Faith and Reassurance from The Executive Director

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Assalamu Alaykum wa rahmtu Allah (Peace be with you)

 


In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Specially Merciful.
 
Asalamu-alikum wa rahmatuallah wa barakatuh my dearest Brothers and Sisters,
 

 

The rapidly changing conditions in our country and around the world over the last couple of weeks, the speed of which caught many of us by surprise and have contributed to an atmosphere of considerable anxiety.

 

For many of us, the events that are unfolding right now are unprecedented in our lifetimes. It is in times like these that the contents of the heart and the mettle of the person become manifest and so I wanted to share with you a few thoughts on the time that will bear witness to our deeds.
 
1.    This is a time for spiritual tranquillity
 
 
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
 
“We shall certainly test you with fear and hunger, and loss of property, lives, and crops. But [Prophet], give good news to those who are steadfast.” (2:155)
Many of us may not have a parallel for the circumstances we are currently experiencing. But as people of faith, we should not find this daunting – rather, we should see this as the time to embody the defining quality of a believer: to be of benefit to God’s creation. At the same time, we should keep our struggles in perspective. As testing as these times are, we know that there are others around the world who face daily circumstances much harsher than what we have experienced or are likely to experience. This understanding should bring gratitude and optimism amidst our current difficulties. In times of ease, we talk about the steadfastness and tranquillity that faith and gratitude bring. This is the time to put these ideals into practice.
 
2.    This is a time for worship and remembrance

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
 
“Believers! Seek help through steadfastness and prayer, for God is with the steadfast.” (2:153)
 
Whenever the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, was weighed down by some matter, he would find strength in prayer.

 

For us, ritual worship and the remembrance of God should be the source of strength to which we hold firmly in times of trial. God prescribed for our rituals, and similarly, He prescribed for us the way to adapt them in times of crisis.  Far from being the first thing to go, our rituals, prayers, and remembrance of God should be the first and best refuge and nourishment. “Truly it is in the remembrance of God that hearts find peace.” (13:28). The spirit we should spread in our families and our communities is to hold on to prayer and remembrance in every circumstance as God has prescribed for that circumstance.
 
3.    This is a time for helping and giving

 

فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ  وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ  فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ  أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ  يَتِيمًا ذَا مَقْرَبَةٍ  أَوْ مِسْكِينًا ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍ  ثُمَّ كَانَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْمَرْحَمَةِ  أُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْمَيْمَنَةِ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِنَا هُمْ أَصْحَابُ الْمَشْأَمَةِ عَلَيْهِمْ نَارٌ مُؤْصَدَةٌ
 
“ Yet he has not attempted the steep path. What will explain to you what the steep path is? It is to free a slave, to feed at a time of hunger an orphaned relative or a poor person in distress, and to be one of those who believe and urge one another to steadfastness and compassion.” (90: 11-17)

 

In times of need, the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, exhorted people that whoever had the wealth to spare should share it with those who have less. He, peace and blessings upon him, repeated the admonition counting every different type of wealth separately until his companions internalized the value that one does not have a right to excess. Whatever we have to spare beyond our immediate needs is simply entrusted to us to share with those in need. In the circumstances we live in today we must act with thought and care for those who would far too easily be left behind. Rather than hoard, we should share and serve those without privilege. This is the time to be outward-focused, to work with our local social service organizations and charities to serve those in need of shelter, food, and care.

 

4.    This is a time for cooperation and action

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُحِلُّوا شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ وَلَا الشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَلَا الْهَدْيَ وَلَا الْقَلَائِدَ وَلَا آمِّينَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَانًا وَإِذَا حَلَلْتُمْ فَاصْطَادُوا وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ أَن صَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ أَن تَعْتَدُوا وَتَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْبِرِّ وَالتَّقْوَىٰ وَلَا تَعَاوَنُوا عَلَى الْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
The response to a pandemic is necessarily a public response. Governments at all levels have to make difficult decisions. They will likely get some decisions wrong. Nonetheless, for public health measures to work, they must be adhered to. At a time like this we must act as a society together. As people of faith, on this blessed day of Jumma ( Friday), we should pray that those in positions of leadership be guided to make the best decisions for the country. Only collective concerted action can effect a timely containment of this infection. This is not a time for political point scoring or posturing, but rather for embodying the God’s command to  “help one another to do what is right and good.” (5:2)
 
May Allah (SWT) accept our efforts and bless you all,

 

 

Sincerely,

Sharaf Sharafeldin
Executive Director
Muslim Association of Canada

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