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By: Siddiq Osman Noormuhammad

The First and the Foremost

The first well-known sufi saint to bring baraka (blessings) to Canada was Mawlana 'Abdul 'Aleem Siddiqui al-Qadiri Rahmatullahi 'alaih. He performed the opening ceremony of the first mosque to be built in Canada in Edmonton in 1939. He also visited Toronto, the largest metropolis in Canada, where he presented Islam as a gift to a largely non-Muslim gathering. A'la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Rahmatullahi 'alaih had sent him from India to spread Islam across the world. This he did admirably, converting people to Islam and establishing the sufi tradition in such far-off places as Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, England and Kenya, to name only a few places. He passed away after performing Hajj and was laid to rest in Jannatul Baqi in Madinatul Munawwara.

The first well-known sufi saint to be resident in Toronto, who built the foundations of the sufi tradition here, was Dr. Qadeer Baig Rahmatullahi 'alaih in the Chishtiyyah tariqah. He was a professor at the University of Toronto, established the sufi Study Circle and the Canadian Society of Muslims and campaigned to establish Muslim personal law in Canada and to remove bias against Islam and Muslims from school textbooks. He also raised funds to establish the Jami Mosque in 1967-68, the first masjid in Toronto of which he was the first Imam. He was the first Muslim to bring Canadians into the fold of Islam in any large measure, proving yet again that it is the sufi saints who throughout history have converted people to Islam across the world. He passed away in 1988, a Zindah Shah, may Allah Ta'ala raise his darajat (stature) even further, Aameen. Syed Mumtaz Ali sahib, his khalifa in the Chishtiyyah tariqah, continues his good work, Al Hamdu Lillah.

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