Prophetic Love is a Love that Heals (Visiting the SeekersHub)

On Thursday last week my heart was feeling heavy, and so following my mother’s excellent advice that remembrance of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him eases the heart, I went to the SeekersHub Toronto to hear Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari speak and to participate in the weekly mawlid.

Though I’ve been in Toronto for the past couple of months, this was my first visit to the new Hub location, and I’m so, so happy I made the trip finally. (God bless and reward the kind soul that helped make the journey easier by picking me up).  If you haven’t visited the SeekersHub Toronto yet either, I highly recommend the trip. To start with, the space is beautiful.  One wall features a large calligraphy piece by Toronto calligrapher Sehar Shahzad, and seeing this piece in person is worth the trip alone. Her work radiates love, and its wonderful to see local institutions supporting local artists. 

But the Hub is so much more than a beautiful physical space. It almost felt like Eid that night- there were families and people of all ages in the Hub, and everyone was smiling, happy, and truly glad to be there celebrating the beauty of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and so many unknown ones, and to see how much the Hub has grown since I last lived in Toronto alhamdullilah. 

And even though it had been a while since I’ve participated in a mawlid, it was a very accessible gathering. The evening started with a beautiful recitation of the Dua Nasiri, a powerful dua that applies to our world and to our everyday, individual lives. One line in particular that I found moving was the following:

“You are the One on Whom We call to remove our adversities,
and You are the One we hope will dispel our sorrows.”

To you, our Lord, we have stretched out our hands
and from You, our Lord, we hope for kindness.

Be kind to us in what You decree
and let us be pleased with what pleases You.

 

Since the Mawlid I’ve been listening to this dua constantly, and I highly recommend hearing this recitation of this moving, important dua.  After the Dua Nasiri we recited a beautiful dua for rain, and again, hearing the dua and reading its meaning about physical and spiritual rain was a heart-softening experience.

Supplication for Rain

Supplication for Rain

 

Later on in the mawlid, Shaykh Ibrahim Hussain shared a beautiful Urdu naat with us, and though hearing about the Prophet in any language softens the heart and is beautiful, hearing poetry in a language where I can appreciate the subtlety of the poetry without the intermediary of translation was my favourite part of the gathering.  Sidi Nader Khan also shared an Urdu naat with us that was exceptional, and such moments are the ones have the most impact on my heart. Alhamdullilah for the diversity of forms of praise about the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him!

The mawlid closed before Maghrib with Sidi Nader treating us to an bluesy-jazz number in English that was extraordinary, and something we could all participate in through the chorus of “laa ilaha illAllah”. By this point in the gathering, I felt so much joy and happiness, and felt markedly different from when I walked into the door. Alhamdullilah for this deen and the light of faith, alhamdullilah for the beauty and mercy of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and alhamdullilah for the beauty and company of fellow believers! Truly, reflecting on the gifts we’ve been given make external challenges so much easier to deal with, and the Hub facilitates such remembrance.

After Maghrib Shaykh Ahmed Saad al-Azhari gave a powerful reminder (I highly recommend listening to it in its entirety!) about how the Qur’an should change our lives (notes below) and people stayed after the lesson for Isha, to drink delicious Moroccan tea (everything about the Hub is sweet) and to catch up and meet new friends and old. All in all, it was a night of tranquility, and I look forward to my next visit insha’Allah! 

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The definition of shyness (haya)

If it were not for God’s beautiful veiling, if it were not for God covering you beautifully, no deed you do would be worthy of acceptance.~Hikam 131 of Ibn Ata’illah.

Dr Umar’ commentary:

There is a huge spiritual truth in this Hikam. We don’t let anything we do go to our heads. We cannot make a claim to God based on the good that we do. When have we ever done anything really?

Haya (shyness) is the earnest desire to do what is right. For example, we are ashamed not to do what is right by our parents. Haya is the shame of failure to fulfill obligations. Haya is the light of the heart.

Muslims when covered, feel beautiful. Beauty is not in the physical body, in covering of the body. Marriage is important because it’s so difficult. When know someone intimately, you see their humanness. Marital relationship is one of uncovering in different senses. You are living together, therefore have to be very merciful. Marriage is a sign of God. You will not know someone more intimately than you know your spouse, except a mother and child. In that relationship humanness and human defects are revealed. Which is why spouses are garments for one another. They cover one another, they forgive one another.

In our lives, it is foolish to remove covering, and to hear and see things shouldn’t hear and see. The next Hikam, Hikam 133 is about keeping away from things that will pollute your heart. Eye, ear, food all are channels to pollute your heart. That means we shouldn’t have arrogance when we see other people, should have an attitude of “there but for the grace of God go I.” Don’t look down at homeless people, if you saw the things that broke them, maybe you’d be in same state.

~Dr Umar, Dec 15th 2011, Post mawlid class at the SeekersHub