On Modesty (Gems by Usama Canon)

The Taleef Collective is a space in Fremont, California that offers the space, content and companionship necessary for a healthy understanding, embrace and realization of Islam.  I’ve been following their Video Reflections for a while now, and each one offers food for thought, reflection, and discussion with others. Earlier this week, I discovered the multimedia section on their website and heard a beautiful lecture on modesty that was both full of important reminders, and made me even more excited for “Taleef Live!” a  project to make Taleef’s weekly, monthly and quarterly programs accessible worldwide through Live-Streaming. To help make this project a reality, please see here, and give generously.

On Modesty – Ustadh Usama Canon

Two things become incumbent on you when you learn something.

1) Incumbent that you implement it. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said. “Whoever acts according to what they know, Allah will give them knowledge of that which they did not know.” And he, peace and blessings be upon him, sought refuge from Allah from knowledge that did not benefit. So if you learn something and do not implement, that is knowledge that will not be of any benefit.

2) Incumbent to teach other people. Disseminate and share with other people.

  • Modesty: that’s a thesis topic, not a seminar.
  • Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said that every religion has a defining quality, and the defining quality of my way is haya (modesty). So if something is the defining quality, what does it deserve in terms of time and what does it deserve in terms of reflection?
  • The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is the pinnacle of altruism. He, peace and blessings be upon him, is the paragon of selflessness.
  • He peace and blessings be upon him, is the imam of the people of mercy.
  • He is the foremost of the people who have modesty.
  • The thing with the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is that any one of his attributes is enough for you to annihilate yourself trying to understand.
  • So when you look at all of his attributes put together, and how they complement each other, it’s like any which way you turn, you’re like, Ya Rasullah! Look at this man. Look at his character.  Sallallahu alayhi wasalaam.
  • Main question we should be asking ourselves is when we say that we are following this man, how much work do we have to do?
  • It’s an ongoing process, and it’s a lifelong journey. It’s not that you go to jummah, hear the khutba, and come out as sunna-man, or sunna sister.
  • We don’t just become humble, we don’t just become sensitive, we don’t just become modest. It’s a process. Because any of the attributes of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would take a lifetime to gain the least bit of. So when we’re trying to implement all of them, how much work do we have to do?
  • We have a lot of work to do. Sayyiduna Musa, alayhis salaam, just heard about the virtues of the Prophet’s, peace and blessings be upon him, community and was ready to forego his prophecy to be of his ummah, peace and blessings be upon him. Musa alayhis salaam. He keeps asking Allah, “who is that?”, and finally he said, make me of his community!
  • May Allah make us more grateful. We have no reason to be cynical, Wallahi. We have no reason to be pessimistic except for our own shortcomings, wallahi. Alhamdullilah, Allah sent this light giving lamp amongst us, sallahu alayhi wasalaam.

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Getting Serious About Religion (The Final Lecture of the U of T MSA)

To end an amazing year of events and classes, the Muslim Students’ Association at the University of Toronto held a lecture recently titled “Getting Serious about Religion” featuring the SeekersHub own Dr Bano Murtuja, and Shaykh Abdul Hakim Quick. For me, it was one of the best, most meaningful lectures I’ve ever been to, and I’m enormously grateful to Dr Bano for gracing us with her presence that night!  The event had two major lessons. The first was the subject of Dr Bano’s remarks, that intention, knowledge and service are essential, and the second was something we all felt deep in our hearts: female scholarship is something that is sorely needed to build strong communities.  When you have people you admire in your life, you want to emulate them, and Dr Bano was a reminder for all the women in the room that academic excellence, community service, seeking sacred knowledge and being a wonderful person are all compatible. So alhamidullah for the blessing of strong female exemplars, it truly changes the way you understand yourself and the things you should be devoting your time and attention towards. Notes below from the event, and the talk in its entirety can be found here.

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Purifying our Hearts at U of T (Counsels on Good Character)

In our final Purification of the Heart class with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani on March 20th, we had an amazing class filled with beautiful gems about the meaning of good character,  patience, good company, and ways to improve our own character traits. It’s impossible to share everything that was covered during the class, but insha’Allah these notes are of benefit. 

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In Everything, Uphold Good Character (Session 10 of Purifying Our Hearts at U of T)

In our penultimate session of the Purification of the heart class with Shaykh Faraz, it was beautiful to hear both the gems of wisdom he had to share, but also to observe practically what good character looks like. We were unable to get power in the room so the slides couldn’t be projected, the class couldn’t be live streamed in its entirety, and we didn’t have a proper desk for Shaykh Faraz. With each challenge, Shaykh Faraz simply said “no problem” and adapted to what was going on with a smile. It was beautiful, and one of the most memorable things I’ll take away away from these sessions. Here are a few gems from the tenth session of the course.
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The Doors of Good Are Beyond Counting (Purifying our Hearts at U of T Session 8)

In our eighth session with Shaykh Faraz at the University of Toronto studying Imam Haddad’s poem of counsel, we had a beautiful evening with so many wonderful gems. Masha’Allah it’s a gift having these classes so accessible for us on campus, and we hope that these notes can be a small complement to those who could not make it. As always, these notes are not complete, but we hope they are of benefit.
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Purifying Our Hearts at U of T (Session 2 with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani)

On Tuesday we had our second dars with Shaykh Faraz studying Imam Haddad’s Poem of Counsel, and it was beautiful. It’s a busy time of term, and given all the places people could be instead, it was lovely to sit in the MultiFaith centre and look around at all the students who came (despite many students having a long commute home!) to talk and learn about spirituality and their own heart.

In this lesson, we learnt about the importance of propriety (adab), about the treasures in the 40 Hadith of Imam Nawawi, about the stages of education, and were introduced to Syed Muhammed al-Attas. As always, these are not complete notes, but they do give you a flavour for the class. Please do keep the note-taker in your duas!
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