The great Muslim philanthropist, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, returns to his Lord

The great Muslim, Pakistani social worker, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, has died at the age of 88. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani of SeekersHub pays tribute and reminds us that service can and must be a part of all our lives.

May Allah have mercy on his soul, and admit him among His foremost and most beloved servants—in the close company of His Beloved Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him and his folk).

May He make this loss a time to reflect on the urgency of service: the trueness of our faith itself is dependent upon true, expressed concern for others. The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him) said that, “None of you believes until they love for others all that they love for themselves.”

This brief lesson is a reminder on the urgency, responsibility, and opportunity of service—and some of the principles and proper manners related to service:

Listen: Ummah Boost: Serve The Community, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Taking heed from his example, make a commitment—now, today—to give some of your time each week in serving others. Consider it the zakat on your time. 2.5% of your week’s 168 hours is 3.5 hours (or 30 minutes a day).
Obituary: The great Muslim philanthropist, Abdul-Sattar Edhi, returns to his Lord

Five Ways Find A Way To Serve Humanity

Choose on the basis of what service would
(1) be of greatest, widest, and most lasting benefit—to yourself and others, in their religion or in their worldly life;
(2) use the skills and experience Allah has blessed you with;
(3) be easy to sustain with consistency;
(4) would be of benefit to you in your turning to Allah (such as by the company it would facilitate for you); and, simply
(5) be an opportunity that is available before you to serve others.
“And Allah remains in the aid of His servant as long as His servant remains in the aid of others,” promised the Beloved Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him & his folk).
Sura Fatiha‬ for the soul of Mawlana Edhi (Allah have mercy upon him).

Watch: These Bird Walk

A moving documentary on a small part of Mawlana Edhi’s legacy can be watched on Netflix, Amazon and also Vimeo (below).
In Karachi, Pakistan, a runaway boy’s life hangs on one critical question: where is home? The streets, an orphanage, or with the family he fled in the first place? Simultaneously heart-wrenching and life-affirming, THESE BIRDS WALK documents the struggles of these wayward street children and the samaritans looking out for them in this ethereal and inspirational story of resilience.

Who was Abdul Sattar Edhi and what is his legacy?

 

Photo credit: DVIDSHUB

Medina Bombing: Where WE Stand & Why We Must State It Clearly, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani


In an unprecedented escalation of events, an explosion has occured close to the Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ mosque in Medina, allegedly detonated by a suicide bomber. The Medina bombing comes at the heels of the devastating violence in Iraq, Turkey and Bangladesh in recent weeks. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani makes it clear: where do we stand on such events and should we speak out?

Resources for seekers:

The Plague Within: Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on the Roots of Violent Extremism

Vigilante acts of violence have killed hundreds around the world in the last few days. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf writes plainly on the dark and destructive ideology which underpins groups like ISIS and their sympathisers.

According to a good hadith related by Ahmad and al-Tabarani, the Messenger of God, may God’s peace and blessings be upon him, said, “You will never believe until you show mercy to one another.”
“All of us are merciful, O Messenger of God!” his companions responded.
The Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, explained, “I’m not talking about one of you showing mercy to his friend; I’m talking about universal mercy—mercy towards everyone.”
For those Muslims and people of other faiths who lost loved ones in the recent tragedies in Baghdad two days ago, in Bangladesh last Friday, in Istanbul the day before that, in Lebanon earlier last week, and in Yemen and Orlando last month, I am deeply saddened and can only offer my prayers, even as I am painfully aware of my state of utter helplessness at what has befallen our global community. As I write this, I learned about yet another bombing outside our beloved Prophet’s mosque in Medina, as believers were about to break their fast yesterday, unjustly killing four innocent security guards. Fortunately, due to the blessings of the place, the sound of the explosion was thought to be the boom of the cannon used to announce the time has come to break the fast, so the people in the mosque were not frightened nor panicked. The Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, said, “Whoever frightens the people of Medina has the damnation of God, the angels, and all of humanity.” Needless to say, the horror of these atrocities is compounded because they are being carried out—intentionally—in the blessed month of Ramadan.

