt. ….  Although this Ramadan I have been learning about something called Pietersburg time, or Polokwane time rather, which apparently is just a little bit later than everyone else.

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  • And now we are following Allah’s command not to fast.

 

  • This is the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr, a day of breaking the Fast, a day when Allah has expressly forbidden any of us to fast.

 

  • And we are here at the prayer for Eid ul Fitr, again at Allah’s command. On a day when we want to celebrate, we make time for an extra prayer in addition to the five we must already do. Because prayer is a key part of that celebration, a prayer of thanks to Allah for the blessing of the month of Ramadan, a prayer that our fasts have been accepted, a prayer for His Love, His Mercy, His Compassion and His Forgiveness.

 

  • During Ramadan, we have been trying to draw closer to Allah by trying to emulate these attributes. During Ramadan we try our hardest to show love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness to those around us – and now Ramadan has come to a close, we must try our hardest to constantly emulate those attributes of Allah, to keep a close relationship with Allah.

 

  • My children have been gleefully reminding me that during Ramadan at least, I have not been allowed to get angry with them, but instead must show them endless kindness. This of course is easier said than done, particularly when they have not done their homework, have left essential parts of their school uniform at home or school or tell me they can’t manage to eat the supper I have lovingly cooked. But the point remains: to draw closer to Allah, we can’t just ask Allah for His Mercy, we must constantly show mercy to others.

(2)  Our relationship with our children

 

  • Which brings me to our relationship with our children, our children who are all born with their natural ‘fitrah’, created with childhood innocence.

 

  • In a hadith recorded by Muslim, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said: ‘Every new-born child is born in a state of fitrah. Then his parents make him a Jew, a Christian or a Magian’ Fitrah is the natural constitution with which a child is created in his mother’s womb, and his innate disposition to believe in God.

 

  • I did wonder about my young daughter’s natural fitrah when she told me recently what was the worst thing about being a Muslim. She said the worst thing was praying. I can understand it. No other faith makes such a consistent and demanding requirement of all of its followers from the age of puberty, the requirement to pray five times a day, every day. And on Eid day, it is in fact six! She doesn’t yet do all of them but she can see it is coming.  And she says it interferes with playtime and having fun with friends. Indeed it does.

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  • But I then asked my innately innocent daughter what was the best thing about being a Muslim. And I was surprised that the answer was – once again – praying. She told me she loves the feeling of togetherness when we pray as a family and with friends, and at her madrasah and with the wider community – and she particularly loves the hugs she gets afterwards. I am sure today all the young children will experience lots of hugs after the prayer. And I hope they continue to experience such love every day. Love is part of the fitrah too.

 

  • I pray that we can nurture the fitrah of our children, and help them see some of the wisdom and the reasons behind Allah’s guidance, so that when they reach maturity, they choose to follow Islam – not because their parents are Muslim, not because we want them to be Muslim, but because it makes sense to them and because they want to follow it, and because they can see Islam is the religion of human nature,  the din al-fitrah,

 

 

(3)  Our relationship with those new to Islam

 

  • The third aspect of fitr I want to touch on is our relationship with those new to Islam. They have found Islam, they have reverted to their natural state of fitrah, we have welcomed them into Islam – but they need our support.

 

  • I will never forget my first Eid ul Fitr.
    • Before I became Muslim, I had read about Eid ul Fitr in textbooks, and I knew it was a joyous occasion, it was a time for family and friends, it was a time for good food and for celebration.
    • And then I experienced my first Eid. It was many years ago, I was at university at the time, and it was term-time. I knocked on the doors of the Muslims whom I knew. I didn’t have a vast range of contacts, but I thought some of them would be in. But they weren’t. They were all out. They had all left university right in the middle of term, to be with their family. And I was left behind with everyone else who was not Muslim. My day was very ordinary, and at the time I thought Christmas was a lot more fun. You may be glad to know since then that my experience of Eid has improved dramatically, and while my family have not yet shared Eid with me, I have found plenty of other people to share it with.

 

  • But I would like to ask you to spare a thought for those who are new to Islam, who do not have any Muslim family. They may need our help to make Eid a special day. Please consider inviting them to join you in your celebrations, so they too can share in the joy of Eid ul Fitr.

 

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(4)  Our relationship with the wider community.

  • Finally, I want to turn to the meaning of fitr, in relationship to the wider community.
  • Every Muslim before coming to the Eid prayer, should have made efforts to pay their Sadaqatul Fitr, or Fitrah. There are a number of differences when comparing fitrah with Zakah.
  1. While zakah is obligatory for adults, Fitrah is wajib – or strongly recommended – to be paid by a member of the household on behalf of every man, woman, child and even baby in that household.
  2. Whilst many Muslims choose to give zakah in Ramadan,  – and I have seen 2 million rand has been given to Islamic Relief in just the last few days – in fact zakah can be paid at any time of the year. Fitrah is payable before the Eid ul Fitr salah. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The fast remains suspended between Heaven and Earth until the fitrah is paid.”
  3. While zakah is payable only when savings have reached a certain minimum threshold, Fitrah is payable by all those who have at least one day’s meals for their family on the eve of Eid ul Fitr. And so the number of people involved in giving will be so much larger with fitrah than with zakah
  4. And unlike zakah, the amount payable for fitrah is the same regardless of how much wealth you have, so the poor can feel exactly equal, experiencing the joy of giving, and of receiving the reward promised by Allah for giving to others.
  • Why do we give fitrah? We give fitrah to purify our fasting, but we also give fitrah so that the very poor and needy can enjoy food for the festival of Eid. At least on this day, the day of Eid ul Fitr, they should not have to beg.

 

  • I have seen so many Muslims active in feeding the poor this Ramadan. May Allah reward them all. In fact in some areas around Johannesburg, especially in the last 10 days of Ramadan, there have even been several feeding schemes going at the same time for the same people.

 

  • Yet we must remember that the poor are poor throughout the year. And they are hungry throughout the year. I pray inshallah that we can continue the good work done by many Muslims this Ramadan, and that we can contribute to supporting the most vulnerable in our society not just for one month but for twelve.

 

  • After all, part of the essential meaning of the word fitrah, our innate nature, is our sense of community, our willingness to help each other and to sacrifice for each other. And the day of Eid forces us to remember that, and to practise these qualities, with the hope we will be able to live by them for the rest of the year.

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CLOSING DUA

May we continue to feel the close connection with Allah, the ‘fatir as samawati wal ardh’, the Creator of the Heavens and Earth, through emulating his qualities of love, mercy, forgiveness and compassion. Amen.

May God help us in guiding and advising our children so they choose to follow the Straight Path, the religion of human nature, the din al fitrah. Amen.

May God support those new to Islam as they begin their journey within Islam, and may God open our hearts to help all those who are alone this Eid ul Fitr. Amen.

And may God give us the means, the patience and the humility to help the poor and needy not just with our zakat-ul-fitrah, but all the way through to the next Ramadan and beyond. Amen.

CLOSING

Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, La ilaha ilallah. Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar. Wa lillahil hamd.Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar, La ilaha ilallah. Allahu akbar. Allahu akbar. Wa lillahil hamd.Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest. There is no God but He.  Allah is the Greatest, Allah is the Greatest, and to Him goes all gratitude and thanks.

One comment

  1. Mubarak /

    ALHAMDULILLAH… Great Job!
    Barakallahu feeki..

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