By Fatima Kermalli
On Sunday, May 24, 2020, faith leaders of Muslim communities from diverse communities and ethnicities came together virtually to celebrate Eid as one ummah. The host of the program, Professor Raza Mir, a Board Member of Muslims4Peace, began the celebration with an Eid message from Sayed Atheeq Ebadi of the Imam Mahdi Center. He extended two words of recommendations from the Quran- one being collective unity, the other to increase our piety from the month of Ramadan. He affirmed that we should not fall back on old habits and continue to build on our intellect and character.
Thereafter, Dr. Mohammad Qatanani, Imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County presented words of positivity during our current situation of isolation, stating that when something bad occurs such as not attending our masajid, “Allah will make it good when we have patience and trust in God.” Dr. Qatanani affirmed, “It was a special experience this Ramadhan….it is our faith that united us during this pandemic.” He then implored everyone to stand up for justice either by heart, hand, or tongue.
Imam Hamad Ahmad Chebli from Islamic Society of Central Jersey encouraged everyone to write letters of peace and gratitude to various leaders who supported the Muslim communities.
Maulana Baqar Qazwini of the Al-Hujjah Islamic Seminary congratulated every one this Eid al Fitr and spoke on the uniqueness of this past holy month that the last two generations have not experienced. What is more, Muslims were able to focus on the spirituality of the month without worldly distractions. He stated Eid al Fitr brought 1.7 billion Muslims together united; thereby, Zakat al Fitr, or the charity on the day of Eid, provided over a billion meals to the needy. This is a point to reflect upon. He commented that despite the recent events which caused division in the community, he emphasized, “We should never allow a vocal minority to hijack the position of the majority.”
Wahy-ud Deen Shareef from the Imam Masjid Waarith ud Deen offered words of wisdom and thought from the Holy Quran, from chapter the Most High, reminding us not to glorify ourselves but that all greatness belongs to Allah. What is more, he reminded us that “Ramadhan renews us physically, mentally, and spiritually and brings us together as a human society.” Subsequently, He recommended four tasks to follow regarding interfaith relationships: to value each person, to collectively embrace the struggle and have a dialogue, to nurture the spirit and allow everyone to express their will, to envision our shared responsibility, and to cooperate with each another based on righteousness
Saffet Abid Catovic, Imam and Muslim Chaplain of Drew University, Madison, New Jersey reflected on the message of Ramadhan which was to cultivate within us taqwa, piety.
Maulana Rizwan Rizvi of Masjid-e-Ali elaborated that Eid is a new beginning where we emulate Islamic values. He encouraged further restrain and advised that the Quran should still be an essential part of our lives. He continued to state, “Eid al Fitr is a return to purity.”
Abdul-Malik Ali from Masjid At-Tauheed in Trenton spoke on the unity by declaring that Muslims should declare themselves as only Muslims, by doing so can we all come together. Therefore, he proclaimed that it is in “doing that is far more important.”
The Imam of Islamic Center of Old Bridge Khalid Raza exclaimed that we must have patience which will help us to unify, which is what the month of Ramadhan teaches, patience.
The Resident Imam and Director of Religious Affairs at MCNJ, Farhan Siddiqi commented on our differences that we should embrace and tolerate them, then can we work together.
Sheikh Fadhel Al-Sahlani the Representative of the Grand Marja’ Ayatollah Sayyid Al-Sistani made points that each religion has many sects but there are no differences when it comes to ethics and Good character. In this area, we can be united. Thus, he emphasized on practicing good ethics.
Lastly, a lighthearted comedy session was delivered by Salman Jaffery after the profound words and thoughts from the scholars and faith leaders in celebration of Eid al Fitr.