South African Muslims across the spectrum will intensify prayers for peace and tolerance in the Muslim world on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, as Muslims watch recent global events with sadness and despair. As the blessed month of Ramadan ends, it’s widely believed this month has been a devastating one for Muslims around the world, considering the increase in extremist attacks in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the plight of refugees and the brutal conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Palestine. As Eid messages pour in from all parts of the country, a myriad of Muslim newsmakers and organisations believe this Eid is a opportune time for Muslims to look within themselves for answers to the world’s pressing challenges.
Ulema call for introspection
The Claremont Main Road Mosque (CMRM) urged Muslims to see Eid as a day of reflection and introspection.
“The last days of Ramadan particularly, has seen an unprecedented escalation of extremist and sectarian violence that has resulted in hundreds of innocent civilians killed in Muslim countries, in Bangladesh, Turkey, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, including the holy city of Madina. Once again, we witness the relative silence from Western media on these atrocities that affect non-Western lives. It is indisputable, that while ISIS/DAESH has caused terror in some Western countries, the vast majority of victims who have died from the barbaric acts of violence from ISIS/DAESH have been Muslims,” said the masjid’s imam Dr Rashied Omar.
“This is a crisis gripping our ummah about which we cannot remain silent. As long as innocent lives are lost through such wanton violence, we have to keep stating unequivocally, that the sanctity of human life is a supreme value in Islam and nothing is worth the cost of a human life. However much it pains us, we should never tire from asserting that the heinous acts of murder and violence by ISIS and their ilk are dishonourable and betray any expression of faith in Islam.
“Their claim to act in the name of Islam is an aberration of our faith and we must therefore unswervingly proclaim loudly and unequivocally “Not in Our Name.” Let us at this celebratory time of `Id al-Fitr, spare a thought for those who are suffering the consequences of terror, warfare and grave injustices across the world in Syria, in Iraq, in Turkey, in Bangladesh, in Nigeria, in Palestine, and elsewhere in the world, whether the oppressed are Muslim or non-Muslim.”
Cape Town Islamic Educational Centre (CTIEC) Lecturer, Shaykh Sayed Ridhwaan Mohamed extended greetings and best wishes on behalf of the CTIEC Executives, Lecturers and Students to the people of South Africa and the global Muslim community on the arrival of Eid-ul-Fitr.
“I wish that this auspicious occasion would bring in a ‘renewed’ spirit of love and oneness through its message of self-discipline and sacrifice. Ramadan has seen the true values of Ubuntu, brotherhood, unity, tolerance and compassion, indeed it is all part of Islam “True Kindness”. We as Muslims should let Ramadan finish as a month on the calendar, but we shouldn’t let Ramadaan finish in your Hearts and actions, may we all have a blessed Eid ul Fitr and continue to follow the Quraan and Sunnah”.
Shaykh Sayed Ridhwaan Mohamed, urges the people to remember Palestine, Syria, Iraq and all places where innocent people are suffering at the hands of oppressors, terrorists and extremists.
“We should make dua that we be saved from the evil actions of ISIS and abstain from extremist ideologies of all nature.”
In a statement, the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa said Eid brings with it a sense of triumph and accomplishment for those who have diligently exerted themselves.
“Muslims proudly celebrate this Day as the accomplishment of their moral development, character refinement, civilization and human integrity. Too often we confuse material progress with human civilization and decency. What is meant by civilized societies? Does this refer to societies that are based only on a materialistic industrial culture?
“The great strides that man makes in science and technology helps man to better his living standard, but it does not elevate his soul. Science has nothing to do with morals; it is mainly concerned with materialistic and mechanical aspects. Natural and mathematical sciences play a great role in disclosing secrets of the universe, but absolutely no role in developing human character and morals. There is no correlation between material progress and human decency. The crime and grime, the political guile, and social disintegration evident globally have correspondingly increased with the strides we have made in science and technology. It is obvious that materialistic progress does not necessarily entail moral reform; a society may witness great advance in natural sciences, even though it may be morally bankrupt!,” writes Maulana Ebrahim Bham.
