Monday, 17 December 2012

Condolence to the victims of Connecticut

During this tragic and horrible incident of sadistic killing of young innocent students and teachers, we would like to extend our condolence and sympathies to those who are grieving the loss of their loved ones. May your pain be removed with healing and forgiveness and may you enrich the lives of those who have gone on, with the continuation of their passion for life, faith and good works. In times like these, we are reminded that humanity needs spiritual guidance and strong legislations in order for us to live a civilised and safe lifestyle, amidst the chaos and abundance that modern civilization offers. In the words of the Prophet Muhammad, owbp, we are commanded to walk in the shoes of those who mourn; as none of you will have true faith until he loves for himself what he loves for others.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

habitat for humanity event

CCI joins Faith Leaders Build 2012

help mother in Enmore at clinic

Dear Editor

It is very sad and distressing, rather pathetic to read about the plight of a mother in Enmore, who was repeatedly turned around, after days of pointless waiting, to see the doctor at the Enmore Clinic - SN 13/12/2012.

I would be happy to facilitate, as we have done in the past, as no one, especially as children of the great martyrs of Enmore and sons and daughters of Guyana, need to suffer like this. Now that the holiday are on us and we are a nation filled with natural resources and globally acclaimed 'full of love', this is unacceptable. I'm sure this letter will make Guyanese all around the world willing partners of generosity and they will ensure not only this mother but anyone seeking help at Enmore clinic gets the right attention, timely and appropriately. 

The Enmore groups abroad will be more than willing to support initiatives and I know that many such are already doing like Br. J donates regularly towards the Orphanage there, etc..
The way we treat the most vulnerable in society is an attest of our worth and when mothers, who have sacrificed most of their lives, for the success of a nation, cannot feel comfortable and secured in the social services of a nation, then only tears of sadness belong to the leadership that ensconces the colours of spiritual ascendancy.

Merry Christmas to all Guyanese!

Jesus was born to give us this sense of compassion in a cruel world of the Pharisees and to see his Mother Mary breastfeeding him during his tender age of fatherless birth, is to remind us that mothers must no longer suffer- not in Enmore at least!

Quran 19:21-19:25 “He said, "Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, 'It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.' "
So she conceived him, and she withdrew with him to a remote place.
And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, "Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten."
But he called her from below her, "Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream.
And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates.”


Habeeb Alli

Prayer is a helpful means to remind us that the Divine is working behind the scenes when our human endeavours are lacking.

Monday, 10 December 2012


Forward to Whispers of Khaieteur

Sheikh Habeeb Alli is passionate about building up community; the Islamic Community, the Interfaith Community, Canadian Community, and that of his beloved homeland, Guyana. His compassion for humanity and tireless efforts, rooted in his devotion to Allah, overflows in these poems, articles, letters, and accounts of the myriad of activities he has both catalyzed and given testimony to on these pages.
Alli’s book makes evident his capacity to network and build bridges of understanding within and beyond the Canadian Muslim community. His Guyanese background gives him an edge at noticing where communities are ready to transcend racism and other barriers on the path of faith. Indeed, it has given him the ability to “navigate between cultures, traditions, and religious personalities” and we, his readers, benefit from his dexterity. His News section frequently praises the possibilities for meaningful interfaith engagement that Canada offers, but his poems show the depth of daily interfaith coexistence in “the country of six races”. Alli not only enjoys the many different people he encounters, but he listens carefully and learns from them, inviting the reader to share in the wisdom he is finding along the way.

The News reports show a vibrant, living, faith community that is active in caring for one another and their neighbors in Canadian society, and further abroad. Alli not only lets us see the multiple layers of Canada’s Muslim communities and leadership, but invites us into his heart through his poetry, as he is “melted” by encounter after encounter with inspiring people. He shows Allah’s care of inmates, abused women, men and seniors, the youth, as well as God’s desire for our health, and whole-ness. In particular he describes God’s will for people to live at peace with one another and demonstrates throughout the book what it could look like when people live in harmonious relationships at home, in the mosque, and broader society.
Alli observes, “…while God has not given up on us by sending new babies every day we seem to give up on man by judging each other daily.” Through poetry, wise letters of exhortation, and news documenting the activity of the Muslim community, he demonstrates how we can seek to be more like God, not giving up on one another.

Between the covers of this book we find many signs as to what it means to entrust one another “with your life and religion – knowing you will be dignified and your freedom of religion will be respected…” This book will be a blessing to all who read it.

Susan Harrison PhD Candidate in Theology, at Emmanuel College, Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto October 19, 2012


Don’t Judge Exceptional People as Outsiders
A glimpse into Islam’s view people with special needs

By Shaikh Habeeb Alli

“Whoever helps a Muslim in this world, God/Allah will help him in the Hereafter". Prophet Muhammad

In an episode of Little Mosque on the Prairie, a candidly-humorous sitcom about a community of Muslims living in a small town in the Canadian Prairies, a newspaper reporter who uses a wheelchair makes some noise – and justifiably so – about the lack of a ramp to enter the town’s Masjid. Of course, a ramp is built, but in the fanfare of the ribbon-cutting ceremony the reporter gets stuck in the concrete which hasn’t fully hardened yet! The point made was simple: a mosque, like any other public place, must be accessible to those with special needs and it shouldn’t take an article in a local newspaper to move it to the top of management leaders’ agendas. 

Philosophy of acceptance

What does the Islamic teaching offer on the subject of special needs? With the incidence of disability and impairments becoming increasingly prevalent and spanning all racial and ethnic divides, what is our religion’s view about Muslims with exceptionalities? A local worshipper once asked me whether a fellow worshipper who is deaf would merit entering heaven, since he could not hear the Imam’s sermon despite his undaunted attendance. In fact, all people with special needs have a place in heaven, as the pen of accountability has been lifted from those who have cognitive and physical impairments, where the observance of religious duties becomes either unbearable or impossible.

