A Step Toward Strengthening the Community Bond

(Eid-ul-Fitr Speech delivered by Mohamed Baianonie, Imam at the Islamic Center of Raleigh NC on October 13, 2007)

Allaah ﷻ gave us many blessings, but one of the greatest blessings was that He guided us to the Deen of Islaam. Allaah perfected the laws of Islaam and chose it to be our religion and our complete way of life. Allaah said to the believers, what may be interpreted as, "This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed my favor upon you, and have chosen Islaam as your religion." Islaam therefore is the complete religion, which contains all aspects of the human life and answers all human needs.

Mankind has always made up their own special festivities and celebrations; however, Islaam did not leave it up to the Muslim Ummah to decide on its own celebrations. Allaah ﷻ is the one who permitted certain festivities. "When the prophet Muhammad ﷺ migrated to Madina, he found that the natives of Madina, the Ansaar, had two days of celebration. The prophet asked: 'What are these two days?' They answered: 'They are two days in which we used to celebrate during Jaahiliyah' (The Period before Islaam). So the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: 'Allaah has replaced you with two better days; the day of the Al-Adhaa 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 Allaah ﷻ in a different way.

The Islamic celebration of Eid is really a way in which we thank Allaah ﷻ for His infinite blessings, seen and unseen. Allaah ﷻ says what may be interpreted as, "And if you try to count Allaah'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 Islaam: fasting in the month of Ramadan and performing a pilgrimage to the house of Allaah. Eid also strengthens the relationship between Muslims and eliminates selfishness. For example, paying zakaat 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 ﷺ 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 celebration of the Muslims. And the women in their menstrual cycle must not participate in the prayer."

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to bring along his wives and daughters during the two Eids . Ibn Abbaas said, "I went out with the prophet on the day of Fitr or Adhaa 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 Islaam urge the Muslim community to strengthen the relationship among 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 a collective effort. 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 ﷺ 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. In other sayings, the prophet mentions the importance of the community bond by making an analogy using a strong building. 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 the bricks of one high rise building, or this is the way we should be. The body includes all its parts with each part serving a specific and 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, with the grace of Allaah ﷻ and then with the gathering of the collective efforts of many volunteers may Allaah ﷻ reword them all, we were able almost to complete the expansion of our Islamic Center of Raleigh. This expansion will improve the quality of services for the community. This without a doubt is a great accomplishment, but it is not every thing, and it is not the end of the journey. In fact, the building is only the beginning and the first step towards our goals of having better Islamic future for our selves and our children. But we need many things in order to carry this responsibility that has been placed on us.

We need more funds and volunteers to keep running and managing the Center so it can accomplish its set goals, and many other beneficial projects.

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to practice in this collective effort that we talked about in today's speech to fulfill the goal of serving the Muslim community and carrying out the message of Islaam. We need all of your participation through your supplications, volunteer work, donations, and carrying this message to others.

I ask Allaah ﷻ to bless you all on this festive day of Eid and to accept our fasting, Qiyaam , prayers, and charities. "Aameen"