It is a privilege and an honour for me to extend Eid Greetings through Indian Newslink to Muslims and the wider community of New Zealand.
Eid Al Fitr is celebrated after Ramadan, a Holy Month of rigorous fasting.
This practice has been a yearly event since the time of the Prophet Mohammed, over 1400 years ago. Due to the rapid expansion of Islam and migration of Muslims over the years to all parts of the world, many now experience this phenomenon.
With over 50,000 Muslims, Eid is now celebrated throughout New Zealand and is well recognised by the wider community and the Government.
The basic philosophy of fasting is to develop self-restraint and gain piety.
Almighty Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran: O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, so that you may develop Taqwa (Self-restraint).
Through fasting one understands social responsibility, promotes care and concern for the poor and needy by giving zakat (alms), and refrains from wastage and selfishness.
The world has now become a common village with advanced communication systems. We see the disasters and sufferings of people all over the world within hours of their occurrence. Whilst we celebrate Eid, let us also remember those less fortunate than us. We should give generously to the people suffering in other parts of the world, including Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia and Sudan.
Even if some of us are unable to donate cash or kind, we can attend special prayers for their wellbeing.
We should also visit the sick and elderly in New Zealand and make them feel a part of the family. We should use such occasions to build bridges with our neighbours and the wider community.
We have a great opportunity in this diverse and multi-cultural society to share our cultures, religious and social values on such important days of celebrations.
I wish everyone a joyous Eid and pray to Allah to keep New Zealand safe from natural and man-made disasters.
Hajji Gul Zaman is President of Counties Manukau Multicultural Council and Vice-President of the Auckland Interfaith Council.
Photo : The Holy Kabah in Makkah, Saudi Arabia inspires piety and human values