People with special needs are children of ours; these are the members of our households and communities. They must feel as comfortable as any other in our midst. In a party the “odd” individual feels alienated. Life is a continuous party and no one should stop another from dancing to the music of love and affection, belonging and contributing. Being an exceptional person does not warrant pity but rather accommodation and respect of the skills he or she brings. One of my teachers, NaBina Hafiz Saheb of Deoband, as he was popularly known, had a visual impairment but nevertheless succeeded in teaching numerous students the art of recital and explanation of the Holy Quran through Braille. Imam Bukhari, despite being visually impaired at a young age continued traveling and collecting millions of Hadith and finalizing the most authentic book of Hadith (traditions of the Prophet).

The Prophet Moses, highly regarded in Islamic literature and mentioned over 150 times in the Quran is among the model Messengers of Allah. Muslims learned about his “tongue-tying impediment” through his conversations with the unparalleled tyrant, Pharaoh. He continued to be God’s chosen messenger despite his personal fears around his ability to communicate effectively as a leader. As a matter of fact, this Biblical and Quranic story of Moses underscores that those with special needs are not to be pitied and looked down upon, but helped, and their skills recognized. It also carries the rich moral that those affected must never be ashamed to seek assistance and support. Moses said to Allah, “Send Aaron as my aide,” Q 20:29-30 “…and appoint for me, out of my kinsfolk, one who will help me to bear my burden Aaron, my brother.”

On a personal level, no exceptional person serves as a greater model of courage than Julaybib, a companion of The Prophet, who lived 1400 years ago. Having been born with dwarfism and extremely dark skin, he was discriminated against because of his physical appearance.  Although his stature did not compromise his ability to fight courageously in battles, marriage was impossibility, since people tended to steer away from him. But the Prophet believed in Julaybib and recommended him to a girl in Madina. Although the girl’s parents opposed the idea, she retorted, “Who are you stop to me from marrying a man the Prophet himself recommended?” And so she married him, but tragically, soon lost him when he died in battle. Julaybib’s death largely went unnoticed, with the exception of the Prophet, who mourned his passing and said of the little hero: "He is of me and I am of him."  It was then that members of Julaybib’s community recognized his true worth and value.

One of my regular congregants, Azeem Qayum of Scarborough, Ontario, published a book about his youth, when he had a severe respiratory condition. He chronicles bravely and articulately how Allah inspired him to keep going, visiting his mosque at regular occasions and doing his best at school despite the illnesses’ lengthiness. He learned, practiced and taught patience and courage, setting an example for others with challenges to follow.

Imams’ current views

According to Imam Roshan Ally, a popular Scholar of South Florida, “While it’s not obligatory for people with disabilities to attend mosque in order to pray, it has become very necessary that whenever they choose to, there must be some facility to accommodate them. The Holy Prophet did not only accommodate Abdullah bin Makhtoom, who was blind, by leading him to the mosque, but honored him by making him the official muezzin (caller of the prayers). An entire Sura (chapter of the Quran) was revealed honoring this person of special visual needs.”

Shaikh Hassan Hamad of the Pickering Mosque, in Ontario, has observed that a growing number of Muslims with cognitive disabilities have been frequenting his mosque in recent years in search of social and health relief. Although many are referred to support services outside of the Muslim community, according to young approachable Canadian Imam it is paramount that Muslims with disabilities be embraced from within. The Quran relates that in the time of the Prophet, a woman with cognitive challenges requested to speak with him. He invited her to meet in a public place in Madina, rather than hold the encounter in the mosque or her home. The Prophet did this explicitly to teach that public institutions that cater to exceptional people should not only be supported, but also visited, without any taboo or cultural insensitivity.


The Moeen Centre[1] is a non-profit organization based in Toronto for people with physical and intellectual disabilities. It does an amazing job of supporting clients in the areas of social networking, education and financial assistance, despite its own limited resources. The Centre operates on the premise that “Every human being is likely to experience disability in one’s lifetime.” The concept of “Judge not, for you’ll be judged,” is a Quranic principle found in 2:141 “That was a people that have passed away. They shall reap the fruit of what they did, and you of what you do! Of their merits there is no question in your case.”

The Moeen centre was established in 1996 in memory of Moeen Alam, a young adult with physical and developmental disabilities, who lost his life in a tragic house fire in December, 1995. His mother, Qaisar Alam, has since relentlessly made efforts to keep the memory of her young son alive, by ensuring the provision of day-programs for young adults with disabilities dedicated to improving their communication and mobility skills and encouraging them to reach their full potential.

Rabia Khedr is a Pakistani-Canadian, who resides in Toronto. She co-founded the Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities (CAMD)[2] which strives to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to spiritual and social activities and events in their places of worship. “Currently, Muslims who are deaf or hard of hearing have no access to learn how to read the Quran or take part in any Islamic study classes,” said Rabia. Among her organization’s goals is to make the Quran available in Braille for Muslims who are blind. CAMD summarized its values as follows: “We believe that we as all human beings are unique and perfect as created. Our ability and disability experiences are a natural aspect of life. We have the right to be valued, respected and included in society and in our cultural and faith communities.” The Quran paraphrases this in the Equality Verse of Q: 49:13 “Oh Humanity! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”

The residential Noor School in South Africa caters exclusively to the needs of visually impaired by providing them with spiritual and religious education, especially memorizing the Quran.  But here in Ontario there is no opportunity for Muslims with intellectual disabilities to learn formally about Islam, outside of their families. The majority of mosques and Islamic centers in the Greater Toronto Area are not even wheelchair accessible.