A faith-eating plague

A plague is upon us, and it has its vectors. Like the brain-eating amoebas that have struck the warm waters of the Southern states in America, a faith-eating plague has been spreading across the global Muslim community. This insidious disease has a source, and that source must be identified, so we can begin to inoculate our communities against it.
New versions of our ancient faith have sprung up and have infected the hearts and minds of countless young people across the globe. Imam Adel Al-Kalbani, who led prayers in the Haram of Mecca for several years, has publicly stated that these youth are the bitter harvest of teachings that have emanated from pulpits throughout the Arabian Peninsula, teachings that have permeated all corners of the world, teachings that focus on hatred, exclusivity, provincialism, and xenophobia. These teachings anathematize any Muslim who does not share their simple-minded, literalist, anti-metaphysical, primitive, and impoverished form of Islam, and they reject the immense body of Islamic scholarship from the luminaries of our tradition.

The spread of this ideology

Due to a sophisticated network of funding, these teachings have flooded bookstores throughout the Muslim world and even in America, Europe, and Australia. For a case study of what they have spawned, we might look to Kosovo. Our “Islamic” schools are now filled with books published by this sect that lure the impressionable minds of our youth at an age when they are most susceptible to indoctrination. This sect of Islam, however, is not the sole source of our current crisis, and it would be wrong to place all blame on it alone; many of its adherents are peace-loving quietists, who want only to be left alone to practice their faith as they see fit. Their exclusivism is a necessary but not sufficient cause for the xenophobic hatred that leads to such violence. The terroristic Islamists are a hybrid of an exclusivist takfiri version of the above and the political Islamist ideology that has permeated much of the Arab and South Asian world for the last several decades. It is this marriage made in hell that must be understood in order to fully grasp the calamitous situation we find our community in. While the role that Western interventions and misadventures in the region have played in creating this quagmire should not be set aside, diminished, or denied, we should, however, keep in mind that Muslims have been invaded many times in the past yet never reacted like these fanatics. Historically, belligerent enemies often admired the nobility Muslims displayed in their strict adherence to history’s first humane rules of engagement that were laid down by the Prophet himself to insure that mercy was never completely divorced from the callousness of conflict.
We need to clearly see the pernicious and pervasive nature of this ideological plague and how it is responsible for the chaos and terror spreading even to the city of our Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, in all its inviolability. Its most vulnerable victims are our disaffected youth who often live in desolate circumstances with little hope for their futures. Promises of paradise and easy-out strategies from the weariness of this world have enticed these suicidal youth to express their pathologies in the demonically deceptive causes of “Islamic” radicalism. The pictures they leave behind—showing the supercilious smiles on their faces, even as they hold in their hapless hands their Western-made assault rifles—are testament to the effective brainwashing taking place.

Normative voices drowned out

The damage being wrought is not only within Islam but also to Islam’s good name in the eyes of the world. These now daily occurrences of destructive, hate-filled violence are beginning to drown out the voices of normative Islam, thereby cultivating a real hatred in the hearts of those outside our communities. In the minds of many around the world, Islam, once considered a great world religion, is being reduced to an odious political ideology that threatens global security; that, in turn, is proving disastrous for minority Muslim communities, who now abide in increasingly hostile environments in secular societies.

Counter-voices of scholars and activists

What we need to counter this plague are the voices of scholars, as well as grassroots activists, who can begin to identify the real culprits behind this fanatical ideology. What we do not need are more voices that veil the problem with empty, hollow, and vacuous arguments that this militancy has little to do with religion; it has everything to do with religion: misguided, fanatical, ideological, and politicized religion. It is the religion of resentment, envy, powerlessness, and nihilism. It does, however, have nothing to do with the merciful teachings of our Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him. Unchecked, we will see this plague foment more such violence, until one day, God forbid, these hateful and vile adherents obtain a nuclear device, the use of which has already been sanctioned by their “scholars,” including one currently imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. If such a scenario unfolds, it is highly probable that the full wrath of Western powers will be unleashed upon a helpless Muslim world that would make even the horrendous Mongol invasions of the 13th century look like a stroll in the park.

