Gems from Lives of Man with Sidi Amjad Tarsin (Class 2)

Recently on my commute I’ve been listening to a wonderful set of lectures by Sidi Amjad Tarsin from the Muslim Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto on Imam Haddad’s text “Lives of Man” and alhamidullah, this has transformed my journey home into a beautiful and beneficial experience. The full set of lectures can be found here, and so far (I’ve heard two of the four classes) I really can’t recommend the series enough. Masha’Allah even through a recording, Sidi Amjad’s kind, gentle teaching style shines through and though the material is grave (pun not intended), the examples given are memorable, accessible and relatable, and you feel hopeful, not discouraged, at the end of each session.

Do benefit and share these lessons – as even if you’ve read this text before, this is a wonderful review. And to learn more about the Muslim Chaplaincy at the University of Toronto, you can find out more here.

Below, some notes from the second class. These notes were mostly taken on the bus, so they aren’t complete, and as always, all mistakes in notetaking are my own.

Lives of Man – Life of the Grave

  •  Everything that comes after the life of this world is based on the way that we lived here.
  •  Consider grave a home – how are we decorating it with our deeds now?
  • Punishment of grave is mostly from backbiting, slander and not cleaning oneself properly.
  • Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would ask constantly for protection from torment of grave. It’s real, not metaphorical!
  • We have a responsibility to pray for those who have deceased.
  • We have a responsibility to pray for their forgiveness, carry out promises, take care of friends, pay attention to kinship ties
  • Goodness to parents continues even after they have passed away!
  • One of the greatest gifts a person can offer to a person who has passed is reciting Qur’an on their behalf whether a little or a lot. All of the Qur’an is blessed and beneficial, but something that is easy that the scholars have recommended is reciting Surah Ikhlas and intending reward for that person.
  • Generally good to asking dua for a person. Asking Allah to have mercy
  • Beautiful statement of Imam Haddad: The one who remembers is remembered, the one who forgets is forgotten.
  • One who has passed are part of our community.
  • Giving charity on behalf on someone, making dua for them, all good.
  • Recommended to visit graves. Reminds you of the hereafter. Is one of the most powerful ways to remove the rust around our hearts. Allows us to recognize that all of these people were alive at one time and had kids and dreams and lives and jobs and families and now they are all dead, all buried underneath the ground. Very powerful mode of remembering the akhirah (hereafter) and life to come.
  • No one sits by grave of his brother than his brother is comforted by them.
  • Recommended to stand near the head.
  • Particularly to keep in mind one own relatives.
  • Visit relatives regularly
  • The things of the ghayb, Allah knows best
  • 3rd life (barzakh) ends when the hour comes.
  • The hour cannot come until this world ends.
  • All creatures shall be assembled in the intermediate realm, Angel Israfil will blow a horn and everything in existence will will die. Than Allah will take his soul, and then Allah will only be in existence.
  • Then another horn will blow, Allah will resurrect that angel, then Israfil will blow the horn a second tme and that will be the commencement of judgement day.
  • Prophet said, peace and blessings be upon him, that “Islam began as something strange, and will return to being  something strange, so blessed are the strangers, who hold on to their values and beliefs at a time when people are corrupt.
  • Scholars say that all of the minor signs have come to pass. All that remains is major signs. It is a time that people really have to hold on tight because it’s going to get bumpy. In our lifetimes, or in the next generation, Allah knows when these things will come to pass, but the minor signs have happened.
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