Archive for December, 2012

Arbaeen Video Promo

Are we ready?

Ruqaiyah, was the 4 year old daughter of Husain- The Grandson of The Holy Propher Mohammed.
She accompanied her father towards Kerbala, where he offered the ultimate sacrifice to save Humanity, and was martyred on the 10th of Muharam. That day, Sakina became an orphan.
She was then taken as a captive, imprisoned and harassed by the tyrants which led to her martyrdom in the prisons of Damascus, Syria.
In honor of this orphan, we have  partnered with Peak 4 Poverty, a registered non profit in the US, whose mission is to fight extreme poverty by empowering orphans with an education to launch this campaign to educate 100 orphans in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The cost of educating an orphan for a full year is $100, however, you may contribute as much as you can; it could be a $, a pound, a shilling.
Every cent shall count to be very useful and shall be a source of education to an orphan.
Please donate generously, and help us to build a better world.
There is nothing comparable to the smile on the face of an orphan, and you could be the reason to their smile.

To Donate please visit the link below:

All donations from the US are tax deducatable.

http://www.peak4poverty.org/mycampaign/in-honor-of-ruqaiyah-30-days-for-30-kids/

#Remember Rukaiyah- Orphan Awareness Campaign Video (Promo)

The Cry Of An Orphan…

Goodness is innate in human nature. Even the word humanity has a positive connotation to it. To be human is to show care for your own specie – particularly the ones who need it the most.

Syeda Rukaiyah (also referred to as Sakina); daughter of Imam Hussayn (AS) represents one such group.

If Hussayn represented the fight against justice, Rukaiyah mirrored his battle. If Hussayn represented the struggle against oppression, Rukaiyah’s fate echoed his cause. The four year old daughter of Hussayn joined her father as he marched towards his certain death.

After the 10th of Muharram, the young Rukaiyah was orphaned.

Father, where are you? Father, father, speak to me father.

Like Hussayn’s call for help during his final moments, Rukaiya’s cry represents the cries of orphans today.

So, if humanity is being good to one’s people, if being human means to show compassion to those who deserve it, then who else deserves it more than the orphan? Who else yearns for love more than the parentless child? Who else requires a helping hand than those who’ve lost the most important people in their lives?

That is what the young Rukaiyah represents; the call for compassion and mercy towards orphans.

We hear of stories of people trying to achieve happiness through different avenues: money, success, education, fame, and so on. Until today, there is no sense of happiness that can be paralleled to the one obtained from helping others. Saying a kind word to an orphan, taking care of an orphan, educating an orphan – these are sure-shot channels to contentment.

The question is, are we willing to take the first step? Are we willing to reach out and help, instead of waiting to be approached? Are we generous enough to part with what we love in order to benefit others? Are we kind enough to show compassion to someone who needs it dearly? Are we?

The University Of Life…

Welcome to the University of Life

I sat down on the floor this time,
trying to get into a comfortable position to listen to something unique.

As I looked around, I saw familiar faces and some not so familiar – probably from a distant place.
There were people of different ages, from old men who could barely stand to young children who couldn’t sit still.
There were people from different backgrounds; from the white collar job workers to men who had titles before their name that it seemed they had two first names.
I thought to myself – it’s amazing how people from different walks of life are coming together to learn something.
We all sat, motionless and in silence. There was an aura which enveloped the place, it seemed like something ground breaking was about to happen.

After a brief introduction, the speaker spoke with an eloquence that matched the talks of king and Gandhi. It seemed as though we were supposed to be on a mission, but how could that be – we were sitting in a university listening to a lecturer.
Then again, this is the University of Life.

The lecturer’s topic was a reminder about who we are? What we do? Why we do what we do?
And most importantly why are we here?
I have never set in a lecture with a lot of people, with a very complex set of questions, but it felt like one. This is the beauty of the University of Life

The University of Life reminds us that we are mere mortals in a world filled with good and bad, and that our decisions impact the way we live our lives.
The University of Life tells us to live by a code so that we don’t get lost in all the glitters that life has to offer.
The university of life teaches us nobility in character, standing for righteousness and honor, being charitable, kindness to one another, perseverance, patience, friendship, brotherhood, belief and love.
You could be 8 or 78 and these things would be relevant to you even though you’re looking through different lenses, this is the beauty of the University of Life.

Somebody asked for a manual, the University of Life gives examples to emulate because manuals can be followed but it is very difficult to live the life of someone else.
The example shows a complete embodiment of the University of Life – it is the story of Husain and his companions.

Read the story, and at the end of every sentence you will see life lessons – that is why I come every year, sit on the floor humbled by his presence, waiting and yearning to see the truth reflected in my being.

I’m proud to be a member of the University of Life, you should join too, you might learn a thing or two…

A Letter To Kerbala

The letter below was written by a brother who just about missed out to go for Arbaeen in Kerbala.

Dear Kerbala,

I write this letter with utmost grief and sorrow in my heart, and in a state where I can not really seem to forgive myself, simply because I will not be visiting you this time. It has been exactly six months since my first ever visit to you, and you were nothing short of an amazing and very hospitable host.

Kerbala, I remember our first meeting very well, when I descended from the bus to be greeted by the scorching sun and hot air surrounding me, but there was something special in this air, there was a fragrance of heaven that made me forget the heat and fall in love with you immediately. From then on, every step I took with you, I felt special, honored and most of all my heart had finally found the much needed satisfaction I had been looking for over twenty years.

My dear friend, then you made me meet the two holy personalities I have been hearing of every year, the two brave soldiers of Islam and saviour of Humanity, you made me meet Abbas and Husain. O Kerbala, you witnessed my arrival to these two personalities, you stood there to cool me when I cried my heart out as I met Husain and Abbas.

