Khutbah Eid al-Fitr – Norbury Park, London – 2024

The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur’an was sent down as guidance for mankind, with Clear Signs containing guidance and discrimination. Any of you who are resident for the month should fast it. But any of you who are ill or on a journey should fast a number of other days. Allah desires ease for you; He does not desire difficulty for you. You should complete the number of days and proclaim Allah’s greatness for the guidance He has given you so that hopefully you will be thankful.

The practice is that we repeat the takbir from the moment we leave our homes to go to the place of prayer until the imam comes to lead the prayer. We do that because of the guidance Allah has given us in allowing us to fast this month and obey Him and so that hopefully we will be grateful. 

Guidance is twofold: first, it is that He has made truth and falsehood distinct in His Noble Book and in the Sunnah, and this is also the Furqan or discrimination mentioned at the beginning of the ayat. In other words, guidance is to make right and wrong, truth and falsehood clear

But guidance has a further meaning, which is that He has enabled us to understand this, to accept it and to obey it, for how many people there are who know things but are unable to act by them? It is because of Allah’s guidance that we are able to obey Him. 

Throughout the month we recited after every four rak‘ats of tarawih:

‘Praise be to Allah who has guided us to this! We would not have been guided, had Allah not guided us. The Messengers of our Lord came with the Truth.’

We do not think that we are special people, but that rather we have a caring Lord Who, for reasons best known to Himself, chose to lead us out of darkness and kufr and allowed us to be Muslims, and allowed us to obey Him and guided us to that. That obedience of ours is a gift from him. 

Allah has promised those of them who believe and do right actions forgiveness and an immense reward. (48:29)

The right actions He has made obligatory on us are these prayers, the fasting of Ramadan, the zakat and hajj. They are a part of the contract.

Who is truer to his contract than Allah? Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the great victory.

Allah promised us the Garden if we are true to our contract with Him. So He has gifted us Islam and the ability to worship Him and then He will reward us for that obedience with forgiveness of our wrong deeds and entrance into the Garden. Should we not be grateful? And if we are grateful that very gratitude of ours is His gift to us:

Shaykh Mu?ammad ibn al-?ab?b said in a qasidah:

“Praise belongs to You O Possessor of forbearance, pardoning and veiling of wrong actions

And my praise is one of Your greatest blessings, O Vast in goodness.”

For Allah says:

And when your Lord announced: “If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase, but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe.”’ (14:7)

One of the things for which we must be most grateful is that He rescued us from the darkness of kufr – ingratitude – and enabled us to be grateful for that.

It is He Who calls down blessing on you, as do His angels, to bring you out of the darkness into the light. He is Most Merciful to the believers.

A part of gratitude is that you must not underestimate what you do. The establishment of the five salat and confirmed Sunnah prayers such as the Witr, without thinking of tahajjud night prayers and other extra prayers, is an enormous thing. Fasting the month of Ramadan from dawn to sunset and the Sunnah fasts of ‘Arafat and ‘Ashura’, without looking to recommended fasts such as Monday and Thursday, is an enormous thing. Giving the recommended proportions of wealth in zak?h is something extraordinary even without extra acts of sadaqah. Making the Hajj pilgrimage to Makka once in a lifetime if one is able to do that is vast. In other religions, the only people who do things like these are devotees and monks. People in other religious communities who do what ordinary Muslim men and women do are considered to be saints of great piety. 

Allah says:

You are the best nation ever to be produced before mankind. You enjoin the right, forbid the wrong and believe in Allah. (3:110)

Allah praises you as the best nation. It is true. You do enjoin things that are right and you do forbid things that are wrong, and you do believe in Allah. You fit the ayat. Thank Allah for creating you, providing for you, giving you upbringing in ways that were subtle and not always obviously conducive to the place you have arrived at now. And thank Him for praising you for the qualities which He created in you or taught you.

Many of us recite the du‘a:

“You fostered our growth by the graciousness, kindness and subtlety of Your lordship with an upbringing that even illuminated intellects fall short of grasping.”

Many who have come from kufr into Islam, have come from broken homes, single parent families, with careworn mothers trying to make ends meet or from completely dysfunctional families, and suffered all sorts of setbacks in their lives. Many can also say that it was precisely those things that in some way set them on the path they are on today. The way that Allah guides people is genuinely counter-intuitive but it is also genuine. 

People always want to know the story of how someone became a Muslim, but that is not the true story. Rather they should ask: how was it that Allah guided you? In what way did that happen?

Suhayb ar-Rumi narrated that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The affair of the mu’min is amazing. All of his affair is good for him, but that is for no one other than the mu’min. If some good fortune occurs to him he is grateful and that is good for him. And if some bad fortune occurs to him he is patient and that is good for him.”

And people often have iman before they have Islam, even if they are unable to put a name to it or know its parts.

If we stop with the gifts we have been given and merely enjoy them, even if we do so gratefully, we will not have expressed full gratitude.

Allah, exalted is He, says:

So when you have finished, work on, and make your Lord your goal!

When you finish one action, move on to another. When you finish one stage, then move on to the next. Growth is a natural law of existence. And, in its time, growth stops and there is decay and old age. As in the individual so with a society.

The worst temptation for a community is that they will simply manage the community and become narcissistic. As we heard, Allah said:

You are the best nation ever to be produced before mankind

This word here translated as ‘produced’ is ukhrijat. It comes from the verb kharaja ‘he went out’ and ukhrijat  means ‘made to go forth’ or ‘made to go out’. An intrinsic part of this ayat that praises the Muslims is that we have been ‘made to go out to people’ but not just as individuals but as an ummah, a community, a nation. A nation or a community has leadership. The leadership lead the Muslims out to people since otherwise they will not be the best community or the best nation. And that is also the meaning of the English word ‘education’ – ‘to lead out’. So the leader is an educator and the educator is a leader. 

Now we have emerged from the cave-retreat of Ramadan, it is time for us to go out to people, commanding the right, forbidding the wrong and believing in Allah.

Published by admin

Abdassamad Clarke is from Ulster and was formally educated at Edinburgh University in Mathematics and Physics. He accepted Islam at the hands of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi in 1973, and, at his suggestion, studied Arabic and tajwid and other Islamic sciences in Cairo for a period. In the 80s he was secretary to the imam of the Dublin Mosque, and in the early 90s one of the imams khatib of the Norwich Mosque, and again from 2002-2016. He has translated, edited and typeset a number of classical texts. He currently resides with his wife in Denmark and occasionally teaches there. 14 May, 2023 0:03

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