SeekersHub Impact Report Highlights

SeekersHub Global Impact Report: Growing, Global Impact Made Possible With Your Support.

Are you curious about exactly how far SeekersHub reaches? How many people we serve? What are the different programs we run, and partnerships we are involved in? How many female and male scholars teach with us? Is there a difference between the online and on-ground curriculum?

Watch the above presentation of the Global Impact Report, given at the Impact Luncheon at SeekersHub Toronto on 11 August 2018. Highlights include messages from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, our Executive Director, Operations Director, and student Sr. Sandra Noe.

Access an overview of the report here, or read the full report below (click image to scroll).

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True Greatness: Sura al Mulk Explained – New Study Circle

A new global study circle started this Saturday, 8 July 2018, in Toronto. The subject of the course is True Greatness: Sura al Mulk Explained.

Sura al Mulk consists of 30 verses and presents believers with numerous lessons on how to bring their faith to life. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani elucidates the meanings of the verses based on the commentary of Shaykh al Islam Ibn Kamal Basha (940 AH).

Utilizing this commentary in conjunction with other classical commentaries Shaykh Faraz synthesize pertinent lessons for the believer. Listeners will learn how to nurture their faith in God through contemplation (fikr); be able to understand what distinguishes those who accept the truth from those who reject and refuse; learn the qualities of the people of faith; understand the prophetic role of the Messenger of God, and much more.

Start A Study Circle in Your Community Today

Do good: Join the 50+ existing study circles around the world and participate in this class from your city or town. Click here for a listing of locations around the world.

Do better: Pass this message on to your friends and family, and encourage them to start a SeekersHub Study Circle to bring sacred knowledge to their communities.

Want to Start a New Circle?

Setup is relatively easy – all you need is a stable internet connection, a screen/projector, and speakers. You can use a home as a venue to host the circle, or a public space like masjid, library, or university room are suitable as well.

We provide you with posters to advertise, and once you’ve confirmed your participation, we will provide you with access to course materials. Study Circles ensure that Muslims around the world, young and old, are continuously engaged with religious counsel and can better equip themselves to handle the challenges of our time.

If you need help or more information please write to us at: [email protected]


The Position of Culture in Islam – Dr Umar Faruq Abd-Allah

Is Islam and the culture mutually exclusive? Or can Islam enrich an existing culture?

What is a Cultural Imperative?

As Dr. Umar Faruq Abd Allah explains, good cultural conventions have the power of law. They are given the same priority that law has, as long as they do not actually contradict Islamic law. Unfortunately, this is an idea that we have lost over the past 200 years.

This does not, of course, mean that we begin to drink alcohol if we come to a culture in which alcohol is prevalent. This only applies to cultural practices which agree with the rules we follow as Muslims. What this means is that Muslims are never aliens, no matter where they go. This was the way Muslims lived for a thousand years. This is why scholars called Islam a crystal clear river; because it is pure and clear, reflecting the color of the bedrock.

Therefore, if the culture was Chinese, Islam would look Chinese. If the culture was Indian, Islam would look Indian. If it goes to Europe, Islam would look European–such as Bosnian culture, which was a beautiful European Muslim culture, destroyed during the genocide.

Story of the Ethiopians in the Masjid

In the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace, a group of Ethiopians came to Medina to meet their Prophet for the first time. They fasted the month of Ramadan, and on Eid day, they celebrated with the people of Medina. Filled with joy, they began singing in the masjid, beating drums and dancing with spears. When Umar ibn al Khattab tried to stop them, thinking that it was disrespectful behaviour, the Prophet intervened and told the Ethiopians to keep playing.

This teaches us that African Muslims remain Africans. Just because they become Muslims, does not make them any less African.

The Mosques of China

In China, there are many mosques that beautifully reflect the cultural customs of those times and places. For example, in the city of Shiyan in Northeastern China, there is a mosque with a rather short minaret. In China at that time, the Chinese culture did not like tall buildings in the central Confucian area. To respect that, the Chinese Muslims built a minaret that suited their purpose, but was in line with the cultural customs at that time. In addition, the mosques were surrounded by the gardens with the traditional Chinese designs, designed to bring peace and comfort to the heart. By passing through the gardens, people became prepared to enter the mosque ready and focused for prayer.
Beyond architecture, Chinese Muslims used their culture in many others ways. For example, they refined Arabic calligraphy in a way that suited the Chinese pen, writing phrases like, “There is no God but Allah,” and the 99 Names of God, from top to bottom, using the unique Chinese brush strokes.

