Muslims in Canada constitute 3.2% of Canada’s population. Two years back, my mind would have been racing with the pros of living in an Islamic country. Yet here I am, for all the good reasons putting forth tips for Muslims in Canada or any other non- Muslim Country.

There are times when you have a certain goal. You strive for it, work for it and end up achieving it. Then there comes the feeling of overwhelming success. On the other hand, you might think of something never bound to happen. You might not even feel the desire to have it happen but it comes as an option unexpectedly and you end up choosing it.

Never had I ever imagined or hoped to go back to Canada and settle there. Our family had returned to Pakistan when I was a teenager and decided to permanently take up residence in our homeland. All the reasons my parents had really got to me and subconsciously I thought I would never go back mainly because I had all the life that I could want in Pakistan.

I was married for a good four years, happily settled in Pakistan. We had all that we could ask for in terms of financial needs. My husband had an established Dental Clinic which he had spent a lot of energy and time on. It was his pride and joy and he really enjoyed his work.

When we decided to move, I hadn’t thought about the advantages or disadvantages. I had just said yes and that yes totally changed the course of our lives.

It was a journey with lots of ups and downs, (deciding and then ‘undeciding’) and we are still not done but half way there. There is so much I have learnt, dealing with this alone and not under the shade of my parents. Yet it taught me so much! So much worth sharing for people like me, who are debating whether or not to migrate or have decided to migrate but are nervous and scared of what it holds.

Do Istikhara Before You take this Big Step:

Be confident and brave because Allah (SWT) loves you more than you could ever love yourself and He always has something good in store for you. All you have to do is ask! And what better way to ask for goodness than to follow the Sunnah of Istikhara.

Allah(SWT) knows what’s best for you. If you are having second thoughts about moving to a place, why not turn to Al-Aleem, The All-Knowing and ask Him for help? Nothing could go wrong after doing Istikhara because you literally asked The One Who Has Power over All Things to make it go right. If this decision isn’t good for you, Allah will remove you from its path and remove any desire for you to achieve it. Not only that! He (SWT) will show another path better than the one you were about to choose and satisfy your heart with it.

Dua e Istikhara:

Just take a look at the translation of the Prayer of Istikhara below:

Jabir bin Abdullah (RA) narrates that the Prophet (SAWS)) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara in all matters as he taught us the Surahs of the Qur’an. He said, “If anyone of you thinks of doing any job he should offer a two rakat prayer other than the compulsory ones and say (after the prayer):

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَخِيرُكَ بِعِلْمِكَ وَأَسْتَقْدِرُكَ بِقُدْرَتِكَ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ فَضْلِكَ الْعَظِيمِ، فَإِنَّكَ تَقْدِرُ وَلاَ أَقْدِرُ وَتَعْلَمُ وَلاَ أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلاَّمُ الْغُيُوبِ، اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ خَيْرٌ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي ـ أَوْ قَالَ عَاجِلِ أَمْرِي وَآجِلِهِ ـ فَاقْدُرْهُ لِي وَيَسِّرْهُ لِي ثُمَّ بَارِكْ لِي فِيهِ، وَإِنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنَّ هَذَا الأَمْرَ شَرٌّ لِي فِي دِينِي وَمَعَاشِي وَعَاقِبَةِ أَمْرِي ـ أَوْ قَالَ فِي عَاجِلِ أَمْرِي وَآجِلِهِ ـ فَاصْرِفْهُ عَنِّي وَاصْرِفْنِي عَنْهُ، وَاقْدُرْ لِي الْخَيْرَ حَيْثُ كَانَ ثُمَّ أَرْضِنِي بِهِ ـ

Sahih al-Bukhari 1166

Transliteration:

‘Allahumma inni astakhiruka bi’ilmika, Wa astaqdiruka bi-qudratika, Wa as’alaka min fadlika Al-`azlm Fa-innaka taqdiru Wala aqdiru, Wa ta’lamu Wala a’lamu, Wa anta ‘allamu l-ghuyub. Allahumma, in kunta ta’lam anna hadha-lamra Khairun li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati `Amri (or ‘ajili `Amri wa’ajilihi) Faqdirhu wa yas-sirhu li thumma barik li Fihi, Wa in kunta ta’lamu anna hadha-lamra shar-run li fi dini wa ma’ashi wa’aqibati `Amri (or fi’ajili `Amri wa ajilihi) Fasrifhu anni was-rifni anhu. Waqdir li al-khaira haithu kana Thumma ardini bihi.’

Translation:

O Allah! I ask guidance from Your knowledge, And Power from Your Might and I ask for Your great blessings. You are capable and I am not. You know and I do not and You know the unseen. O Allah! If You know that this job is good for my religion and my subsistence and in my Hereafter or said: If it is better for my present and later needs Then You ordain it for me and make it easy for me to get, And then bless me in it, and if You know that this job is harmful to me In my religion and subsistence and in the Hereafter or said: If it is worse for my present and later needs) Then keep it away from me and let me be away from it. And ordain for me whatever is good for me, And make me satisfied with it.

The Prophet (SAWS) added that then the person should name (mention) his need.

How beautiful is this Sunnah! Me and my husband prayed Istikhara everyday for one month straight after deciding to move to Canada. Judging from the quick unfolding of events, unexpected help from unexpected people and how easily everything became available, we were content that Allah (SWT) is watching over us and will surely help us more so later on.

Read the complete way to Pray Salat ul Istikhara in the link down below.

https://askimam.org/public/question_detail/14994

Check out my recent post about the misconceptions connected to Istikhara and how to offer Istikhara the Sunnah Way

Yours And Your Family’s Religious Well-Being:

This was the biggest concern raised by our Elders and peers. Are you sure you are not compromising your religious life just to attain a better worldly life? This is the main factor which stops and deters a lot of people from moving to a non-Muslim country

This question racked my brain as well for a good few weeks until I decided to follow another Sunnah and do Mushawarat (seek advice).

