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Making the Most of Ramadan: FREE Course by SeekersGuidance

Looking for a spiritually-uplifting way to prepare for Ramadan? One of our students provides an overview of our dynamic On-Demand course, Making the Most of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the month of the year that every Muslim is longing for. Time for a good clean-up, new resolutions, and reconnection with Allah. How many times you have told yourself at the start of the blessed month that this one will be better but before you realise it, you are already in the last ten days, wishing you did more?

SeekersGuidance has introduced an amazing On-Demand course called Making the Most of Ramadan as a short, effective and transformative way to not let another Ramadan go to waste.

Course Details

This course is composed of 24 short lectures and reminders given by a broad range of scholars and teachers the likes of  Habib Umar ibn Hafiz, Habib Kadhim As-Saqqaf, Shaykh Ahmed Saad Al-Azhari, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus and many more.

This course is part of the On-Demand Course platform, which means no registration needed, and no deadlines or assignments. Just enter your email and you will be given immediate access. 

In this series of courses you will learn the main aspects of fasting such as its virtues such as taqwa, sincerity, connection with the Quran, patience and nearness to Allah. You will learn about the ruling related to fasting that are often underestimated my many Muslims as well as contemporary issues looked at by our scholars.

You will learn about the the deep spiritual approach of Ramadan, and the effect of fasting on your soul. You’ll learn how to fall in love with Allah, what was the Prophet’s fast was like, the Abrahamic roots of fasting and so much more.

Our Purpose on Earth

As Muslims, we know that we will be asked about our choices. and that Allah created us for a purpose. That purpose is to worship Him as He says in His book:

{ وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ }

And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Surah al-Dhariyat 51:56)

Therefore, when you reflect on the meaning of your presence on earth, you can quickly relate to how important worshipping Allah is and how much knowledge can help you in improving your relationship with Allah through improving how you are worshipping Him.

 Don’t let this opportunity run you by! Join the wave of the lovers and gain closeness to Allah.

Click here to access the courses.


 

 

Caribbean Calling: Nourishing Communities of Faith, by Nazim Baksh

sh_saadAt the beginning of the blessed month of Rabi’al Awwal 1438, Shaykh Ahmad Saad Al-Azhari will visit the twin-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. He will give a series of talks on the Sira of Allah’s Messenger , peace and blessings be upon him, at local mosques and will teach from Al-Nubdhah Al-Sughra at the prestigious San Fernando Jama Masjid.


Shaykh Ahmad’s host is Maulana Siddiq Nasir and his Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah Institute (ASWJI), the same organization that recently hosted Shaykh Faid Muhammad Said and Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ninowy. Maulana Siddiq is one of the early graduates of the Aleemiyah Institute in Pakistan. Seeker’s Hub has endorsed this initiative. Sidi Nazim Baksh will be accompanying Shaykh Ahmad on this tour and in this article he explains why it is important for Muslim scholars to continue visiting Muslims in the Caribbean.
 

Shaykh Ninowy in Guyana, March 2016

Shaykh Ninowy in Guyana, March 2016

What Exactly Constitutes an Authentic Expression of Islam?

For the last three decades Muslims who live in Guyana, Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, have been grappling with the thorny issue of what exactly constitutes an authentic expression of Islam. It wasn’t always like this, but it has made the Caribbean a highly desired destination for a variety of foreign scholars and organizations looking to make their mark.  
In Guyana and Trinidad, countries with the largest communities, the majority of Muslims are direct descendants of indentured labourers who were brought from India to cultivate rice and sugar plantations during the British colonial period. There is also now a growing number of converts to Islam mostly from the African West-Indian communities across the English-speaking Caribbean.   
While indentureship ended in the early 20th century, the East-Indian Muslims stayed on, raising families, establishing businesses, forging communities and building mosques – 140 alone in Guyana.
Although religious texts were imported and disseminated locally, it played only a limited role in keeping people connected to the religion. The rhythm of Islamic spirituality for the mostly agrarian communities were the intermittent visits of a number of respected scholars who were grounded in tassawuf.  

Mawlana Siddiq
Nazim Baksh with Maulana Siddiq Ahmed Nasir

Historical Scholarly Visits to the Caribbean

In the 1930’s Maulana Sayed Shams-ud-Din visited Guyana traveling by boat from Trinidad where he was a scholar in residence for two years. Maulana Abdul Aleem Siddique’s visit to the region in 1950 makes him the most prominent scholar in this period to have visited and spend time in both Trinidad and Guyana before he died in 1954 in Al-Madinah and was buried in Al-Baqi.
Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ansari was a young man when he accompanied Maulana Siddique and he returned to the Caribbean in the 1960’s to conduct seminars and encourage local Muslims to establish educational institutions. He would later create the Aleemiyah Institute in Pakistan where three young Guyanese and one Trinidadian were offered scholarships to study sacred knowledge. Maulana Siddiq, our host, was one of the them.

Maulana Noorani
Maulana Noorani in Guyana in the 1960s

Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani also visited the Caribbean in the late 60’s and early 70’s and he single-handedly revived a love and devotion to Allah’s Beloved Messenger with his inimitable style of reciting Qasidas and making the standing during the salutation on the Prophet known locally as ta’zim, a standard feature at all types of major religious gatherings.
He was so well-liked that the Muslim leaders of Trinidad made an LP of his recitation of the Quran along with his renditions of a few qasidas. Today, there are still men among the older generation of Muslims who imitate his style of reciting the Quran.

