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Sound Hearts. Sound Societies. SeekersRetreat Toronto (Last week to register)

We are today witnessing a broken and fractured world in dire need of healing, care and transformation. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing on him, said that he came to “perfect noble character.” Those virtuous traits – like mercy, service and generosity – have never been more necessary than now.
This year, seekers of knowledge – like you – from around the world will gather in the beautiful forests of Muskoka, Ontario to explore what it means to turn sacred knowledge into blessed action. Over four days of intensive learning, deep reflection and spiritual fellowship – in the company of inspirational teachers – we will explore how we can turn seeking knowledge into living knowledge.
Together we’ll try to answer some fundamental questions:

  • What happens to us when we develop an intimate relationship with Allah?
  • What does it mean to nurture a “God conscious” family?
  • What does a healthy Muslim community look like?
  • What is a truly “sound society”? Does it mean everyone has to be Muslim?
  • What really is da’wah?

You will discover how to make your journey of learning really matter. What steps you need to take to improve yourself, strengthen your family, energize the community of believers and make a change for the common good of all.
You will learn practical ways in which you can become a true caller to the way of Allah – in word and, more importantly, in deed. After all, from sound hearts come sound societies. Join us for this special, life-changing gathering.
Register now – Tickets are now discounted! Last Week to Register,  spaces are Limited.
Here is what brother Ahmad, had to say about last year’s retreat:

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ahmad_saadAssalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
Alhumdulillah for the blessing of having attended the SeekersRetreat Toronto 2014. A year has passed since I traveled from New Zealand and I still look back fondly at the great memories, experiences and friendships gained whilst in Toronto. There are immense benefits in attending such retreats, some perceived immediately and others becoming more apparent later in life.
The SeekersRetreat allows us to take a much needed break from our regular routines and gather with Muslims from all walks of life to take knowledge from an array of excellent scholars and teachers over four days. An intensive focus on study in a wonderfully scenic environment in an atmosphere of unity and brotherhood is what I came to find at the Seekers Retreat.
We spent much time benefiting from teachers in a classroom structure but the additional access to sit and engage with teachers in a more casual setting was a great opportunity. One of the highlights for myself was getting the chance to sit with scholars outside of class time and hear of their journeys to places far and wide and their experiences with those they took knowledge from, something that made my long journey truly worth it. Crowding around the campfire listening to Shaykh Walead Mosaad speak favorably about his teachers and travels in the Middle East or sitting at the dinner table with Shaykh Yahya Rhodus and having discussions about experiences and the community back in New Zealand is something I still fondly look back upon.
A year has gone past, but a week does not end where I do not communicate with those friends I made at the retreat. That is SeekersRetreat, a place to gather, learn, connect, recharge, and depart with gems that will benefit you a lifetime.
Ahmad Dadabhai
New Zealand

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Here is another one from brother Taras:

taras_torontoAssalamu alaikum and greetings from the blessed city of Fez!

It has been about two weeks since I began a journey with my two boys to Morocco as part of an ongoing commitment to grow in them the beauty of Islam as understood and taught by our noble Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم.  So far we have met great scholars, living saints, and have seen the incredible beauty that living this beautiful religion can bring forth.
I consider this a type of migration to Allah – these kinds of experiences stay with you long after the journey ends.  Thinking back, I remember that about the same time this year I was under a star covered canopy in Hadhramaut (Yemen), heading back with my daughter from the annual Dowra in Tarim.  There, we sat with people of noble prophetic lineage learning how to deepen our relationship with Allah.   As I said earlier, these experiences leave their mark and give one valuable tools to use when one returns home.
Last year upon my return from Tarim, one of the first things I did was to register for the SeekersRetreat 2014.  This to me was part of what I learned in Tarim, and now in Fez – stay close to the people of Allah and His remembrance.  You can never go wrong with this strategy which is central to deepening your relationship with Allah Most High.  In fact, having travelled extensively through the Muslim world and sitting with the people of Allah, I see elements of my experiences at the SeekersHub Toronto Retreat, such as: good authentic counsel, deep and authentic knowledge, and useful ideas you can take home with you.
How can that be? The secret is in the fact that the teachers at the SeekersRetreat took the same paths I am taking, with the difference being that they spent years travelling to acquire the deep knowledge which was held by the noble teachers they sat with.
So now allow me to let you in on a little secret: although you will still need to travel for the “really deep stuff”, the teachers at SeekersHub and at the SeekersRetreat are at par with anyone that I have met abroad, in terms of what we need to be better people in the West.  In fact, they are talking about SeekersHub out here in the heartlands of Islam.  Interest in SeekersHub is rising.  I am right here when they say it.
So my advice to you is to sign up ASAP and continue to learn fom these teachers before they get too famous, and are overtaken by demands for their time – trust me, I used to have dinner with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and now I can barely get tea with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, even though he is local and an old friend.
P.S.  Don’t be surprised if you see members of my family at the SeekersRetreat when we all get back.
Salams,
Taras Hollyer
Register now – Tickets are now discounted! Last Week to Register,  spaces are Limited.