Muslims with disabilities in the workplaces

Torontonian Sumreen Siddiqui is a Muslim woman who serves as an example for all Muslims, but particularly those with disabilities. Sumreen has a visual impairment and works at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.  Her quest to find a life partner has been most challenging; something she attributes to potential mates’ inabilities to see her inner beauty. She is also bothered by the fact that her Islamic-intensive weekend-school course materials are not available in Braille on the computer. But despite her challenges, she consistently wears a smile and carries a positive outlook; having made hajj, she frequently travels and is a regular at local Muslim events. The following is a poem I composed a while ago in honour of Sumreen, entitled “Blindness but visually impaired”:
Eyes indeed the doorway of light
Prejudice against the impaired no doubt a pitiable sight
When the world sees for others they only see you their way
It’s like placing sun shades on your own sunny day
But be happy and keep seeing all your beauty
For the eyes of your heart bring a light of eternity
Where walls don’t exist
And the tulips or snowfalls are seen beyond the mist
Your beloved gifts of cornea and pupil are priced
With their sacrifice your other senses are even more realized
But with the All Seer we believe in a place of Eternal Bliss
Where all who sees with the heart are surely His promise
It is through our Faith that we recognize each person is valuable and to never dismiss anyone as lesser. As The Prophet said, “Verily Allah does not look at your bodies and wealth but looks at your hearts and intentions.”

Habeeb Alli originates from Guyana and studied Islam and Journalism formally in India. He moved to Toronto recently and is passionate about Environmental issues, Youths and Interfaith work. Shaikh Habeeb is active in many organizations and delivers the Friday sermon in some major mosques in Toronto. The Imam is also author of ten books, and is Secretary of the Canadian Council of Imams.


Monday, 3 December 2012

World AIDS Day

Dear Editor

I would just like to bring awareness to the issue of HIV and Faith as we observe World AIDS Day on December 1st. I will draw examples from the local context in Toronto and also provide a brief global perspective.

As I try to be helpful in creating awareness about this chronic illness, which is now controllable and preventable through education, anti-retroviral drugs and early HIV testing, many people of faith continue to be daunted with fear and stigma.

Since the 1980’s, the awareness created by pop stars like Bono, Alicia Keys and others to reach into the consciousness of world leaders as well as leading faith people, has made the plagued continent of Africa no longer alone in its fight against HIV. To wear the red ribbon is not a stigma any longer.

Recently, I was involved with a team of Muslim leaders and concerned citizens, to bring awareness about pre testing for HIV. While people do not contract HIV by sexual activities alone but by blood transfusion and sharing unclean needles, etc., yet I saw the stigma people who are positive face. People living with HIV continue to face barriers around disclosure, and it heightens the stigma and prevents better health-seeking behaviour, and support. At the TARIC mosque, in summer 2012, a conference was held and a woman in hijab boldly spoke of her story of breaking down barriers and standing up against discrimination, even when she was faced with a lot of prejudice and stigma from community members. Another man who is a community advocate on HIV and other social justice issues spoke about his journey of living with HIV, and doing awareness-raising through education and community research. Both speakers felt dignified; that for the first time they were allowed and accepted in the house of God, without being judged.

In the spring of this year, at Ryerson University, in Toronto, a set of community leaders and people living with HIV (PHAs) from various ethnic communities in the Greater Toronto Area undertook a study of the impact of stigma and discrimination. Participants in the study found that the hurt of being ridiculed and judged is worse than the illness or the act itself. The study is still ongoing with participants reporting on what activities they are undertaking in their communities to address HIV stigma and related issues.

Faith is about leaving the judging to God. While religion doesn’t condone any lifestyle outside the pale of the Holy teachings, the reality is, several people around the world living with HIV are faced with lack of dignity, poverty, no access to medicine, ostracism. Such hopelessness and despair in people’s lives does not allow the survival and thriving of religion. Religion in other words becomes a disregarded issue and its neither encouraged or taught to both the young and the old. When a growing section of the affected communities are shut out from places of worship and are told that using protection during union is forbidden and other times affected individuals are told that they are cursed and cannot be cured, then faith leaders have the moral obligation to speak out.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean is the story of South Africa. It is heartening and humbling for an Imam who has taken on the HIV/AIDS issue for the past two decades. Imam Farid Esack has embarked on awareness-raising and education campaigns on the subject, and provided moral, spiritual, social and financial support and dignity for people living with, and at risk of HIV infection. The Imam has worked on legislation in collaboration with local leaders to ensure that people living with HIV and affected communities have better access to resources to improve their livelihoods, and continue to have a better shot to their life goals and potential. Farid Esack is no stranger, battling this neo-apartheid on the global front of human suffering.

We may all be aware that HIV is not spread by saliva or touching and that someone living with HIV can have a ‘normal’ life with family. Someone with HIV can visit the mosque for Friday Juma prayers, the church on Sundays or the Temple to worship the creator without hurting anyone. Jesus spoke to us long before that ‘judge not for you will be judged’ and the Prophet Muhammad taught us that ‘the best of you are those that are most beneficial to humanity’.

It’s time for us to open our arms to at least listen to people with lived experiences around HIV and allow them the safe space they require in order for them to tell their stories, without being judged. In so doing we become the essence of a good life i.e. to make a difference to humanity.

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”
Mother Teresa.

I thank you Editor and looking forward to working with you in raising awareness around HIV and related issues.

Yours sincerely,

Habeeb Ali

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

oct reports in toronto

OCT reports

Somalians youths losing their lives and where is the justice?

In last two years some 44 Somalian youths have lost their live in gun violence between Alberta and Toronto. That is the alarming statistics that brought many Somalian mothers, community leaders and members of the Ministry of Public Safety and the law enforcement to discuss at the Delta. Folks from Alberta, Ottawa and Toronto deliberated for two days on various programs and strategies to address this unanswered justice towards Somalian youths.

Muslim chaplaincy in prison was asked to address what they do to provide help Islamically and socially for the Muslim youths. Habeeb Alli presented the case that while CSC has a quota for every 150 inmates of any denomination one full time chaplain and volunteers are welcome. It is not certain that an Imam volunteering in prison will only see Somalians but must be open to all faiths and ethnic backgrounds.

More volunteering and more programs for the youths are needed to keep them out of the street gang culture as they are exposed to a new culture that reinforce a certain lifestyle that can only be met with illegal activities. A Somalian Police officer is working hard to connect with the youths and more minority candidates are needed to step up to the task through equity employment opportunities.

One mother said she always keep her children busy with after school programs, sports and Quran classes while another mourned her son who was shot in his apartment by astray bullet. It was an open and frank discussion. The conversation has to continue everywhere and as one Imam put it- the mosque has to be seen as a trusted hub of community affairs and not a place of worship with suspicious attendees.

