[Praise be to Allah Who guided us to this (way). Never could we have found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah.] (Al-A`raf 7:43)

[If you give thanks I shall give you more, and if you are ungrateful then My punishment is severe indeed.] (Ibrahim 14:7)

[Remember Me and I shall remember you, and give thanks to Me and be not ungrateful.] (Al-Baqarah 2:152)

O Allah, We thank You for all Your gifts and favors to us. You sent to us the best Book, chose for us the best human being as a Prophet, and gave us the best guidance that You chose for us.

O Allah, we thank You, You deserve all thanks. We thank You in private and in public.

O Allah, We thank You with love and with our free choice.

O Allah, we thank You that You blessed us with faith in You. You made it easy for us to fast in the month of Ramadan, to pray in its nights, and to recite Your Glorious Book.

Today is the day of Eid, and Eid is the day of thanks. It marks the end of the month of fasting. We feel happy and we give thanks to Allah that we obeyed His commands; we fasted during the month of Ramadan. Allah’s commands are good for us. They are for our benefit. Allah does not want to put any burden on anyone, but He gave us the rules of fasting for our own benefit. Fasting has many benefits for individuals and for communities. It has spiritual, moral, and physical benefits. It has benefits for the individuals and for the society. Fasting—

Teaches self-discipline

Raises the level of God-consciousness

Helps human beings to rise above materialism and selfishness

Makes people more humble, kind, charitable, and righteous

Brings people closer to each other as a community

Teaches patience and steadfastness

Gives more energy and courage to do good deeds

Makes people healthy and strong

Makes people mentally alert and psychologically stable

Purifies bodies and souls

Brothers and sisters:

As we gather here today, there are two feelings that are clearly uppermost in our hearts and minds: the feeling of joy and satisfaction on the completion of our religious duty, and the feeling of brotherhood, sisterhood, and solidarity among ourselves.

We are the people of faith. We are the servants of Allah. What pleases us is that which pleases our Lord. We are brothers and sisters in faith. We feel happy when we come together in the name of our faith, representing diverse colors, races, and ethnic backgrounds. We come together in the spirit of Islamic brotherhood, in the name of Allah, and following our faith, Islam.

Let us keep this spirit of `Eid among us always. Let us strengthen our bond with our Creator and with each other. Let us be more united. Let us all become more and more committed to righteousness in our own lives, in the lives of our families, and in the society in which we live.

Brothers and sisters:

Islam is the religion of worship, ibadah. But worship in Islam is not a mere collection of rituals. It is a whole way of life. Worship helps us to remain conscious of Allah and of our own selves. It makes right our relations with every person and with every thing. The people of worship are the people who are good to their families, to their children, to their parents, to their neighbors, to their co-workers, to the environment, to the resources of the earth, and to the world at large. The people of worship make everything right and everything good.Ibadah is the crux of the matter. It is the purpose of our creation. [I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship me] (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56).

Worship has a purpose. Its purpose is to set aright everything. Worship sets aright our relations with our Creator, with our own selves, with our families and with others. If we worship, but others are not safe and secure from our words and our actions, then we have not learned anything from our worship. If we pray and do injustice to others, if we pray and ignore the cries of the poor and those in pain, if we pray and do not care for those who are suffering in our neighborhood and around the world, then our prayers have not done us any good. If we pray but we do not try to change the social, economic, and political injustices and oppressions in this world, then we have not realized the true meaning of our worship.

The real `ibadah or worship is that which changes the people. It transforms them into the real people of Allah. The people of Allah are described in the Qur’an:

[Whatever ye are given (here) is (but) a convenience of this Life: but that which is with Allah is better and more lasting: (it is) for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord; those who avoid major sins and shameful deeds, and, when they are angry even then forgive; those who answer the call of to their Lord, and establish regular prayer; who (conduct) their affairs by mutual consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for sustenance; and those who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, (are not cowed but) help and defend themselves.] (Ash-Shura 42:36–39)

The people of Allah are the paradigms of virtue and goodness. They stand for peace and justice in the world. They are not only satisfied with their own personal righteousness and salvation, but they work to bring justice, peace, and happiness to the world.

Brothers and sisters:

I am pleased to see so many of you here today. I wish you a very happy `Eid. May Allah bless you, accept your prayers, your fasting, your charity, and all your good deeds.

Brothers and sisters:

We are facing many challenges at this time. But with faith and trust in Allah and with unity and solidarity among ourselves, we can overcome all challenges and difficulties. We must not succumb to despair, fear, or anxiety. We must continue working with sincerity, honesty, and wisdom. We must work together. We must continue building our institutions, our community centers, our educational programs, and activities. We must continue and increase our involvement with others on the interfaith and political level. We have to remove misunderstandings about us and about our faith from the minds of fellow Americans. We must continue building the bridges of understanding with others to keep this society just and peaceful, diverse and pluralistic. I remind you and myself to face the challenges with courage, confidence, and wisdom.

The Qur’an tells us that

[Allah is with those who are patient and steadfast (as-sabirin).] (Al-Baqarah 2:153)

[Allah is with those who are righteous (al-muttaqin)] (Al-Baqarah 2:194)

[Allah is with those who do the acts of kindness (al-muhsinin)] (Al-`Ankabut 29:69)

It is true that there is a lot of anti-Islamic propaganda today, but we should be thankful to Allah that there are still a very large number of people who have goodwill towards us and who want to know more about our faith. Let us build on this trust. Let us use whatever freedom we have and whatever opportunities we find to help others to know us, to know about the universal values of Islam.

We must pay special attention to the next generation of Muslims growing up here. They need good upbringing and extensive Islamic education. We must protect them from the wrong influences of drugs, violence, immoral behavior, and the evils that are affecting youth and eating them up. We must give them knowledge, give them hope, give them love and care, and do our best to keep them on the path of Allah.

Let me close this khutbah with a hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). `Amr ibn Maymun Al-Awdi reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Take advantage of five things before five others: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your leisure before your work, and your life before your death” (At-Tirmidhi).

By Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi

Excerpted, with some modifications from: http://www.pakistanlink.com