Life – An Exalted Destiny – Aga Khan III

Life - An Exalted Destiny - Aga Khan III Life is a great and noble calling; not a mean and grovelling thing to be shuffled through as best as we can, but a lofty and exalted destiny.

Eid ul Fitr — July 2015

Persian Woman 18th century - Amaana.orgEid ul Fitr is the culmination of the 30 days of fasting at the end of the sacred month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. During this month, Muslims focus on devotional and spiritual practices to strengthen their connection with God and these rituals include reading the Holy Quran, prayers for fellow Muslims and for the worldwide community for peace, justice and equality for all humanity. On the 23rd of Ramadan, Layla tul Qadr, the Night of Power, is celebrated. This is the night when Islam was born, when Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation from God via Angel Gabriel which was the first verse of the Quran and he kept getting these messages for 23 years of his life. This year Ramadan started on June 18, 2015 and Eid will be celebrated on Friday July 17th upon sighting of the moon anywhere in the world. As I write this, the moon was sighted in the Gulf countries on July 16th.

Eid ul-Fitr is the Arabic name of this religious holiday. Eid meaning “festivity” and Fitr meaning “original nature.” Fitra refers to the returning to our Godly nature, to make our selves worthy of merging with God as we have been created in His image.

You are indeed made of an exalted nature. Wa innaka la’ala khulkin azim. – Quran 68:4

In Turkey it is called Ramazan Bayramı (Ramadan Feast) takes its name from the Ramadan. Şeker Bayramı (Sugar Feast) as a lot of sweet dishes are prepared and served including Baklava and others. The devout celebrate after having completed the month of fasting, charitable giving, pious deeds and prayers successfully and vow to carry on the good and ethical works all year in helping others and bringing about justice, equality and peace. Many Muslims give to charitable organizations to help the less fortunate as they believe that what they give will bring hope and succor to others and God will multiply their abundance manifold.  Starting with the morning prayers on the first day of the month of Shawwal, which follows Ramadan, greetings are exchanged by loving and joyous hugs and children are given an Eidi, a gift of money followed by great rejoicing, sharing food and having picnics.

Since I have covered in more details information on Ramadan, Eid, and Layla tul Qadr on my previous articles, I thought I would feature some of the messages from the White House by President Obama, as I have highlighted messages from President Bush and before him President Clinton on my articles at the links below.

Eid Mubarak Greetings - Amaana.orgEid Mubarak! We share our warmest and joyous wishes with you and your families and sincerely pray that wars end all over the world and that no human should need to take another human’s life and with education and understanding we can bring about peace on this earth. We pray that the children of Syria and Palestine should wake up to the sounds or birds in the morning and not bombs. The best Eid present was the Iran nuclear deal was signed. This nuclear agreement should be imposed on every nation on earth as the only reason for nuclear power should be for energy but not for armaments. As President Obama said, Ramadan is a time for spiritual renewal and devotion—a chance to honor a faith known for its diversity and commitment to the dignity of all human beings. Amen!

Statement by President Obama on the Occasion of Eid-al-Fitr

As Muslims throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to them and their families.  This last month has been a time of fasting, reflection, spiritual renewal, and service to the less fortunate.  While Eid marks the completion of Ramadan, it also celebrates the common values that unite us in our humanity and reinforces the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other, especially those impacted by poverty, conflict, and disease.

In the United States, Eid also reminds us of the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation and strengthening the core of our democracy.  That is why we stand with people of all faiths, here at home and around the world, to protect and advance their rights to prosper, and we welcome their commitment to giving back to their communities.

On behalf of the Administration, we wish Muslims in the United States and around the world a blessed and joyous celebration.  Eid Mubarak.

Statement by President Obama on the Occasion of Eid-al-Fitr

August 18, 2012

Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim communities in the United States and around the world as they celebrate Eid-al-Fitr. For Muslims, Ramadan has been a time of fasting, prayer and spiritual renewal. These past four weeks have also been a time to serve the less fortunate — a reminder of the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other.