GTA Faith Alliance has been doing work with youths for years and with all types and colors and so too has been the work of

Islamic History month at NOOR.

Wahida Valiante has tirelessly volunteered in the Muslim community in Canada after arriving from England and in the past forty years made her mark to bring Islam into the public sphere, her latest success, apart from making it among the 500 most influential Muslims’ list, is to make Canada declare October as Islamic history month.

Noor Cultural centre hosted one of the many events for the month- some held in Waterloo and London. A famous historian at the Royal Ontario Museum spoke to Islamic Art and Europe- showing through her power point presentations the many beautiful art pieces on vases, tiles, fabrics, calligraphy, minarets, that later were transported from Persia and Turkey into Europe. Karin Ruehrdanz, Islamic Art Curator, Royal Ontario Museum spoke eloquently and she did likewise in Saskatoon, Kingston and London. Signs of that are with us as we see domes, tiles, fountains and tiles in modern buildings in North America. She did justice to the fact that Muslims are not miserable people but owned a civilization of joy and celebration.

Habeeb Alli did the opening prayers of the event and reminded all that the Lord of Abraham and Muhammad is the Lord of rationale and beauty and when we pray to God to open our hearts for wisdom we allow His Presence in our midst before every act of Art and Poetry could flow.

The Canadian council of Imams have been supportive of Islamic history month and hopes more will happen in the coming years with the new President of Canadian Islamic Congress, Dr. Amin Elshorbagy at the helm.

Cardinal dinner- halal accommodation- underfunded charities supported

Where in the world does an imam gets invited to sit with Cardinals and Rabbis among 1700 guests except at the Cardinal’s Dinner in Toronto?

For the past 32 years this largest dinner in Canada attracts political leaders, lead bishops, Fathers and parish leaders from the Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto and business people to raised almost $3M for those twenty odd charities that are underfunded. DISMAS is one such charity that I noticed as they help inmates reintegrate in society and given the recent cuts to chaplaincy this was the best gesture.

Abdul Hai Patel and Habeeb Alli from the Canadian Council of Imams were in attendance and exclusive halal cuisine was provided just as the Rabbi was provided with kosher meals. This was an act of Interfaith respect and the Jews and Muslims were the honourable guests of Father Damian Macpherson – Interfaith and Ecumenical Director at the Cardinal’s Office.

It was an evening of giving to those who do not have and reminding all, in the words of the Cardinal Thomas Collins and re-echoed by the many MPs. MPPS, Mayors and dignitaries, that, we live in a model country and we have to show leadership in recognising the rights of the diversity that we embrace.

Westin Harbour hosts Interfaith and the Belonging

Finding ways to connect meaningfully with other Faiths and making sure Canada maintains the pride of Multiculturalism was the theme behind the discussions held in Halifax by major faith organisations and leaders. The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is producing a website as well as a poster that will remind all that no matter what Faith you belong to; you belong to Canada. The many options for racism and discrimination that are heightened with the Internet should not deter people from standing up for justice, speaking out against blasphemy; engage with the wider world and work harder to build trust among Canadians. One report shows that some 48% of Canadian does not trust Muslims! Where is the Interfaith budget, where is the resources to outreach to Canadians, where is the task force to make Canadians know Muslims, as half of them have never met one? The Ahmadiya Jamat distributed half a million flyers about the Life of the Prophet door to door! NAMF organised a panel discussion with Academics, religious leaders and the laity. Many great initiatives to fight stigma, racism, workplace inequity, diversity ignorance is going on and CRRF validated these efforts by having a symposium as well as an award ceremony. Rev Don Meredith was the key note and reminded all that if he can make it through the valleys of the disadvantaged youth then any one can- from a boy coming from Jamaica to a Reverend becoming Senator.

Eid celebrations in prison

Eid is not for the free only. Prisoners in Ontario jails celebrated Eid with prayers and food. One Christian Chaplain ensured the inmates had chocolate for Eid celebration and a food night with only halal goodies!

Qurbani was done by many locally and many of the meat were donated to Yonge Street Mission. Some of that meat was donated and prepared for prisoners so they could have a direct Eidul Azha experience and they did. One brother actually would buy a big healthy cow, every year at a farm and on the day of Eid, after prayers would go done and get the sacrifice done. He claims that running behind the animal and being part of the fast before while actually doing the Qurbani on that day was his father’s legacy and he has continued that. There are 40 farms in Ontario that the Ministry of Agriculture has approved for halal slaughter. So when Chaplain Habeeb took in curried beef and curried lamb and roti with baklawa there was indeed the camaraderie that Islam is alive and Canada has been exemplary in ensuring the Charter Right of religious Freedom. We hope she stays that course and do not cut part time chaplains work in the federal institutions. Every act of Islam is kindness and every act of kindness help to reform the prisoners- all of whom are not criminals- if only you knew!

OMC hosts conference on Chaplaincy at Jackson point

Ontario Multifaith Council is headed by Dr AbdulHai Patel and Abdurrasheed Taylor is a key leader- both are from the Canadian Council of Imams.
The theme this year was Facing the Questions in Spiritual and Religious Care.
Elizabeth Rahman is a member and has volunteered at the Lindsay provincial prison and so there were many Muslims who find meaningful experience at the Salvation army Conference place every year-sharing and learning about ways to improve patients, prisoners, seniors, dying persons in palliative care and others who need spiritual care and not only health care. Abdurasheed Michael Taylor thanked all the speakers and guests while reminding all that gratitude is the key to a well developed spiritual experience! Habeeb Alli presented in Muslim inmates challenges- from acquiring halal diets, conversions, prayer places, visiting mosques, volunteers visiting to conflicts with theology and laws. The challenge is to be open and educated and willing to accommodate because the foundation of any system is to be open to be reasonable! Chaplains give a lot and must be supported and their is no better way than maintaining CSC contracts for all chaplains of all types and denominations!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Book launch- 15th

My new book will be launched on Nov 10 at Richies Place Victoria Park Scarborough.

