Love for Islam - Islam and cultural traditions
I am so grateful to Allah that he has created within me such a love for Islam. Like many other first generation Canadian youth, I've lived most of my life as a blend between Islam and the cultural traditions that seemed so ingrained within our community. Growing up, it was difficult to define a clear-cut line between the two. With guidance from Allah, my desire to leave behind the cultural baggage and embrace Islam in its entirety has led me to where I am today, a passionate student of knowledge.
How to acquire Islam – Studying Islam in its entirety
Islam is a complete system of life and it cannot be acquired in anything less than its whole. This is something I learned in my pursuit of Islamic knowledge. For the past few years, I've found myself, like several young muslims in Toronto, attending any lecture/halaqa/event I could find on "torontomuslims.com" about Islam.
Not only was this method fragmented and incomplete, but it was also very unfulfilling. I began to think that the only way I could study Islam in its entirety was to go abroad to Syria, Saudi or the Indian subcontinent.
My quest to understand Islam
My quest began three years ago. It was then that I had stood in Salah on the marbled floor of the Haram in Makkah, tears streaming down my face. As the Shaikh recited from the Holy book of Islam, I heard just one word that I understood, "Hajj". I could hear people all around me crying. I wondered how many of them were weeping because they understood the words of Allah. We were just days from leaving Makkah for Mina to begin Hajj, the sacred pilgrimage of Islam. I wept on the eve of such a momentous occasion because I wanted so desperately to understand the Qur'an as it was recited. After Salah, I looked up at the sky above the Ka'ba and I asked Allah to help me learn Arabic, so that I may understand the book of Islam.
Courses on Islam
Returning from my inspiring journey, I felt such great motivation, drive and desire to soak up as much Islamic knowledge as I possibly could. I began taking a course on Arabic and general Islamic studies at Masjid-Al-Ansaar. May Allah reward our teacher. It was the first time I had taken a course on Islam. The class had fuelled my enthusiasm, but I craved more. The following year, I heard about the Shariah Program launching in Toronto. I was so excited to see a complete package on studying Islam. I wanted to attend, but I feared that I would not be able to cope with something so intensive while balancing university at the same time. I'm actually one of those so called "workaholics". My course load in university is usually quite heavy, so it was because of this that I backed away the first year of the Shariah Program.
SubhanAllah! I'm so grateful to Allah that He gave me another chance this year. After much regret the first year, I realized that this was an opportunity that I had to grab hold of with both hands. Three weeks into the launch of the program this year, I joined to finally study Islam the way it was meant to be studied.
The pace of the course seemed overwhelming at first. However, Islam teaches patience, steadfastness and fortitude. Remember that the heights of things cannot be attained except by hard work and persistence. Keep your intentions pure and Allah will help you to achieve your goals. The Shariah Program stimulates your mind. It challenges you to think. It kindles that innate desire in you to learn about Islam. Most importantly, it brings you closer to your Creator, because learning will give life to your Ibadah.
It is related in a Hadith that when Allah desires good for someone, He sets them on the path to knowledge. I am very grateful to Allah that He answered my Du'a that night in Makkah. May Allah keep you and I guided on Islam and place barakah in our studies, Ameen.
I look to the following years of learning with great anticipation
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