As a collaboration between the SeekersHub Toronto, the Muslim Chaplaincy at U of T and the U of T MSA, the Muslim Chaplaincy at U of T offered a course during the Fall of 2014 called Living Light with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani. The sessions I attended were excellent, and left us with much to think about afterwards. Below, notes from one of the sessions.
- Have a daily point of connection to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him
- The sunna is not just general principles, but practical specifics
- The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him would keep in touch with people for decades afterwards
- Part of goodness to parents is goodness to the friends of one’s parents. To be respectful to their friends.
- Have loyalty in relationships
- We often like to study intellectual things but most important knowledge is that that transforms how we worship and how we are with Allah’s creation. We must constantly ask: what is the right action entailed by the right intention and attitude?
- Sometimes to determine this we need to momentarily disengage. When Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him asked the Companions to come out of ihram and they didn’t respond, there is a methodology we can learn in his response.
- a) Disengage (went inside his tent)
- b) Consult when unclear. Sometimes expressing your problem helps to view it correctly (Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him consulted his wife)
- c) Only respond when sure. Don’t say or do anything hastily. Say the good or be silent.
- Good character is manifest when tested
- With couples/any relationship – tell yourself, i don’t want to respond to how I feel and what he/she saying, I want to respond in way pleasing to Allah
- Attitude and then action. Look at your spouse with mercy and love.
- Opposite of love is not hatred, it’s indifference. If motive is to look with mercy, you are seeking the good.
- Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, did not deal with people on the basis of what they said or did, dealt with people on the basis of heart. What is their underlying concerns.
- Have an eye of love and mercy. Have a good opinion of your spouse.
- Relations are a matter of the heart (emotions), they aren’t rational.
- Relationships are connections of the heart, supported by reason.
- Deal with people on the basis of good chraracter.
- The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, gave us numerous examples – need to renew our connection to him, peace and blessings be upon him.
The Muslim Chaplaincy at U of T runs an amazing weekly discussion circle called Soul Food. Below are notes from one of the sessions this term. Alhamdullilah for spaces to grow and learn with others!
- A true sense of hope is hoping for God’s mercy and working for it.
- When you see a sunset, why do you enjoy it? When you’re with family, what is your response? The response should be thankfulness
- Take advantage of every moment as an advantage of drawing close to God. We are sowing seeds for the akhira (afterlife)
- What is your purpose? Tip: Spend 5 minutes at the end of the day and sit and reflect. Engage in dhikr and quiet.
- Death is around the corner. Allah and eternal bliss is what we should strive for. Death gives you immediacy. Contemplating death allows you to ask the question, where am I going? I’m going somewhere based on what I do here. How do I achieve the goals I have in the best way possible?
- Don’t be attached to results, be attached to God.
- Companions weren’t morbid, they were content with death. Natural to have a fear of the unknown but if have yaqeen, better able to handle things.
- Is what I’m doing, what I’m intending, something I will be glad that I did?
- Seek greater goals. Then everything you do becomes an act of worship.
- A righteous person, funeral is like a wedding. Your perceptions define your experiences.
- Really important to reflect on life. Where are you going? What are we attached to? What are our lives about? People who have a strong sense of this strive to do the most amount of good. Their hearts are full of the things that really matter.
- As attachments to the world decrease, arguments, grudges, backbiting decrease.
- We shouldn’t be small minded people, we should look at the big picture.
- We tend to have shallow communications. We hang out with people, but don’t have deep communications.
- Chicken soup to a neighbour, the greatest act to change the world. Mutual acts of caring performed often forge a sense of belonging. Try to reignite the role of neighbours.
I heard a beautiful lecture through the Yale MSA yesterday that was filled with wonderful reminders about leadership, being a positive contributor to the world, recognizing one’s attachment to the world, having good manners and so much more. Thanks to the Yale MSA for uploading the video of this beautiful talk and making it accessible to a wider audience. My notes are brief as the stories can only be done justice by hearing the lecture on one’s own.
- When we talk about spiritual leadership, need to revisit and understand your role as khalifa, as steward of God and the earth.
- It’s about understanding I’m not here just for the heck of it, and I’m also not here to consume, also not here just to make money, also not here just to procreate, but I’m here for a reason, for a purpose, and I’m here on behalf of somebody, and the One that I’m here on behalf of determines the greatness of my vicegerency, the greatness of my stewardship. And that is on behalf of All Mighty God.
- Each of us is a leader in some regard, at least as it relates to our own soul. And this is scary but this is also really exciting.