Indonesia and Malaysia

The first mosques in Indonesia and Malaysia were built with the structures of the Sacred Mountains in mind. These structures were compromised of four pillars, and three or more layers of roofing, and were always used to built temples. By using these structures to build their mosques, the Muslims were able to have a mosque that was respected as a sacred place in line with the customs at the time. This did not mean that their religion was compromised in any way.
They would also build huge drums outside the mosques. In the forest-thick areas, voices could not be heard, and neither could the adhan. The people’s culture had developed a complex drum language, which could be heard for miles. In this way, the Muslims were able to call people to pray with the drums, although they would also call the adhan to fulfill the Sunnah.
There are pools of water in the mosque courtyards, in which the people had to wade through before entering the mosque. In the rice-paddy civilization, the peasants would spend a lot of time in muddy fields, and mud would be spread wherever they walked. Rather that to have an enforcer yelling at people to clean themselves, which would deter them from coming again, the Muslims decided to build the pools instead, which would ensure that the mosque remained clean without hurting anyone’s feelings.

Islam and Culture

Muslims are not cultural predators, and Islam has not come to destroy culture. The governing concept was, “unity in diversity.” Today, cultures are being destroyed through the global mono-culture, which is not a culture. Because of this, usually the way we dress doesn’t carry a specific message of our identity.


Resources for Seekers

Zakat & Eid al Fitr–Ustadh Abdul Muhaymin

In this video, Ustadh Abdul Muhaymin  speaks about the blessings of the day of Eid, and what etiquettes we should practice on that day.

Ustadh Abdul Muhaymin encourages us to take advantage of the blessed day of Eid al-Fitr, which is a day of celebration and thanksgiving after the completion of the month of Ramadan. We should all come out to celebrate Eid with our families, and we should ensure that no one is left at home. He calls on the men to not leave female family members at home, but support them in coming out and celebrating.eid al-fitr

In addition, we should ensure that we are fulfilling all of our duties and responsibilities on this day. We should ensure that we have paid the Zakat al-Fitr, the charity that all Muslims are required to make before the day of Eid, or on that day. In addition, we should make sure that no one is left out on the day, making the effort to visit or invite the ones who might not have anyone to celebrate with. We should also try to meet new people and reconnect with old friends, and make sure we do not harbour a grudge against anyone.


With gratitude to Tayba Foundation.


Resources for Seekers

 

Heroes and Heroines of Islam: Part One–Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf

We regularly hear of the great heroes and heroines of Islam. However, we know little about what made these men and women so beloved to Allah and their people.

In these series of talks, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf speaks about these famous men and women. In the first segment of the series, Habib Kadhim begins by speaking about the greatest of all people; the Prophets, who were sent to communities throughout time, until the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

We regularly hear mention of the great heroes and heroines of Islam. These people were so beloved to Allah, that He caused their stories to be remembered, thousands and thousands of years after their departure from this world.

Their influence was spread in many ways. For example, the Companions of our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ all inherited different aspects of his character. They inherited these traits for two reasons. Firstly, due to the inherent nature that Allah had created them with. And secondly due to their individual readiness and aptitude to develop in that area.

However, the greatest of the qualities are found in the lives of the Four Rightly Guided Caliphs, of when the Prophet ﷺ said, “The gentlest of this Umma is Abu Bakr, the strictest (or most scrupulous) is Umar ibn al Khattab, the most modest is Uthman ibn Affan, and the most knowledgeable was Ali ibn Abi Talib.”


Resources for Seekers

Adab of Dua 24: The States That Can Change Fate

Allah Most High says, “I am near – I answer the call of the one who calls upon me (2:186).
Yet, many of us wonder: Are my duas being answered? Is there a certain dua I have to read for each of my concerns? Do my duas have to be in Arabic?

In this series of short talks, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani explains the reality of dua (supplication) and how to turn to Allah. It is based on a classical text on the same subject by Shaykh al Islam Zakariyya al Ansari.

This video covers the various states when we are called upon to make dua, and when it is particularly likely to be answered.

It also contains many gems about the etiquettes of visiting and being with people.

The text is divided into the 11 concise, apt sections described below.

1. The reality of dua
2. Our being called on to make dua
3. The great virtue of dua
4. The integrals of supplication, its wings, and its means
5. The conditions of supplication
6. Its proper manners
7. The times of dua and the state in which it should be made
8. Signs of acceptance of dua
9. Explaining the religious ruling of dua
10. Some encompassing supplications
11. Explaining what the greatest Divine Name is

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Resources for Seekers

How to See SeekersHub Stories on the Top of your Facebook Feed

Significant changes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm mean you might not be seeing as many stories as usual. Facebook started prioritizing posts from paid sponsors and a few selective friends over posts from your favorite pages and publications.

