Key to Paradise in Review: Part 1

As I said a couple of entries ago, I would jot down my thoughts about the recent conference we just had @ QSSC with Shaikh ‘Alî bin Hasan al-Halabî of Jordan and post them up for you eager beavers when I could get some time for it.

To those who were waiting to hear about how the conference went, I apologize for the long delay. As you know (that is, if you’re a regular visitor to my blog and actually read the blog entries), I’ve had my mind elsewhere trying to finish an article I had been working on for some time, as well as starting a new article (which will also probably take a long time to complete) due to some things that have come up that need addressing.

I’ll try to remember what I can regarding the details of the conference and whatever else I can remember from the shaikh’s visit. Hopefully, I remember enough about what went on to make this read worth your while. If not, then again, I apologize.

As mentioned previously, the shaikh arrived on Wednesday night (May 14th). A few brothers and I picked him up at the airport, took him back to one of the brothers’ homes for a small bite to eat and then to the hotel so he could get some rest. The shaikh gave a talk on Thursday evening (also as previously mentioned) on the causes for firmness in religion. Altogether, the shaikh listed about 10 or 11 points with the first half of them being mentioned on Thursday and the rest mentioned during Friday evening’s talk; the shaikh also gave the Friday sermon (I don’t remember the topic; sorry).

Attendance for all three were very good. Being Thursday, QSSC is usually empty, but a good number of brothers and sisters showed up for the shaikh’s talk. Friday sermon was ram-packed, as is usual for Friday sermons that fall on long-weekends. The only exception here was the new faces that showed; a lot of guys from different areas of the city showed up for this one. Friday evening’s turnout was pretty good as well, but nothing like Saturdays.

Friday after the sermon, I was invited to attend a lunch with the shaikh at a friend’s home. A number of brothers who frequent QSSC were there to have lunch with the shaikh as well. The meal was great, as was the company; and the praise is Allah’s. Both during and after the meal, a number of the brothers were able to get some of their questions in. At the end of the gathering, while we were literally stepping out the door, I was able to ask the shaikh if he knew Shaikh Ahmad bin Sâlih az-Zahrânî. I told him that I had one of the shaikh’s books (Sharh Alfâdh as-Salaf wa Naqd Alfâdh al-Khalaf fî Haqîqah al-Îmân) and he told me of the shaikh’s new book (Tark al-‘Amal adhDhâhir wa Atharuh fil-Îmân, which I had already found and downloaded from the shaikh’s website before Shaikh ‘Alî arrived; I also learned after the shaikh had left that he had actually had a hardcopy of the book with him which he was reading while he was here). He told me that the book was strong, which I was glad to hear, as I’ve been intending to read it after I finished the other one.

Saturday’s program began shortly after noon prayer. Already, the numbers were quite large. As the day progressed, more and more brothers and sisters arrived, to the point that the mosque was so full for sunset prayer that a few brothers had formed rows outside the prayer area. I actually missed the congregational prayer because of that. I arrived a tad late for the beginning of the prayer and was unable to join because there just wasn’t any room! I can’t imagine what it would have been like in the sisters’ area, which is a good deal smaller than the brothers’; from what my wife told me, some of the older kids were sitting on their mothers’ laps just so that they could all fit during the lectures. We had brothers (don’t know about the sisters) visiting Toronto from Ottawa, Halifax, and Edmonton (one of which was a friend who had lived here in Toronto not too long ago and the other, a truly wonderful Libyan brother who I really hope to see again, may Allah preserve and protect them both). We also had a few brothers from the US visiting us, mostly from Detroit (I assume). I’ll mention more on the new and old faces I ran into later, Allah willing.

Back to the program … for the entirety of Saturday, the shaikh gave talks on Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah’s biography. As mentioned in the conference update posted earlier, the shaikh based his talks on two biographies of the imam, may Allah have mercy on him. The first written by Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rahman al-Wakîl, former head of Jamâ’ah Ansâr as-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyyah in Egypt (may Allah have mercy on him) and the second by Shaikh Sayyid Sâbiq, author of Fiqh as-Sunnah. He continued the imam’s biography for the first bit of Sunday’s program before moving on to the actual topic of the conference: selections from Ibn al-Qayyim’s Miftâh Dâr as-Sa’âdah. Through the course of the talks concerning Imam Ibn al-Qayyim’s life, the shaikh mentioned various points of benefit: benfits in speaking of the imam’s life and experiences; benefits of knowledge, its importance, and the importance of seeking it; points of benefit concerning names, nicknames and titles; and many other nice little facts and tidbits.

After the shaikh completed his talks on Imam Ibn al-Qayyim’s life, he began with his selections from the imam’s book, Miftâh Dâr as-Sa’âdah, which all pertained to knowledge. If I’m not mistaken, the shaikh based his talks off his book, al-‘Ilm: Fadluh wa Sharafuh, which (I assume) is a book he compiled from excerpts of the aforementioned book, i.e., Miftâh; it’s also got his commentary and cross-referencing for the narrations (it’s no. 98 on the list of works the shaikh has authored). His talks began with the relationships between happiness, knowledge, wealth and status. He discussed the roles of sincerity, remembrance of Allah, contemplating on His signs and verses, faith and the link between one’s outer displays of it and one’s inner aspects of it, putting the things one knows into practice, and a bunch of other amazing tidbits, all in relation to knowledge and the role it plays in attaining true happiness.

Sorry for the vagueness, but as I mentioned in previous posts, I’m still trying to get a set of lecture notes from a couple sources, if I can get those, I’ll post them up for everyone to have a look at as well.

I’m going to have to stop here for now because my kids are demanding some attention. In the next part I’ll be summarizing what happened in the week that followed the first portion of the conference: the shaikh’s visits to the various mosques we took him to. After that, I’ll mention what happened during the second weekend where the shaikh continued where he left off from on the first weekend. And finally, after that, I’ll give some of my own personal thoughts of the whole visit by the shaikh, my experience with some of the new brothers I met, and whatever else I can think about blabbing on about.

Anyhow, until next post … .

About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

3 Responses to Key to Paradise in Review: Part 1

  1. abu ismaeel says:

    As-salamu alaykum, tantalising post mashallah.. but surely you could think of one or two of the many points of benefit to share with us ya akhi?

    Even just one that stuck in your mind insha Allah, tafaddal..

  2. Wa ‘alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullah,

    There will be more to come, Allah willing.

  3. Pingback: Update from the Land of Tea & Crumpets « Rasheed Gonzales

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