Monday, December 24, 2007

How Sincere are You??

A late Eid Mubarak to everyone. Insha'Allah Eid was a time that we all reflected on the mercy and love of Allah (SWT) for his creation, thought about the Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and of course the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Unfortunately here in TO there was the usual debate about which day the Eid would be celebrated--- I am curious as to which day you celebrated in your community and why if readers are willing to post.

Alhamdulillah this last weekend I had the opportunity to attend a local conference at the masjid that I have been attending. It is the Abu Hurairah Center and mesha'Allah the community there is very active. They have various events going on including a great halaka on Friday nights for families. If you are in the TO area I encourage you to attend. From what little I know, the Imam is meshallah blessed with sound knowledge and the masjid seperates the brothers and sisters area completely-- I have really been blessed by Allah from my experiences there.
The things that I learned this weekend are really too numerous to include, but I will focus on one point briefly.

One of the main aims of the conference was to increase the awareness of Muslims about their faith and sincerity in the religion. To remind us that often living in this world (dunya) we are so caught up in what we think will benefit us in this life, and trying to fit in here with people around us, that we neglect our deen. There is a hadith where the Prophet (SAW) said that there will come a day when holding onto our deen will be like holding onto burning coals (this is just a paraphrase)-- I would challenge us all to think about whether that time is now? The speaker asked us all to likewise consider that thought. How many of us in the last month have prayed every prayer on time? This is a fardh action... it is obligatory on us. Yet many struggle just to do that--- a fardh that we as Muslims MUST do. If we can't even hold fast to the obligatory in our religion then how can we strive to be following the actions of the Prophet (SAW)?
Why do we have such a problem? I think that a lot of it is because we lack priority. We lack focus that the most important part of our life should always be our religion. That our days should be scheduled around our prayer, what we are doing for the deen, and we shouldn't be squeezing prayers in "when we can" to fit our worldly schedule. How many times have you invited someone to get together for a halaka or you yourself been invited to a function where your response was "Sorry I don't have enough time". Why?? Why don't we have time for our religion? Why will we watch TV or surf the net, but not pick up a Quran or arrange a get together with other Muslims to increase our knowledge...?
It is because we get caught up living for the dunya and not the deen.

It is difficult to be Muslim in a secular world--- Alhamdulillah!!! Praise be to God! Insha'Allah there is reward in this. Insha'Allah there is reward in the struggle. But looking at those who came before us in the religion-- mainly the Prophet (SAW) and his followers during the Meccan period they endured suffering far greater. They too were a minority. Let us find inspiration in that. Let us not try to "fit in" with this world because in the end all that will matter from this world is the actions you did for the sake of Allah (SWT).
Nothing that happens to us is by chance. Allah has decreed it all for us. We are living where we are because Allah (SWT) wrote it for us-- that being the case we need to focus on that fact and work for Him. Strive to be strong Muslims who spread Islam. Quit feeling sorry for ourselves and thinking that we live in the wrong place, or that it is too hard, or that we suffer so greatly. In all things say Alhamdulillah, and remember that Allah (SWT) chose you for paradise...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


This time of year brings its challenges to converts--- at least the ones in my circle of friends. Christmas was a HUGE deal in my family- My mom would take all of the "regular house decor" down and replace it with the thirty-some boxes of Christmas decorations that we had. We had two seperate Christmas trees-- one just for angel ornaments, the other for the more generic, and we would start decorating early in December.
When I reverted it was a huge blow to my family, especially when it came to the holiday season. The year prior to my reversion my Grandfather died in a car accident over the holidays-- he was Mr. Christmas in our family, yet my brother still says he misses my involvement at Christmas the most.
Alhamdulillah I am Muslim, and I have peace in my choice and I know that by avoiding such festivities inshallah I am doing right in the eyes of Allah, but it still hurts somewhere inside to know I am disappointing my family.
I suppose the irony of it all is when the entire meaning of Christmas is examined-- I believe that if Christians knew where many of the practices that they were taking part in originated from, they too would not do them as it is so contrary to their religion as well. Pagan festivites such as the Christmas Tree for example... and of course there is the whole commercialized Christmas that really has become so the"norm" in the West. I have one friend who just reverted (Alhamdulillah) and she has a son who is 7. You can imagine his disappointment about the "loss" of Christmas-- when asked why he is sad, his response is inevitably about not receiving gifts.
It makes my stomach turn when I think about how distorted people of a religion have allowed a holiday that should be so precious to them to become.

I suppose I mention it, not only because as I said, this time of year brings back many memories and challenges for me personally-- having to walk through a store asking for Allah to protect me from having the countless Christmas carols play over and over again in my head after I leave, to not be weakened by memories or allow Shatan to infiltrate my beliefs--- But I guess one thing that I really wanted to mention was that we as Muslims have a precious holiday approaching at the same time of year.
What are we doing to make sure we keep it sacred and celebrate it as it should be celebrated. Will it be a time of worship, community, charity, and praise to Allah as we think about Hajj, and Allah (SWT)'s mercies for us? Or, will it be a time of buying new outfits for kids, spending days cooking to impress those who come by so much so that we don't spend any time during our days doing more for our religion than absolutely necessary.
You see as bizarre as some of the practices of Christians are at Christmas, and seemingly contrary to what you would expect from their religion at Christmas, I fear that at times we as Muslims fall into the same horrible patterns and weakness.

This Eid inshallah, I pray that Allah increases all of our knowledge and acts of worship so we acting in a way that is pleasing to Him and that is of benefit for the Ummah. Inshallah we will all think about it and spend time bettering ourselves from now until them, and from now until the day of judgement.

As some of you know, there is a conference here in Toronto over the "holiday season". Maybe that is a way to keep you out of the Christmas hoopla-- Allah knows best.

On a more personal/individual note-- to sister Leila, I have looked at the list of speakers for the conference of them all inshallah my hope is to be in attendance for Shaikh Abdallah bin Bayyah as meshallah I have heard that his knowledge is incredibly sound and that he is a good scholar. I don't know how much I will be in attendance at the other speakers-- There is also a free conference at the masjid I attend during the same week, so I think I will be there for a lot of the time. I will inshallah post the times I will be at the conference so we can inshallah meet-- as absoultely I would love to meet you, so if you can keep checking to see when. I am of course waiting to see when Shaikh Bayyah will be presenting. If it doesn't work for you then maybe we can arrange another time during your visit here that works for you.