April 23rd was terrifying, specifically for Torontonians, and for Canadians, in general.
When someone first informed me at work, of an ‘accident that killed a few people on Yonge Street’, I instantly prayed for goodness, recovery and safety. As time progressed, news reports started coming in. Reality struck me that this seems to be more than just a vehicle accident.
Toronto is devastated. We lost 10 innocent people of our amazing city. 15 others are injured.
Toronto is strong. We are resilient. We can all do our part to keep our Toronto robust, even during challenges.
As Canadian Muslims, here are some things we can do.
Let us all pray for our city. Let us pray for the injured and their families. Regardless of religion, background and or ethnicity. Let us pray for those who lost their lives and their loved ones. The Almighty hears our prayers and He will facilitate peace and healing. Hold prayers at your local mosques and communities. Invite neighbours and friends. Pray, both individually and collectively.
“There is nothing more honourable in the sight of the Almighty than supplication [and prayers].” (Bukhārī)
“The most hopeless of people is the one who is hopeless of prayer.” (Ṭabrānī)
The Prophet of Islam, Muḥammad (peace and blessing upon him) prayed for his Jewish neighbour as follows, “May the Almighty beautify every matter of yours.” (Bayhaqī)
Muḥammad (peace and blessings upon him) also prayed for everyone in his city, “May the Almighty bless all the inhabitants of this city.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
Praying for everyone around us, regardless of religion or background is praiseworthy.
ʿOqbah Ibn Ᾱmir (may Allāh be pleased with him) prayed with the following words, for his counterparts of other faiths, “May the Almighty extend your lives with goodness, increase your wealth and grant you the best with your children and family.” (Al-Adab Al Mufrad li al-Bukhārī)
Donate Funds and Blood
This is a time to reach out to those immediately affected by the tragedy. Lend your support to those distressed. This is a core teaching of Islam.
“Whoever alleviates the need of a person, the Almighty will alleviate their needs.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim)
Islamic Relief Canada and other local charities have initiated special campaigns to collect funds for families of victims and the injured.
(Follow link to donate: https://www.launchgood.com/project/toronto_victims_support#!/)
The injured require blood to sustain life. There is no better gift than giving a part of ourselves to help others.
“Whoever saves a life, it is as if they saved mankind entirely.” (Qurʿān 5:32)
(Follow link to give blood: https://blood.ca/en)
Stand with fellow Canadians to express thoughts and prayers. Attend community vigils and gatherings. Be sources of comfort for the city and its residents.
“And cooperate with one another in righteousness and piety.” (Qurʿān 5:2)
Engage in conversations with fellow Canadians. Express your thoughts. Write articles and post related messages on social media.
There are a number of questions that are being asked. Why is this not being deemed a terrorist activity? Why does it seem the media is biased when a Muslim is involved? Is the alleged perpetrator’s faith or community being brought to the fore? How can we prevent a similar future incident? Did the alleged victim have mental health issues? Why did this happen around a primarily Muslim populated region? Was it targeted? Does the alleged perpetrator have any affiliations with the right wing? What was his motivation?
“A positive conversation [or dialogue] is better than silence.” (Ibn Asākir)
Cooperate with Investigation and Authorities
While there may be many unanswered questions, it is imperative to only speak with facts. We must allow the investigation to takes its course with due process. Perpetrators must face the full extent of the law. However, one should not fall prey to spreading rumours or unfounded discussions, as this only intensifies the confusion and chaos.
It is also a great time to appreciate the hard work and efforts of the police, authorities and related agencies for doing their best to maintain safety and stability in our city. It is people like these who make a difference each and everyday. Let’s be the people of goodness and positiveness.
In conclusion, even though the tragedy has shaken us, it has also brought us together. I pray the Almighty bless one and all with hope, peace, love and prosperity. May we all be safe and secure. May all forms of misunderstandings, hate and violence end.
May we all heal and be strong.