Executive Director’s Statement | April Newsletter
Assalamu alikum Dear Community Members;
Through the past few weeks, each of us individually and collectively have witnessed a drastic shift to our normal routines of life. As we pass through this difficult time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to thank you all for your patience and support. We are proud of how our community has and continues to respond to a crisis that is changing day by day. Many members of our community have initiated or engaged in programs across the country to support our neighbors and friends. Our ability to respond with service and kindness during times of a critical crisis is a reflection of the deeper values and skills that are embedded within the organization. School staff across the country almost immediately developed and delivered virtual programs to students. Many of our community educational programs have been delivered through online platforms over the past few weeks. We mobilized our youth volunteers across 8 major cities to support those in need by starting a Community FoodShare program to ensure those in need should not go hungry and to support small businesses by purchasing meals and supplies through them.
I also want to take a moment and reflect on the important events in our lives as a community. Few weeks ago, we commemorated the Isra and Miraj. An enormously important event that brought forth the universality of our faith. As declared in Verse 92 in The Prophets Chapter (Quran – Chapter 21,Verse-92,) The verse below anchors the unity in the one Umma and one Lord, i.e. prophets were sent to establish a just moral order to enable man to follow the divine orders of Allah in pursuit of meaning in life and happiness in the afterlife. The command in this verse is to serve our Lord.
إِنَّ هَٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ
Verily, this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: therefore serve Me (and no other).
Few weeks from now, we will be celebrating the start of Ramadan. While Isra and Miraj focussed on the universality of the message, the fasting of Ramadan grounds the uniqueness of our Umma in specific acts of worship. We stand among other nations observing this act of worship in a unique way.
This blessed month comes to us under unprecedented conditions. We will be unable to fill our mosques and pray in congregations. This communal aspect has defined Ramadan for many of us, and it will be a difficult adjustment for us to make.
In the time of social distancing, we are reminded that Allah(swt) is near to us. InshaAllah, this will bring comfort and peace to all of us. We will be nearest to Him(swt) when we are in a state of remembrance and worship.
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
When my servants ask thee concerning Me I am indeed close (to them); I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me; let them also with a will listen to My call and believe in Me; that they may walk in the right way. (Chapter 2: Verse 186)
I pray that this month of Ramadan will allow us to refocus, recharge our faith and rebuild our zeal to continue to move forth with tawakkul on Allah(swt).
In this difficult time where the death toll due to COVID-19 is mounting, it is the time to hold tight to the rope of Allah(swt), observe fasting , encourage each other to pray tarawih at our homes. In this time of financial uncertainty, it becomes a great time for sharing and giving.
May we find ways to uplift every aspect of our being through the special worship of Ramadan both individually and communally so we can find the strength that we seek through the rest of the year, inshaAllah. I pray we find safety and love amongst one another and through our fast and worship through this month.
Wa Salam Walaikum
Executive Director, Muslim Association of Canada