“To flee from calamities is the Sunnah of Prophets”

Invariably, some will remark that a fear of Western retaliation is a sign of cowardice. For those zealots, I would recommend turning back to the Qur’an, specifically to reflect on the undeniably brave Messenger Moses, peace be upon him, who unintentionally killed an Egyptian after striking him with his powerful blow, only because he was considered an enemy, and then asked God’s forgiveness and “fled vigilantly out of fear” (28:21). This is a cautionary tale, and it behooves all of us to reflect upon it as a lesson of what not to do when oppressed, especially when we are without political authority or the means to redress our grievances. Imam al-Sahrwardi stated, “To flee from calamities is the Sunnah of Prophets.” It is best not to let our baser self, our lust for revenge, get the better of us.
We would do well to acknowledge that much of what is happening in the Muslim world and to Muslim communities in the West is from what our own hands have wrought. Muslims have been in the West for a long time and have done little to educate people here about our faith; too many of us have been occupied in our wordly affairs, while some of our mosques and schools have been breeding grounds for an ideological Islamism rather than Islam. The Qur’an clearly instructs us that when faced with calamities, we ought to look first at what we may have done to bring them upon us. Introspection is a Qur’anic injunction. Until we come to terms with this Qur’anic truth, we will remain mired in the mirage of denial, always pointing fingers in every direction but at ourselves. “Verily, God does not change the conditions of a people until they change themselves” (Qur’an, 13:11).
As Ramadan comes to a close, let us pray for the oppressed and the guidance of the oppressors, for those who have been killed, and for those who lost their loved ones, and most of all, let us heed our Prophet’s call and want mercy for everyone.

Resources for seekers:

How to stop the cycle of hate, by Imam Khalid Latif

Almost daily there are news reports of hate crimes against Muslims in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere, as well as news of mass terrorist attacks against Muslims in countries like Iraq, Turkey and Bangladesh. Imam Khalid Latif reflects in this article originally published on CNN.

This morning, I woke up to images and stories outlining numerous hate crimes taken place against Muslims in cities throughout the United States just in the last 10 hours. Two Muslim teenagers assaulted in Brooklyn, New York outside of a mosque while the assailant called them “terrorist”, a Muslim doctor ambushed and shot in Houston Texas by three men as he went for morning prayers, and another Muslim beaten in Fort Pierce Florida right outside of an Islamic Center there. These are just the stories reported and that took place less than a day ago. That’s in addition to so many more reported over the last weeks and months, and so many more that just aren’t reported.

Don’t Be A Passive Bystander

If you see something, say something has to mean something different to us today. If you see bigotry, say something. If you see hatred, say something. If you see racism, say something. You and I have to be the change that this world needs. We cannot adopt a bitterness or passivity that lets people who have no interest other than their own self-interest succeed
A failure to acknowledge and deal with illness doesn’t mean that it’s not there. I can pretend like I’m not sick, but my body will let me know otherwise. We can pretend like our society is not in pain and in need of healing, but atrocities like those that took place just even last night will let us know otherwise. The anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States isn’t just rising, it’s really high. An unwillingness and indifference on the part of individuals and institutions to put it in check is a large part of the problem.

Our Sense of Compassion Is Being Obliterated

Our indifference to the narratives of those distinct from our own coupled with our own egocentric priorities places us in the reality that we find ourselves in. Issues of race, class and privilege are the roots of our ailments, and an unwillingness to recognize it is leading us to a terrible place. With every assault, every hate crime, every death, our sense of compassion is being obliterated. With every failure to remedy injustice, we add to the pain. These assailants knew that they were going to attack Muslims. They knew they would find them at the mosques at those specific times. For what reason then with will there be a hesitancy in labeling their actions as anything but a hate crime?
More likely than not we won’t see an outcry against these actions by political leaders of any kind. There will be a continued utilization of Islam as a political football by those who have no real interest in anything other than their own self-interest. Letting hate prevail seemingly didn’t work as a solution to stopping hate, but seemingly that isn’t an issue.
In my opinion if you don’t speak out against it you’re just as bad as the person who is saying it in the first place. What do you think it teaches people when senior officials of major political parties throughout the country are either espousing, and in turn justifying, hatred against Muslims through their words or their silence? What does it teach a broader society about the worth and designation of a population that is over 1.5 billion in number throughout this world?

