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Sunday, November 29, 2009

ISNA Islamic Centre of Canada - Eid ul Adha 2009 family

ICC Eidul Adha Family Celebration

Saturday, December 5, 2009

at the ISNA® Islamic Centre of Canada

Tickets: $7 per person

For more information please contact Sh. Ala'a at 905-403-8406 Ext. 314

Learn More

Islamic Society of North America Canada (ISNA)

2200 South Sheridan Way,
Mississauga, ON L5J 2M4 Phone:
Toronto Line: 416-626-0001
905-403-8409 E-mail:
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Eid ul Adha 2009 - Qurbani meat collection and distribution - Brampton Islamic Centre - Sun. Nov. 29, 2009 4-8pm

Qurbani Meat can be donated to the mosque on Sunday Nov. 29, 2009 between the hours of 4:00 - 8:00pm.
Please ensure that it is packaged and labeled.


Brampton Islamic Centre

6 Lowry Drive Brampton, Ontario, L7A 1C4
Telephone: 905-459-9444
located 2 lights north of Bovaird,
on the North East corner of McLaughlin Rd & Lowry

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Islamic Institute of Toronto (IIT) Annual Winter Dinner - Thurs. Dec. 24, 2009

Annual winter dinner - Thursday December 24

We invite you and your family to our annual winter dinner featuring renowned nasheed artist Waleed Hilal.

For tickets please call
Brother Mohamed Mobeen
Brother Shamir Mohamed
Brother Zahid Ali
IIT office


To be announced
Waleed Hilal
Thursday December 24, 6:00 pm
$30/person (free admission ages 7 and under)

1630 Neilson Road
Scarborough, ON
M1X 1S3
Phone: 416-335-9173
Fax: 416-335-9208
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Eid ul Adha 2009 - Qurbani meat collection and distribution - Islamic Foundation of Toronto (Sun. Nov. 29, 1-7pm)

Special Message:
Islamic Foundation of Toronto has taken a first time initiative to collect Qurbani meat and distribute it to needy families living in the Regent Park Community in down town, Toronto.
Kindly bring your meat donations to the foundation during the following hours:
Sunday Nov. 29, 2009 - 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Islamic Foundation of Toronto

441 Nugget Avenue,
Scarborough, Ontario
M1S 5E1
Tel: 416-321-0909
Fax: 416-321-1995
Get directions - Search nearby
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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Direct broadcast from the Grand Mosque in Mecca - live video (and audio during salat)

Live Broadcast of the Holy Mosque - Masjid Al-Haram (Makkah) and the Prophet's (PBUH) Mosque in MadinahPDFPrintE-mail
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Hajj 2009 - VIDEO: Eid ul Adha salat in Mecca (Makkah: Haram Sharif)

Eid al Adha Salah Mecca 2009 lead by Sheikh Usaamah Khayyat - Video

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hajj 2009 - Hajj pilgrim leaders renew faith

Hajj pilgrim leaders renew faith

By Amir Ahmed, CNN
November 27, 2009 3:20 p.m. EST
  • U.S. couple becomes tour group leaders to make repaeted Hajj trips
  • Group leaders picked for religious knowledge, familiarity with holy sites
  • Saira Siddiqui: There's always people seeing and doing everything for the first time

Mecca, Saudia Arabia (CNN) -- For the average pilgrim, going for Hajj poses financial and physical burdens, but a U.S. couple who aspire to attend the Hajj every year has found a way to help with the steep cost.

They have become "group leaders" who help guide other pilgrims and enrich the experience for them. In turn, they say, the experience has changed their lives.

For Irtiza Hasan and his wife Saira Siddiqui it is a journey they look forward to despite the thousands of dollars it takes.

This is the second year they have come to Mecca for the annual Muslim pilgrimage, and they hope to come every year. The Hajj -- the fifth pillar of Islam -- requires devotees to journey to Mecca at least once in their lives if they can afford to do so.

Irtiza said the Hajj is special because "it renews my faith."

"All year round my schedule revolves around my career, education, community work and recreation. Hajj gives me a chance to rejuvenate my spirituality," he said.

Saira added: "Going for Hajj will always be a different experience because we are never the same person as we were before."

This year is even more different because the couple had to leave their 19-month-old twins, Moussa and Khadija, with family members.

Traveling from the United States, the average cost for a Hajj package which includes accommodation and food for 18 days is about $7,500 a person.

The 30-year-old middle class couple from Houston, Texas, tackle the high cost by being sponsored by a Hajj tour company that hires them as "group leaders." Read and watch more from the Hajj

  • Islam
  • Saudi Arabia

People qualify as group leaders based on religious knowledge, familiarity with holy sites in and around Mecca plus leadership skills. Every group leader is responsible for about 80 pilgrims, advising on fatwas, which are rulings on points of Islamic law, plus directing the pilgrims' movements throughout the trip.

The couple acknowledges the heavy responsibility. "You are servicing people and helping facilitate an act of worship that pilgrims will probably only do once in their lifetime," says Irtiza.

But Saira said: "I think I will always enjoy it because there will be people who are seeing and doing everything for the first time, and that re-energizes you."

Friday, on the third day of Hajj, the couple went back to the tent city of Mina, about two miles from Mecca, and reflected on the message of Hajj.

"For me, Hajj is something that 'shakes you up' so to speak," said Saira. "It's a profound experience that changes the way you think and how you look at things. It helps me reprioritize what's really important in life. I enjoy going repeatedly because I always find benefit from removing myself from all the distractions in life and really focusing once again on my real purpose."

For Irtiza, a human resources manager, the message goes further, "Hajj means humanity. Hajj means equality. Hajj means the story of family -- of a father and a son, of a husband and his wife, of Abraham, Ishmael and Hagar."

