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August 10, 2011

At a Toronto mosque in Ramadan: The value of things

Hassan Ibrahim

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On Saturday August 6th 2011 (the 6th of Ramadan) I attended a talk by Dr. Mohamed Elmasry at Toronto's Masjid Qurtabah. It was the first in a weekly series of speeches given one hour before having Iftar. About 100 people of all ages and both gender attended. They listened intently to Dr. Elmasry speak about the "value of things".

For Muslims the month of Ramadan is about reflection and cleansing the spirit in order to focus more on God, and the speeches that the Masjid Qurtabah is organizing help their community do that.  It allows the Muslims of the community to come together, listen to a recognized and respected Muslim from around the surrounding area, and then celebrate the end of another day of fasting with a good meal that is provided free.

Elmasry’s speech focused on this life versus the hereafter, and how our time is limited on this earth so we must put things into perspective when spending the time that we do have.  As a person who has served his community for over 40 years, Elmasry knows a thing or two about spending his time trying to make his community and country a better place.  What was refreshing to hear in Elmasry’s speech, especially with young impressionable ears listening, is that we are responsible for what we do, not the success that we achieve.

He continued his speech by saying that before we can serve God we must first love Him, and before we can love Him we must know Him.  The beauty of this statement goes beyond God and is something we can all apply to our daily lives in most things that we do.  Too often we do things in a repetitive and rushed manner, not realizing how our actions are affecting us.  We are all probably guilty of saying “what can I do?” when faced with a situation which is out of our realm of knowledge.

What we often don’t realize is that the first thing we must do is gain as much knowledge as we can about what we hope to accomplish. If we don’t know enough about something that we hope to accomplish, our efforts are easily wasted and misdirected.  And of course the more we know about something the more we will become passionate about it and the easier it will be to take action.

  1. He has documented some of his thoughts about the subject in a book he published called A New Egypt

Of course with the end of Elmasry’s speech came the breaking of the fast and with it some good food and good company.  There wasn’t any shortness of smiles and kind words which made the evening as much enjoyable as it was educational. 

It is unfortunate that more people don’t get to see the intimacy of a community of people like I witnessed on August 6th but it brings a smile to my face every time I think about the generous nature that it possesses.

I wish all Canadian Muslims a blessed Ramadan and hope through their spiritual strengthening they are able to see the true value of things.

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