- The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him said there are seven people shaded on the Day of Judgement. The first one is a just leader, or a just ruler, depending on how you look at the word. The commentators say this applies to everybody who is an imam in any regard. Doesn’t mean have to be in role of religious authority, but leaders.
- When you get married and have kids, need to think about the fact that spiritual leadership is not just exported to the masjid.
- Be careful of the life you lead, you may be the only book some people read.
- What is spirituality? The people of our tradition say someone who has increased you in good manners has increased you in spirituality.
- The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him was sent to perfect noble character.
- Spirituality can be having really good manners.
- Imam Zaid – if he’s by himself, he’s reading Qur’an and doing dhikr. Story of Imam Zaid spending three times as much time as it took to make wudu, wiping the floor so that there isn’t a mess for the workers at convention centre. That’s spirituality.
- Some of us have never seen a scholar make wudu. If you have a chance you should, because you might look and realize haven’t been doing it right my whole life.
- How many of us have read Islam and the Black American? How many of us have read Roots? The Autobiography of Malcolm X? Need to realize that where we are is because of the sacrifices of other people.
- The only way to make it is to be in good company, with people who are more advanced than you. Have to be around elders and mentors. It’s the same way we make strides in other parts of our life as well.
- Be mirrors of his beautiful light.
Today I heard a wonderful lecture by Ustadh Usama Canon filled with real reminders and practical advice on how to understand the events of your life. My notes are brief (it’s a lecture that should be experienced on its own) and I’m posting it here as a reminder to myself first and foremost. To support Taleef Collective, where Ustadh Usama teaches, please see here)
- Like all of you I’m on a journey. I’m on a journey to try and know myself, understand the world around me and through that to understand reality and my Creator. And everybody’s journey is different.
- Before the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him prays for anything, he affirms Allah’s reality. See this in the dua of Taif. When you say to someone who is generous that they are generous, you are asking them for something. When you mention to someone that the gift they gave you is really nice, you’re asking them for another gift.
Alhamdullilah for Jum’ah! Whenever I’m able to attend, it’s lovely to benefit from the lessons of teachers, and to fuel up with their reminders for the week ahead. Below are a few reminders I took away from today’s Khutbah by Ustadh Amjad Tarsin at the University of Toronto. Duas that your Ramadan is going well! All mistakes in recall are my own.
1) This is a month of connection and reconnection. Reconnecting with God, reconnecting with family, reconnecting with community. Do not be of those who break family ties. And invite people. There are people in our community who may be international students far from home, or converts fasting on their own, or people who cannot afford iftar. Invite them over and feed them, and benefit from the tremendous reward.
2) Gratitude leads to increase. Make gratitude your banner.
3) The scholars say that Ramadan is a school. Take time to assess yourself honestly and ask yourself, what grade would I give myself? If you haven’t felt the sweetness of Ramadan yet, it’s not too late.
4) Security and safety are blessings. And it’s a blessing we cannot take for granted. We may all know people who do not enjoy this blessing, or are suffering from hardship or illness. But duas work. Take time every night, whether it’s one minute, or 5 minutes, or whatever you can do, to remember those who are suffering in other parts of the world.
5) The last ten nights are coming, and in them a night is hidden that is better than 80 years of worship. Better than a thousand months. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was more active in these days than he was the rest of the month.
Continuing with our Ramadan project of the tafsir of Surah Maryam, here are my notes of Shaykh Abdul Nasir’s tafsir of Ayah 1-4. Today’s session was an amazing, amazing class with wonderful reminders about dua, and I’m so excited about learning more about the Surah insha’Allah this month. To watch the lecture in its totality, please see here.
Surah Maryam – Day 2.
- The last note I’ll make about the layout of the Surah, is that as Imam Qurtubi mentions in his tafsir, the first 3/4ths of the Surah talks about the need of people for children.
- In a very subtle way, the Surah tells us it is a human need and desire to want to have a child. Starting with Zakariyya and Maryam and Isa, it goes on with Ibrahim alayhis salaam and his contentious relationship with his father. It talks about Ismael making strong recommendations to his family members. Idris. It talks about that. It mentions Ishaq and Yaqub. This entire chain of father son, father son.
- So it emphasizes, it’s a very subtle reminder of the human need, the human desire for a child.
- And the last 4th of the surah, very harshly denies, refutes, the claim that Allah has a child.
- The first part talks about the fact that it’s human need to have a child, and this is almost an emotional weakness of the human being, and Allah being above and beyond any kind of weakness, it completely refutes this idea that Allah would have a child.
- This surah begins as do 29 other Surahs do in the Qur’an, and that is with the disjointed letters.