Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Eid Mubarak to You All

Eid-ul-Fitr 2009 Greetings:
Eid Mubarak to you all

Dr. Mozammel Haque

Makkah al-Mukarramah: The end of the Holy Month of Ramadan marks the start of the Eid-ul-Fitr festival and celebrations which are often highlighted by the exchange of gifts amongst close family members and children. Muslims all over the world who came to visit the Two Holy Mosques in the month of Ramadan fasted and stood in prayer at night during this past month with sincere faith must continue to be diligent and dutiful in our worship of Allah, and kind to our fellow human beings including the neighbours. Such obligations must continue in good faith, even as Ramadan comes to an end.

While I can personally deliver my Eid greetings to family members, friends and associates, I take it upon myself to use this column to thank all the readers of this column as well as the weekly The Muslim Weekly. Eid Mubarak.

During the month of Ramadan, both in the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and the Masjid al Nabawi in Madinah, philanthropists and social workers distributed Iftar. Several charities and philanthropists vied with each other in providing delicious and healthy breakfast to the visitors to the Prophet’s Mosque. The daily expenditure on breakfast works out to SR2 million which is borne by the private sector. The presidency of the Prophet’s Mosques affairs supplied Zamzam water in more than 20,000 water coolers. The Presidency also kept 2,000 workers on active duty to keep the Mosque clean within 15 minutes of breaking the fast. They also moved water coolers to their original places before the call for Maghreb prayer was made.

Jumah, Taraweeh and Qiyamullail prayers
More than three million Muslim faithful attended Jumah, Taraweeh and Qiyamullail prayers at the Two Holy Mosques on Friday as the imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah called for joint efforts to combat terrorism. The Haram in Makkah overflowed with worshippers as tens of thousands of faithful had come to perform Umrah and attend special prayers seeking Lailat Al-Qadr, the Night of Power. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, accompanied by senior princes, ministers and officials, was in Makkah to spend the last 10 days of Ramadan in the vicinity of Haram.

Delivering his Friday sermon, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque, urged the faithful to fear God in all walks of their lives. He also urged Muslims to make use of the blessings in the last 10 days of Ramadan by engaging in worship and righteous deeds. “It’s a great blessing of God that we have another opportunity to live in these most blessed days and nights of the year,” he said. “We have to thank God for this blessing by doing good deeds. Are we ready to do that?” the imam asked.

He explained how the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions spent the last 10 days of Ramadan. The Prophet used to stay inside the mosque throughout the last 10 days of the holy month, seeking Lailat Al-Qadr. “This night is called Lailat Al-Qadr considering its importance and greatness. It’s better than a thousand months.”

Imam Al-Sudais also spoke about the importance of paying Zakah, the compulsory payment of a specific portion of a person’s wealth. Most Muslims pay their Zakah during Ramadan to maximize their reward.

Khatm prayers
More than two million faithful thronged the Grand Mosque in Makkah to attend special prayers on the night of 29th Ramadan marking the completion of the recitation (Khatm) of the Holy Qur’an at night prayers during Ramadan. The mosque complex overflowed with worshippers with thousands lining up in the courtyards and streets around the mosque to join the prayers. Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, who led the prayers, beseeched Allah to end the sufferings of Muslims everywhere. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif, senior princes and ministers are in the vicinity of Makkah to monitor the services being rendered to worshippers.

Saudi Television as well as foreign channels carried the annual event to viewers around the globe. The Civil Defence had set up a plan to meet any emergency situation and deployed more than 4,200 officers and readied equipment to carry out rescue operations. The Makkah Municipality deployed 4,600 workers to keep the keep the central region of Makkah neat and clean. The government had made special arrangements to protect pilgrims from swine flu and other contagious diseases. About 200 doctors and nurses were on duty at clinics inside and outside the Mosque.

After a number of people in Taif sighted the Shawwal crescent Saturday evening, the Supreme Court ratified the testimonies of people who sighted the new moon and the Royal Court announced that Sunday will be the first day of Eid-ul-Fitr in Saudi Arabia. With the confirmation of the sighting of Shawwal crescent, at least 14 million SMS messages were sent by subscribers of telecom companies in Saudi Arabia on Saturday evening to exchange Eid-ul-Fitr greetings. The messages were sent before Eid-ul-Fitr prayers that took place at open grounds and mosques in various parts of the country. There were a total of 175 Eid congregations in Jeddah, including 74 in the centre of the city, 51 in the north and 50 in the south.