It's about my poems, letters and news that I have written in the pass 2 years and features comments and Foreword from prominent writers, scholars and friends.

It's named after my blog.

Sandy Hurricane

Whipping every man in sight
Sandy bulldozes with ravishing plight
Countries powerful, islands delicate
The dark curling clouds so passionate

She has not done so much damage in decades
As if revenge on us meek humans was in phase
Hitting down guarded treasures, taking lives as if Hell has no fury
Sandy you're like Ms climate change gone angry

Now picking up the pieces after billions
You say it's just a tiny part of your mood syndrome
That God wills on winds whatever He desires like sweet zephyr,
Or He has winds of fire, sand and shut down an empire!

So stop saying I'm safe and warm
Reach out to others like a Red Cross arm
Embrace their lost with your gain
Send them a treat this season with no trick
Say my Faith commands compassion not a judging- kick!


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Qurbani your fear

Dear Editor

I would like to take this opportunity to send Eid greetings to all my family and friends, loved ones and colleagues in the Muslim community as well as the wider population as the Eid of Abraham is everyone’s festival. While Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, the Jews are descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s two sons.

We are indeed grateful for life and its many gifts. What this Eid does for us is to seek deep into our hearts the generosity to share halal meat and meals with others, while remembering Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice that which he loved the most- his first son.
Love is such that it tests you. Abraham was God’s best friend. He wished to have a son. God wanted to reveal to the world that human sacrifice is forbidden, but sacrificing for the one, you claim to love, is a must. Jesus said, "you shall love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:31)
I remember when we had just restarted Golden Grove mosque project with the late Khalid Khan in 1992- a place that had turned into a pig sty and garbage dump, after being bombed in 1964 and abandoned for thirty years – there was a feeling that we were so resource-less, to even provide a single cow for the first Eid. But the eight brothers thought that we can all pool out of our meagre resources and at least have a small cow. The villagers were so delighted and recently upon visiting the neighbourhood the folks there were so excited to see me and reminisce on those austere but loving days.

That’s the original spirit of Hajj and Eid ul Adha. Unfortunately much of that is lost today with the rich making the pilgrimage and the rich having the means to do Qurbani and the rich having a good time around these festivities. Money cannot buy love and wealth cannot purchase heaven. It’s your heart that matters in the end! The obituary always talks about deeds and not status!

Abraham lived in the dessert of Arabia that even water was scarce. God sent water in the form of the miraculous Zamzam well. Today, I’m proud to see many who cannot afford an entire party of charity, still join with others in sharing a ‘share’ and giving it away to the food bank. A few years ago I saw an ad for the Christmas drive, from a known food bank in Toronto. It was around Eid al Azha. I made the call and explained the significance of our holiday and how many Muslims make the sacrifice but would send the donation to known poor countries out of Canada. The folks there welcomed the idea of having halal hygienic meat, donated for their food drive, as all can partake of halal. Today that’s an ongoing charity and my friend from Enmore always says ‘charity begins at home’.

I’m so saddened therefore to hear about the gruel murder of a Brother visiting from Toronto and having lost his life in Georgetown on his way to make Qurbani from his life savings. His martyrdom during the sacred days of Zil Hijja will not go in vain and justice must prevail as people must be safe wherever they are: - to perform their religious duties freely and live happily- a right secured by the Charter of Rights, Geneva Convention and the Medina Treaty 1400 years ago.

Quran 37:102 ‘when he (Abraham’s son) attained to working with him, he said: O my son! Surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said: O my father! Do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones.’

If anything, Abraham’s son, Ishmael, was taught to pelt the devil and scare him away as he tried dissuading the lad from undertaking the sacrifice, willingly. This reminds us that fear must undergo Qurbani. Fear must be pelted with full force. Fear must be replaced with safety. Fear has no place in life but ultimate destruction. When Love enters, just as darkness dissipates when light arrives, fear MUST disappear.

‘Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.’ Rumi, Poet of 2007, UNESCO

Happy Eid

Habeeb Alli

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


What to do when you are continually bombarded with negative comments and un resolved issues except that your mind wades in the cesspool of resentment. This is so depressing that sometimes the person you lived makes you feel life is not worth it.
But life is good regardless. Love is possible be it with whom. And after one trial there will be another. The rose in the garden looks beautiful for the onlooker and gardener alike only he has to toil the soil while the lover just admires!
Unrequited love in the shadow of pain. What a treat!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Condolence on behalf Muslim leader- Naeem Nasir- of Guyana‏

Dear Editor

Upon the passing away, in Georgetown, a legendary Guyanese and Bakewell owner, brother Hajji Naeem Nasir, I would like to extend my condolence to his family and to the Guyanese community from faraway, Toronto.

I had the pleasure of doing business and learning from Naeem, R.I.P and his generosity knew no bounds. The vision he had for the humanitarian needs of Guyanese is simply mind boggling- State of the Art Mosque at Queenstown, State of the Art hostel for the homeless (not the Palms), State of the Art University to teach religion and academic pursuits, the non discriminatory position of his tireless philanthropy to all types of Muslim organisations and causes- its a simple fact that his religious upbringing from his father, the late Mr Nasir and his brother, Moulana Siddiq, left an indelible mark on his life. 

I'm reminded of the beautiful poem of Shaikh Saadi-the Persian Fakir: 
To worship God is nothing other than serving the people.
It does not need rosaries, prayer carpets, or robes.
All peoples are members of the same body, created from one essence.
If fate brings suffering to one member, the others cannot stay at rest.
What a beautiful brother- may Allah accept all his good deeds and grant him Firdaus in Heaven- and may God not deprive us of his blessings after.

May his family find patience after and his loved ones the passion and wherewithal to continue his legacy.

As Guyanese would say dead done but cry nah done- a country rather the world mourns his loss!

