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THE SUFI TRADITION IN TORONTO
By: Siddiq Osman Noormuhammad
Masajid and Madaris
As mentioned earlier, the mashayikh (spiritual masters) and mureedeen (spiritual seekers) were the pioneers in establishing the Jami Mosque in Toronto. Since then, more than a dozen masajid and madaris have been established in Metro-Toronto but for the sake of brevity, I will only touch on those in the rich and vibrant Muslim Turkish and Eastern European tradition. In this historic tradition, there are two Turkish mosques as well as the Albanian Mosque, the Croatian Mosque, the Bosnian Mosque and Masjid al-Husain. Some mosques are identified for ease of reference as Turkish mosques because Muslims of Turkish descent have taken the initiative in establishing them but the gathering is truly international as in most masajid in Toronto.
Toronto is indeed a multicultural city where the majority are migrants from all over the world who have made Toronto their home and most of whose children have been born in Canada. You feel part of an international Muslim fraternity, those born in Canada, together with Muslim migrants from Turkey, the Arab countries, Pakistan, Albania, India, Bosnia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Guyana, Mauritius, ..... all worshipping Allah as one ummah (community) in Toronto. The Imams at these masajid wear the traditional jubba (cloak) as well as the amamah (turban). The walls are decked with beautiful frames containing the names that are engraved on the hearts of all Muslims: Allah (The Glorified and The Exalted), Sayyidina Muhammad Mustafa (Allah's blessings and peace be on him), Sayyidina Abubakr Siddiq, Sayyidina Umar Farooq, Sayyidina Uthman Dhun Nurain, Sayyidina Ali al-Murtadha, Sayyidatina Fatima, Sayyidina Imam Hasan and Sayyidina Imam Husain, Rady Allahu 'Anhum. The mimbar (pulpit) is richly engraved with Muslim calligraphy while over the mihrab (prayer niche for the Imam) is the inscription from the Qur'an:
Fa walli waj-haka shatral Masjidi'l Haram
So turn your face towards the sacred mosque (2:144).
Women pray in a separate hall, all clad in the dignified traditional hijab. The melodious recitation of the azan sends a quiver through your heart. The salah (ritual prayer) is with full concentration. After the salah, the dua (invocation) is long and fervent. Tasbeeh (rosaries) with 100 beads are distributed to recite Sub'hanallah: Glory be to Allah (33 times), Alhamdulillah: All praise is for Allah (33 times), and Allahu Akbar: Allah is Great (34 times). After every congregational salah, and after every four raka'ah of Taraweh in the month of Ramadan, there is congregational salawaat (invocation of blessings) on the beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam. And after the congregational dua, you can obtain audio casettes on the life-histories of the awliyaAllah like Ibrahim ibn Ad'ham and Bishr al-Hafi, may Allah be pleased with them.
Many other masajid and musallas have been established in Toronto in the Ahl us Sunnah wal Jama'ah tradition among which are the Sunnatul Jamat Masjid, the Imdad ul Islam Masjid, the International Muslims Organisation Masjid, the Uthman Gauthi Masjid, Masjid Noorul Haram of the World Islamic Mission, as well as Islamic centres by Minhajj ul Qur'an, Dar ul Qur'an, Muslims of the Americas, and the Jerrahi Sufi Order of Canada, among others.
Salutations of all the Muslims are for the khuddam (voluntary caretakers) of these masajid for keeping them speck clean at all times.
Most of these organisations also run madaris (Muslim religious schools) and some students have already become Hafiz-e-Qur'an, those who know the whole Qur'an by heart, especially from Muslims of the Americas. Some students go to Dar ul 'Ulum overseas like the Hijaz University of the IMO in England to become 'alim. Madrasa tul Hidaya organises Qur'an recitation, Hadith recitation and Qasida recitation programs among students. These days, the students have been trained to organise and conduct Madrasa Day Programs and to recite the whole of the Mawlid un Nabi together with the qasaid and the madeeh (eulogies) all by themselves, Alhamdu Lillah!