On the Sacred Journey: Meeting at the Oasis of the 2014 Seekers Retreat “Awakening the Heart”

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Reflection by Maryam J. Mathieu

During the drive to Camp Couchiching for the annual SeekersHub Toronto retreat, all I could think about was what questions I could ask the scholars to help me figure out how to make hijra into a new life. For years, and especially since I converted to Islam a year and a half ago, I’d obsessed about where I want to go, besides where I am, and what I want to do, besides what I’m doing.
I thought the answer to my happiness and my salvation was just around the corner. I believed that somewhere else is where I needed to be in order to be who I want to be and do what I’m meant to be doing. I felt like the friends and community I yearned for were somewhere else, and the work I longed to be doing was something else. I believed that in order for me to be happy and beloved to All Mighty Allah, I needed to go find that community where I belonged and that work for His sake that I longed to be doing.
My mind turned and turned on these questions, but within hours of arriving at the retreat, that changed. In one of the very first lectures, before I could think of the right questions or find the opportunity to seek counsel from any of the scholars, the questions I couldn’t even articulate were answered with finality, Praise be to God.
In his lecture from the Hikam of ibn Ata’illah, Shaykh Ahmad Saad warned us of the barriers that prevent our hearts from waking up to hear All Mighty Allah’s Call and the Messages He Sends everyday to Guide us on our Journey to Him. One of these barriers, Shaykh Ahmad told us, is the danger of attachment to states, the belief that another state of being, whether it’s a place or way of living, is the key to our happiness and salvation.
Rather, he explains to us, the state we are in at the moment is the state we are meant to be in, and yearning for another state, believing it is the key to our happiness and salvation prevents us from achieving that very happiness and salvation. Our mission is in the moment, and we need to trust All Mighty Allah to bring us to successive beautiful states while we focus on navigating the terrain He lays at our feet and heeding His Guidance as we travel terrain we can only see with our hearts.
As Muslims, we understand that this life is temporary; it’s a bridge between worlds, and we’re travelers on a Journey to our eternal Home, insha’Allah. And as Muslims, we know we’re traveling together. We’re on a sacred caravan through the worlds, and we have a responsibility to help each other on this Journey. We are instructed by the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) to feed each other when we’re hungry, support each other when we’re weak and protect each other when we’re in danger. Our strength is in community, and it’s in unity and coming together to guide, protect and shelter each other from the ravages of the dunya that our success in the akhira, both individually and as an Ummah, depends. The question is not, who do I want to be helping on the Path, but rather, who has Allah put on my Path to help?
Being at the SeekersHub retreat, I realized that my mission as a Muslim is to be where I am, on the terrain that All Mighty Allah has placed me. I need to be here with excellence, and while I’m focusing on what is at my feet, I need to put total trust in All Mighty Allah to Guide me to the next state I am meant to be in, God Willing. I realized also that retreats like this one, and like the Al Maqasid retreat I was at just a couple weeks prior, are oases on this Journey. I may not be where I long to be, but here are the people I love all gathered in remembrance of The Most Merciful, preparing to return to their homes to do His work, God Willing.
As Muslims, we all recognize this Journey, on some level, but it is easy to forget our mission and the responsibilities of the trusts that All Mighty Allah has put in our care. We get transfixed by the kaleidoscope of our fears, desires, conflicts, jealousies, resentments and other fleeting impulses meant to divert our gaze from the Face of Allah. In the daily grind of life in the dunya, our internal map becomes shredded and worn out and our compass, our heart, becomes unbalanced. We focus on our own needs, or the needs of those we love, rather than focusing on our neighbors’ needs and our community’s needs. But this retreat reminded me that we’re all in this together.
That’s why retreats like this one are vital to us, as individuals and as an Ummah. They are an oasis on the Journey where we can pause from the frantic pace of life and have our scholars help us repair and update our maps while they help us re-calibrate our hearts. The Qur’an with the Sunnah is our map and our hearts are our compasses, and without both in working condition, we are lost.
These oases are also a place to meet up with fellow travelers and seekers who remind us of what it means to be a Muslim. They offer the kind of companionship that is the promise of Islam, but which is so often lacking in our communities, so much so that we can forget it even exists. I’ve begun to meet friends at these retreats who I hope will be reminders on my Path and who I pray will be my neighbors in the akhira, God-willing. It’s also an opportunity to drink deep from the Spring of faith and prophetic guidance, which we will need for the next leg of our Journey, before we reach the next oasis retreat.
So as my map was filled in and updated, my compass calibrated and my heart warmed by the fire of companionship with gentle and soft-hearted Muslims, I’m reminded of my sacred mission on my Journey. I’m given renewed faith and energy to undergo the trials and tribulations that are the nature of the Path through life, because it’s not where I will end up on my Path that is important. Rather it’s where I am now that matters, and my sacred mission is to navigate the terrain at my feet with faith, patience and excellence, and to trust Allah to take care of the rest. Ameen.