Eid Celebration at SALAM Sacramento
By Ras H. Siddiqui
Eid-Al-Adha or Bakra Eid was celebrated with a great deal of fervor in the Sacramento, California on two days by various Mosques throughout the region. The SALAM Masjid celebrated Eid on Saturday, October 4 th while the Downtown “V” Street historic Mosque held their Eid prayers on Sunday, October 5 th. Congregations were reported to be extremely large this year since both these dates luckily fell on the weekend holidays for working parents and when kids were not in school.
This reporter was only able to attend the prayers and celebrations at SALAM’s venue at the McClellan Conference Center on Saturday where a few thousand Muslims congregated to pray and partake in the follow-up celebrations that catered to the entire family (great ethnic foods and entertainment for the kids). This year it almost seemed like SALAM will soon need an even bigger facility or an expanded venue.
SALAM’s Imam Mohamed Abdul-Azeez led the prayers once again and delivered an incredibly inspiring Khutba. This might be his last time leading an Eid prayer at SALAM because he has announced his resignation (to be implemented in 6 months). Many in the community are trying to get him to change his mind and Facebook traffic is increasing on this topic. One will have to wait and see if the community can succeed in bringing the ever popular Imam and the SALAM Board to an agreement on whatever issues separate them but for now let us highlight his Khutba here.
Imam Azeez spoke on “The Farewell Sermon” of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) where he reflected on many points which are extremely relevant for Muslims today as they face the crisis of ISIS, treatment of minorities and women in Muslim societies worldwide. The Prophet’s guidance during his last sermon as opposed to some practices in Muslim countries today was discussed candidly. Imam Azeez started with “Allah is the Greatest,” beautiful worlds that are said on Eid. He said that on this day, the 10 th of Hajj month we celebrate but the Hajis already celebrated yesterday on the 9 th day of the month as they were standing in the Valley of Arafat which means “To Know”. On this day we get to know the Lord, he said. He shared a story about a Khalifa Umar purchasing a defective horse. He spoke of seeking justice through a mediator. A wise man from Yemen, one who was free of the Khalifa’s executive power, passed judgment and said that the Khalifa should have done his due diligence when purchasing the horse. He lost the case against the seller but admired the independence of judgment and actually gave the wise man a high profile job so he could dispense justice. Respect for the law was stressed here which could not be bent for the ruling Khalifa.
Imam Azeez said that this respect for justice came from a speech which the Prophet (PBUH) gave which we call “The Farewell Sermon” delivered when he was old and ailing in front of 120,000 Muslims. He did not talk about prayer and fasting or the rituals of Hajj or the practices of the Deen but he delivered a sermon which became a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is as if the prophet knew how far many of us are going to fall off tree, said the Imam. It is as he knew that groups of Muslims will come after him and corrupt the essence of his teachings (ISIS, Al-Qaida and Boko Haram) and make his teachings into evil. He added that the Prophet’s last sermon dwelled on the rights that we owe each other. He said that Allah (SWT) had already completed our Deen but that the Prophet was worried about us and our treatment of each other. He talked to the Muslims present about universal brotherhood, about love and compassion and empathy. The Prophet spoke about respecting each other accepting differences, celebrating diversity, about coexistence, about peace and love. The Imam added that the Prophet said that if you cannot agree on how to worship the Lord, agree at least on how to serve humanity. Tantamount to a Universal Declaration of Human Rights, said the Imam.
Imam Azeez moved some in the audience to tears with his words at this Eid gathering, one which finds its genesis in Abraham's sacrifice. Let us stop this report on that thought and join the Imam in his call for worldwide peace both between faiths and within them. And let us seek Allah’s guidance and openly condemn what is wrong even if presented to us in the garb of our faith.