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Muslims mark Eid Al Fitr with hopes of lasting peace and harmony

Venkat Raman
Auckland, April 22, 2023

About 60,000 Muslims of varied denominations throughout New Zealand are celebrating Eid Al Fitr today (April 22, 2023) following the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, spreading the message of peace and goodwill taught to them by the Holy Quran.

A billion more Muslims living in various parts of the world, including 232 million (the largest) in Indonesia, 230 million in Pakistan, 173 million in India, and 238 million in the Middle East, began the month of Shawwal yesterday, meaning that Eid festivities have begun.

The Religious Bond

Indian Newslink offers its sincere greetings to the people practising this great Religion and wishes them continued peace, prosperity and the Blessings of Almighty Allah, worshipped as the Most Beneficent, the Most Benevolent and the Most Merciful.

While religion is a binding factor among Muslims, Islam also is their Supreme Teacher with the Holy Quran regarded as the unquestionable teacher of values, principles, way of life, business, family- indeed every aspect of human activity.

Women and children enjoy a special, protected status in Islam.

Giving alms or helping the needy is embedded in this religion and highlighted during Eid Al Fitr festivities. Every Muslim is expected to provide a part of his or her earnings to the poorer sections of the community. Called Zakat, this is imparted as ‘one of the sacred duties of every Muslim.’

Muslims also visit the graves of their ancestors on the first day of Eid Al Fitr and offer prayers.

A short, commencement prayer at home, followed by an elaborate Eid Prayer at a local Mosque, exchanging greetings with fellow Muslims and then participating in a grand feast are all a part of the first day of Eid Al Fitr.

In countries in which Islam is the State religion, eating and drinking in public, including offices, factories and all other places of work are banned for all from Sunrise to Sunset and hence Eid Al Fitr is an occasion for all.

Islam as we understand it is a religion that teaches its followers the need to pray and obey God, Allah the Almighty. That should be the beginning and the most important aspect of human life in the Muslim community.

Because, Islam preaches that obedience to God, fills the human being with the goodness of the divine and makes him or her worthy of living.

The Changing times

There are then other teachings that Muslims are directed to follow.

But some experts argue that the outward nature of the faith has changed.

The hard-edged modern Islam has produced a new kind of preacher.

As the clerics of the Ottoman Empire foresaw five centuries ago when they banned printing, the spread of literacy has ended the professional scholars’ monopoly on interpreting religion.

Islam remains a diverse and broadly tolerant faith.

And in the Arab Gulf, a growing number of Muslims, better educated than their forebears and far more exposed to alternative ways of life through television and the Internet, rather like much that is on offer.

They want a chance, naturally, to have a bigger share in the modern world’s material comforts. More important, many of them are attracted by the idea of individual responsibility, the notion that each person has the right to think his or her own way through life’s problems.

New Zealand Muslims

Muslims in New Zealand should consider themselves among the most fortunate in the world, for they live in a country far removed from the controversies of the Western world. True, conflicts of opinion do exist among various faiths but by and large, no one ascribes to our Muslim people facets of Islamic extremism or terrorism.

It is gratifying that over the years, the Muslim population has assiduously followed the tenets of modern ways of living, without compromising their religious or ethnic values.

As the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) observed, New Zealand Muslims have made great strides with their fellow Kiwis, playing a significant part in the overall growth of the country.

Their notable contributions cover science, politics and public service.

The contributions made by Muslim-owned businesses in the retail business sector in the country are obvious.

The substantial exports of New Zealand meat too owe a lot to the Muslim Halal slaughter professionals, without whom the country would not have been able to cater to the requirements of Halal meat exported to the Arab world, Europe, the US as well as many neighbouring countries.

Despite being a relatively small community, New Zealand Muslims have always been an integral part of this wonderful country and played a key role as law-abiding citizens and as partners in the cause of peace and prosperity. Where deemed appropriate, the community has taken a proactive stance in promoting inter-religious understanding.

Eid Mubarak.

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