There was a special kind of calm in Canada this weekend. From the streets of Toronto, to Edmonton and Calgary, the angels descended upon us as hundreds of students lined up to listen to one of the most beautiful stories of all time. An untold but integral part of our faith – the story of Jibreel (alayhis salam).
Shaykh Omar Suleiman wove together a beautiful narration of the angel that was one of the most magnificent of Allah’s creation, the messenger to the messengers, and the friend of our beloved Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam).
It’s said that the beauty of all stories lies in the words of the story teller, and the audience couldn’t have asked for a more captivating teacher. While looking at Shaykh Omar speak, you can sense the sincerity and love in his voice. This isn’t just any lecture, for him. His words radiate a warmth that reflects his own relationship to the life of Jibreel (alayhis salam). As he spoke through his smile, he took his students on a fascinating journey through history, painting vivid images of some of Jibreel’s incredible encounters with Allah’s prophets and a final culmination of the story that told us of the friendship between the archangel and our Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam). Shaykh Omar’s rendition of history brought Jibreel to life in the hearts of a captivated audience. He didn’t just deliver a lecture full of facts and information, he built a relationship between his students and the beautiful angel Jibreel.
In an exclusive interview Shaykh Omar Suleiman told Lanterns that he chose to tell the story of Jibreel (alayhis salam) because believing in angels is a pillar of our faith. When he was doing his course planning with Ustaad Nouman Ali Khan at Bayyinah, he wanted to bring forth something that was unique to the audience, and would not only appeal to his students, but also bring them closer to understanding the story of Islam. Since Jibreel (alayhis salam) isn’t discussed or even researched to such deep extent, Shaykh Omar did a lot of homework before setting the stage for this class.
Lanterns wanted to know what part of the story was his favorite, and Shaykh Omar replied, that when he tells the audience of the last conversation between angel Jibreel (alayhis salam) and the Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) he feels it’s a beautiful reflection of the journey they took together while delivering the message of Allah.
As a parting thought, we wanted to know what Shaykh Omar wants the audience to take away from the lecture, and he replied that he wants his students to have greater confidence in their religion, and really get to know the angels for their role in Islam. He wants to lift the myths and separate reality from fiction, so people can know the truth and get acquainted with the angels of Allah.
That night, as he told us the story of Jibreel, Shaykh Omar’s eyes spoke the words of his heart and the room filled up with a serenity that can’t be described in words – you would only know this feeling if you were sitting there among the audience . Maybe it wasn’t just the beauty of his words, perhaps it was the angels’ presence in the room that made it so surreal. As the lecture came to a close, and the incredible journey of Jibreel lay before us, I couldn’t help but wonder, if Jibreel (alayhis salam) was smiling somewhere in the heavens, excited to know that his story had finally been revealed to the people here on earth.