Monday, 1 October 2012



Muslims in GTA were treated to a sumptuous celebration of food, drink, games, qaseedas and good wishes at the second annual Eid in the Widlwood Park, Derry Rd, hosted by Richard Aziz. This year the weather was superb and many more attended including well wishes from major organisations like HCI, IMO, Imdaadul, Markham Masjid, Weston Islamic Centre, Brampton Islamic centre, etc
Br Alim from the Muslim Perspectives Radio Islam show was at hand doing the nasheeds and qaseedas while bro Habeeb did commentary on the cricket match. Sisters also participated in the cricket, volleyball, and eating fruits race. Amazing race! The children won many prizes and giveaways and again it was fabulous event put on by the Richard Aziz’s team in Toronto. Special mention to the CIOG team that were on display as well as all the sponsors including Chief brand products and Twins products from Guyana run by Razia Khan, the recipient of the Richard’s Caribbean Music Festival entrepreneur award.


Masjids can lease their roof to install solar panels and make an income. That was the recent discussion that was promoted in the mosques in Ontario by Marriam Daneshwar who is working in close proximity with Energy Ontario and a solar company. One such mosque is Barrie. The twenty year lease is offered to home owners and commercial buildings too. The idea is to reuse renewable energy and integrate it into the mainstream grid so more Ontarians may have green energy while making a lease income from their rooftops.

QAWALI- on the rocks!

Bindas is an astounding mix of Qawali- Urdu poetry sang with musical instruments and a mixture of Hebrew songs performed by an Israeli Jew, a New York guitarist, two Bengali singers and harmonium players and a Toronto pundit on the drums. Jewish and Indian counterparts organised this show recently during the Ashkenazi Festival and brought Indian lovers of Sufi music together with Jewish friends. Vijay Sipani said that some 400 attendees made the event a success with Non Muslims getting an opportunity to be exposed the universal teachings of Sufis- they taught love for all!

Behaviour Management System

Teachers in Islamic schools were trained at the North York Civic centre recently by a trainer on Behaviour Management System. Mr Alimamy Bangura conducted the one day workshop that is offered to TDSB teachers and the Ontario Association of Islamic Schools organised this one through Anela Jadunnandan. The idea is to control physical violence and misbehaviours through a peaceful and controlled means within the Education Act, Criminal Code and family law.

Students were offered a certificate and trained how to physically diffuse a situation not only in school but anywhere where such bad behaviours occurs.

Interfaith dialogue

Muslims and Christians were treated to an evening of talk and food. Mr. Tariq Khan has been organising such events for a decade and this time round he had a youth speaker Sauliha Alli speak on Canadian values of multiculturalism and Habeeb Alli talked about the importance of Islamic law. That evening many questions were asked to both Habeeb and Rev Arjan from Hamilton. Later that evening Habeeb took that message to the Dawah Centre, downtown, to their monthly halaqa and continued the topic. Laws are the source of love for God and with Iman one naturally wants to obey Allah.


Many Imams and leaders were invited for a sumptuous and well decorated Eid dinner at Sayyeda Khadija Centre hosted by Dr Hamid Slimi. Among the noted guests were persons working on the Rohinga massacre and they spoke of the plight of the displaced people from Burma. Sister Zabeda did a fabulous job with matching themes of decoration, enjoyable cuisine and a fantastic desert. Persons were also engaged on the issue of global sighting. It was a pleasant evening to celebrate Eid.

The Toronto Area interfaith Council wants to engage Torontonians on various issues including Climate Change Adaptability, discrimination and networking at the North American Interfaith Network conference in April 2013 at U of T. TAIC is known for its mayor breakfast. Mr. Zul Kassim Ali is the Chair and he wants more involvement from the Council on issues affecting Torontonians. He gave the example of without funds one can organise help. He recently placed fifteen women in the hands of a seamstress and with donated space and sewing machines they soon will graduate to go about doing alterations. Any one can help- that’s what faith teaches!

Women in prison are not all tattooed up and killers. They are humans inside and are spending time in order to make a change. That was the discovery made at the recent workshop of hearing your voices conducted by life Coach Fatima Omar Khamissa at the GVI, Kitchener women fancily where some twenty Muslims and Non Muslim sisters attended. She gave her story of survivorship from domestic violence and heard the stories and ambitions of the attendees. She inspired them by showing she is now a published author and renowned speaker. Any one can make a change because dua is not a plan but just a phase.


Athena is passionate about interfaith relations. She is from Nepal and works with the underprovided in Afghanistan. She recently organised a wonder dinner with members of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish friends at High Park Toronto. It was indeed a wonderful evening of tasty Pilipino halal chicken curry and kosher salad plus South African okra stew. The conversation was centred on what we can do to make a difference. Athena is making a difference with her wonderful mom’s cooking and sharing her life with others faraway in Afghanistan this fall. What are you doing?

JANAZA- Colonel Saab

The Janaza of Colonel Amiruddin Khan, from Hyderabad, was done at the Abu Bakr Masjid in Scarborough with a remarkable attendance of 4000 Muslims from Canada and USA. He died at the age of 96 and a website about his life and works is registered. A man from Scottish background, who was raised in India and served the Nizam of Hyderabad then lived in Canada and married in Trinidad. He leaves behind many children and grandchildren and his grandsons on said in his obituary at the packed masjid that Colonel was from the Al Bayt and Nawab family. He had converted over 5000 and traveled to 76 countries.

ISARC – Interfaith coalition against poverty, organized an evening at the Holy Trinity Church at Bell square in collaboration with the Turkish Intercultural dialogue institute about poverty. Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and Jewish panelists explored the idea of poverty in their respective faiths. Among them was the famous Avram who works through YAHVETA, an International relief organsition that has been doing work in Guyana for many years. The son of a rabbi, he said that when he was in rabbinical school he learnt a lot about the intricate discussions around when the wall falls, then whose responsibility is it is to lift it up. When he left he wanted to lift it up and help others lift it too.


Water is a sacred tool. It is so scarce in the world. That’s what we learned form speakers at the recently organized seminar at Islamic Foundation. Officials for Toronto City as well as volunteers of Greening Sacred Spaces and organised the showing of a film that shows the situation of water around the world. Many in attendance were asked their feelings about the film and their social justice anger to fight for those in Canada who are deprived of basic drinking water in the reserves. Do you know how you can save water? Drinking water is a small percentage of the available water in the world for a growing 7 billion humans!

