Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Is Eidul Adha just about celebrating another Muslim holiday?

Is Eidul Adha just about celebrating another Muslim holiday?

Who doesn’t like holiday? Especially when it’s a day off from school and work with pay! In Multicultural Canada almost every day can be a holiday and holy day. Well it seems as if we re still celebrating Eidulfitr with almost every weekend dinner is hosted even after a month. It’s about accommodating the different times families are available to gather and mosque can accommodate their neighbours without too much redundancy. Food and its delight are never too much but with having to pay for everything these days including prayers once definitely can do with break.

The next Muslim holiday on the calendar is Eidul Azha or commonly called Qurbani. It’s that time of the year that the Biblical/Quranic story of Abraham surfaces. He was willing to sacrifice his beloved son Ishmael in proof for his love for God. Until today Muslims around the world re-enact this solemn yet dynamic act of selfless sacrifice by offering slaughtered goats, cows and camels to the poor and needy. The Pilgrimage to Mecca ends with this colossal display of endless amounts of charitable meat ready to be shipped to poor African states and neighbours.

The Abraham story has another dimension. It speaks to the core value of every human desire to be loved and give love. Abraham loved his wife Hajar and his first born Ishmael a lot. But before he could possible be blessed with a child he had to continuously observe his allegiance to God and pray for this miracle at old infertile age. The son was born and now he had to choose after some years of adoration where his heart is- son or God? The end result of this true- dream-command is God kept his son and offered a lamb instead. How many of us do have a sacrificial lamb in our lives that veil the sincerity of devotion and obscure the sincerity of Divine service?

Around this time of the year Mosques and Synagogues are teaming up to talk with each other on their traditions and life challenges. It’s called the Twinning as if to remind us that Abraham’s two sons- Ishmael and Isaac were off springs of a man of peace and if history wasn’t distorted then it means we can unveil the ignorance with dialogues and a hot dinner!

The Hajj is a huge expense undertaken with passion and devotion. For many it’s a waste of finances better spent on local projects that makes a difference in the lives of many needy and more so in need of God’s guidance and our love. For many this is another retreat that reminds us of a relic called father Abraham who had left his dear son Ishmael in the desert of Arabia- called Mount Paran in the Bible- to the mercy of the vultures and his mother’s kindness. Later on a fountain was miraculously produced that save them both and became the oasis of Arabic civilization. On another note that lead to the establishment of the restored Kaba, whose visits acts as an expression to God and reminiscence of God’s historical acts of love-testing.

In the words of Gazali, the famous Middle Ages scholar, this was alive to the fact that love was the genuine need of a sensitive human being which he was always seeking to satisfy. The House of Ka'aba (at Mecca) and all the Landmarks of Allah that are associated with it and the Hajj with the rites and formalities which go to make it contain an ideal provision for the gratification of this basic human urge and necessity.

According to Dr Imam Abdul Hai Patel, “Hajj is a Fard on those who have the financial capacity. It is a dream of every Muslim to go for Hajj, once they attain the this capacity, otherwise he/she will be answerable on the day of Judgment, and in spite of the high cost today, Muslim's dream and obsession for fulfilling an obligation remains unchallenged.” This is the spirit that Eidul Azha emanates after thousands of years it still remains undaunted, recession or not.

Apart from the lessons of harmonious relations ingrained in the teachings of Eidul Azha and the mighty spiritual experience it brings at Hajj there is another salient element that most people partake in. That’s the willingness to donate a part of their earnings to buying animals fit for slaughtering and distributing the meat to the poor and needy. While some actually do it at their farms or through their local meat shops, the way it’s done in Toronto is to have the money donated to a charity who sends it abroad to relevant places to have the act completed on their behalf and the needy in that area benefits. Many are now realising that we do have thousands of families living in poverty in Toronto and charity begins here. Local charities would accept their donations and arrange the sacrifice at a local farm and then have the meat delivered to local food banks after the proper procedures. People are deeply indebted for this and one such food bank is the Yonge Street Mission that anxiously awaits the delivery of the wonderful halal meat for their many Muslim recipients. It’s a blessing they say to finally discovering this route to serve their growing Muslim community.

Happy Eid ul Azha and may the good thoughts of being friendly to all be imbued while undertaking the simplest of sacrifice by donating towards the poor be done sincerely and the prayers be sound at Hajj on behalf of all- Here I am for your service, accept me Oh God Almighty!

Thanks Giving poem

A time to reflect

On the many gifts

God has us bless

Especially being in Canada

Second largest country

With best standard of living

Offering respect for diversity

And lots of security

Thanking God is an everyday affair

Sometimes special time is needed

To sit and have a meal

And laugh and pray to some things unique

Like finding love

In the mayhem of irrational thoughts

Like opening this mail

And finding joy in the craziness of the world

So Thank God, Thank Your Maker

With whatever way you chose

Remember the poor and needy

Remember being broken is worse than being hungry!

