Ustadh Usama Canon of Ta’leef Collective has been conclusively diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Muslimmatters Family extends our duas and support to Ustadh Usama and asks our readership to make dua for him.
By Hina Khan-Mukhtar
I was blessed to be able to attend the Mawlid at Ta’leef with Sidi Usama Canon on Sunday night. After I came home, I decided to type up what I remembered from his words and share them with my sons, who are studying in Jordan, my family in Southern California, and a few friends who wanted to be there (but couldn’t come) or who were there (but couldn’t hear). I only used Whatsapp and texting to share.
I decided not to post my notes on my Facebook (where I usually post) because I didn’t want to share on social media anything that I may have misunderstood, and — besides — I knew that the Mawlid had been recorded and everyone could hear Sidi Usama’s beautiful words for themselves once Ta’leef posted the video.
One of my friends shared my notes with her mother who posted it on Facebook and from there my write-up has gone viral. So many of the loved ones I sent the notes to have told me that they’ve received the same notes back from multiple people (whom I don’t even know). Even I have received my own notes back from places as far away as Dubai and England and Pakistan…all within 24 hours. The power of the internet is very real (a reminder that we have to be very careful about whatever we post on the World Wide Web).
Anyway, since the notes have already been dispersed beyond my control, I’ve decided to publicly share what I paraphrased of Sidi Usama’s beautiful words. I added a few more points I remembered later. His advice and perspective are necessary to read and reflect upon, and it’s obvious they have already resonated with so many. I pray people benefit and that Sidi Usama and the staff at Ta’leef will forgive me (and correct me) for any of my mistakes/misunderstandings. May Allah reward him infinitely for all of the benefit he provides the Ummah. Aameen.
Everything here has been paraphrased from memory. Some are direct quotes.
1) “The doctor told me what I already knew — that I’m going to die. Tell me something I don’t know! The only difference is that he gave me a timeframe. But a bus could hit any of us tomorrow and we could die when we were already spiritually dead. I appreciate all the duas and love, but I want everyone to take time to examine their own spiritual illnesses. You may be walking around with envy or arrogance or jealousy in your heart and then you die not having done anything about it when you knew you had this problem and actually had the chance to do something about it.”
2) “Be good to your parents and your teachers. Serve them and care for them and make them happy. Honor the men and women who made you. And the best way of honoring them is by implementing what they taught you. Anything good you do – it’s because of them and they have a reward in it. Anything bad you do – it’s because you’re a fool and it’s all on you.”
3) “When I got my diagnosis, I immediately thought about whom I have to make things right with. If you’re going to differ with one another, differ with love. Let go of the petty grievances. Are we really going to wait till the Day of Judgment to sort it out?”
4) “The first people I called after my family and I got my diagnosis were my closest friends and my teachers, Imam Zaid Shakir and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Imam Zaid has a way of making you feel like your bad news is good news. I called Shaykh Hamza and he answered on the first ring, which was a surprise. And then I broke down. I heard his voice and I immediately realized, ‘This is it. This is what we’ve been preparing for. This is what it’s all been about.’”
5) “Eat right. Exercise. Drink water. Take care of your health. Go outside. And spend time with your babies. Don’t let anyone take your time away from your kids.”
6) “I’m not dead yet.”
On Facing my Mortality by Usama Canon
His immediate family has created the website www.loveforusamacanon.org as a portal for prayers and messages from his family, friends, and supporters, and asked for privacy. Please direct your messages to the website instead of directly contacting Ustadh Usama and his family.