What Message Are We Sending Out?

The same thing that it teaches the broader society when mosques are kept from being open and built, when unjust surveillance and profiling policies are legitimized and implemented, when media has no problem making cursory links of every and any Muslim to terrorism, but dig deep to connect people of other backgrounds to troubled childhoods and mental health issues, and when politicians are allowed to build racist campaign platforms taking advantage of fear and ignorance. It teaches them that it’s ok for Muslims to be treated differently, to in fact be mistreated, simply because they are Muslim, and that there is no problem with that.
There is, in fact, a huge problem with it.

This Isn’t Just A Muslim Thing

If you think my anger and frustration is only because that there were Muslims who were attacked, then you don’t get it. I feel for these people because they are people. I feel for these people as I feel for Orlando. I feel for these people as I feel for Baltimore, Ferguson and Chicago. I feel for these people as I feel for Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq and Syria. I feel for these people as I feel for anyone who finds themselves in any type of affliction or conflict. We have seen minorities of all backgrounds get vilified more and more and things have gotten to a point where assaults and even death doesn’t bring about a recognition of their value as humans. We have seen shooting after shooting take place in this country, increasing directly along with our country’s legislators unwillingness to speak about gun control. My anger and frustration stems from the fact that with every act of hatred and our failed responses to it, indifference is becoming more alive and in the process our shared humanity is dying.
Will there be droves of leaders marching in the streets, elbowing each other to make sure they stand at the front of the pack and let the world know that they are outraged by the assaults on Muslims throughout the country? Will they hold vigils to speak out against the realities of hate and address the deeper, systemic issues around race, ethnicity and privilege or even give a simple nod to the signs and symptoms around us indicating their existence? Probably not. But will you stand up, simply because you are able to and it’s the right thing to do?
I am a Muslim. I work as the University Chaplain for New York University. I serve as a Chaplain for the New York City Police Department and am given the rank of inspector. I have traveled on behalf of the State Department, met with the heads of homeland security, senior white house officials and even President Obama himself, shared stages with the likes of Pope Francis and the Dalai lama. I am still one of the many Muslims in this country who have been detained, profiled and surveilled. My home has been visited by the FBI on numerous occasions where I have been told that I am being watched because I am too good to be true. As much as I am seen as antidote, I am first still seen as a poison for no other reason that I choose to practice the faith that I do. That is not ok. But I still believe that we can and will be better.

Be The Change You Want To See

Healing requires admitting we are sick. You and I are a bigger part of the cure than we might realize. On the eve of our Independence Day, we as a nation have a choice to make. At a time when we are still debating whether Black Lives Matter or not, candidates for the highest offices of our land make statements that indicate they speak for and to only a select group of Americans. We can no longer let our perspectives of each other be fueled through a media machine that seeks to sensationalize and bombard readers and viewers with narrative that serves to only segment and antagonize even further. The amplification of extreme voices has to be drowned out by our coming together. The ignorance of ISIS or the Republican right can no longer be the basis of how we function in diverse societies. We must learn the reality of struggles faced by those around us by actually being with them, as opposed to simply through the biased images that are cast in front of us every day. We do not have to be women to stand up women’s rights, black to stand up for black rights, or Muslim to stand up for Muslim rights. An attack on any of us is an attack on all of us. I said it before and I’ll say it again, if you see something, say something has to mean something different to us today. If you see bigotry, say something. If you see hatred, say something. If you see racism, say something. You and I have to be the change that this world needs. We cannot adopt a bitterness or passivity that lets people who have no interest other than their own self-interest succeed. We cannot lose hope – tomorrow will be better than today so long as you do our part. Our coming together of today is only meaningful if we continue to come together tomorrow. Let us be the reason that people have continued hope in this world, and never the reason people dread it.

Resources for seekers:

On What Ultimately Matters: Muhammad Ali, My Grandfather and Ramadan

Nearly a month ago, my grandfather passed away in a tragic car accident aged 93 along with my father. Today, we lost the great Muslim sports icon and activist, Muhammad Ali, whose charisma, skill, and attitude mesmerized the world for decades. Each of these deaths and the reactions they generated have taught me an important lesson on what ultimately matters, writes Ustadh Salman Younus.

