A lecturewarning of the danger in using intellect to understanding Islam was uploaded to You Tube in September 2019 by Colorado Imam Karim AbuZaid, who has a PhD in Islamic Studies from Egypt, and is often invited to lecture in capital cities across Europe. In the summer of 2018, Imam AbuZaid gave a weekend lecture on the bookIslamic Guidelines for Individual & Social Reform by Sheikh Muhammad bin Jamil Zino, a Syrian-born Salafi Muslim scholar at Salaheddin Islamic Centre in Scarborough, ON. Canada which is led by Dr. Aly Hindy, father of Imam Ibrahim Hindy who also hosted Shaikh AbuZaid at his mosque Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga, ON. Below is an excerpt of Imam AbuZaid’s lecture.
What makes you a believer? I’m going to tell you four words in Arabic. If you memorize them in Arabic and understand them that’s enough. But I have to explain them in English. Four words that’s what makes you a believer. And this is the summary of those five verses – belief and implementation. That’s what the believer does. This is the whole religion of Islam. That you make ‘belief’ of the unseen. What is ‘belief’? Believe beyond any shadow of doubt. You’re not skeptical and you don’t try to use your intellect, your aql [intellect] to figure out how this unseen is… Me and Abu Bakr [the first of the Rashidun Caliphs] and Omar [the second of the Rashidun Caliphs], we believe in this even though it doesn’t make [sense]. You see what did they try to do here? They tried to do what? To employ their Aql [intellect], their intellect in a matter of what? Unseen. If you’re going to do this, man, come on. There is a man who is chained in an island somewhere in earth called the [Dajjaal] Antichrist, hadith Muslim. Go ahead and blow your Aql [intellect] now. How he [Antichrist] eats? How he drinks? Where is he? We have all the satellites. We went all over earth now. We have all the satellites now. Figure out where this man [Antichrist] is? No! You’re not supposed to figure out where he is. Who cares where he is. Just deal with him when he comes out, man. That’s not your job to figure out how he is. Why do you employ your Aql [intellect] in that area? And confuse youth and children? Confuse people. That’s ABC Islam. ABC Islam. Ok, you know what, we believe with certainty, with no doubt, that Prophet Issa [Jesus], peace be upon him, is up there alive. Tell me how is he up there? In which heaven and how he eats? How he drinks? How he sleeps? This is the tasdiq [belief]. Imagine this and just to show you that when you employ that methodology of understanding or dealing with the unseen, this may lead you to leave Islam. During the time of the prophet [Muhammad], PBUH, imagine this. In Mecca the messenger of Allah wakes up in the morning and he tells the people of Quraish: By the way guys, I went to Jerusalem last night and I came back. Can you imagine? He didn’t even say that I went to the seventh heaven. He didn’t say to see the Miʿraj [The event of Isra and Mi’raj marks the night that Allah took Mohammad on a journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and then to heaven]. He just told them what [happened]. Come on, come on, man, what is this? Imagine some Muslims at the time, some sahaba [companions] left Islam. Why? Because they did what? That’s the danger here. No! Look, they went to Abu Bakr. They went to Abu Bakr. What was his question? What was his question? Did he say that? That’s all what you have to worry about. That’s all what you are entitled to do. You make sure that this is in the Quran. If it is in the Quran then this is correct. Verify the Sunnah, the Hadith.
On Friday Apr 10, 2020 Toronto Mayor John Tory addressed the Muslim community in an online speech that was broadcast after the sermon by Sheikh Ahmad Kutty of the Islamic Institute of Toronto.
Tory instructed the Muslim community to abstain from religious gatherings during the month of Ramadan (April 23 – May 23) because of the Corona virus pandemic (COVID-19). During Ramadan Muslims gather every evening for the iftar, breaking the fast meal, and later for the tarawih, the recitation of the Quran and night prayers in the mosques.