True civilization mirrors the development of human worth and integrity; it focuses on refining the moral fiber of humans. It fosters qualities like persistence, forbearance, tolerance, and patience. It makes humans out of man.”
Ramadân aims to purify the souls of man; it aims to elevate man above the rank of brute animals. Ramadân is an exercise in developing human potential, an exercise in cultivating character, determination, resolve willpower and self control. Fasting, tarawih, and suhûr are meant to infuse compassion, equality, unity, and humility. After thirty days of intense focus on the purification of the heart and mind and on the restoration of faith and moral values, we celebrate our civilisation and moral refinement. We celebrate the victory of determination over feebleness, the victory of will over passion! We celebrate this victory by echoing “Allah is the Greatest” as we walk with great optimism and faith to the Eid Salâh, which serves as the demonstration of our unity and brotherhood. We give expression to the lesson of compassion by discharging the Sadaqatul Fitr.”
Africa Muslims Agency and Direct Aid International thanked all donors for their unwavering support, duas and assistance during this Ramadaan.
“Your generosity has enabled us to feed over a million needy brothers and sisters with daily iftaar/suhoor meals in remote villages in Africa and South Africa. For this we say Jazakallah Ghairun.
“May Allah (SWT) accept our good deeds, forgive our transgressions and ease the suffering of our Brothers and Sisters around the Globe. We value your continuous support,” said Imraan Choonara Director of Africa Muslims Agency.
The director of the waqf organisation Awqaf SA, Mickaeel Collier called on Muslims to use the day of Eid to ponder on the community’s achievements and shortcomings.
“The revolutionary nature of the month of Ramadan instils within the consciousness of the plight of the underprivileged, the destitute, the disempowered and the oppressed. We need to develop mindfulness to the upliftment and empowerment of our society and the role we as Muslims should play as citizens in the growth and development of South Africa,” he stated.
Human rights NGOS
The human rights and Palestine solidarity organisation BDS South Africa urged Muslims to remember all oppressed communities in their daily duas.
“While enjoying the simple pleasures of socialising with family and friends over food and drink, we also remember the plight of Muslim sisters, brothers and comrades the world over who are unable to experience the joys of Eid,” said BDS SA in a statement.
“There are, for example, imperial USA-led wars ravaging parts of the Middle East, there are terrorist organisations like ISIS and Boko Haram causing the suffering of thousands. There are the Rohingya Muslims who continue to face discrimination and marginalisation, the Saharawi people living under Moroccan occupation, Muslims in Swaziland living under a dictatorship and many others all across the globe who don’t get to celebrate Eid and other religious days.”
Palestinian Muslims, together with their fellow Palestinian Christians, live under a brutal Israeli Apartheid regime and have limited or no access to their Holy Sites, said the organisation.
“Yet, even under these conditions and in spite of Israel’s discriminatory policies, they find ways to celebrate in much the same way that Black South Africans ensured that, notwithstanding and in spite of the brutal apartheid regime, we found ways to observe and mark our religious, cultural and other significant days. May all Muslims members, supporters, comrades and the larger Muslim community celebrate a joyful and reflective Eid with their loved ones.”
The Media Review Network (MRN) said Eid-ul-Fitr will mark not only a day of festivity among families and friends, but also a day of solidarity and support for all who are suffering under the yoke of oppression the world over.
“The Media Review Network wishes Muslims throughout the world, a spiritually fulfilling Eid-ul-Fitr and we pray that the Exalted Creator, Allah (SWA) cascades the blessings of this day upon all of us, most especially on those suffering injustice and oppression throughout the world,” said the advocacy group.
As we engrave this message, we reflect on our brothers and sisters in areas like Palestine, Kashmir, Rohingya, Chechnya, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan, where life is constantly about survival, and a hungry stomach is not exclusive to the fast of Ramadaan We pray that the atmosphere of Ramadan prevails in our hearts and homes throughout the year, Insha-Allah.” VOC