Saturday Night Community Gathering
IN PRAISE OF GOD & HIS APOSTLE ﷺ WITH SHAYKH HAMDI BEN AISSA
It is a highly recommended practice of the Prophetﷺ and his Companions to gather to remember and celebrate the communal blessing of God’s sending to humanity the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This is a practice upheld by Muslim scholars and communities throughout history.
The Prophet himself had designated poets who sang songs in praise of Allah and His Messengerﷺ in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. We gather, as individuals and families, to uphold this beautiful – and often sadly neglected sunnah – every Saturday night.
We recite from Habib Umar ben Hafidh’s great poem on the life and character of our Beloved Prophetﷺ, The Shimmering Light.
Each gathering includes inspiring teachings on how to increase in love and connection with God and His Messengerﷺ.
This weekly gathering is ideal for both spiritual upliftment and for coming together as a community It is also an important teaching tool developed by our ancestors in order to pass Islam down to the next generation, and this is one of the intentions of this gathering at the Rhoda Masjid here in Ottawa.
This gathering consists of three main portions: 1) the recitation of major events in the life story of the Prophet 2) a lesson on how to be better seekers of God 3) a community (potluck) dinner.
YOUTH: you are particiculary encouraged to bring your youth to this event, in order to have them connect to Islam through song and poetry. There are many oportunities for youth to serve during this event by making tea, bringing it to others, helping with the potluck, and so on
A note on children: Children who are able to sit still and quietly are welcome to attend this gathering. Please do not bring children who have no experience with sitting still or quietly for long periods of time. Because the event runs late, we ask that you prepare your children by giving them a nap during the day. Children should also be prepared by having a bath and dressing in formal clothing, and you should talk to them about how special it is that they get to attend this special gathering in honour of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Teach your children to recite parts of the poem – at least the Salawat: the words “Sal Allahu ala Muhammad.” This phrase is recited after every line of the poem we recite. Children should all participate in this recitation.
It’s also a good idea to teach your children some of the songs that are sung so they can sing along, or some new songs you want to share, about love for the Prophet ﷺ. Children who have prepared a song are welcome to sing it up at the front to sing their song. Please let Shaykh Hamdi know ahead of time.
All of the above preparation helps children get into the right mindset for going to a place of worship where reverence and ceremony are key. It is also a way to instil in our children the Sunnah habits related to gathering in prayer.
The potluck is a chance to meet community members, cement stronger bonds, share food. It provides an opportunity for your children and teens to practice the manners of eating in community: serving others first, helping to set out food and clean it up, and so on. Please make an effort to encourage your children to serve in these ways: our volunteers are happy to support your children and help them get involved.