While this might not be a welcome move for everyone who uses Facebook to stay connected with friends and favorite brands, it is still possible to choose what you’d like to see on your feed first.

Here’s how you can make sure to see stories from SeekersHub on the top of your Facebook News Feed.

If you’re using Facebook on a desktop

Click “See First” to never miss out on our updates!

The first step is to like SeekersHub’s Facebook page.

Then, hover over the Following button. In the drop-down menu that appears, click See first. This basically tells Facebook that you are interested in SeekersHub’s top-notch online Islamic courses, podcasts, answers and other related events.

You can even choose to receive notifications every time we post a new update.

If you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can even instruct Facebook to notify you every time we post a new update on our Facebook page. To do so, hover over the Following button and click the edit icon beside “Notifications.” Here, check the box where it says, “Be notified when this Page posts content that you might like.”

If you’re using Facebook’s mobile website or Facebook app

Go to Cult of Mac on Facebook, or navigate to SeekersHub’s Facebook page on your mobile device. Tap Following and select See First.

Tap “See first” to see posts from SeekersHub at the top of your Facebook feed.

This will ensure that you see posts from SeekersHub at the top of your News Feed.

Similar to the desktop, you can turn on notifications to get notified of updates on our Facebook page. Don’t worry about being bombed, though, as Facebook algorithmically selects up to five top posts per day and notifies you. To do so, tap Get Notifications.

By default, Facebook only notifies you of new events and Live videos, not about new posts.
To fix this, tap Edit Notification Settings. Now, check the Posts box.

If you want, you can get fine-grained control over notifications in the Edit Notifications Settings window. Here, you can specifically choose to be notified of new posts, events or just Live videos.

That’s it! You should now start seeing posts from SeekersHub on the top of your Facebook News Feed.

May Allah bless you with Tawfiq.

Spiritual Activism: The Me in the Mirror

We must individually come to terms with the “me in the mirror” or the ego (nafs). Come to terms with its wants and desires. And we must rectify them if need be in order to affect any sort of change in the world, says Shaykh Riad Saloojee.

When I proclaim, “I love,” or “I want,” or “I know,” or “I believe,” what component of my complex identity is speaking? What is the spiritual-psychological process that produces my value-statements, emotional affirmations and the alignment of my will. Who is the “I” in the me? Who is the me in the mirror?

The human identity is a compound reality. There are other elements, beyond the heart (qalb), that constitute the human identity. The most critical to examine for the purpose of understanding the spirituality of activism is the lower self (nafs).

The Ego’s Potentialities

The nafs, or lower-self, is that human faculty that is connected with the pursuit of either carnal desires (shahwa) or intellectual or ideological caprice (hawa). The lower self (nafs) is the seat of all our egotistic potentialities.

It is the locus of legal responsibility before the Divine. Without a lower self (nafs), we would be angelic. After careful analysis of the primary texts, scholars have divided the realities of the lower self (nafs) into four:

    1. 1. The cattle-like animal self – the lower self (nafs) that finds its ultimate pleasure in materialistic and hedonistic pursuits of eating, drinking, entertainment and sexual pleasure (See, for example, Qur’an 25:44);

2. The predatory-self – the lower self (nafs) that finds its satisfaction in hegemony over others through violence and aggression. (Some texts in the Prophetic Traditions (Sunnah) speak of people with “hearts like wolves.”);

3. The Satanic or devil-like self – the lower self (nafs) that achieves its happiness in duplicity, arrogance and self-glorification. (Some texts in the Prophetic Traditions (Sunnah) speak of people with “hearts like “Shayatin” – or Satans).

4. The angelic self – the lower self (nafs) that finds its contentment in the remembrance and worship of the Divine.

What Is the I Invested In?

These four attributes are what constitute my inner reality, my inner image or my inner character. My lower self (nafs) is either one of these or a permutation of them in different proportions. For example, I could be part cow-like, part-Satanic and part-angelic.

The type of lower self (nafs) that I have is the consequence of my life’s choices and actions. I have molded myself. I can gauge my lower self (nafs) by the pursuit of its pleasures and delights.

Where, for example, are my energies, resources and time devoted? Ultimately, we devote the capital of our life to those pursuits that bring us happiness.

Change, Self, and World

Without an understanding of my lower self (nafs), which is the reality of my inner character, I will never be able to truly understand myself: how I perceive the world; my thoughts and feelings; why I want what I want; my actions and reactions.

