Relationships are Connections of the Heart Supported by Reason (Gems from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani)

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.
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On Social Media and Happy Marriages (Day 1 at the ISNA Canada Convention)

This past weekend ISNA Canada held their annual convention at the ISNA Canada Masjid in Mississauga. And despite my full intentions to get there on time, I got lost on the 1st Day of the Convention, and only reached the masjid near the end of Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari’s lecture on Surah Kahf. What I heard was excellent though, and a good reminder to critically evaluate one’s time and energy in virtual spaces, to strive to have consistent behaviour regardless of who you are interacting with, and to have patience with the learning process.

After Shaykh Ahmed Saad spoke, Dr. Altaf Hussain gave a lecture on creating happy marriages and living “happily ever after.” He spoke about the importance of resisting the urge to have an elaborate wedding, and to focus instead on how a couple will live their life together afterwards. Once married he said, we need to focus on stopping “micro-aggressions” before they create major problems in our relationships, and build partnerships where dua and praying together and for each other are at the core of one’s shared life. Finally, he also addressed and you could hear the seriousness, emphasis and frustration in his voice as he spoke, about the importance of remembering that the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him and Khadijah, may Allah be well pleased with her, had an age difference between them. As communities and families he said, we must stop assuming that women past a certain age/are older are unacceptable spouses. I stayed for that lecture as well before heading back downtown.

I was a bit shaken from getting lost and so my notes from the 1st day are very basic, but I’ve included them below. I’m not normally a conference -goer, but was really impressed by the quality of the ISNA Canada Convention. The volunteers were polite, there were so many families and young people in attendance, the bazaar was lovely, the masjid was beautiful, and throughout the whole event, you could tell that several months of planning and careful thought had gone into this weekend. Every lecture in the main hall had a sign language interpreter on stage to make the event more accessible, and the entire conference had a strong sustainability focus. Every registrant was given a refillable water bottle and there were no plastic water bottles sold at the conference alhamdullilah. May God bless and reward in the best of ways all those involved in this conference, and enable us to implement what we learned insha’Allah. It truly was a beneficial, needed weekend.

Accessible gatherings

Accessible gatherings

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Lasting Love: What Makes for Successful Marriage (Notes from the SeekersHub)

 On November 3rd 2012, the SeekersHub held a seminar titled “Lasting Love: What Makes for a Successful Marriage”. The course was live -streamed, and I logged on from Vancouver to hear the sessions. It was masha’Allah, a day that was well worth the investment in time. In summary, what I learnt from the course was that the core of marriage is good character, and that marriage is a long term opportunity for you to strive to be a better person. It is a means for you to work on the lifelong task of returning back to Allah with a sound heart. When two people have that intention, insha’Allah that leads to lasting love and a successful marriage, but really the seminar was not so much about marriage as about being a good human being. The video of the event is now available, and can be accessed here. And they are by no means comprehensive, but below are my notes from the event.

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Ask Allah With Certitude in the Answer

Online on Facebook this morning, I saw that SeekersGuidance had opened up the final live session for their marriage course to general attendees. I wasn’t able to attend the whole class, but below are notes from the part of the lesson I was able to hear. Also, the new SeekersGuidance semester with courses on a variety of topics begins soon! Don’t miss out the chance to study from wherever you are, with qualified, reliable teachers.

  • (Some)Quranic supplications for getting married:
  • People will come with 48 points that they are looking for in a spouse. One example: Your husband must like reading! Not really. Discuss books with someone else. You are reading, he might be doing something else. Not such a big deal. Just have essential characteristics as your criteria.
  • Have a good opinion of Allah. Your Lord has said, call upon Allah with certitude in His Answer. How and when the answer comes is up to Allah. It may be that the dua is answered now, it may be that Allah wards off harm from you, it may be that the answer is given in the akhira, but He always answers.
  • To find a spouse: Most effective means to is go to people who are connected, who have influence and experience. That person might be relative, might be community leader, might be scholar, might be parents.
  • If want to study, need to choose someone who understand and is supportive of those long term goals
  • If someone wants something, they should ask a lot. Sunna to ask a lot, but in state of slavehood, not in a state of demanding Allah.

~Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Dec 16th 2012.

She Was a Woman, Independent, Dignified and Respected

Though all the Mothers of the Believers are incredible women who have much to teach us with their example, I’ve always felt the most attached to the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) wife Sayyidah Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her). There are so many lessons from her example, and so many things to admire about her life.  She had her own independent career, she took the means when she saw the character of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), she supported the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when he first received revelation and gave him advice, she gave her wealth when the clan of Banu Hashim was being boycotted, she raised her daughters with love and care, the list goes on of her amazing character and accomplishments.

Over the past few days I’ve been thinking about Sayyidah Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) a lot because I’ve been reading Tariq Ramadan’s biography “In the Footsteps of the Prophet”. I’ve started it before, but in the past I’ve only read it partway through before school papers have claimed my attention once more. In this reading, as in readings before, I find Tariq Ramadan’s description and reflections about Sayyidah Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) to be beautiful, and well worth a moment of reflection. Her example is a lesson of the importance of balance, and how excellence in one’s career, family, marriage, community involvement, and pursuit of sacred knowledge is possible.

Below is my favourite passage from the book about Sayyidah Khadijah’s (may Allah be pleased with her) beautiful example:

“Khadijah was to be the first to accept Islam, and throughout the first ten years of Muhammad’s mission she was to remain at his side, an unfailingly faithful companion. This woman’s role in the Prophet’s life was tremendous. She was for twenty-five years, his only wife, whose presence alone protected the Prophet but who also underwent with him rejection by his kin, persecution and isolation. He loved her so much. This was so obvious that, many years after Khadijah’s death, Aishah –  who later married the Prophet – was to say that Khadijah was the only woman of whom she had ever been jealous. Khadijah received the good news of his election by God; she was a woman, independent, dignified and respected, then a wife, strong, attentive, faithful and confident; she was a pious Muslim, sincere, determined, and enduring. Muhammad, the last Prophet of the One, was not alone, and one of the clearest signs of God’s bounty and love for him was a woman in his life, his wife.

~Tariq Ramadan, In the Footsteps of the Prophet, p.35.

My Mother and Father are Two Rivers That Come Together in My Heart

In the March 11th SeekersHub Newsletter, we were recommended to watch a lecture by Dr Umar titled “Marriage as a Cosmic Ideal and Social Reality.” Below are a few of the things Dr Umar said that stood out for me.

  • Important verse to reflect on: Surah Rum, Verse 21: “And among the signs of God is having created mates for you from yourselves that you may feel at home with them, creating love and compassion between you. Surely there are signs in that for people who reflect.” (The Quran: A New Translation by Thomas Cleary)
  • Mawadda is a special kind of love. A protective kind of love where you care about the future and wellbeing of your spouse. And rahma (mercy) is what makes everything work, what makes everything go.
  • When Allah speaks about marriage in the Qur’an, He says your wives are a garment for you. They give you beauty, protection, honour, status. And you are a garment for them.
  • Many scholars say that purpose of marriage is to live together in a good way. To live together in a way that we communicate, respect each other, and have communion between us that is dignified and proper.
  • When we have that, when a husband and wife relate to each other and understand each other and respect each other, so much good comes out of it.
  • Mawadda is defensive protection. Special care in a way that is not suffocating, but positive and of mercy and love.
  • Men and women are guardians of each other. We all have a common fidelity and loyalty to the deen.