Eid-ul-Fitr Prayers
Nearly three million Muslims, including a large number of foreign pilgrims, attended the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior Prince Naif, Makkah Governor Prince Khaled al-Faisal and other senior princes and ministers joined the prayers.

Sheikh Saleh Bin-Humaid, the Imam and Khateeb of the Grand Mosque, led the prayers. In his Eid sermon, the imam urged Muslims to spread love and affection among them and improve their relations with others. He highlighted the importance of volunteerism, saying it would help lessen the suffering of other people and that it purifies minds, prevents people from becoming stingy, gets rid of disappointment. “Such volunteer work should not be limited to the times of natural calamities,” the imam said. He said spreading happiness among members of society was essential to strengthening social bonds. Such cohesiveness, he said, is essential to safeguard internal security, prevent crimes and reduce poverty and corruption.

“We should compete with one another in charitable and voluntary work,” he added. “It promotes popular partnership. Being a strong means of reforms, it also strengthens states and governments and bridges the gap in extending services.”

At the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah nearly two million faithful attended Eid prayers, which were led by Sheikh Salah al-Bedair. In his Eid sermon, Al-Bedair called upon Muslims to abide by the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah in all walks of their life. He reminded the faithful and promoting virtue and preventing vice is one of the fundamentals of Shari’ah. He advised Muslims to perform the compulsory five daily prayers, give the obligatory alms of Zakat and perform the once in-a-life-time duty of Hajj. They should also avoid interest-bearing finances and the usury trap, pay the salaries of workers and not ask of workers what they cannot do.

King Abdullah’s Eid Message:
Let us spread happiness
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah on Saturday congratulated Muslims all over the world on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr and urged them to treat the less fortunate with a spirit of compassion and solidarity. “Let your Eid be a celebration of love and compassion,” King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan said in a joint message to the nation.

King Abdullah and Prince Sultan thanked God for bestowing His blessings on the Kingdom and its people. "Islam is the greatest blessing of God and Eid that comes after the holy month of Ramadan is one of its features,” the message said. The King and the Crown Prince urged Muslims in the Kingdom and elsewhere in the world to compete with one another in charitable activities in order to remove and lessen the pain off others.

British Prime Minister’s Eid Message
“I am delighted to send you all best wishes for Eid-ul-Fitr. This is a special time at the end of the very holy month of Ramadan. Muslims throughout the United Kingdom and around the world are not only celebrating the end of the fast, but are celebrating faith, family and devotion,” said the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, M.P in his Eid-ul-Fitr 2009 message.

Brown said, “This is a joyous time but also a time when we think of others. So as families and friends come together your thoughts are with each other and ours are with you.”

“Please accept our warmest regards as Britain’s Muslim communities join the Ummah around the world in celebrating Eid ul-Fitr – I wish you all Eid Mubarak,” British Prime Minister added.

British Foreign Secretary’s Eid Message
“I am delighted to send you my very best wishes for the important day of Eid-ul-Fitr. I know that this is a crucial part of the Muslim calendar, a time to reflect, a time to think about local and global responsibilities. I’m very proud to be the foreign secretary of a country where over two million Muslims make a massive contribution to politics, to the arts, to business and also to diplomacy itself through the Foreign Office,” said British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, M.P. in his Eid-ul-Fitr 2009 Message.

Miliband also said, “I know that the challenges that we face are real, but I also know that there is a real yearning in Britain and elsewhere for a new coalition between states like ours and between Muslim majority countries, but above all between people across boundaries of race, religion and region.”

“So on this very important day I send you my best wishes, Eid Mubarak,” British Foreign Secretary said.

British Secretary of State for Communities
And Local Government
“I am pleased to send you my best wishes and Eid Mubarak. Eid ul-Fitr is a day of renewal, of celebrating happiness with families, friends and neighbours, marking the end of the month of Ramadan. This is a special occasion for the UK’s Muslim communities, but people of all different backgrounds and walks of life share your joy, thanks to the double blessing of the diversity that so enriches our society, and the common values that bring us all together,” said British Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham, M.P., in his Eid-ul-Fitr 2009 Message.

Denham said, “It is an honour to share this celebration with you. Happy Eid and Eid Mubarak.”

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