Our farewell was something I never looked forward to, but I was told all good things come to an end, and so did this. However, I remember my promise to Husain and to you O my Friend, that I shall be back with the millions who shall come for Arbaeen, to honor you and show the world how blessed you are; and so did I leave, counting days to come back and meet you.

O heaven on earth, O Kerbala, it is however sad to let you know that our meeting has been postponed for reasons only Allah knows, but Kerbala, please don’t be disappointed, please forgive me for this short coming of mine. I don’t know the reason behind my failure, but maybe I failed in my duties to the Lord, or maybe I didn’t fulfill my obligations to Husain, or maybe I just let down myself.

So Kerbala, I won’t be amongst the millions that will visit you in the coming week, I won’t be amongst the millions who will walk for days just to meet you, I won’t be there to embrace you, nor to see you, but O Kerbala, you are in my heart. O Holy Land, pardon my absence, but make it a reason for my visit in the coming days, because O Land, I am in love with you.

My friend, you have gone through a lot of miseries, problems and difficulties in your life. You were there when Husain was killed, when Abbas’s arms were chopped, when Asgher was struck by a three headed spear and when the caravan was looted. Despite of all this, you have been loyal to the master, you have been an amazing host and are the identity of heaven on earth.

Therefore my friend, I ask you, to host my brothers and sisters coming to visit you, to show them the love, spread within them the aroma and fragrance of heaven, but most of all, O land, make not their meeting with the Master Husain the last, but, one of the many more to come.

O friend, how lucky you are, on you are two holy personalities, to you do millions come every month, and angels descend to yours every hour, so does the Holy Prophet and his progeny, all with nothing but the love and hope to meet and pay respects to Husain, the saviour of humanity.

I shall end this letter O Kerbala, with tears in my eyes, my hands trembling with fear, my body shocked and my heart devastated for missing out the opportunity to meet you once again. However, O lovely friend of mine, I shall be back soon, to visit you and my master Husain.

May you be blessed and loved as always,

Kind regards,

Your devastated friend,

Lover of Husain!

Interview with Sheikh Khalil Jaffer

Amongst many things, Brother Khalil Jaffer is commonly referred to as an inspiring speaker. Born in Mombasa, Kenya, he also holds a degree in computer science, and has worked in various related fields such as a software developer. As a youth, he first found his voice “in youth groups in the community…and youth presentations, very much like we have in Ramadhan before the lecture”, he said. “So we’d be encouraged to give lectures like that”. His powerful and adept public speaking further developed during the period after his secular studies, where he lectured at his local college. After seven years in Nairobi he relocated to Dubai for a further five years, before finally moving to Toronto. Having been part of a number of our community hotspots gives him a unique insight into the development of our society
today.

Lecturing for him is just a means, not an end. “Many of us are not aware of the rich Islamic heritage we have”, he explained. “Because I have an active interest in Islamic studies and I have access to a lot of this material through the Arabic language, I see my role as trying to expose to the community this knowledge and heritage, that they may not be aware of”. Br. Khalil Jaffer is actively pursuing just that. He is currently “involved in a long-term Qur’an Tafseer project”, he admitted. “Insha’Allah, when this project comes to fruition, it will not only increase the Muslim’s understanding of the Qur’an, but I think it will also change the perspective of non Muslims on the
Qur’an. It is something I am very passionate about”. And it doesn’t stop there. “What I would like to do is maybe sometime next year, is to start a Qur’an Tafseer class, where I can start sharing some of the work that I am doing”.

His inspirational lectures have particularly attracted the youth. However, “I never saw myself as a role model”, he confessed. Instead, “our leaders need to be inspired role models for the youth, the role model for the youth in the community should not be me, it should be the leader”.

“Our current leaders have four very good qualities, they are sincere and well meaning. They have love for their own communities, by ethnicity. They are very good administrators, and they are also very active humanitarians”, he summarized.

However, for the leaders of the community to be role models for the next generation, there are a few concerns that first need to be addressed. Specifically, “there are four things that we need to be concerned about in the community, and these are tied directly to our leadership”, he continued. “As difficult as it may seem, these concerns can be met with “four qualities that need to be nurtured in our
leadership.”

“The first concern is how do we preserve our Islamic culture, in the environment we live in?” he questioned. Solving this conundrum is more than just a regular challenge, because we live in a “non-Muslim, materialistic society and we constantly see an erosion of Islamic values”, he added.

In order to solve this problem, “We need leaders who are knowledgeable in both the secular and religious fields. I would say at a minimum, they should be knowledgeable enough to lead us in Salaat and Friday prayers,” he suggested.

Another major concern that continues to riddle our community “is how can we be united without being divided upon ethnicity or faith?” he said thoughtfully.Community gaps based on ethnic boundaries will continue to plague us unless our leaders “are aware of the different centers. They should have a vision outside their own ethnicities, in order to unite us, in the greater Shia community, and even the greater Muslim community.” He said.

Thirdly, another major “concern is how do we remove apathy amongst the youth, and increase activism?” For example, “the youth say they want lectures in English, we have lectures in English they don’t come. They say we need interesting speakers, we bring interesting speakers they still don’t come”. One possible way to solve this would be to have leaders who are inspired role models for the youth – not me”, he
advised.

Living in the West implies good access to secular education. Where we mustn’t cut ourselves short is “Islamic education. How do we encourage it in our community?” From past experiences, we are more aware that “our leaders need to be knowledgeable in current Muslim affairs, and they should be courageous enough to defend Islam outside the community”, he suggested.

“This interview was first published in the Times of Wali Magazine in Toronto, Canada. Republished with permission. “

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