Scriptural Reasoning
Students of Scripture were once again treated to the discussion from the Scriptural reasoning session with PhD candidate Susan Harrison from U of T. The topic this time was on Mysticism and passages from the Quran, Torah and New Testament were brought forward for the discussion with many meaningful insights and pertinent questions asked. It was delightful to discuss and not fight! Many Interfaith leaders have been supportive to Muslims during the video crisis and feels that this doesn’t represent the Prophet of Islam or the viewpoint of mainstream Muslims. They have equally condemned those who do such things to stroke the fire of hatred.


Torontonians needs to have faith in their City and the City needs to recognise Faith is playing its vital role in keeping Toronto alive!
Soon interfaith leaders will have an opportunity to speak to this at a conference being organised with one of the Counsellors on board and a website in place. Issues are dealt with every day by City officials and Faith communities too but often there is no connection made yet alone information available. This will soon be addressed at a one day conference at City hall. Stay tuned.

CHAMP- fighting Stigma!

Persons with HIV stigma are facing many issues including discrimination, criminalization, immigration and lack of education and medical help. The champs program was orchestrated by Ontario government to seek out Faith leaders to help intervene and as scuh a training and research was recently concluded. HIV is everyone’s business and rather than judging we have a chance to help.
One person said he was diagnosed since in the 80’s and without much hope he turned to crime and drugs. Now he is studying at George Brown and York University and giving back to the city since he survived while his friends died!

PEARSON- is prepared!

Chaplains were invited to join other servce providers at Pearson Airport to discuss issues around emergency and learn about using social media as well as understand how to deal with peer support. It’s no surprise that persons witnessing traumatic situations may be affected and service providers are no different. How to deal with burn out and how to take care of peers without being intrusive is a problem in every sphere of life.


Trinidadians in Toronto were treated to a sumptuous Canadian dinner and electryfing talk by Dr Munir ElKassim at TARIC Mosque in order to fundraise for the Islamic Relief Centre in Trinidad. The twin Island people has helped thousands in India, Haiti, Guyana, Bangladesh, Somalia, Pakistan, Grenada, and they continue to through your support. Zainol Ali, the Chair said it was a successful event and he is grateful for the many volunteers and generosity of all Canadians to make his project come through. Special thanks to TARIC.

NAMF INTERFAITH Panel on Honoring the Prophet

Responding the satire that vilifies the Prophet Muhamamd has been varied and even controversial. NAMF responded with an interfaith panel of Imams, and Jewish and Christain leaders. There is the idea is to have a dialogue of civilization rather than a clash of cultures. The evening was indeed a great honor for Islam’s prophet, on whom be peace, where academicians, religious people and spiritual leaders converged to dialogue about the options rather than fight over the conflict! The messages of solidarity from many interfaith leaders have been overwhelming.

Christian-Muslim forum

Thursday, 20 September 2012

How should Muslims respond to the vile video against the Holy Prophet? On whom Be Peace

I think we need to continue doing all the positive NON VIOLENT NON POLITICALLY HYPED things we're doing to educate about Islam and the Holy Prophet and find ways to engage the Interfaith community more to be our allies.
I know some of that is happening here in Canada.

This poem was published in a book done by non Muslims.

Haters will always be there as they were always there but we have to learn to be positive and make Him, owbp, seen relevant not violent!

He asked Hasan bin Thabit to renounce the hate poetry with poetic praises of THE PROPHET, owbp, as if to say respond their media form with an equal and better media form!

فَلَا يَحْزُنكَ قَوْلُهُمْ إِنَّا نَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ

36:76 Let not their speech, then, grieve thee. Verily We know what they hide as well as what they disclose. 

وَقُلِ اعْمَلُواْ فَسَيَرَى اللّهُ عَمَلَكُمْ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَسَتُرَدُّونَ إِلَى عَالِمِ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
9:105 And say: "Work (righteousness): Soon will Allah observe your work, and His Messenger, and the Believers: Soon will ye be brought back to the knower of what is hidden and what is open: then will He show you the truth of all that ye did."

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Harmony week feb 1 to 8

Every thing needs time. It's just we dont know how much we have left.

See  you inshallah

Following the footsteps of Abraham in Canada

Common Ground News Service

Following the footsteps of Abraham in Canada
by Habeeb Alli
22 September 2012

Toronto, Canada – “Canada is the second Holy Land”, said a Christian American visitor from Atlanta, Georgia. He was part of a group of 15 Muslim, Jewish and Christian Americans who called themselves World Pilgrims and travelled to Canada to learn from and dialogue with members of its different faith communities. Historically, the Holy Land accommodated all three Abrahamic faiths, like three siblings living in the same home, and this was how Canada, with its mosaic of different faiths, felt to this young visitor.

The group travelled to Canada through the aptly named World Pilgrims programme, which is run by the Atlanta-based organisation Interfaith Community Initiatives. Pilgrimage, an important part of all three Abrahamic faiths, provided a way for the group to understand the practices and beliefs they had in common - including the important theme of caring for the earth.

The pilgrimage’s theme was specifically centred on water, both because the conservation and usage of water is an essential component of efforts to combat climate change, and because it plays a significant role for worshippers in each of the three Abrahamic traditions. By deepening their understanding of the role water played in each faith tradition, the participants were able to understand see water conservation efforts in a new light.

The participants were led by a group of religious leaders, which included imams, pastors and a rabbi. Through the World Pilgrims programme, they visited the Jami Mosque in Oakville, Canada, which is run by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), as well as the Holy Blossom synagogue in Toronto, among other houses of worship.

The participants, led by the religious leaders, looked at the significance of water in the Muslim, Christian and Jewish traditions and how it functioned as a blessing.

Rabbi Ellen Nemhauser spoke about the many ways that water is part of the Jewish tradition. She discussed the parting of the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt, and the mikvah, or ritual bath, which is used for ceremonial purification.

