Category Archives: Community

Muslim Standard Time: How to Cure the Chronic Disease

By Taha Ghayyur

“Oh my God. I am running late, again! Well, it’s all good. No one is going to be there on time anyway.”

How many times have you heard this and similar phrases in the Muslim community? Perhaps you are guilty of uttering them yourself as a habit.

Sadly, starting off late, arriving late, and delaying our programs has become a norm for many of us.

It’s gotten so bad that we no longer even feel guilty about arriving late to a class, function, meeting, Jumah prayer or appointment. Many don’t even bother to apologize. We fail to realize how much time and resources of others we waste due to our own insensitivity and indifference.

I remember arriving at a wedding last summer about two hours late (due to a pre-planned legitimate reason), only to find over half the wedding hall full of non-Muslim guests still waiting for the bride and groom and their families to arrive. The most heartrending scene was of a group of non-Muslim friends laying on the ground asleep. It turned out they were out-of-town guests who had arrived a couple of hours prior to the “official’ start time.

Of course the blame goes both to the organizers of the events and the attendees. It’s easy to criticize the organizers, but we have to do our part of making the program or meeting professional. It begins with arriving on time and respecting everyone else’s time.

As Muslims, every time we arrive late we lose respect in the sight of others. Imam al-Ghazali, in his commentary to a Hadith describing the characteristics of hypocrites, states that the trait “when he makes a promise, he never fufills it” includes specially those who consistently say ‘In-sha-Allah’ and arrive late.

I know of  a great contemporary Muslim scholar who, when he used to enter a conference, meeting, or dinner, the audience or members would match and reset their watches to the minute he was supposed to arrive at because he was reputed to be strict with time-management.

What can you and your family do and how can you prepare to arrive on time at any event:

  1. Get the directions to where you are going in advance. The common excuse for arriving late we often present is “got lost” or “I didn’t have correct directions.”
  2. Arrange your ride at least two days in advance. Call around and find out who can give you a ride. Always have a backup plan for rides. “I didn’t get a ride” is one excuse given, to which I ask: did you ask around early enough? Don’t wait for others to offer you a ride.
  3. Start getting ready at least 30-45 min. before leaving home. Don’t run into the shower, squeeze in three Rak’at of Maghrib, or iron your clothes just three minutes before you are supposed to step out!
  4. Have a realistic estimate of travel time. If you know it takes 25 minutes to get to a place, you have to leave your home at least 35 minutes before arrival time.
  5. Consider weather and traffic conditions. Listen to the local news or watch the weather report before getting behind the wheel.
  6. The 10-minute Rule works! No matter what the occasion, always aim to get to the destination 10 minutes ahead of time. This allows you to accommodate any last-minute uncertainties: “Oh, I forgot my wallet at home,” “”Man, I have to pick Brother x on the way,” “Oops! I have to pray my ‘Asr before I get to….” etc.
  7. If it helps you, set your personal watch, cellphone or car time five minutes ahead.
  8. “Well it’s a typical Muslim party or conference! There is no way they will start on time!” Well, guess what, if we ALL adopt this attitude, no one would ever arrive on time and let the program start on time. We have to change this thinking and make a point to arrive on time. Being people of principle, we must remain consistent in all circumstances.
  9. Be honest! Be honest to yourself and others. If you know you are going to be late to a party or Halaqa, clearly set that expectation with your host, coordinator or meeting leader. What does it take to drop a message or call to let the other person know that you will be 10 to 15 minutes late (whether it’s due to expected or unexpected reasons).
  10. Don’t succumb to the “In-sha-Allah Syndrome.” Use In-sha-Allah only when you know you mean it.

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Filed under Community, Personal Development

Khutba Ideas for Ramadan


By Taha Ghayyur

There is no spiritual institution in the world that captivates the minds and hearts of millions of people weekly the way that the Jumah prayer sermon does every Friday.

In Ramadan, in particular, a significantly larger crowd of Muslims throngs to mosques and Islamic centres to gain inspiration and spiritual boost from the Jumah Khutba or sermon.

Given the turbulent environment, where public opinion about Islam and Muslims is at record low and Islamophobia is skyrocketing, North American Muslims are in dire need of practical, genuine, and refreshing spiritual and social guidance from our Imams and Khateebs.

This Ramadan, it’s critical for Imams and Khateebs to focus their messaging on: Strengthening our spiritual connection with Allah; strengthening our family; and strengthening our connection with our friends, colleagues, and neighbors of other faiths.

As Ramadan approaches, here are suggested Khutba themes for Imams and Khateebs to address.

Khutba Themes for Weeks Leading Up To Ramadan

  • Willpower: How Ramadan Can Empower You to Change Bad Habits

  • Reaching Out: Opening Doors & Hearts to Our Neighbors this Ramadan

  • Ramadan & Civic Engagement: Our Responsibility Toward Our Country

  • Ramadan Prep: Are You Ramadan Ready?

Khutba Themes During Ramadan

  • Reconnect with the Quran: Let Allah Speak to You

  • Fasting & Feasting: How to Observe an Active & Healthy Ramadan

  • Ramadan & Islamophobia: Opportunity to Humanize Islam and Muslims

  • Reconnect with Family: Strengthen Bonds that Matter this Ramadan

  • Needy in My Neighborhood: Leading a Simpler & Generous Ramadan

  • Ramadan & Young Muslims: Why You Matter to the Muslim Community

  • Dua: How Do You Talk to Allah?

  • Tawbah: Coming Clean with Allah

  • Final Stretch: How to Make the Last 10 Days & Nights Most Productive?

Khutba Themes for Weeks of Eid & Beyond

  • Eid: A New Beginning for a New You

  • Eid: A Time for Hope & Renewal

  • It’s Over: How to Make Those Great Ramadan Habits Stick

  • How to Keep Young Muslims Engaged in the Masjid & the Community

  • Muslim Civic Participation: How Muslims Can Make a Difference

A thoughtful and thorough planning of Khutbas in advance will multiply the benefit for millions of Muslims who lend their ears, minds, and hearts for 30-45 minutes every week, especially during the Ramadan and Eid seasons.


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Filed under Community, Leadership

Interview- In Search of Muslims to Tell Their Stories (Globe and Mail Story- Feb. 2010)

By Amira Elghawaby

Aminata Diallo, the fictional protagonist in Lawrence Hill’s bestselling novel The Book of Negroes, realizes early on that she had better cling to the details of her bondage so that she can later recount what she endures. “See, and remember,” she tells herself as her painful journey into slavery begins.

Years later, she fulfills her vision, becoming a djeji, or storyteller, sharing details of her life with people of myriad backgrounds and persuasions. Her story humanizes her to those who would otherwise view her as either a threat or a victim. Continue reading

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Filed under Canadian Muslims, Community, Islamic Arts, Media, Muslim Youth