Its essential to have your turkey, halal, kosher

Not that you can't make massala curry or vege

But sometimes the original

Brings you closer to what being a pioneer felt like.

So Happy Thanks Giving

Thanking all for every thing

Thanks to our Lord

For whatever gifts every creation brings.

"If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; but if ye show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed." (Quran 14:7)

Islamic History month launched amidst controversy

For the third year Islamic history month is launched in Toronto at Queens park. Despite the recent furore over Executive Director of the host organisation, Canadian Islamic Congress, Dr Imam Ziyad Delic and his disinvite to speak in Ottawa at the defence department, people are continuing to rally around the importance to educating Canadians of this rich heritage. At the launch many MPPs spoke about the importance of this history and need to continue to educate despite the odds. The Hon Rob Oliphant recently joined others including the Council of Imams in denouncing the action of the Defence Minister and calls for more civil discourse on the issue of Canadian Muslims and their civic duty. Dr Abdullah Quick was the guest speaker and he spoke eloquently about the history of Islam in Spain, particularly pointing out the way water was brought into the Alhambra in flow with gravity faraway from the mountains and he cautioned that Islam recognise this duty and even mentioned that several world leaders recently said that this may be the 6th extinction as per a study done in South Africa.
The main guest speaker this year is a scientist specialising on Islam and the environment- Dr Mushtaq Siddiqui.
For more read

Queens town masjids fundraiser

For many Guyanese the Queenstown masjid in Georgetown is not a mere place Muslims pray in but is heritage building as it was built by indentured labourers over hundred years ago. The present new project to rebuild it while maintaining the relics is important to everyone including the grandchildren of the original builders- family of the late Major Abbas of Muslim Welfare Centre.
Recently many turned up to applaud the efforts of Guyanese Imams that served in Toronto and to listen to Qari Sadaqat Ali from Pakistan- world renown Qari as well as Moulana Sidiq Nasir- international scholar. The organisers did a wonderful job at the Chandni banquet hall raising more than 30,000 through an entertaining and not pressuring method. Special thanks to Sadro Usman and his team for putting on a sumptuous, entertaining and enlightening evening.

Muslims Award sixth award ceremony held in Ajax

It seems not long ago we were sitting in Gymnasium of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, a mere hundred or so for affordable ticket in the presence of the Police Chief and others to recognise the efforts of our brave men and women serving the community of Toronto.

After six years and moving from elegant banquet halls to more elegant ones this Sunday we were treated to the stylish and pride-giving sixth annual appreciation dinner at the Ajax Convention Centre. Almost 650 attendees from all walks of life garlanding social services members locally and internationally for going the extra mile in ensuring those who are lesser fortunate have a smile.

In his speech the Hon Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, reminded the audience that it’s our duty to care for others and in so doing we’re fulfilling both civic and religious responsibly. Moulana Yusuf Badat, Imam of the Islamic Foundation, mentioned that’s it not social service but social responsibility. It’s a way of saying we appreciate what you do but we know only Allah can repay you fully. The cuisine was delicious and the entertainment was mild but all together networking with friends and making new ones was definitely a given. Among the many recipients was our dear friend Majid Ali- the man behind the action at Islamic soccer league, hot soup day, Muslims supporting cancer society and a host of things!

NAMF hosts Eid Dinner and Pakistan Flood report

The emotions run high at Eid. But this time it was not because friends and family were coming over but the images of needy ravished children in Pakistan was heart breaking.
Well NAMF being an NGO was working on the ground just after the flood just before Ramadan.

Doctors for Relief joined NAMF at their Pakistan based office and camps. They worked on children, setting up medical clinics and school packages, establishing water purification systems and distributing food supplies thanks to the generosity of many of you, including businesses, mosques, families and even children. Over 17 tonnes of food and supplies was shipped directly. But the money donated makes the most sense to getting it to the victims by virtue of ease and experience and avoiding hassles according Mr Farooq Khan, Executive Director. Dr Shahnaz Dar and Uzman Ahmad were among the doctors helping. Their experience was indeed deepening and their call is for more help and more professionals on the ground. The Hon Jim Karygiannis P.C.M.P, Scarborough was also on the trip and he made an impact on the audience by giving from his own pocket as the foundations continue to accept donations on behalf of the victims. He said he saw the biggest destruction in living history, after travelling to many disaster areas in the world and it will take years before recovery.

The Eid dinner was nice but nicer was the fact that even during such times people do care for the poor and needy.

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