Assalamu Alaikum [Peace be upon you] and good evening. I’m so glad that I’m able to join you at the Friday prayer service. You know it’s interesting at times like this when people can’t get together. Technology allows us to be together to celebrate Friday prayers and for me to join you and to extend all my best wishes to you and talk a little bit about what’s going on in our city at the moment. You know the virtual prayers allows us to stay connected and that’s very important at the time like this. Perhaps more important than ever because it gives us an opportunity to hardness of the technology but also to harness the power of faith. And the power of faith right now is important to keeping the city together to dealing with some of these stresses were facing in our lives. Whether it’s people like yourself personally or your friends or your relatives that are anxious about their health it’s understandable anxious about financial security and jobs which is also understandable. I think these are all things that as people are going through right now but what’s really important for all of us is to remember that we have to be there for each other. And we’ve got to support each other. And I know that that’s a great tradition of Islam. That you would be there to contribute to the community and to strengthen the community and to support each other. And that’s a lot of what goes on at the mosque the day after day especially on Fridays. So I hope that you will do that today. I also hope you will keep in mind what I would telling people is the single most important thing they can do which is to stay home. Please stay home right now. Because the scientist tell us convincingly based on science that the best way this virus can spread. And of course we don’t want that to happen. Is person-to-person contact through droplets that come from your mouth. And if you’re not away from home those droplets are not going to spread. That’s why I am emphatic saying to people please stay home. It’s why there have been various orders and guidelines given to stop people from coming to the mosque on Friday or any other day. Because it’s just not going to help us to fight this battle against the virus. I want you to know that we are trying to do what we can as a city to make sure people are left with a degree of support and comfort. We’ve got all kinds of services for our most vulnerable citizens to make sure that the elderly and the homeless are looked after. As you would expect. And by the way Muslim association of Canada the Muslim welfare centre other organizations that are known so well in our community are doing the same thing. But I also want you to know to the extent that you can volunteer to help others in the community. That’s going to be good. And we are doing some things to deferral of tax payments, utility payments so on and so forth. As well other public services to make sure that people are kept comfortable and supported. Of course Ramadan will soon be here and we hope that a lot of this will be behind us. But we should prepare ourselves, for the fact that one of the things that is most important in your calendar each year, and all the iftar dinners that it that it has been my privilege to attend, with you. It’s a time when you are getting together with family and friends. And with of course each other. And that we may have to make some alterations to that this year. As well and, will find a way, as we have found a way with Friday prayers, to make sure that people have that sense of togetherness and that they feel that power of faith. And they feel that power of observance on one of the most important dates if not the most important date on the calendar. And I hope with the help of technology we will still be able to find ways to celebrate and commemorate something that I know is very important to me as the mayor of Toronto and very important to you as residents of the city of Toronto. We are all in this together. We have overcome many things in the city over time even before I was born. And we will overcome this too we will do it together with your help. And I thank you very much for all the effort you’re undertaking to keep the city together to look after each other. And I look forward to seeing you just as soon as that is possible.
On April 10, 2020 John Tory instructed the Toronto Police Service to take more strict measures to enforce social distancing:
Chief Mark Saunders, Toronto Police Services Mr. Carleton Grant, Executive Director Municipal Licensing and Standards
First of all may I thank you for your leadership which has helped us to have hundreds of police and bylaw enforcement officers at work this holiday weekend across the city helping us to educate and to enforce our physical distancing rules.
As you know, beyond the preferred option which is for people to stay home, physical distancing between people is the best way we will slow down the march of COVID-19 and thus save lives and get us back to our normal way of life as quickly as possible. That is the advice of all public health professionals including our Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa.
As you also know, despite very simple legal and health requirements, the most important of which is for people to remain two metres apart, there are still many people who are not doing what they must do to stay healthy themselves and to protect the health of others.
We have reports of everything from bonfires on the beach to hanging out in groups in parking lots to playing pickup sports in closed areas, all of which involve groups of people who don’t live with each other and thus could spread the virus.
While the vast majority of Toronto residents are keeping their distance and helping us fight COVID-19, your officers have given hundreds of informational talks, many warnings and some tickets to the worst offenders, which is the kind of enforcement we all wanted to see to the greatest possible extent.
It seems to me however, that when, after a week, we are still having informational chats with hundreds of people who don’t get it or won’t comply, the time has come for stricter enforcement and more tickets.
We are facing a deadly virus – tragically it has already claimed the lives of 77 Toronto residents – and we need people to realize as quickly as possible what they need to do to stay healthy.
As you both know, as an elected official I cannot direct law enforcement as to how they enforce the law, but I am by way of this letter offering my strong opinion and support as Mayor for stricter enforcement which would be in the interests of fairness to law abiding people and in the interests of protecting our city’s health and moving us faster to the day when life can return to normal.
I hope you will give this request every possible consideration as I believe it is entirely consistent with our collective efforts to save lives, protect health and the healthcare system and limit damage to our economy and our way of life.
Viva Frei, a Montreal lawyer who turned YouTuber, analyses and breaks down on his Vlawgs the possible implications on free speech in light of the federal government crackdown on “hate speech” on social media platform.
In his mandate
letter to Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage,
Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau wrote:
I will expect you to work with your colleagues and
through established legislative, regulatory and Cabinet processes to
deliver on your top priorities. In particular, you will:.. Create new
regulations for social media platforms, starting with a requirement
that all platforms remove illegal content, including hate speech,
within 24 hours or face significant penalties. This should include
other online harms such as radicalization, incitement to violence,
exploitation of children, or creation or distribution of terrorist
Here is an excerpt from the mandate letter sent by Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau to Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage:
I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities. In particular, you will:.. Create new regulations for social media platforms, starting with a requirement that all platforms remove illegal content, including hate speech, within 24 hours or face significant penalties. This should include other online harms such as radicalization, incitement to violence, exploitation of children, or creation or distribution of terrorist propaganda.