And without this knowledge, I will not be able to begin the transformation, in myself and in my world, both within and without.


Previous Posts

Spiritual Activism: Uniting Soul, Mind and Body
Spiritual Activism: A Bleeding Heart


About the Series

This written series will pair with a new, forthcoming podcast, Spiritual Activism by Shaykh Riad Saloojee. He will present a paradigm for a spiritually-inspired activism that is what it was always meant to be: a vehicle for nearness to the Divine through genuine individual and social ethical change.

This series will comprise of seven discussions that explore the foundations of Islamic spirituality, the spiritual ethos that is the basis of all activism, the ailments of activism unhinged from spirituality, and an application of how spirituality must inform true environmental activism.

 

Prophetic Ethic of Selflessness and Sacrifice – Imam Mendes

The Arabic word for selflessness is ithar. It means to give without ego. Sacrifice, tadhiya, means to give up something for a greater cause. These are two key elements in building a community. This is the focus of Imam Mendes’s talk.

The importance of this ethic, of these two concepts of selflessness and sacrifice, is that they transcend mere identity politics. They make it clear that the idea of an Umma is not one of belonging to a group, but one of family. The Umma is family.

Allah Most High says:

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy. (49:10)

The key to a true brotherhood, Imam Mendes says, begins with the Qur’an. It begins with a relationship to the Qur’an. The word Qur’an, he says, means recitation, but it also means joining, gathering, uniting, and as such it is the Book that binds our Umma, our community, together.

It is not an occasional text, but an intimate friend, guide and companion throughout life. Immersion in the ocean that is the Qur’an shows that it is no thing to sacrifice for another since we are all one. Allah Most High Says:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا

O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer. (4:1)

Oneness precedes our diversity. We are called to come to know one another and to build community. That is from our first nature (fitra). This is the basis of the ethic that Imam Mendes outlines and looks into.

Bio of Imam Mendes

Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes serves as Founding Director of The Society for Sacred Service, a peacemaking training organization. He also serves as a community Imam and instructor of Arabic and the Islamic Sciences based in the Metro Atlanta area.

After embracing Islam , the Way of Love and Religion of the Prophets, following a life changing trip to Jerusalem at the age of 17, he specialized in Arabic at the university level. He has been trained for over two decades in the classical Islamic Sciences by notable scholars and spiritual masters from around the world.

Imam Mendes teaches a radically non-sectarian , non-misogynistic, nonviolent, and environmentally conscious methodology of Islam. His teaching rooted in its classical and mystical tradition s . It is positively engaged with society and appreciative of human diversity. It seeks interfaith and inter-spiritual conversation and collaboration, and is empowering to women and youth.


Resources for Seekers:

Some of the Proper Manners of Service to One’s Teachers and in All Religious Activism
Sunnas for a Healthy Community
Service – A powerful khutbah from Imam Zaid Shakir
Muslim Communal Obligation: Stories That Will Have You In Tears

Some of the Proper Manners of Service (khidma) Ones Teachers—and in All Religious Activism – Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Some of the Proper Manners of Service (khidma) Ones Teachers—and in All Religious Activism

Muwasala—an excellent resource for reliable Islamic guidance—share the following response from Habib Umar bin Hafiz:

What are some of the etiquettes of service (khidma)? [Muwasala]

[The Intention in Serving]

Any type of service, whether it be service of a shaykh or anyone else, should be conducted with the intention of purifying the soul by means of the benefit that comes about through it

[All Benefit Is Service]

Being a cause of any kind of benefit is in fact a type of service.

[The Reality of Service]

Assisting the shaykh in implementing his objectives or assisting anyone in implementing any objective which is valid in the Shariah is a type of service.

[What Service is Most Spiritually Beneficial?]

Any action which requires humility is more beneficial for the soul, such as cleaning, washing and cooking. An important etiquette is to keep the private affairs of the shaykh or anyone else being served secret.

[Sincerely Seeking The Pleasure of Allah in Serving is the Key]

The person serving should have sincerity at all times and should believe that he benefits himself through his service and not that he is doing a favour to those he is serving.

Muwasala is an online repository for the scholarly teachings of the blessed tradition of Ḥaḍramawt. The word muwasala simultaneously means “connection” and “continuity.” These two words explain the underlying purpose of this website: to open the doors for seekers to benefit from one of the great scholarly traditions of the Ummah, firstly by establishing a connection to its teachings, and secondly by embarking upon a continual path of study.

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The Radiant Intentions of the Pious