Event Review: Love in the Light of Prophecy Ustadh Usama Canon
[box_light]What: Love in the Light of Prophecy
Where: Singapore Post Auditorium
When: Friday, 1 March 2013, 8.30pm to 10.30pm.
Who: Ustadh Usama Canon, Founder & Director of Ta’leef Collective (USA)
By: SimplyIslam and SMU Islamic Business & Finance Society[/box_light]
On that Friday night, after maghrib prayers at Wak Tanjong mosque, I walked down to Singapore Post building and noticed a group of sisters walking alongside me. I smiled to one of the them and thought she must be heading down to the same place as me. Immediately after that, she walked towards me and greeted “Assalamualaikum sis, are you attending the lecture too?” I replied with my chirpy voice.
“Wa’alaikummusalam. Yes I am!” She then invited me to walk with her other friends and we began introducing ourselves to each other. “Masyallah, what a kind person”, I thought to myself. When I reached the auditorium, my thoughts were overcome by a melodic nasyid praising and expressing love to Allah SWT and his beloved Prophet Muhammad (S). It was laced with many cheery giggles of the sisters and whispering deep voices of the brothers. I took a seat and read the words on the presentation slide in front of me “Public lecture – Love in the Light of Prophecy by Ustadh Usama Canon”. That was the talk we were all waiting for.
Our speaker Ustadh Usama Canon
Ustadh Usama Canon was born and raised in California. He embraced Islam in 1996 and is the founding director of Ta’leef Collective. It is a community based non-profitable organization that provides assistance on culturally relevant understanding of Islam to the newly converts as well as to the young Muslims that has deviated from the religion. In addition, Ustadh Usama also serves as the Muslim Chaplain for Muslim prison inmates in California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as well as a spiritual advisor for Chicago-based Inner City Muslim Action Network (IMAN).
He had conducted many workshops and talks worldwide and is no stranger to the Singaporean Muslims. Just two years ago, he came here as the guest speaker for Darul Arqam’s Love Retreat and SimplyIslam’s Journey to Ihsan-A Seekers’ Retreat. Ustadh Usama engaged very well with his audience; his talks are packed with lessons and reminders yet he never fails to include in humor and inspiring day to day little stories.
At a glance, based on the lecture title, we could anticipate that the talk focused on the topic love and we are very comfortable with the word ‘love’ because it is a word that is said and experienced every day.
We tend to say “I love eating this food” or “I love my parents” or it could be an expression of love between husband and wife. Yet there are other aspects of love that we as Muslims have yet to develop and improve on. Yes, I am referring to divine love for The Creator and His Messenger as well as global love for one another. This is the kind of love in focused in this public lecture by Ustadh Usama Canon.
Our Love Focus – Love for Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammad (S)
Love can be of many types. As mentioned previously, there is love between husband and wife, love towards another Muslim or towards every other living thing in this world. Yet the highest degree of love one can ever attain is definitely the love for The Creator Allah SWT and His Messenger Prophet Muhammad (S). Ustadh Usama pointed out that our first goal is to have love for God and from God.
Prophet Muhammad (S) is the paramount of love and the perfect example of habibullah. The term habib in Arabic is a joint of two words; the lover and the beloved. When someone is called habibi, it basically means that the love between the two parties is reciprocated and not one-sided i.e you are the lover and the beloved. In this case, clearly Prophet Muhammad (S) loves Allah SWT and that The Creator reciprocated His Messenger’s love for him.
In verse 96 of Surratul Maryam, Allah SWT mentioned “Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.” Based on this verse, we can develop love for Allah SWT and attain His love by following His orders and constantly reminding ourselves of His blessings and appreciating all the nikmah that He has provided us with. In fact, our existence depends solely on our Creator. Since Prophet Muhammad (S) is habibullah, we must also develop and express our love for him. Following his sunnah, learning about his life and character and serving his ummah are some of the ways to express the love for Allah’s Messenger. With such constant remembrance, the love for Allah SWT and His Messenger will grow deeply in our hearts. Insyallah.
The Greatness of Allah SWT Love
In Islam, love is essential and in order to be a good Muslim we must first instill love in our hearts. In accordance to that, Ustadh Usama reminded us with a hadith “You will not enter Paradise until you have faith and you will not have faith until you love one another.” This emphasizes the importance and greatness of love in Islam.
Despite the need to achieve Allah’s love, we must also remind ourselves to be away from Allah SWT wrath. Ustadh Usama shared with us a hadith where Prophet Muhammad (S) said that[box_light]“When Allah loves a servant, He calls Gabriel and says: Verily, I love so and so; you should also love him, and then Gabriel begins to love him. Then he makes an announcement in the heaven saying: Allah loves so and so and you also love him, and then the inhabitants of the Heaven (the Angels) also begin to love him and then there is conferred honour upon him in the earth; and when Allah is angry with any servant He calls Gabriel and says: I am angry with such and such and you also become angry with him, and then Gabriel also becomes angry and then makes an announcement amongst the inhabitants of heaven: Verily Allah is angry with so-and so, so you also become angry with him, and thus they also become angry with him. Then he becomes the object of wrath on the earth also.”[/box_light]
This hadith describes the beauty and power of Allah’s love yet it also reminds us about His unimaginable wrath. However, instead of focusing on His wrath we should move towards the goal to attain His love and Insyallah automatically we will move further away from His mighty fury.
Love between Muslims and Everybody Else
Love in general is an inexplicably beautiful feeling. It can happen out of many reasons such as beauty, kindness and many more and perhaps majority of these reasons are difficult to be explained. In my opinion, love happens in the heart of a person and does not require any reasoning to why it happened.
Ustadh Usama mentioned verse 63 in Suratul Anfal, “And brought together their hearts. If you had spent all that is in the earth, you could not have brought their hearts together; but Allah brought them together. Indeed, He is Exalted in Might and Wise.” This affirmed to us that Allah SWT can make anything possible and that no other power or force on Earth can similarly does that; Allah SWT can unite hearts wherever they are and whenever He wants at which ever situation.
As Muslims we need to love and show kindness to one another. One simple act of love and kindness is by smiling and greeting each other; an example that was portrayed by the sister who greeted me earlier on. In fact, we have to show love and be kind to animals and to the non-believers too. Prophet Muhammad (S) mentioned that “He who is not merciful to others, will not be treated mercifully” and in another hadith, Prophet Muhammad (S) reminded us that “Allah SWT loves kindness when you deal with any matter”. Yes we should attain love for Allah SWT and His Messenger but we must not also neglect the love to our kind be it Muslims or non-Muslims.
Overall, I have to say that my heart was overwhelmed by lessons and reminders mentioned in this lecture. No doubt that Ustadh Usama made it interesting and instilled some humor. Yet the take-home message was buried deep in my heart, mind and soul. All this while, the way I view love is too worldly and humanly. Love for Allah SWT, our Creator and His Messenger (S) should be the focus of our daily lives. Each of us feels appreciative towards the presence of our loved ones but how can we missed the feeling of gratitude and love for our Creator when He is the one who gave us life and made every breath possible? Insyallah we will be a better Muslim tomorrow.
A young lady that graduate from Massey University. She loves knowledge and enjoys sharing them too.