In the United States, Eid-al-Fitr speaks to the truth that communities of faith — including Muslim Americans — enrich our national life, strengthen our democracy and uphold our freedoms, including the freedom of religion. That is why the we stand with people of all faiths, in the United States and around the world, in protecting and advancing this universal human right.

On behalf of the American people, we congratulate Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world on this joyous day. Eid Mubarak.

The President [Obama] released the following statement today [September 19, 2009] to mark the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid-ul-Fitr:
“As Muslims in the United States and around the world complete the month of Ramadan and celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, Michelle and I would like to extend our personal greetings on this joyous occasion. Eid is a time to celebrate the completion of 30 days and nights of devotion. But even on this festive occasion, Muslims remember those less fortunate, including those impacted by poverty, hunger, conflict, and disease. Throughout the month, Muslim communities collect and distribute zakat-ul-fitr so that all Muslims are able to participate in this day of celebration. As I said in Cairo, my Administration is working to ensure that Muslims are able to fulfill their charitable obligations not just during Ramadan, but throughout the year. On behalf of the American people, we congratulate Muslims in the United States and around the world on this blessed day. Eid Mubarak.”
Over the past month, the President and several government Agencies participated in events to mark Ramadan – the President continued the tradition of hosting an Iftar here at the White House while the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted the first in their history. The Corporation for National and Community Service spearheaded “Interfaith Service Week” as part of the President and First Lady’s Summer of Service initiative and many other groups and individuals came together to make this month a time of giving and reaching out to our neighbors in need.
The President and the First Lady extend their personal greetings on this special day. May you be well throughout the year.
D. Paul Monteiro is Deputy Associate Director, White House Office of Public Engagement

Below is the text of a web video from President Obama marking the beginning of Ramadan on August 21, 2009. Video of the President’s message is available HERE.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Ramadan Message
Washington, DC
On behalf of the American people – including Muslim communities in all fifty states – I want to extend best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world. Ramadan Kareem.
Ramadan is the month in which Muslims believe the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, beginning with a simple word – iqra. It is therefore a time when Muslims reflect upon the wisdom and guidance that comes with faith, and the responsibility that human beings have to one another, and to God.
Like many people of different faiths who have known Ramadan through our communities and families, I know this to be a festive time – a time when families gather, friends host iftars, and meals are shared.  But I also know that Ramadan is a time of intense devotion and reflection – a time when Muslims fast during the day and perform tarawih prayers at night, reciting and listening to the entire Koran over the course of the month.
These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.
For instance, fasting is a concept shared by many faiths – including my own Christian faith – as a way to bring people closer to God, and to those among us who cannot take their next meal for granted. And the support that Muslims provide to others recalls our responsibility to advance opportunity and prosperity for people everywhere. For all of us must remember that the world we want to build – and the changes that we want to make – must begin in our own hearts, and our own communities.
This summer, people across America have served in their communities – educating children, caring for the sick, and extending a hand to those who have fallen on hard times. Faith-based organizations, including many Islamic organizations, have been at the forefront in participating in this summer of service. And in these challenging times, this is a spirit of responsibility that we must sustain in the months and years to come.
Beyond America’s borders, we are also committed to keeping our responsibility to build a world that is more peaceful and secure.  That is why we are responsibly ending the war in Iraq. That is why we are isolating violent extremists while empowering the people in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why we are unyielding in our support for a two-state solution that recognizes the rights of Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security. And that is why America will always stand for the universal rights of all people to speak their mind, practice their religion, contribute fully to society and have confidence in the rule of law.
All of these efforts are a part of America’s commitment to engage Muslims and Muslim-majority nations on the basis of mutual interest and mutual respect. And at this time of renewal, I want to reiterate my commitment to a new beginning between America and Muslims around the world.
As I said in Cairo, this new beginning must be borne out in a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another, and to seek common ground. I believe an important part of this is listening, and in the last two months, American embassies around the world have reached out not just to governments, but directly to people in Muslim-majority countries.  From around the world, we have received an outpouring of feedback about how America can be a partner on behalf of peoples’ aspirations.
We have listened. We have heard you. And like you, we are focused on pursuing concrete actions that will make a difference over time – both in terms of the political and security issues that I have discussed, and in the areas that you have told us will make the most difference in peoples’ lives.
These consultations are helping us implement the partnerships that I called for in Cairo – to expand education exchange programs; to foster entrepreneurship and create jobs; and to increase collaboration on science and technology, while supporting literacy and vocational learning. We are also moving forward in partnering with the OIC and OIC member states to eradicate polio, while working closely with the international community to confront common health challenges like H1N1 – which I know is of particular to concern to many Muslims preparing for the upcoming hajj.
All of these efforts are aimed at advancing our common aspirations – to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. It will take time and patient effort. We cannot change things over night, but we can honestly resolve to do what must be done, while setting off in a new direction – toward the destination that we seek for ourselves, and for our children. That is the journey that we must travel together.
I look forward to continuing this critically important dialogue and turning it into action. And today, I want to join with the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world – and your families and friends – in welcoming the beginning of Ramadan, and wishing you a blessed month. May God’s peace be upon you.