I was constantly being told about the religious danger Muslims in Canada were exposed to and how it might affect mine and my family’s religious growth. It was sure alarming but one thing that constantly tackled my mind was the people who had that opinion had never themselves been abroad or exposed to living in a non Muslim environment. Most of the dangerous examples that were quoted to us were hearsay and not personal experiences.

What Did I Do?

I wrote to my Shaykh who was living in America and expressed my concerns. Following the Sunnah way reaped another benefit. I was offered amazing and reasonable advice.

Shaykh explained how it all depended on the individual itself and the circumstances. Though there was a rise in Fitnah coming from the West, there was also a rise in the Work of Deen being promoted there to stop the Fitnah. Working to stay strong on your Beliefs is important regardless of where you live. You can come for yourself and decide where you are better able to cope with it. There were now a large number of Madaris and Masajid being opened in the nooks and crannies of the Country and plenty of opportunities for you to avail it.

I can feel the truth in Shaykh’s words as I’m sure other Muslims in Canada must as well. There is definitely a different environment, different culture but I have to be mindful of it in my dealings and decisions. My choices in regards to my lifestyle, children and entertainment are different from the people living here. This is not overwhelming for me as I always had different goals even in Pakistan and I was living a life different from plenty of the Muslims there as well. My goal was to raise God-fearing children and I had to work hard and strive for it just like I had been doing when I was living in Pakistan.

Harbor The Intention of Spreading Islam:

If living in a non-Muslim country still scares you, take a bolder step. Make the intention of Tableegh and start little acts of propagating Islam through your actions and words.

My mom had never encouraged me to take this step but she did say, “Maybe Allah(SWT) has chosen for you to spread His Word over there. Try your best to stay connected with the work of Deen and to religious people.”

All the Masajids and Madaris that have been built and established here in the past few years were the work of dedicated Muslims who migrated with the intention of bringing Islam into the non-Muslim world. Imagine if you could be a part of that family and make an impact on someone’s life which later on benefits you even after you are gone from this world! There are a number of religious groups who have initiated such programs and are working their level best.

But keep in mind affiliating yourself with another group or party working for the same Cause is essential. The more people you have with you, the stronger your Cause will be.

The Prophet (SAWS) said :

“Allah(SWT)s hand is with the Jama’at (group of people)”

Try your best to find a Muslim Majority Area:

Although it may be hard at first but try settling in an area which has a fair amount of Muslims living around. You may be considering finding a residence where you get a job or where another of your family members resides. If you find all this and a place with an Islamic enough environment then that’s great! Otherwise keep trying to find places. You can look for job offers in places more densely populated with Muslims and which have greater people invested in Islamic institutions and buildings. This way, you can be less scared of being influenced (because hey, the influence is Islamic and preferable here, aint it?) and also work together with the Muslims to create a rise in Islamic work being done in that area and beyond it as well!

Alhamdulillah, we managed to find an area densely populated with Muslims in Canada. If we can, so can you!

School your Children Islamically:

Remember to prioritise Deen specifically when dealing with your kids. You are not only responsible for safeguarding your religious beliefs but also your children.

Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

“Oh you Who Believe, Protect yourselves and your families from The Fire.”

(Surah Tahrim, Ayah 6)

Our children are a trust from Allah. Alongside the hustle and bustle and life we cannot forget to work hard and strive to raise them to be God fearing individuals who have sound knowledge of their beliefs and religion.

Muslims living in Canada or any other non-Muslim Country should keep in mind that Islam is a complete way of life. We should enforce its teachings in all aspects of our living. This includes all aspects of the children’s education as well. We cannot expect our children to have an understanding of Islam if we portray Islam as something secondary.

How to go ahead with this?

Present Islam not as a subject but as an integral part of every system. Include Islam in all subjects whether it’s English, Math or Science. Relate stories of the Prophets, Sahabah and other God- fearing and pious people who have passed. Let their role model be someone who reached the pinnacle of piety. Be careful who you choose as your children’s teacher and who they make friends with.

The Prophet (SAWS) said:

“A person is on the religion of his friend. Thus everyone of you should pay heed to whom he befriends.”

A lot of people tend to expose their children to all sorts of elements which can potentially be dangerous to their beliefs. People usually think that these things don’t really matter with kids. They’ll grow up and understand. Sadly, that is not the case. Research shows that a child is born ready to learn. They learn many things from their experiences and who they interact with. This learning makes a big impact on their perspective and how they tend to lead their lives later on when they grow as adults.

Protect your children from the evils outside your home so they can also protect their children as well. Thus protecting a whole generation of kids.

Try to organise religious gatherings at your place:

It might be hard to gather up a bunch of friendly Muslim neighbours and invite them to your house to listen to an Islamic Lecture. Even if you do manage to gather them, not all of them might be up for it. It might feel overwhelming as well.

Well, you can go easy on yourself and just invite the people in your house. That’s right, your own family! Set up a certain time of the day in which you all sit together and read an Islamic book. It could be a book of Hadith or any other book of knowledge. If no one likes to read, you can just play an online lecture of a religious scholar.

It might look unnecessary but believe it or not, it will have a BIG impact on your kids. They will learn so much in this small gathering of close family members which have gathered together only for Allah’s (SWT) sake.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“No people gather to remember Allah Almighty but that the angels surround them, cover them with mercy, send tranquility upon them, and mention them to Allah among those near to Him.”

Sahih Muslim, 2700

Keeping all these factors in mind, I felt confident about my decision to live amongst all the other Muslims in Canada. You can stay steadfast and strong in any country. Just cling fast to your principles and InshaAllah Allah’s help will come along as well!