The flowers of Syria

Its been a while since I last wrote a blog post. Initially I thought of discontinuing the blog after returning from egypt, feeling it had served its purpose in giving people an insight into what life is like for a travelling student of knowledge. However, in many ways the more important part of the journey is now; continuing the path upon returning from abroad, trying to juggle life’s commitments with the path to Allah. Because of this, I’ve decided to keep the blog but under a new series titled “continuing the path”, sharing some thoughts and reflections of my own struggles to get closer to Allah.
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To begin, I wanted to return to where it all began; my father’s teacher Sheikh Osama Al-Khaani. A direct student of Sheikh Ahmed Kuftaro, sheikh Osama brought many of the youth in Haresta, Damascus to the path of sacred knowledge, one of whom was my teenage father. May Allah preserve him and protect him in these difficult times.
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Please keep us and Syria in your prayers and feel free to share any comments & thoughts.
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This was my father’s teacher, Sheikh Osama Al-Khaani, giving a class in Syria as Habib Ali Jifri shows him such great love and honour. May Allah preserve them all!

Watching this video brought back so many memories of my visits there. I don’t know when this video was shot but Im sure it was before the recent events of Syria. I remember when we used to go with my father to visit sheikh Osama in a house on the outskirts of Damascus. All the guests were students of the sheikh and classmates of my father. They would joke of their gatherings as teenagers; who would fall asleep in classes, the crazy fund raisers they did for Masjid Abu Al-noor (for their great teacher Sheikh Ahmed Kuftaro) and the occasional tangles with the Syrian mukhabaraat (the secret service – an experience almost every syrian has some experience of). Now, 40 years on, their paths meet again as each of them has grown to become a respected leader, imam and teacher in their own mosques and communities in Syria. Perhaps we in the UK will follow a similar trajectory; our enthusiastic and active youth of today will grow to become the scholars and leaders of tomorrow.

The setting would always be very relaxed as we would sing nasheeds, hear stories from each of the guest followed by a few words from Sheikh Osama. He would always ask us to tell him of the work we were doing in the UK

I remember once sheikh Osama turned to us and pointed to the carpet; “This flower is is the work you are doing. Its smell and fragrance will reach a wider circle of people around it; these will become your supporters and follow what you do. Beyond that is like the rest of this carpet; because of the benefit you bring through your sweet fragrance, they will appreciate what you are doing and, though they may not follow you, they will at least have a positive image of Islam and Muslims. These are the general population of the UK. This is how you change perceptions of Islam in the West – continue doing good work and widening your circle of followers and friends. Then people will love Islam.”

May Allah reward him for the work he has done and grant him paradise. I pray for the day when we can return to visit him and all the other beautiful scholars and people of Syria.

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