My grandfather was in a number of ways my polar opposite. He was a leading member of the Jamaate Islami being one of the main heads (rukn) of the group in Faisalabad. As a child, I saw letters that Mawlana Mawdudi had written to him hanging on the walls of our home. I heard stories about how he went into hiding during the 1970’s, how committed he was to the vision of the party, and how he sacrificed much of his time in service of it. Indeed, many of the obituaries I read of him in the newspapers identified him as an “elder of the JI.”
My grandfather was not a madhhab-following, Ash’ari abiding, tasawwuf-oriented individual. In contrast, the entirety of my scholarly training made me precisely this. But none of this actually mattered in the end. Absolutely none of it. As I knelt next to him pouring water over his body, the only thing my heart recalled was his constant tahajjud, his teaching me prayer and basic religious practices, and people’s description of him as someone who would go out with his pockets full and return with them empty (due to his charitable nature).
God continued to give him the tawfiq to worship till his last day. With severe memory loss that rendered him unable to even recognize some of his children, my grandfather did not forget tarawih, nor Ramadan, nor going to the mosque. He continued doing this till his final hour. This is what I remember about him and this is what ultimately matters.
Muhammad Ali
The way we remember Muhammad Ali is the same. None of the reactions care about what school he followed. None of them bother with whether he was a Sufi or a Salafi or belonged to this group or that. None of them care how knowledgable he was of the subtleties of Islamic law, how complex his understanding was of theology, whether he celebrated the mawlid, or accepted tawassul, or was slightly progressive or conservative.
All we remember him for are the few monumental acts of good that he did. His speaking truth openly, his charity, the way he represented Islam, his activism during the civil rights era, his courage, and his faith.
Death has a way of reorienting us to what ultimately is of consequence. The nuances of Islamic law did not help me when my father and grandfather died, nor did my Ash’arism, nor did the debates I have had on a hundred and one issues regarding Sufism. My heart only found solace in reciting the Quran, remembering God (dhikr), prayer, charity, and a few other basic acts of worship. My faith at that moment became like that of the old woman in the village.
Ramadan is a time when we reorient ourselves to this perspective and worldview. When teachers cease their classes, when people step away from social media debates and argumentation, when nothing matters but the few prostrations we perform at night, the few dollars we give in charity, and the few words we utter in need of God. This is all that we wish to present to our Lord after our death. This is ultimately what matters. Reflect on that.
Ustadh Salman Younas

The Oneness Of Love – Key Points From SeekersHub Toronto Retreat 2016

Click here to view ‘The Oneness Of Love’ photo gallery.

There comes a point in your life when you realize that the status quo isn’t working anymore, and that it’s time for change._MG_0486

This year’s retreat was phenomenal because it helped me do just that. In a blessed environment surrounded with blessed company, taught blessed knowledge by blessed teachers, change felt not just right but attainable with the help of Allah.

Maybe you wanted to come to the retreat but couldn’t, or maybe you were there and would like a review. In any case, here are some key points from each scholar.
_MG_0400Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa

  • Our salawat will reach the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) — no matter what space, time, and state we are in.
  • Our actions are the by-products of
    love.
  • When you recite the basmala, you’re seeking refuge from all bad things — not just specifically the Shaitaan.
  • We are all carriers of unhealed trauma, and we begin to understand the world through them. This leads to stress, anxiety, and mistrust of others.

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan_MG_0380

  • The ticket to success and removal of challenges is making your parents happy so that they make du’a for you.
  • There is absolutely nothing that we can do to repay our parents.
  • By showing good character, even the people opposed to us will eventually love us.

Habib Hussein as-Saqqaf

  • When you approach the prayer, feel the same joy you feel when you see a phone call from faraway parents.
  • If Allah gave you all this—the sun, the moon, senses, health—how can’t you want to work on knowing Him?
  • When we pray, we should stand with the One who envelopes us in love and care.

Ustadha Shehnaz Karim

  • Thinking that we are doing our actions-including our ibadat-on our own brings us so much stress
  • The “Rahman” means the One who unconditionally loves all of creation, even those who don’t believe in Him.
  • We need to examine our comprehension of love: it is inspired by Him, for Him.
  • Allah is the only one who can encompass you and fulfill you in every way, because He is the only one who knows everything about you.