Muslims believe that Hajj rituals commemorate the trials faced by Prophet Abraham and his family.

Saira, a Ph.D. candidate in Social Education, explains, "It's the story of one family, which is something I think we can all relate to. It's about remembering their patience, their trust in God, their resilience in adversity.

"But I think Hajj is also about connecting with other Muslims on a 'human' level, as opposed to connecting with people based on nationality, race, gender, class, or the million other ways we usually connect with people.

"Millions of people all come together to do the same things at the same time. You don't stand out, and that's the point... It's about humbling oneself."

The couple spoke of Hajj as a vehicle to strengthen their marriage and friendship. "I think there's wisdom in Hajj being an obligation on every able Muslim greater than we can understand or try to describe," Sarita said. "To say that it is life changing seems too simplistic to be honest... the benefits are too numerous to list."

Irtiza struggles for words when asked to explain how Hajj has changed his perception about life.

"I do not know how to say this. But when I sat down next to a woman from South Korea, who told me how she had to travel all the way to Pakistan just to get a Hajj visa; or when I talked to a 70-year old Nigerian man who said he saved up money all his life just to make this trip but now he cannot hear! All these stories move you! They change you to be more humble and grateful."

Hajj 2009 - acocunt from Australia

The Muslim Hajj: a pilgrimage worth risking life for

By Nic MacBean

Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:26am AEDT
Updated Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:13pm AEDT

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca after morning prayers.

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca after morning prayers. (Reuters: Caren Firouz)

In a place like that where it's very sacred for Muslims it would be a good place to die nevertheless.

– Omar Saghir

It may be a gruelling and at-times dangerous journey for Muslim pilgrims, but Brisbane man Omar Saghir says the Hajj last year was the most amazing experience of his life.

Millions of Muslim pilgrims have already risked floods and swine flu this year on the annual journey to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

But the 28-year-old wants to make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia again as soon as he can save up the money.

"The experience for me, because I'm Australian-born and I've never really been outside of Australia, it was a very, very, very intriguing experience," Mr Saghir said.

"It was very diverse and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience because I haven't seen anything like it."

Followers of Islam are required by their faith to try and make the pilgrimage once in their lifetime.

According to the Muslim faith the prophet Abraham performed a series of rituals in Mecca thousands of years ago, and on a modern-day Hajj pilgrims follow in those footsteps.

Over seven days the rituals include completing circuits of a building called the Kaaba in the centre of the Grand Mosque, throws stones in a ritual stoning of the devil, and drinking from the sacred Zamzam well.

This year around 3 million people are converging on Saudi Arabia, and they have already battled widespread floods in Jeddah, the city where most pilgrims arrive by plane.

And due to the huge numbers of pilgrims most Muslim travel agents routinely warn their clients to prepare themselves for frustration, mental anguish, annoyance and anger.

But difficulties such as these are trivial for the majority of pilgrims, who are determined to fulfil lifetime ambitions.

For Omar Saghir last year it was more a spur-of-the-moment decision than a case of a lifetime ambition fulfilled, although he says the trip inspired him beyond what he had expected.

Mr Saghir, 28, had just seen a business venture on the Gold Coast fall over and he and his business partner decided to put their capital towards a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

"There were 12 days until the Australian delegation went overseas to Hajj, so we ended up making the quick decisions to go to Hajj and used our business money as Hajj money," he said.

"You see people from all walks of life and it's very extraordinary because you'll see that there is no difference between the white man and the black man, the red man and the yellow man, the rich man and the poor man.

"People are all humble together. You couldn't see the difference if this man owned a million dollars or if he owned nothing. You'll see people from all walks of life."

He says he would like to be able to make the trip once every two years, and is determined to complete the pilgrimage at least once every five years.

Three years ago 362 people were crushed to death during the ceremonial stoning of the devil, the worst Hajj tragedy in 16 years.

Authorities have improved facilities to ease the flow of pilgrims, particularly around the area of the stoning of the devil, but the sheer number of visitors stretches authorities to the limit.

Mr Saghir says he recognises the dangers but the risks are worth taking. If the worst was to happen he says he would be willing to die on a pilgrimage.

"At some points you do feel things get very tough, but I wouldn't say it's to the extent that you think you're going to die or at a very large health risk," he said.

"[But] In a place like that where it's very sacred for Muslims it would be a good place to die nevertheless."

Melbourne travel agent Hamidah Rahman, who has helped organise hundreds of people's pilgrimages in recent years, has a similar view of the Hajj.

"You always believe God is there and whatever happens is meant to happen, but precautions have been taken by the Saudi government anyway," she said.

"Accidents sometimes happen but last year I went and nothing happened, two years ago my sister went and nothing happened."

Dangers aside, there is no doubt the pilgrimage still exerts a powerful pull on millions of Muslims all over the world.

"Being up close with the sacred mosque of Mecca or the Kabaa, that is unbelievable," Mr Saghir says.

"I'm used to seeing it on TV or seeing pictures or hearing about it, actually being there amongst the millions and getting up close, that really touches your heart."

Tags: community-and-society, religion-and-beliefs, islam, australia, saudi-arabia

Hajj 2009 in pictures

Muslims Gather in Numbers to Celebrate the Hajj

Muslim pilgrims on their way to throw pebbles at a stone pillar representing the devil, during the Hajj pilgrim in Mina near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Friday, Nov. 27, 2009. The last stage of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, the symbolic stoning of the devil, began on Friday. The first day of stoning also marks the start of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, or feast of sacrifice, when Muslims around the world slaughter sheep and cattle in remembrance of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son. (Hassan Ammar/AP Photo )


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