AsSalamu'alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
Alhamdulillah, The Razi Institute's 77 Branches of Faith program held this past weekend at the University of Toronto was wonderful -- insha'Allah, some of you also attended. The Shuyukh all compliment each other very well -- Sh. Talal, Sh. Ramzy, Sh. Faraz, Sh. Jamal, Shaykh Zahir and his wife, Ustadha Saima...the dynamic between them all was one of wonderful reverence and utmost love for one another, with a shared concern for the ummah.
The program provided a lovely notebook with the text as well as space to take notes for each session. Insha'Allah, I will try to share small parts of the notes I took for branches that I feel are key or where something was said that may of be particular benefit insha'Allah. I pray that I convey the message of the Shuyukh correctly -- if anyone finds any error, please do correct me (and if any of the Shuyukh read this, please forgive me in advance for doing such injustice to the wisdom you were kind enough to share with us).
- Remember often the destroyer of pleasures (death).
- Reflect on death and prepare for it. One who remembers death twenty times each day and night will be raised with the martyrs.
- Be in the world as a wayfarer.
- Love what you will, you will part it.
Finally, Sh. Ramzy shared with us, Four Keys of Help in preparing in this life for tawfiq in the next life insha'Allah. They are as follows:
- Standing in prayer before Fajr when the angels and Mercy descend from the Heavens. Doing wudu and praying some rakats of salah. Some of the scholars say this is better than praying in the haram itself. Imam Junayd the great sufi (Allah have mercy on him) was seen in a dream after his death, saying that all that benefited him of his works in this world were the two rakats he always made before fajr.
- Surah Tabarak (I believe after Isha).
- Du'a (supplication), seeking refuge from the torments of the grave and Hell.
- Developing a relationship with Rasul Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), turning him for guidance and intersession and sending peace and blessings upon him.
Also related to these Keys, Sh. Talal spoke of making room for Allah, His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace), and prayer in our daily lives. Actually setting aside time in our schedules so it's not the first thing that gets cut when we're tired or busy. And Sh. Ramzy reminded us to make dhikr all day long, to start each act with the basmala, sunnah du'as, saying Alhamdulillah, Subhan'Allah, Astagfiruallah, Allahu Akbar, the shahadah, and salawat and to always have the right intention -- that everything we do is for Allah. As Sh. Nuh says, if you can't say Basmala before an act, you shouldn't be doing it.
Insha'Allah, I pray that Allah give us all tawfiq in applying these keys. By Allah, when we take time to consciously remember Him in the hustle and bustle of our day to day lives, He fills it with a peace and a light that we can otherwise never know.
And Allah knows best. May peace and blessings be upon our noble Prophet - the Chosen One, his family, companions, and all those who seek to follow him until the Last Day.