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Muslims celebrate in unity

By Starla Muhammad -Assistant Editor- | Last updated: Aug 8, 2014 - 5:17:11 PM

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SOUTH HOLLAND, Ill.— - Brightness and warmth from the sun illuminated the day at Veterans Memorial Park marking the close of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Adding to the near-perfect weather was the unity, camaraderie and love displayed by the Muslim community of the Chicagoland area.

The gathering commemorated not just the end of Ramadan, but the “United Eid Al-Fitr Prayer and Celebration” was a family reunion of sorts. The gathering brought together Muslim communities that sprang forth from the same root, a seed planted by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, patriarch of the Nation of Islam.

Youngster hands gift to Muslim pioneer, Bro. Rajab, who is in his 90s. Photo: Haroon Rajaee
Adults, children, teens and families, enjoyed food, fellowship, fun and spiritual renewal at the July 29 event, including members of the Nation of Islam under the leadership of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and brothers and sisters from the community of the late Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, a son of Elijah Muhammad.

Greetings of “As-Salaam Alaikum” (Peace be unto you),“Eid Mubarak” (Blessed Eid), handshakes, hugs, smiles and laughter were as plenteous as the savory smelling cuisine and entertainment throughout the day-long observance in South Holland, just outside Chicago.

Imam Dr. Mikal Ramadan called the day, a “blessing from Allah (God)”.

“The believers for many years, we’ve always felt deep in our hearts that we would finally arrive at this and indeed Allah is bringing it about so that we can see it, witness it and enjoy it,” said Imam Ramadan, of Masjid Al-Taqwa.

Sponsored by the Chicagoland Shurah with the support of local Mosques and Masjids, the morning began with prayer and a kutbah or short sermon led by Imam Tariq I. El-Amin of Masjid Al-Taqwa. Imam El-Amin spoke on the significance of the occasion, calling it a “beginning”.

“It does not end with today. There are certain things we have gone through that have prepared us for this moment,” he said.

He also implored the Muslims to be servants to the people in their communities by working together. “We can’t feed the people if we can’t grow or buy our own food. We have to have businesses.” The greatest blessings we get are when our prayers are followed by our collective work with each other, he added. 

The Nation of Islam’s Imam Sultan R. Muhammad agreed, telling those gathered that building economically is necessary to maintain unity. “It’s not just through lip service, but by building our economic bases, institutions and families as one.”

Muslims gathered in Veteran’s Memorial Park for Eid celebration.
The light of unity demonstrated today can serve as an example to Muslims in the East of pure brotherhood and sisterhood said Imam Sultan Muhammad, a great-grandson of Elijah Muhammad.
Family members and relatives of Elijah Muhammad, under the leadership of Min. Farrakhan and Imam Warith Deen Mohammed enjoyed the day.

Laila Muhammad, daughter of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, told The Final Call the Eid celebrations have always been special to her.

“We have members of different communities here, we have different schools of thought but we come from one root as African American Muslims but also as human beings,” said Laila Muhammad.

When she was born her father recited the “Adhan” or call to prayer in her ear and since his death she has told herself and others that it is time to put what they know to work and action. Her father taught her work was a form of worship.
“Our worship is best at this time because our people need it. We need it. We need action. We need to work,” said Laila Muhammad.

Appreciation and recognition was bestowed upon pioneers of Islam, many of whom came through the ranks under the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Children handed the elders Eid gifts as a token of appreciation for their sacrifices in establishing Islam.

Amattullah Sharif embraced Islam as a junior college student in Tennessee in the late 1960s. But it was in New York she where was invited to the Temple / Mosque by Minister Larry 4X, now known as A. Akbar Muhammad, International Representative of the Nation of Islam. Ms. Sharif, of Mosque Cares and Masjid Al-Taqwa expressed gratitude for what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught and enjoyed the fellowship of the brothers and sisters at the Eid celebration.

“Allah wants us to be unified. He wants us to come together. Willingly or unwillingly, we’re going to do it,” said Ms. Sharif, a former secretary of Elijah Muhammad and Imam Warith Deen Mohammed.

Student Minister Ishmael R. Muhammad, National Assistant to Min. Farrakhan and son of Elijah Muhammad shared his thoughts about coming together with the Muslim community.

“To come in among the followers of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, members of my family from Muhammad, it brings me great joy and it reminds me of what is expected of us and how blessed we are from Allah to have been given the light of Islam and the example of the prophet,” he told The Final Call. He said he knows his brother would be pleased.

“I know that our father, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad would be pleased. I know that the Minister (Farrakhan) is pleased because at the end of the day, in the final analysis no matter what our differences are, we recognize and know that we are family.”