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We can’t let complacency kill Canada’s beauty

Ours is a beautiful country. This may seem an odd thing to say given that we’ve just experienced one of Canada’s worst mass shootings. But it is true. We are a stoic lot, we Canadians. But when tragedy strikes, there is an outpouring of solidarity that is life-affirming. And so it was on Monday, not only in London, but across the country. On Sunday night,

What Is Piety?

We will consider hadith 5 and hadith 6 together. Hadith 5 is very brief – an example of the eloquence of the Prophet peace be upon him and his ability to be brief but profound. In this hadith, the Prophet peace be upon him tells us that Islam describes a definable path, and that veering off this path, by introducing elements onto it is not

Food waste unjust, environmental disaster

The holiday season has passed and, almost certainly, a considerable amount of food has been thrown into the garbage. Food waste is a serious challenge in the developed world. While some suffer from food insecurity, estimates are that up to 33 per cent of food supply is wasted globally. In Canada, that number is closer to 50 per cent, and more than half of such

All learning is not created equal

In the last post, I wrote about hadiths #2 and #3 – that Islam is built on a statement of belief, a set of physical rituals, authentic beliefs and sincerity in orienting oneself to God. But those elements are not the totality of Islam, but rather the foundation of it. “Islam” is a set of actions and behaviours built on those foundations. In this post,

Troubling views of women found close to home, too

Warning: Many readers will find the content disturbing. http://www.lfpress.com/2016/12/09/troubling-views-of-women-found-close-to-home-too This column was published in the London Free Press on Saturday 10 December 2016.   The past few months have been a whirlwind in the U.S. with the presidential campaign and the election of Donald Trump. But let’s not pat ourselves too firmly on the back. Many of us in Canada watched Trump vs. Clinton with

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Rabi’ Al-Awwal is the month in which the Prophet peace be upon him was born, and the month in which he made the migration to Madina. There is a misconception that the migration of the Prophet peace be upon him took place in Muharram, since that is the first month of the Hijri calendar. However, most authorities agree that the Hijra was in the month

What Is Islam

Our next hadiths to consider are hadith #3 and #4 together. It’s probably important to note at this point that I’m not attempting any level of comprehensive treatment of these ahadith. Rather, my objective is to highlight how these texts help us understand Islam holistically. Hadith #3 is known as “hadith Jibril”, because the Archangel Jibril is the Prophet peace be upon him’s interlocutor. Because

The greatest threat to democracy? The myth that it is inevitable

Until recently, the proposition that democracy was vulnerable even in countries where it has been long established would have been met with derision. But what a difference a few months can make. In the United States, we are witnessing the rise of what can only be described as fascism in the presidential elections. After months of refusing to contemplate a Trump candidacy, the party of

Where Islam “Begins” and “Ends”

More on this theme of where Islam “begins” and “ends”. Al-Nawawi and other scholars have written that this Hadith enters into almost all actions and various scholars have elected to insert it at the beginning of their works. And so, quite appropriately, this is the point of departure in Islam: the most essential aspect of our being is what we intend in our hearts, not


In the last post, I introduced the Forty Nawawi Hadith Collection as a way to understand Islam in a holistic way. The inspiration for Al-Nawawi to compile these ahadith (42 in total) was a Prophetic tradition that exhorted people to preserve 40 hadiths for the Ummah. Al-Nawawi's collection was not the only such collection, but it became the most well-known among Muslims. Many memorize the

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