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

  • UntitledThe Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) expressed love in many ways. One of the ways was to be patient with those who wanted something from him. If he couldn’t help them directly, he would find someone who could.
  • When you make another person happy, thank Allah for the opportunity and realize that it wasn’t you who did it; He blessed you with the chance.
  • People never forget the ones who stuck with them during hard times.
  • Many communities are rife with gossip, labeling, and a lot of negativity. This is a really sad situation for Muslims to be in. If we all implemented Prophetic character, things would be a lot better.

Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

  • The greatest weapon Muslims have is smiling.
  • After this retreat, commit to implementing at least one small, consistent habit in your daily life. Otherwise, we risk not changing at all from this experience._MG_0063
  • We have the greatest blessings; Allah, His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), and the greatest door to salvation, which is Islam.
  • Imam al-Haddad said that nothing done through Allah is hard, and nothing done by yourself is easy.
  • The relationship we have with the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is a real and live one. When we send salawat on him, they are presented to him by name. On the Day of Judgement, he will recognize you (Allah bless him and give him peace).
  • We are an Ummah connected in amazing ways. 
  • For every bad habit you leave, implement a sustainable good one.
  • We need to wake up every morning intending to spread light.

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani_MG_0926

  • Love begins with knowledge, and seeking knowledge is an expression of that love.
  • If you love, you need to make sure that your actions are beloved.
  • Intention is transformative. It’s important to make good intentions.
  • Our faith isn’t some idol of token traditions that we embrace; it’s how we truly turn to the Lord of Creation.
  • We express our need and love for Allah through our life, seeking to please Him.
  • Even your career should be chosen out of love for Allah; what’s most pleasing to Him is what’s most beneficial to Creation. Every moment of work should be a means of getting closer to Allah.

Final Counsel_MG_1185
Ustadh Amjad Tarsin: Be mindful of Allah and have good character.
Shaykh Abdurragmaan: If bringing happiness to another believer brings us so much reward, what about giving happiness to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) by having good deeds for him to see?
Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa: If you think good of others, you will have the good of both worlds. Then keep your eyes shut, because it’s none of your business.
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani: Those who strive for Allah by having a good intention will be guided.
Ustadha Shireen Ahmed: Strive to better yourself, be a different person than the one that stepped off that bus by turning to Allah with utmost sincerity.
Ustadha Shehnaz Karim: Practice the remembrance of Allah. Breathe in with the certainty of love, breathe out with gratitude.
_____________________________________________________________

The SeekersHub Toronto Retreat is an annual program held at campsites in Ontario, Canada. Teachers from around the world are invited to spend several days teaching, counseling, and spending time with students in an uplifting, natural environment.
Help SeekersHub continue to give light to communities around the world through programs like the annual retreat. Become a monthly supporter, give your zakat, or give a one-time donation today:
http://seekershub.org/donate/
Click here to view ‘The Oneness Of Love’ photo gallery.

Learn To Live: A 30 Day Program in God’s Mercy, Forgiveness and Salvation

God’s Mercy, Forgiveness and Salvation

God’s Mercy, Forgiveness and Salvation: SeekersHub Toronto is offering a 30-day intensive course – also available live online – which will reconnect you with the Qur’an and make you fall in love with Allah Most High’s miraculous revelation again.

Shaykh-Walead-Mosaad

Shaykh Walead Mosaad

This year, the Ramadan program is being organized around the theme of “Learn to Live”, which will see us explore Mercy during the first 10 days, Forgiveness during the second 10 days, and Salvation in the last 10 days.
During each third of the month we will focus on what the Qur’an teaches us on each of these matters with a focus on concepts, stories and practical spiritual action.

Teaching the course will be  Shaykh Walead Mosaad, Shaykh Muhammad Mendes, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, and others.
Daily programs will include tarawih prayers at the beautiful new SeekersHub Toronto, with master of Qur’anic recitation Qari Hafidh Abdullah Francis from Cape Town, South Africa.

