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THE SUFI TRADITION IN TORONTO

By: Siddiq Osman Noormuhammad

Da'wa And Other Activities

Among the Qadriyyah are those in an organisation called the Muslims of the Americas who are also in the forefront in most of the activities mentioned, but they do more. They preach to the non-Muslims of Toronto as well as in prisons, bringing Canadians into the fold of Islam. They know the most effective way of presenting Islam as they themselves have been converted to Islam. These are brothers and sisters of African descent in the Qadiriyyah Tariqa who cry out in loving agony from the bottom of their hearts when the Holy Prophet's name is mentioned. Their daily wird (regular voluntary recital) is Qasida Ghauthiyya of Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir Jilani Rahmatullahi 'alaih.

The Sufi Study Circle does da'wa work in the University of Toronto in a different setting. At these study sessions in a quiet study room in a campus building that houses the International Students Centre of the University, the beauty of the teachings of Islam is shown through readings from classics of Muslim spirituality, followed by a question and answer session, and dua. If Allah so wills, the hearts of the non-Muslims who attend are opened to the nur (spiritual light) of Islam.

The Canadian Society of Muslims continues its struggle with the Government of Canada for the right of Muslims to be judged according to shari'ah (sacred Muslim law). In this respect, Canada lags behind other countries such as India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, to name a few, which have separate courts for Muslims, with Kadhis (Muslim judges) who administer Muslim personal law. However, after years of effort, now there is a glimmer of hope. The Government of Ontario has begun to implement mandatory mediation across the province. To take advantage of this facility, an entirely new Islamic service has been launched in Canada called the "Muslim Marriage, Mediation And Arbitration Service".

The Canadian Society of Muslims, the Sufi Study Circle of the University of Toronto, and the Society For The Study of the Finite and the Infinite (SUFI) have more recently introduced live qawwali in Toronto which is a first for the whole of North America. This preserves the tradition of Mawlana Mu'inuddin Chishti Rahmatullahi 'alaih who introduced qawwali in India to bring Indians into the fold of Islam. It is done with adab (respect and proper etiquette) under the supervision of the Shaykh who explains that the main aim of the qawwali is to develop a yearning to be a good Muslim. The qawwal do not receive remuneration, no funds are raised, no fame is sought, only the love of Allah.

Then we have a one-hour sehri program on Radio Pakistan in Toronto, which wakes up Muslims for Tahajjud and sehri at around 4:30 a.m. every day in the month of Ramadan. Muslims hear the azan on radio, recitation of Qur'an, khutbah (sermon), and qasaaid and qawwalis, which rejuvenate them to greater 'ibadah (worship) in the month of Ramadan. Since then, many similar programs have come up.

Not to be forgotten are the pioneering efforts of Nur-e-Islam Canada, the first to organise Muslim burial in a proper manner and have a separate burial place for Muslims in Toronto. This is another example which shows that the Ahl us-Sunnah lead and others follow.

Another thing worthy of note is that those in the sufi tradition are truly united on the sunnah of sighting the moon: they start Ramadan when the new moon is sighted and celebrate 'Eid on sighting the new moon. Al-Fateha!

All Muslim organisations are also active in raising funds for the rehabilitation of refugees in Canada and for the oppressed Muslims in Bosnia, Kashmir, India, Palestine and other places. Among various other charitable projects is help for the homeless. May Allah Ta'ala protect all the Muslims and may He put the nur (light) of Islam into the hearts of non-Muslims, Aameen Ya Rabbal 'Aalameen.

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