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THE SUFI TRADITION IN TORONTO

By: Siddiq Osman Noormuhammad

Zikr of Allah Ta'ala

The tariqas are fraternities of zikr (remembrance) of Allah Ta'ala. In the Zikr congregation, there is khatm Qur'an (recitation of the whole Qur'an) or recitation of Surah Yaa Seen.

This is followed by astaghfaar (begging forgiveness of Allah Ta'ala), Kalima Tayyibah (sincerely pure declaration), Tashahhud (Muslim testimony), Asma Allah ul Husna (Beautiful Names of Allah), and salawaat and salaam (invoking Allah's blessings and peace on the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam). The most popular salawaat are As-Salaatu Ibrahimiyyah, Salaat ut Taaj, Salaat Tunjina and As-Salaat ut Taaziyyah.

Dua (supplication) is an important part of the zikr. Many of the dua are from the Azkaar (Supplications) compiled by Imam an-Nawawi, Rahmatullahi 'alaih. These are the azkaar (invocations) that Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam himself taught his blessed household and companions, may Allah be pleased with them.

Munaajaat (hymns) are then recited, in praise of Allah Ta'ala and madeeh (eulogy) of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam.

In most zikr groups, we have the recitation of the shajarah (family tree) of the Shaykh linking him in lineage to our noble Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam. The recital of Tawassul is popular as well. This invokes Allah with the mediation of our beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam, all the anbiya (prophets), peace be upon them, the Ahl ul Bayt (the blessed Household of the blessed Prophet), the sahaba (his companions), and all the mashayikh (spiritual masters) in that tariqa.

In most instances, the zikr session ends with Taazeem-e Qiyam, or standing ovation for the Holy Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam, in which salaams on him composed by Imam as-Sayyid Ja'far ibn Hasan al-Barzanji, Imam 'Ali bin Muhammad al-Habshi, or Allama Ishqee (in Arabic), A'la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza Khan, or al-'Allamah Akbar Warithi (in Urdu), al-'Allamah Suleman Chelebi Effendi (in Turkish), or Shaykh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Qadiri (in English), Rahmatullahi 'alaihim ajmaeen are recited.

Food and refreshments are then served. This is called tabarruk in Arabic and nyaz in Urdu, and is prepared by the ladies in most instances, with befitting love, care, commitment and dedication to gain thawab (heavenly reward).

The Qadiriyyah, Chishtiyyah, Jerrahiyyah, 'Alawiyyah and Naqshbandiyyah recite zikr every Thursday or Friday night. The Qadiriyyah also recite zikr on the eleventh of each month of the Muslim calendar, especially the eleventh of Rabi-ul-Akhir, the day Shaykh 'Abdul Qadir Jilani Rahmatullahi 'alaih left his earthly existence. This is called Gyarween Shareef in Urdu (the blessed eleventh night). The ladies organise separate zikr sessions of their own as well.

The 'Alawiyyah carry with them two Muslim flags for major zikr sessions and other important occassions. This revives the sunnah of the beloved Prophet Sallallahu 'alaihi wa Sallam of showing the Muslim flag. One flag represents the 'Alawiyyah and the other the Qadiriyyah. These two flags have the seal of approval of Sayyidi wa Imami Shaykh 'AbdulQadir Jilani and Sayyidi wa Imami al-Habib Ahmad Mash-hur bin Taha Al-Haddad, may Allah make us benefit from them, Aameen. By now, Muslims of Toronto are familiar with zikr sessions organised by the 'Alawiyyah that continue the whole night in Imdadul Islam Masjid and end with Salatul Tasbeeh and Salatul Fajr, Al Hamdu Lillah.

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