Shaykh-Muhammad-Mendes-Ustadh-Abdul-Aziz-Suraqah

Shaykh Muhammad Mendes (left)

You are also welcome to join us for a communal iftar or even sponsor a meal for a 100+ people. Just email [email protected] for details.
Stay tuned for more information in the upcoming weeks, and make SeekersHub Toronto #YourRamadanHub.

Reflections from SeekersHub Toronto Retreat: Sound Hearts Sound Societies

Sound Hearts Sound Societies: Religion is sincere concern

Sound Hearts Sound Societies: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Religion is sincere concern,” and when asked for whom, he responded, “for Allah, His Messenger, His Book, the leaders of the Muslims, and their common folk.”
This hadith, which is said to comprise one quarter of our religion, highlights the fundamental relationship between true religion and having deep concern for the societies we live in.
But what does true concern look like, and how does one act on that concern in a way that is pleasing to Allah?
It was in response to these and other pressing questions of our time that SeekersHub Toronto held its retreat called Sound Hearts, Sound Societies.

We are today witnessing a broken and fractured world in dire need of healing, care and transformation. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said that he came to “perfect noble character.” 

Those virtuous traits – like mercy, service and generosity – have never been more necessary than now.
Over the course of five days, we learnt how the Prophetic character (peace and blessings be upon him) can be revived in our times, and bring peace and security to the world around us.
The Heart of The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)12002932_986174041420124_3532484039761763097_n
“The purpose of seeking knowledge is to give life to Islam,” Shaykh Hamdi said. He went on to explain that the person who dies while seeking knowledge in order to bring life to Islam is only one degree beneath the Prophets.
After this powerful reminder, Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa and Ustadha Umm al Khair held collaborative sessions on the reality of the heart of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).They discussed the concern, strength, and unwavering mercy that led to his tremendous character.
Ustadha Umm al Khair further went on to describe the love and concern that Allah has for His Creation.
Oftentimes, rahma is translated as mercy, but a more encompassing meaning of it is love, she contended.
“Allah’s love is already given – we do not have to deserve it. So, we should never hesitate to call on Him, even in the midst of sin.”
Etiquettes of Companionship
Ustadha Umm Umar and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gave further practical advice on upholding noble character by covering a summary of Imam Sulami’s text on the etiquettes of companionship.
“What do you need to maintain ties? A sound heart that is striving for Allah, disciplining of the lower self, and leaving disputes,” Shaykh Faraz said.
Ustadha Umm Umar explained that the critical eye within us is meant to be pointed at ourselves – not at others.  We have to nurture mercy and sensitivity towards fellow people, contrary to what our society would tell us.
11118254_986382701399258_6985663156340404160_nShe particularly emphasized that we cannot mock one another, even though we’re taught this is acceptable.“It’s as if we’ve been drinking poisoned water for so long that we cannot even taste the poison anymore,” she said.
In summary, it is not possible to maintain good relations with people without deen.
Adab and Spirituality
Underlying all of the talks was the centrality of  adab, or proper etiquette, to our religion.
“Adab enters into every single part of our living,” Shaykh Yahya Rhodus said. “In our deen, you begin, continue, and end with adab.”
Adab – which refers to the right way of doing things – is being lost in modern times. Yet, it is the very point of the Sacred Law and the hallmark of our pious predecessors, he explained.
IMG_3681“Imam Malik (Allah be well-pleased with him) never took a hadith from someone until he saw their eyes well up with tears out of love at the mention of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). He made love an objective condition!”
Shaykh Yahya and Ustadh Amjad Tarsin also discussed the importance of spiritual routines.
Baraka is when a little goes a long way, and daily routines allow for baraka to manifest, they explained.
The example of our predecessors
One of the highlights of the retreat was when teachers related inspirational stories about righteous servants of God around a bonfire.
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Shaykh Walead Mosaad told us about his teacher, Shaykh Ramadan Bouti (Allah have mercy on him), who he had the honour of traveling overseas with. 
“At the end of the trip, I told him I was sorry that he had to travel with me. He told me, ‘I couldn’t have imagined traveling with anyone besides you.’”
That was the gentle love and concern he had for his students.
As the retreat concluded, the teachers reminded us of the importance of consistency and asking Allah to help us retain the spiritual momentum built up over a few days.
We pray that Allah Most High accept the time and efforts of all those who put together this beautiful program, and allow us to implement everything we learned, ameen.

