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Rise Above!

Our Master Husayn showed us what it means to gain victory when it looks to your enemy as if he has overcome you. To gain victory without the material appearance of victory.

He showed that victory is in having integrity with God, being true to one’s values and remaining the more honourable one, even when being wronged and oppressed. He showed us that one does not struggle for temporary achievement of rights or respect from one’s oppressor, but rather, one struggles in order that there be a model to all the world of what sincerity looks like.

If, those centuries ago, our Master Husayn had decided to stay in his home, saying to himself: “I have faith, I have love of God, I have a relationship of truth with my Lord, I have knowledge – and this is sufficient” – and not gone out with 72 members of his Family – the Family of the Messenger of God – history would have been different.

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No Peace. No Justice.

Feeling objection to oppression, indignation at injustice and repulsion for wrongdoing (feelings referred to as ‘ghadhab’ in the Prophetic Teachings and often wrongly translated as ‘anger’), is a power from God. It is a fire.

If this fire comes and you do not invest it properly, it will burn you. To invest it, you must control it and put it in its rightful place. You gather it, protecting its flame, and carefully set it in its niche. There it will become light, spreading its warm glow, dissipating the darkness. That flame of yours, that power given to you by God, will be the light inside a lantern: a source of energy and illumination for you and for others.

But if you do not control this power called ghadab, it will turn into anger. Its flame will leap out at you and at others, turning all it touches black and sooty.

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Dreaming of Peace.

Peace. We refer to it, at times. We believe in it, abstractly. When speaking with non-Muslims, we say our religion is the religion of peace.

But what do we mean by this lovely phrase? What illustrates its truth? Is it something we carry in our hearts, something we live in our homes? And is it something we desire for all of humanity?

The truth is that most Muslims today have a very weak connection to that thing called peace. We’ve resigned ourselves to a state of constant unrest, inside us and around us.

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shaykh-hamdi-and-abee-robert

Two Brothers.

Sometimes in your life, you witness something that is so profound that you struggle to put it into words and share it. But being a good witness demands this sharing. Especially in a time when media delivers a relentless torrent of testimony of the worst and most meaningless matters. So let me share this testimony:

At the end of July, I was amongst 60 people who retreated from our daily lives, in a valley called Pontbriand, high in the Appalachians of Quebec. There, for six days, we followed a rhythm of existence that centred around devotion, reflection, and seeking of wisdom and meaning. We gathered early morning to pray and invoke God. We rested before midday, and then reconvened to learn about how to let our hearts flower and open up to the Love of the Divine.

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