Rabbi Nemhauser’s words were followed by a presentation by Reverend Jill Ulrici, who spoke about the many significant water stories in the Christian tradition, including the ritual of baptism, Jesus turning water into wine and Jesus walking on water.

The group then looked at this theme in the Muslim tradition. Tayyibah Taylor, Editor-in-Chief of Azizah Magazine, which describes itself as “the world’s window to the Muslim American woman”, and an organiser of the World Pilgrims programme, spoke about the descriptions of water in heaven and the practise of washing before prayer.

“The words of these leaders drove home the point that water is spiritually significant and there is a huge responsibility for all to be conscious of their impact on the earth,” added Tayyibah.

On the way back to Atlanta, the group stopped in Fort Erie, Ontario and met with a spiritual healer from the Native American Mohawk Clan. She spoke about women in the Mohawk tradition being the "keepers of waters" and discussed a ceremony in which grandmothers walk around the Great Lakes praying for the waters to be healed – as clean water is a necessity for both people and the preservation of nature’s ecosystems. This meeting reinforced the idea that people of faith must not only celebrate the richness of water in rituals but work actively towards preserving it.

"Interfaith visits such as the World Pilgrims are beneficial for the broader community at so many levels. Also, such visits by people motivated by a love for spirituality and learning is humbling and inspiring, and invites us to follow in their footsteps," concluded Dr Kathy Bullock, a Muslim Canadian participant.

Through this interfaith road trip, the World Pilgrims were reminded of the important role water plays both in their faiths and in their lives. Water purifies; it’s the source of life. Their experienced served as a reminder to be conscious of its importance and to be aware of their actions – both as inhabitants of the earth and as people of faith. Just as we depend upon water, we also depend upon each other to preserve the earth’s beauty.


* Habeeb Alli is a freelance writer for the Ambition Newspaper and the author of 14 books on Islam and poetry, which can be found on This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

Source: Common Ground News Service (CGNews), 18 September 2012,
Copyright permission is granted for publication.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


Eid Dinners for Inmates

Every one is having wonderful Eid days after EidulFitr. But the poor old man in the jail drinking sour milk must have his share too!

Ontarians have a heart.

Muslims in the prison were treated to several Eid dinners and had invite guests over from far and near.

I was fortunate to hear good stories of not only Muslims fasting but Canadians who chose to fast with their Muslim students. In Pittsburgh ON at their ever variety filled and culturally refined dinner for Eid I met a gentleman who teaches life skills. He has chosen to fast every year for a while now so he may feel the pang of hunger and welt of thirst his students feel. He even ensures that he fasts the correct timing as per the prayer chart of his local area in Kingston.

Inmates invited several others including the Reverend Harry Nigh to join them in their sumptuous Eid dinner at the Keel Street half way house. Harry was delighted to share the meal and encouraged all to talk about the good stories of Ramadan.

Brampton halfway house saw the same with lots to eat.

Some of the Federal institutions had their Eid celebrated with sweets after prayers on Sunday itself while others had it after. The Women institution in Kitchener even saw one person accepting Islam because she admired the way the Muslims conducted themselves in Ramadan.

Eid is a time of joy and happiness. The sweets remind one that after sacrifice is harvest and after receiving the gifts of Allah one has to be thankful.

In prison one values this more than ever and every tiny but of sweet is a lifetime of happiness!


“Canada is the second Holy Land”, says an American visitor among the group from Atlanta calling themselves World Pilgrims.

Muslims are familiar with Hajj- making them pilgrims once per year but how many people know that Muslims always travelled with other faiths in the past learning and worshipping.

Tayyibah Taylor, editor of Azizah Magazine and famous speaker at RIS was among the dignitaries of Jews, Muslims and Christians who visited ISNA mosque in Oakville. They also visited Holy Blossom temple as well as other places in Toronto, Niagara and New York in their round trip. The year before the group had visited Jerusalem and other countries.

The group was presented about Interfaith activities happening in Toronto by Habeeb Alli as well as Dr Abdalla Idris and Dr Kathy Bullock. Habeeb also delivered the Khutba talking about Interfaith importance in Islam, reminding all that the Quran respects all peoples and their traditions and wants us to dialogue rather than force Islam down people’s throats. During lunch many questions were asked and answered about Islam.

It was indeed a happy moment to have these persons of a different persuasion sitting in the mosque as the Holy Prophet on whom be peace himself entertained the Christians of Najran in his mosque.

Islamic Research and Jurisprudence office opened in Thorncliffe.

“The Quran orders the Muslims to ask their Scholars,” said the number of top Ulama visiting Toronto for the launch of the first Office for Islamic Research and Fatwa for Muslims from the Hanafi school of thought. These scholars are primarily from the world oldest institution Deoband India and have a great following in Canada. It’s also important that people recognise the differences of opinion are not only human but Islamic and it’s a mercy for humanity in the words of the Holy Prophet on whom be peace. This is the message Mufti Ahmad Kanpuri and Moulana Hanif from India and Mufti Saeed Motara from South Africa delivered to a packed audience of local Ulama and supporters in Thorncliff, home to thousands of South Asian Muslims, recently.
Mufti Ibrahim Kureshi will be managing his research and fatwas from this office at 2 Thorncliff Ave Unit 28th. He is a member of the JamiatulUlama Canada.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012




New Horizons
1510 Birchmount ROad
Unit # 103




Literary evening- Nov 10th

Dinner on Sept 29th for Trinidad Relief

Arabic course - evenings once a week...

Can you kindly consider joining this prog or get some students- if I do not get students the prog will go!

 This course focuses on the introduction of Arabic Language with learning of reading and writing skills followed by speaking and learning the culture. The course emphasizes clear, correct writing and pronunciation with exposure to colloguial language and ability to construct simple grammatical sentences. The student will recognize and use a variety of structural and stylistic techniques, using multimedia, guest lecturers and interactive styles like visiting restaurants on campus and using Arabic among students. Students practice the language in and out of class. (42 hrs)

841 $308.00 Summer 2012 2012-05-10 2012-08-09
times days
06:30 PM to 09:30 PM R
Progress Campus