Message of Executive Director

Asalamu walaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu dear Brothers and Sisters,

I pray you are well and that your family and communities around you are well and healthy

As we find ourselves upon the new Hijri year, there is much to reflect on with regards to the year that is now behind us. Alhamdulillah for every event, experience and test that Allah(swt) has chosen for us in this past year.  The beginning of the new year in the Islamic calendar reminds us of the journey that the Prophet(saw) and the sahabi made from Makkah to Madinah, uprooting their entire lives to seek a new place where they could practise Islam and thrive.  This was a physical journey, but also a journey of the heart and renewed commitment to living Islam through their entire selves.  While the hijra took place over 1400 years ago, the essence of that commitment must stay alive within each of us, inshaAllah.  

The second reflection is how small beginnings in systems can lead to tremendous changes. This newly established small community of believers in Madina soon became an Ummah that was entrusted with the mission of Islam. In Madina, the Prophet (PBUH) built the foundation for a strong and resilient community by enacting bold social and political reforms. He codified a new and inclusive identity as the principle that would bind all the clans and tribes together under the new concept of an Ummah. He reframed the true brotherhood/sisterhood and formulated an equitable balance between the rights of women and men – he balanced the scales of justice to level the playing field between the privileged and the underprivileged, and provided the legal context for the dignity of the human. He made tolerance a value and created a space for different religions and cultures to co-exist and cooperate. These principles became the foundations for the new “Ummah social contract”. Within the span of a few years Islam achieved a unique universal effect in the history of mankind. It united the various civilizations that existed in the vast lands which lay between China and the Atlantic into one Ummah. This Ummah was the eternal fruit of Hijra and in turn, sustained the significance of Hijra over the past millennia and a half. The Ummah anchored our existence as a community of believers and provided countless generations of Muslims with a narrative that tied our beginning to our future.

As a young community in a distant continent, it is important to celebrate the Hijri new year and find inspiration by its legacy.  In this pursuit, we find the words of Imam Hassan Al-Banna that offer us the wisdom we need to ensure a strong Islamic identity and a vibrant community. He emphasized the importance of the psychological factors at play in epic political and social changes. More specifically, he outlines four key traits for nations that are ready to pursue the long march for revival: a strong collective will, loyalty to the cause; a noble spirit of self-sacrifice that is unaffected by greed, and shared core values and a shared narrative. We should invest our energies and resources to build the foundations for our community to acquire those four traits. Hijra is a propitious time to reaffirm our commitment to our faith and renew our vows to be among its guardians.  

After a successful engagement with the federal government during the Islamophobia summit, MAC was entrusted with a $349,000 grant towards our Ballers for Hope initiative. The project aims to address systemic barriers to social participation for Muslim youth girls, more specifically in sports by providing them with tools and support to improve their representation.

We continue to monitor the situation regionally and will work to offer our communities the most meaningful programs.  With safety as a priority, we aim to provide our community with a sense of spiritual cohesiveness.

Finally, I close by encouraging you to consider making a donation.  Through these challenging times, we continue to work to strengthen our community and provide programming.  While some of our institutions are unable to provide services at full capacity, we are striving to continue to provide alternative options.  Your generous donations will help us to continue to do this, inshaAllah.

We look forward to a year of great opportunities to continue to serve Canadians at the grassroots level through education, spiritual services and community engagement.

Jazakum Allahu Khairan,

Sharaf Sharafeldin

Executive Director

Muslim Association of Canada

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