Eid Al-Fitr 2007

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Ladies and gentlemen,

Today happens to be the second of a three-day feast as Muslims around the world celebrate the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar ad its the month where able-bodied  Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. Ramadan is an obligatory pillar of Islam.Eid Mubarak or a Blessed Eid as we say in Arabic.

My topic this morning is about Muslim’s perspective on being a good citizen, a good neighbor.

There is a principle that all rational beings celebrate:

Harmonious diversity is one of the secrets of beauty.

Just look at any flower garden or any bouquet of flowers, their beauty
is the combination of different colors and different types of
flowers. It is similar to us, the secret of our beauty as a human
race is to be found in our diversity of colors and voices. Likewise,
the appeal of music lies in its reliance on the seven different notes:
Do Re Mi, Fa So La Ti.

Allah created humanity and distinguished it over all created beings by
giving it reason, for this reason, we can construct, beautify and
ornament this world. It is for this reason that we can understand
and believe in one another. It is through reason that we see that the
beautiful nation we share was not created to be the exclusive property
of any individual, rather, it is for cohabitation with others whom we
must offer love, support, and cooperation.

We must look at our neighbors like our own brothers and at our nation
as the home that we all share, we can be successful when our hearts are
compassionate towards one another and we cooperate with our skills, this
will transform this beautiful home, this beautiful nation into a
paradise. However, if there is an escalation of clashes, enmity and
isolation, this home will feel straitened and the brothers will feel
miserable and tired.

Islam presents the comprehensive conclusion of the Divine revelations
from God Almighty stressing the importance of harmony amongst our
diverse humanity.

1 – No Muslim is a true Muslim until he or she believes in all the
prophets and messengers of God and in all the books sent by God.

2 – The Muslim must respect the belief system of others, The Holy Qur`an
states:
a – Let there be no compulsion in religion.
b – Say: The truth is from your Lord, whoever wishes, let
him believe and whoever wishes, let him disbelieve.

3 – The mercy and grace of God only come to those who are merciful and
gracious towards others. Hadith: Those who are merciful will find mercy
with Allah. And, the one who does not show mercy will not receive
mercy.
4 – The love of God will be granted to those who love others.

5 – A person’s status with God depends on the goodness that this person
offers to fellow human beings. God loves us all, He does not prefer any
race over another.

Every person who is fortunate to live in this beautiful nation must
understand the following:

1 – All people go back to one father; this is Adam and one mother,
this is Eve. We all have the same color blood and we all have the same
limbs.

2 – America can grow and rejoice and become a paradise through love
and understanding.

3 – America is the home that provides us shelter and protection, its
security is the responsibility of each and every one of us.

4 – Americans are like a football team, we can only win through
cooperation and support of one another.

5 – As Americans, we are all traveling on the same boat, if the boat
is safe, we are all safe, if she is threatened, we all threatened.

6 – Every American who is proud of his or her faith can confirm and
show the nature of the teachings and values of this faith through the
benefit and constructive effort that he or she will offer to their
society.

The faith of Islam in constructive cohesion was evident from the onset,
Islam was quick to put an end to any notion of superiority based on
color, race, or wealth. The famous words of the messenger Muhammad
peace and blessings upon him are in the heart of every Muslim: No Arab
is superior to a non Arab, nor is white over black except through piety.
Islam transformed races into brothers and made all people equal with
respect to their rights and duties.

This harmony did not stop with humans; it in fact extends to all
creatures that share this world with us, this includes the animal
kingdom, vegetation and the environment in general. Islam has provided
us with teachings that protect the environment, teachings that guarantee
the rights and comfort of not only people, but also of animals and even
the rights of trees, emphasizing their importance, something that we
cannot live without.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that our society is
beautified through our diversity, this diversity allows the realization
of the most ambitious constructive goals because it is a microcosm of
the whole world in which we live. This society is strengthened through
our cohesion and will greatly progress through mutual cooperation.

We should all work together to build a beautiful, strong and free
America, to make it a nation whose luminance will brighten the whole
world.

May God Bless you all.

Aref Assaf