9:30 AM

Lecture: Sheikh Hamza Yusuf

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

My Canadian friend gave me a whole MP3 (2CDS) set of Shiek Hamza Yusuf's Purification of the Heart and I began listening to it intently and masha'Allah it has opened doorways in my mind and have seen a whole new way to look at things. I'm not taking him as my own personal Sheik but his CD definitely moved my mind. Then the next day I get a message from the local New Muslims Help Place "Dar Al-Zayed Al-Islam" from my friends saying that Shiek Hamza Yusuf will be in Abu-Dhabi and will be holding a lecture. "We have to go see this together!" I told my friend and eventually we made plans for it.
A Brother she knew drove us there in his minivan, may Allah reward him. I have two kids and she has three so a total of 5 kids, two ladies, and two Brothers were in this van. Men in the front, Ladies in the middle with the babies, other kids in the back. All the kids were acting crazy and were fussy and being soo difficult (including mine, I'm taking full blame here) and we had to stop and pray twice along the way. At the Maghrib prayer my daughter needed to use the restroom and I couldn't ask these brothers (since they had already left to pray) to take her to the potty and the woman's area was a far walking distance away from the masjid so I took her to a secluded place far from where anyone would sit or walk and tried my best to have her go in the nature way but small kid, small bladder equals problems and most got on her pants and so I had to change her and wash her down in public, Ugh talk about everything going wrong at once. So finally we settle in for the rest of the ride to AbuDhabi and still the kids are all being difficult but we get to the National Theater where the lecture was being held. Women of course go upstairs to the balcony seating.
I HAD called ahead and asked if children were allowed to this function and was assured it was ok. Me and my friend and our two strollers and five kids all entered the darkened theater and my mommy radar went off that this was not a kid friendly environment and we were in for some real trouble. We took seats as fast as possible and tried to get our kids munching on snacks to keep them quiet but this only lasted a few minutes. The babies became fussy and the three older kids (3,4,6 yrs old) started hopping seats up and down the theater and of course these Emeratian Ladies who I guess were the Quiet Police all started hushing our kids and causing more disturbances than our kids were. Finally I gave up trying to take notes on the lecture. Which was about Islamic Influence on the World. LIke how Arabs were the first to make stained glass and then the rest of the world started doing it and esp the churches and now some muslims think we can't have stained glass windows in masjids when in reality we were the inventors. Subhan'Allah. We took the kids outside of the theater doors where there was room for them to run around on the carpets and not disturb anyone. Then we took turns watching the kids and then trading off to listen to the lecture. The Emeratian Ladies were kind enough to bring us tea or juices so I thank them for that. I got to see the ending of the lecture which was some of the best part where he talked about more open dialog between religions. Then a group of Shiekhs and one Shiekha came up to greet him and give him some kind of plaque (the ceremony was in Arabic of course) and he shook hands with them including the Shiekha and she was whispering many things to Hamza Yusuf while pictures were taken of them lined up and the plaque. Finally they finished and left and a mob swarmed him. I rushed to get our strollers ready to face the mob downstairs and called for my friend to grab the kids and lets go meet him. My husband demanded I not leave until I get a picture of Hamza Yusuf holding our son. I don't know why he wanted this but I was determined to win my husband's praise. So we went downstairs and it took a long time for us to get through the throng. At first we didn't think it was going to happen to talk to him because my camera died and so did her camera phone. Then one of the sisters offered to take the picture and send us it in e-mail.

Hamza Yusuf's back of his head behind my son.

Finally I got up my courage and stepped into a space suddenly vacated by a brother and bam was face to face with him. He spotted my son in his little Muslim hat and said Masha'Allah so I took it up to ask him. "Would you mind taking a picture with my son for my husband?" He agreed. My son gave me a "Who is this?!" look and stared at him which Hamza Yusuf found funny. The sister took pictures of my son and him then my friend and her daughter.
Hamza Yusuf and my son, and few odd men lol.

Finally we finished and I took my baby back and we exchanged e-mails with the sister with the camera. We left and prepared for the long journey back to Al-Ain. OH! at first it was difficult again because by this time the kids wanted dinner so we had to stop at an Adnoc gas station for food and once they had eaten the kids slowly fell asleep and left the men to talk in peace and us ladies to talk in peace. Anytime I ever want more kids I remember this day and make Blessings for all those mothers with more than 2 kids.

This is not to say it was all bad because it was very pleasant sometimes when the kids were playing paper, rock, scissors, and drawing and playing I Spy etc... Discussing Islam with my friend and spending the day with her and her kids. It was wonderful but the stress of suddenly dealing with 5 kids in one car will be a lesson i wont be forgetting anytime soon. I miss her and the kids so much I wish her the best wherever she is.

18 intelligent thoughts:

Veiled Muslimah said...

Your Son is adorable masha'allah. I heard about the lecture, but couldn't make it because I was in Dubai.

I'm suprised he shook hands with her, but wa allahu a3lam, he probably doesn't view it as being wrong.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Sis:

Wow! That's a priceless pic!

We use the Purification of the Heart in our halaqa. It is wonderful, Masha Allah, isn't it?

Safiyyah said...