3 Responses to Eid ul Fitr — July 2015

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Quran, 13:28

ألا بِذِكْرِ اللهِ تَطمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ

“Verily! In the remembrance of Allah do hearts find contentment.” - Quran, 13:28

Prophet Muhammad

Prophet Muhammad:

‘Ali is ‘as my own soul’ (ka-nafsi).

He said to ‘Ali, ‘You are from me and I am from you (anta minni wa ana minka).’

‘Truly, ‘Ali is from me and I am from him (inna ‘Ali minni wa ana minhu), and he is the wali (patron/spiritual master) of every believer after me.’

Hazrat Ali

12. When some blessings come to you, do not drive them away through thanklessness.

13. He who is deserted by friends and relatives will often find help and sympathy from strangers.

Imam Ali Sayings

Imam Jaffer Sadiq

لاَ يَكُونُ شَيْءٌ فِي اْلاَرْضِ وَلا فِي السَّمَاءِ إِلاَّ بِهذِهِ الْخِصَالِ السَّبْعِ: بِمَشيئَةٍ وَ إِرادَةٍ وَقَدَرٍ وَقَضَاءٍ وَ إِذْنٍ وَكِتابٍ وَأَجَلٍ. فَمَنْ زَعَمَ أَنَّهُ يَقْدِرُ عَلى نَقْضٍ وَاحِدَةٍ، فَقَدْ كَفَرَ.

“Nothing occurs in this earth and in the heaven except with the following seven stages: Will, intention, destiny, decree, permission, book and implementation. Then whoever thinks that he can reduce any of these stages, then indeed he has disbelieved.”

- Imam Jaffer Sadiq, Usul al Kafi, vol. 1, p. 149

Rumi on Ramadan

The month of fasting has come, the emperor’s banner has arrived; withhold your hand from food, the spirit’s table has arrived. The soul has escaped from separation and bound nature’s hands; the heart of error is defeated, the army of faith has arrived. Fasting is our sacrifice, it is the life of our soul; let us sacrifice all our body, since the soul has arrived as guest. Fortitude is as a sweet cloud, wisdom rains from it, because it was in such a month of fortitude that the Koran arrived. …Wash your hands and your mouth, neither eat nor speak; seek that speech and that morsel which has come to the silent ones.

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Aga Khan jokes

Aga Khan Speech Brown University May 1996:

"Looking around this colorful gathering, I recall helping in the choice of the Aga Khan University's regalia. Our research into Islamic traditions of academic dress revealed that an academic's rank determined the height of his hat. The higher the rank, the taller the hat. The senior most professors therefore appeared taller than their students even when sitting down. I have just learnt that my friend Neil Rudenstein, the President of Harvard has given instructions that all Harvard hats are to be heightened by at least a foot. This has caused havoc in the Ivy League which is now debating resolution MAHH96, standing for Maximum Allowable Hat Height. My academic standing and that of President Gregorian, should be evident from the hats that we are presently wearing!"

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