Eid ul-Fitr is the Muslim festival which marks the conclusion of the month of Ramadan, the end of fasting and a celebration to mark the completion of a month of self-reflection. It falls this year on Sunday, 24 May.
Writing to you now, I am sharing my inner thoughts and wishing, despite social distancing and the lockdowns of the last few weeks, that I could be in conversation with you all and see you face to face.
Self-reflection requires us to balance our present with our hopes and dreams for the future. Our hopes and dreams often face tough challenges but our religious faith comforts and inspires us — so that, even in the worst of times, we can have hope in God’s mercy.
As Muslims, we are committed to the lands in which we live and want to contribute to the civil, moral, scientific and greater wellbeing of society. This goal will not be achieved unless all of us — scholars, Imams, teachers, families, every segment of society — support the Oneness of our Australian Community as well as the Oneness of God. Our mosques, Islamic centres, community organisations, businesses, all of us — including the Mufti — must contribute to this. If we contribute to the well-being of society, our actions will show God at work. This is faith in action.
There has been so much misunderstanding, we all need to put things on a new footing. We all — Muslim and non-Muslim alike — must dismiss stale, outdated thoughts and narrow visions which do not engage with today’s world, and instead work together to offer solutions to address the problems of our society and deal with new challenges as they arise.
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Beware of “taking a back seat.” Take a position of leadership and be proactive. Listen to leaders who tell the truth about Islam and don’t distort it. Be a role model for peace, as God asks of us. Lead by example.
Create an awareness and a sensibility that denounces injustice and transgression in all its forms. Oppression in all its forms is ugly.
Be part of a movement that calls people to action, nobility and freedom.
Your vote is a privilege; use it thoughtfully and encourage others to exercise their responsibility to vote. Be active in the political space and work for the future of Australia.
Strive to make the security of this land part of your culture and mission. Your contribution to the advancement of Australia is your religious and moral responsibility. Your land deserves loyalty, affiliation and generosity. Mutually exchange loyalty for loyalty, generosity for generosity, and love for love. This should be your commitment.
Present Islam as a love that embraces the feelings of all people, whose kindness flows to your neighbours and fellow travellers, fellow passengers on the train, colleagues at work and those you meet in all walks of life.
Present the religion of Islam as merciful, offering a panacea for the distress of all human beings, healing for their wounds and cure for their pains.
Present Islam in the form of flowers that fill the land with a beautiful fragrance, which can change the intense heat of a mid-summer day to a refreshing spring afternoon.
Present Islam as a series of thoughts that purifies the earth from the microbes of tyranny, turning the arid desert minds of stubbornness to gardens and orchards of fruits and lush vegetation.
Couple Islam with your thoughts and behaviour so that your daily routine turns into a lively sap that nurtures future generations to be strong and upright, vigorous-minded and independent in thought and judgement. Through this process, the flowers of the future will open, bringing a bright future for our country and the wider community both here in Australia and abroad.
Live Islam as a noble moral code so that people witness Islam in your truthfulness and integrity, your outstanding spiritual, intellectual and moral behaviour, and your objective to serve other human beings.
Present Islam as hymns of peace that fill the horizons with the rhythms of love, adorning the heavens and earth with wreaths of peace.
Present Islam as a friend to all human beings. A friend that overlooks our faults when we err, excuses us when we sin, helps us reform when we break down and wipes away the dust from our faces when we fall. The friend who takes you by the hand, helps you stand up and grants you a fresh go, filled with all the purity and glory of life.
Present Islam as a religion that fills our entire existence with vigorous life and motion, filling the human intellect with deep understanding and knowledge. This is the Islam that will build up our spiritual hearts and inner state with solid faith that links heaven to earth, merging the seen and the unseen, the physical and the spiritual.
Present Islam to protect civilizations with the boundaries of good manners, honour and the fulfilment of justice.
Islam is facing a great many challenges and attempts to screen its light and hinder its progress — perhaps trying to inhibit its growth and to obstruct its path of guidance and light to others’ hearts and minds. The challenges are well-known and there’s no need to list them. Many challenges lack proof and logic, but they use the resources at their disposal in an effective and smart manner — so it is our responsibility to present Islam in its pure and genuine form, not as depicted by forces that harbour evil and hatred. In this way, we can free the true Islam from the violence and aggression which some have falsely charged it with.
Present Islam as a guarantor of human dignity for all human beings. A fortress for civil liberties. An advocate of the oppressed. An opponent of the oppressors. An enemy to poverty, disease, hunger and all that challenges human dignity and breaches man’s honour.
Present Islam as it is: a standard of justice, a means for the protection of people and of the restoration of the world. A friend, not an enemy, to reason and logic. A stimulus to every good purpose and an inhibitor of every evil in people and things. A redeemer of morality and sublime human values. A call to happiness in life, not misery. A call to action that brings guidance and uprightness to life. A call to the tongue, to stop its harm and only speak good, so it doesn’t speak except truth. A means of constructing our life, not destroying it. A means of building existence, not corrupting it. A character possessing sublimity, a decency that is not blushing; an ascension that rejects decline and deterioration; an honour that rejects compromise and sale. A dignity that rejects abasement, humiliation and disgrace. A loyalty to God that can’t be sold — not for all the gold the earth contains. A call to peace that denounces wars and condemns its brokers. A call to security that denounces violence, terrorism and intimidating people. An oasis of love. An arena that is wide open for thought, culture and whatever else elevates the human being. A way to grow human skills and talents, encouraging and stimulating the creativity of human beings to help progress, and renew and contribute to society. A guidance for people, and a bringer of glad tidings of two happy lives: one here in this life, and the other in Paradise. A means of calling the human mind to ponder and heed guidance. A call to the spiritual heart to believe and find tranquillity. A call to the inner conscience to be filled with love and joy.
This is your religion. Please present Islam as a means of mercy to the entire world.
I ask God, Exalted be He, to protect Australia: its people, its environment, its freedom, its honour. We ask God to remove tribulations and pandemics from our people and our land.
May God grant you support in fulfilling your duty.
May the peace, mercy and blessings of God always be with you.
Ibrahim Abu Mohammed is the Grand Mufti of Australia.
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