Friday, 30 September 2016

Cruising next year in de Island Islam!

Caribbean Muslim Convention 2016

People of Queens
Gathered under God
What a delight to eat cassava pone
And listen to Moulana Shafayat!

People of Princess town and Corentyne
Gathered under the American flag
What a delight to have dunkin’ donuts
And relish Melinda Katz and Dr Quick in one breath!

People of Roots and volunteerism
Gathered from masajids and cliques
What bliss to savor yummies and ice crush
And to eat and pray with Dr Shabbir and the beautiful hijabis of Ehsan Academy!

People of Allah
It was the best experience ever!
Your love is unconditional,
And I propose a cruise to the Islands for the next Caribbean Muslim Convention!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Challenges of a Prison Chaplain

I am sitting with some inmates inside the chapel and its Saturday morning. Could you imagine what they are talking about?

People wonder why an Imam would consider spending his precious weekend with men who are hardcore criminals. I find it myself mind boggling!

Is it the story of Yusuf that so inspired us to be to be considerate of the incarcerated? Is it the sweet voice I heard from Bri-anneSwan at our Multicultural Eid in Toronto sharing her brave act to meet with an inmate on death row in Texas? Or is it the soft nature of the innate human disposition called fitra that Dr Karen Armstrong alluded to in the Interfaith conference recently in Montreal?

I suppose it’s all of this and much more as the constellation of accumulated stories of faith and hope over the past eight years makes me continue to listen and guide men and women whose lives tiptoe on the brink of hope!

So here is the inspiration.

Mr strong man is a long time practitioner of Islam and has written his memoirs. He was brought up on Islam; however the cruel interactions of society have led him to a life of regret. But one of the smartest and creative men you will meet when you read about his unpublished work of addictions and the life of a Muslim.

So the path that Malcolm X chartered is not a maiden of street without GPS but very much lived by many in the dark alleys of prison.

And there is our so ghora Gujarati dude in full beard and jubba, cooking spicy Iftars during Ramadan and reciting beautiful Quran! He is so cool that you wouldn’t even imagine he ran the turf one time.

The path that Yusuf Islam threads within the story of music and conversion is the beautiful narrative of a world's celebrity not being afraid to play for his fans and proudly speaking for Islam. I met him at the CN tower dinner last year and he kept it real with his humor!

So I have the pleasure of knowing people for their stories and not judging them by one story. People are not defined by their worse or best moments but by what they do for others. Dr Martin Luther reminds us that what life is about.

Sipping coffee and touting tattoos he respectfully submits that it's time for prayer! That's the white supremacist turned everybody's friend, thanks to the dynamic seed of Islam planted in his soul by reading the Quran last Ramadan. He now exudes the beautiful aura of the Sunnah style and even received a standing ovation as the valedictorian this year!

Such is the transformation that the soul is capable of, that this proven path of spirituality, like music therapy and pets for compassion, is something one could be proud of.

It reminds me of the Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, allowing the Bedouin to continue urinating in his mosque while others wanted to smack him up. But Muhammad was more hood than the tough Arabs! He steadied the ‘gangsters’ and won the Bedouin’s heart and millions still today.

That's why I am a Chaplain! And yes Eid is always a blast!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

9/11: Multicultural Eid Commemoration- 2016

9/11: Multicultural Eid Commemoration 2016

I still remember where I was on 9/11. I was sitting in front my computer in Guyana.
What a horrific act that still evokes sympathy and shock!

In Canada, I have continued to defend Islam tirelessly in the jury box ever since- Islam is a religion of peace. Islam stands for justice and equality.

This year whilst considering an Eid celebration that is inclusive and upbeat, I realized it will fall according to the calendar on Sep 11th. Well after all on a Sunday to celebrate Eid is not bad.
Although in Canada we have freedom of religion, people still find it battling to get a religious day off.

So the thought evolved with a few dear volunteers and close friends to observe an interfaith service as a memorial for the victims of 9/11 and to observe a minute of silence in the presence of Canadian Muslims, political figures and Interfaith leaders. This will mark the sacredness of the lives lost to the meaningless wars fought ever since.

Then the thought of Eid being the observance of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son Ishmael arose. It’s a time when people think of making Hajj and performing their religious duty of donating towards the poor. However, with the missing girls of Canada being upper most in our minds my thoughts went towards making Hagar the mother of Ishmael and her sacrifice being the focus of today’s trials of mothers and wives all around the world. So the English Khutba will focus on women.

As the amazing volunteers pooled together their resource and ideas to make this event in Ajax a success, search for a place turned out to be difficult until the Ability Centre in Whitby became available. With a centre that caters to persons of disabilities the sponsor organisation couldn’t have been more appropriate- CAMD- Canadian Association for Muslims with disabilities. Many other sponsors since then have thankfully stepped up to the challenge.

The fun of the Eid festival is not done without good food and entertainment. As much as that comes with a price, the recent Muslimfest in Mississauga, with thousands enjoying Muslims at their Artistic best, it is indeed an inspiration that #EidByLake will be another hit that Canadians of all backgrounds will be proud of!

Dress to impress this Sun and be at the Ability Centre Whitby at 10am!

Habeeb Alli

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Black Love in protest

Longing for the aspirant childhood dream
That dances in my nocturnal journey
I prayed for the exotic union
Laid bare on the altar of Essequibian love

As ebony is enriched by the  beauty of love
The waters so dark shed its inhibitors
Like the inhabitants of Paradise  pure is the desire
One stroke in a thousand years

Love through faith
Love under the raining rooftops
In the waves that musically awaken buried passion
Like Damon and Cuffy
A revolution within is born and dreams lived again!

Alicia and Tariq: Meant to be!

Passing each other
One  from New York the other in Toronto
Although  they knew each other
It took fifteen  years and a cousin to line the stars

Now what was a call  on CIOG dinner day
Turned out  be a flirt with love and now down the  aisle  a few months after
How coild a girl with a mind of her own surrender?
A girl unconquerable by any other?

This is what  love does
Breaks the bones of stubborn resistance
Softens the heart of bitter stoics
Makes a man leave the big apple for the  apple of his eye

So fasting and prayers is the new Gucci
Smiling under those stern eyes she lives
Love that gives faith power
Is like pious Ali never deserting Fatima, not now nor ever!