PS - your son is adorable, Masha Allah!

American Muslima Writer said...

Veiled Muslimah- I'm sorry you couldn't get to it because masha'Allah it was very amazing all the things that Muslims have invented yet don't get credit for.

I didn't state this controversy in the main article because that wasn't the point of my post but my Canadian friend was soooo angry when I told her he shook her hand. Remember she was watching the kids so she didn't see it. She says in another of his lectures he goes on and on about NOT SHAKING WOMEN'S HANDS. So she was really dissapointed in him about this. Naturally I am too because he didn't have to shake her hand he could have done the muslim thing and just put his hand on his chest in the welcome gesture. Ah well what can we say?

Safiyyah yes mash'Allah its got the wheels turning for sure in my head.

Thanks for saying my baby is a cutie Alahmadulliah. Little half Arab half Caucasian/Scottish. I love half babies!

Yasmine said...

oh my gosh that is soooooo coool sis.. you are so funny too.. :) your baby is soooo cute mashallah...

Miss Muslimah said...

Ill admit I didnt read the post-YET! I will,but I just had to comment on your pics....he's soooo cuuuuuttte! Masha'allah!

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Sis:

Yes, my eyebrows went up at the handshake thing, too, but I didn't say anything. You would think that the sheikha would know. Gheez, maybe it was awkward for everyone.

Miss Muslimah said...

LOOL! I mean THE BABY! ;-) Not hamza yusuf,lol.....

Ilka said...

salamu alaykum

love the way your son is looking at Hamza, "who the heck is this guy holding me?!"

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hamza Yusuf is one of my favorite speakers. He has come to Doha on numerous occasions and I find such a nice sincerity and goodness in his manner. And btw, I shake hands all the time. It is an ingrained part of my cultural upbringing and I don't relate it to any act of intimacy. I do understand how Arabs and many Muslims feel so I generally wait for a man to offer his hand first.

Your son is adorable maash'Allah.


Yasmine said...


lol JUST KIDDING.. ... we all understood what you really meant ... you are so funny..

Yasmine said...

in regards to the hand shaking:

I have to remind myself not to do that when I am around muslim men. Its so difficult to remember. Once i almost shook my sheikh hand and my friends son.

I find it rather rude if a non-muslim man is going to shake my hand i just leave them hanging. I really don't see it as something intimate. I can only imagine how awkward it could have been for those watching... just hilarious.

Usually i also offer my hand when introducing myself even to non-muslim men. its just an inclination of mine when i meet others.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Everyone:

I can't speak to whether or not it's a sin because I'm not a sheikh or scholar. I'd have to look it up.

But it is definitely Sunnah and the Prophet (saw) definitely saw touching a woman he wasn't related to as an act of intimacy. He was never known to touch a non-related woman. He would not even take the handshake oath of allegience from the Ansari women prior to battle because they were female and he therefore made a different type of oath.

What's the big deal, and why do Muslims insist on being so rebellious?

Touch is a very powerful thing. I think it IS intimate. Isn't that the whole purpose of purdah, not to be molested (touched/seen) by non-related men?

American Muslima Writer said...

OK all who wrote about the shaking hands I just had to make a post about it so feel free to copy and paste your answers from here to the other post and further comments about shaking hands should go to the other post plz.

Thanks for your comments!!!! And I was gonna tease you MM about your remark too but yas beat me to the punch lol.

Yasmine said...

YOu are right safiyyah, It can be sort of intimate. Most men think in that terms whether they are muslim or not. So in a way its a way of protecting ourselves. I usually don't hand shake muslim men but when my dean is introducing me or I am recieving an award in a ceremony they offer my hand and well it would be rather odd and rude if I let them hanging in from off hundreds/thousands of people.

In regards to men interpretting everything intimate is true. My male friends and relatives used to brag how they are so desireable because women look or smile at them.

It has also happened to me in which I have only smiled at some random guy and he is suddenly looking at me as if I am his property following me around with a crooked smile (usually hispanic, arab, black men). They think for some odd reason that I am giving them a hint that I want them. So i can only imagine a handshake.. thanks for the advice chica..

btw como estas?

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Yasmine:

I know what you mean about being in front of a lot of people, like the award presentation example ... it's always difficult. I, too, usually end up shaking the hand and asking Allah (swt) for forgiveness in my mind.

One time, some real high-up prison officials came to our prison. One of the big-wigs who happened to be from India offered his hand to me. I purpose told HIM that I didn't shake hands because I figured that he is from India and definitely should know better. I was offended by him.

But by others who don't know better or know anything about Islam I don't take it personally at all. I usually use the following:

"I'm sorry, please don't take it personally or be offended, but I don't shake the hands of men for religious reasons."

I have found that practically everyone understands and someone even once said to me, "Oh, I learned something today." (smile)

BTW Yasmine ... Estoy bien, gracias. Cada dia es algo diferente con mi salud, pero ... tu hablas espanol, Yasmine? Debemos empezar un blog en espanol!

ammena said...

masha'allah, i like hamza yusuf. Have seen him at a few lectures now, and I actually bought the book 'purification of the heart' and your son is adorable masha'allah :)

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