Registration for the 2016 SeekersHub Retreat is open. Register now for the Oneness of Love

VIDEO: Dr Umar Faruq Abdallah in Conversation

Dr Umar Faruq Abdallah
For almost forty minutes, Dr Umar Faruq Abdallah answered questions from Nazir Ahmed Ghani of Subh e Noor, a Pakistani channel. The topics ranged from animal rights to sufis who don’t follow Islamic law, if dhikr serves any purpose and how a man’s religiosity affects his treatment of his wife, the intense pressure of being in the modern world and whether scholars are responsible for the disunity in the Muslim ummah. Lots of food for thought.

More from Dr Umar Faruq Abdallah on SeekersHub

New Beginning at SeekersHub Toronto

New Beginning at SeekersHub Toronto

On Saturday April 2nd, SeekersHub Toronto welcomed a new beginning with a grand opening event for their stunning new location. With a large open plan space, a mother’s room, a father’s room and multiple instruction areas, the new SeekersHub Toronto is truly breaking barriers to sound Islamic learning. Watch the full recording on the SeekersHub Youtube channel.

Here’s a look into some of the highlights of the night, and what this move means for Muslims around the world.

 

Preserving Prophetic Guidance

Ustadh Amjad Tarsin opened the event by talking about the importance of preserving sound Islamic scholarship.

“We need to strive to preserve the Prophetic teachings in this day and age,” he said. “Alhamdulillah, the steps are being taken to build a fully-functional seminary that really represents the light of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, that transforms people’s lives and benefits them in the Hereafter and in the life of this world.”

He then went on to explain how the impact of courses taught on-ground is amplified globally.

SeekersHub Toronto provides free courses on-ground in Mississauga, Ontario, but the benefit does not stop there. These courses become recorded lesson sets for students in over 130 countries, offered four times a year, free of cost.

Ustadh Amjad summarized the sentiment in the room beautifully: “This is a centre that we can support, that we can stand by, and that we can benefit from.”

Realizing Aspirations

The night continued with lively nasheed performances by Mouaz al Nass, Ibrahim al Nass, and Nader Khan, and addresses from the various teachers in attendance.

Ustadh Nazim Baksh, who is the fountainhead of many blessed projects in the West, spoke about how historic this moment in time is.

Just 45 years ago, the mosques around the Greater Toronto Area would not come near filling up for Eid prayer. Yet, here we find ourselves opening a seminary for full-time students of knowledge to learn and serve their communities locally.

“All my kids are born in Canada. All my grandchildren are born here. So, we’re moving in that direction. We have to figure out how we’re  going to keep the Prophetic tradition alive,” Ustadh Nazim implored.

“My advice to you is to deeply consider the physical space, the beauty, the accommodation, and the wonderful knowledge that is going to be disseminated here. But [think about] “me”, personally: how am I going to be benefitting, affected by what I’m hearing and what I’m seeing?”

A Firm Step In The Right Direction

“Why did we move to this Hub? There’s a need underlying it.”

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Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, founder and executive director of SeekersHub, explained the urgency in establishing an Islamic seminary.

“The work we do at the Hub here in Toronto is part of a global effort to spread Prophetic guidance. And one of the aspects of that locally, here, in Toronto, is that the mandate that we have is not simply to teach general community classes… Right from the get-go, one of the things that was instilled in us by our teachers… is that the most urgent duty, the most pressing responsibility, is that we train future generations of scholars.”

SeekersHub Toronto is home to six full-time students of knowledge, and is building capacity for more. Now, communities in the West can have teachers and leaders who understand their challenges, and are grounded in traditional Islamic teachings.

Join us

“There was no graduation,” Shaykh Faid Muhammad Said said passionately. “The Sahaba were learning, and they were teaching. And sometimes they had learned something very small!”

The way of the pious predecessors was to take Islamic knowledge and spread its benefit as far and wide as possible.

With classes nearly every day of the week, on a number of different topics, SeekersHub Toronto strives to open the door of learning for everyone.