The Infusion of Alien Religious Ideas

As the 14th hijri century came to an end the Islamic waters of the Caribbean got murky with the infusion of alien religious ideas. Not surprisingly, the first practice that would be attacked was the central role of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in Muslim religious life. Opposition to the Mawlid was fierce and the singing of qasidas in praise of the Prophet was seen as a throwback to bygone days and an imitation of Hinduism. Some even labeled it as shirk.     
Political organizations based in the United States began to focus their gaze on the communities in the Caribbean. The Nation of Islam was one of the first, but soon Dar al-Islam and The Islamic Party of North America led by Yusuf Muzaffaruddin Hamid, began setting up branches in the Caribbean. Both organizations were militant but also heavily influenced by the ideology of Hasan Al-Banna’s Muslim Brotherhood and Syed Abul Ala Al-Mawdudi’s Jamaat-i-Islami.  
The first murder to take place in the name of Islam in the Caribbean happened in 1985 in Trinidad when a group of men gunned down an Ahmadiyya Missionary in front of his teenaged son. The men were followers of Jamaat Al-Fuqra, a U.S. based organization headed by a Pakistani mystic that was an offshoot of Dar al-Islam.
Long before Osama bin Laden and Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi dreamed of establishing a Caliphate, Imam Yasin Abu Bakr staged a failed coup in Trinidad in 1990. His goal was to establish a Caliphate according to an important report on the failed coup. Six people were killed and Abu Bakr’s Jamaat Al-Muslimoon caused millions of dollars in damage.  

Largest Number of Da’esh Recruits Per Capita in the World

Today the government of Trinidad estimates that 130 adult men along with their wives and children – some 400 in all – have left the country in the last three years to join Da’esh in Iraq and Syria. This makes Trinidad the country with the largest number of Da’esh recruits per capita in the world. Some of them have taken to social media to declare Yasin Abu Bakr an apostate of Islam because he no longer pursues the path of Jihad and Hijra.
The convenient course of action is to ignore the Caribbean because afterall it is on the extreme periphery of Muslim majority countries. To do so is to ignore the vast majority of Muslims who desire to live respectfully and peacefully in a faith-diverse community as their ancestors have for well over a century with their Christians and Hindu neighbours. We have a moral obligation to assist the silent majority by opening for them the doors of sound Islamic knowledge lest some of them fall prey to a vigorous campaign by violent extremists.  

Resources for Seekers

caribbean islamCover Photo by Samuel David

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Did you know you have a share of the Quran?

Ever been going through a tough experience, then opened the Quran and found just what you needed to help you? Shaykh Ahmed Sa’ad explains why we lose out on discovering our share of the Qur’an when we skim read.

Did you know you have a share of the Quran? In this insightful video, Shaykh Ahmad Saad al-Azhari teaches us how much we miss out on when we skim through our reading and recitation of the Quran, without giving the time to reflect on what Allah is revealing to us.

Each one of us, he explains, has a share (nasib) in the Qu’ran, that connects to our unique experience. Just like some Companions manifested different aspects of the Prophet, from his love to his service to his political planning, so do we relate to different parts of the Qu’ran as it unfolds on different levels.

Connecting It To Our Care For Others

He then goes on to explain how this connects to the care we should have for others. Habib Ahmad Mashur Al Haddad’s once said that three of the seven initiatives that we should be responsible for include eliminating poverty and hunger. People who are fighting for a way to alleviate their hunger, or are in a state of constant fear and stress, might not be able to think about faith and God so we need to fight things like poverty, not for their own sake but because we have an obligation to help people find their Lord.

Luxury Leads To Heedlessness

In addition, we also need to remember the second initiative which is to fight excessive luxury that leads to a state of heedlessness. The concept of being able to buy almost anything, coupled with the comfort it brings, not only causes a person to stop thinking about his neediness before his Lord, but stops them caring for others.

Fight Desensitisation

Thirdly, the initiative of saving people’s lives, whether it be by disease or killing,  at home or abroad, is also important. In modern times, the idea of mass mortalities are normalized by the media, to the point that we become desensitized by it.

Shaykh Ahmed Sa’ad al-Azhari is the Founder and Director of the Ihsan Institute. Want more? Sign up for Shaykh Ahmad’s course Key Themes of the Qur’an: A Complete Overview of the Book of Allah, offered completely free by SeekersHub Global.

Resources for Seekers

Cover photo by David Brossard.

Being Content Without Consumerism

How can we be content with our lives?

Why did the old man in the palace give the young man olive oil when he was asked about the meaning of happiness? Shaykh Ahmad Saad tells us the story, which serves as a powerful reminder for us to be content in whatever situation Allah has placed us in.  The shaykh also gives practical steps in knowing and achieving the “essentials of Qur’anic contentment”.  Our thanks to ISNA Canada for the recording.

Resources on Being Content

Cover photo by Asim Bharwani

Informative To Transformative: How To Upgrade Your Prayer

Why are there so few hadith or verses of the Quran about performing the prayer? Why can some people pray frequently but still experience so many problems? Have we evacuated the content of the prayer? In this sermon, Shaykh Ahmad Saad Al-Azhari explains how a prayer can be so powerful that it resolves all other problems.

Take a SeekersHub course to perfect your prayer: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence and Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Shafi’i Jurisprudence

We are grateful to Palmers Green Mosque for this recording.

Resources for Seekers

 

Cover photo by Chaoyoe.