It takes five minutes in conversation with Imam Hamid Slimi for you to get inspired to do more, learn more, and achieve more. He’s one of those rare gems in our community who can make you feel good about who you are just by being in his presence. Known for his modern approach to religious inclusion and his outreach to Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, Imam Slimi is instantly loved and respected by anyone who gets a chance to make his acquaintance. Among his long list of credentials, the highlights are his work as the Resident Scholar and Founder of Sayeda Khadija Centre. Imam, Chaplain, Educator and Consultant in different religious and educational institutions, he is also the Founder and President of Faith of Life Network, the Founder and Chairman of the Canadian Centre for Deen Studies, and the former Chairman of the Canadian Council of Imams.
Alongside his work, he is active in giving back to the community and has marked Muslim philanthropy by helping raise funds for many local projects especially for hospitals. Encouraging Muslims to come together in support, Imam Slimi has raised funds and made significant donations to Mississauga’s Credit Valley Hospital, Brampton Civic Hospital, shelters and food banks. Imam Hamid Slimi’s work and contributions extend beyond the Muslim community as he carries a humanistic and universal approach in his message wherever he goes.
So, what is it that makes him different than other imams? The answer is simple: it’s his love for Allah’s creation. No matter who you are and where you are on the ladder of faith, Imam Slimi has a place in his heart for you. He is a people’s person and doesn’t undermine anyone for what they say or think. But no conversation with him goes to waste, if you get a chance to meet him, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
When I had the opportunity to sit in conversation with him on behalf of Lanterns, he had me drawn in instantly. It’s true, Imam Slimi is gifted. He has a special way of warming the heart towards the love of Allah (SWT). In this exclusive interview, he shared his journey towards teaching Islam, managing his time, and being an imam in Canada.
He came to North America from Morocco to pursue learning, but he didn’t realize that Allah (SWT) was going to change his path to becoming a religious scholar and teacher. In 1995 he gave a khutba at his local masjid for the first time and the congregation formed an instant connection. From there he initiated halaqas in English, and there was no looking back. His work brought him to Canada in 1997 when the Muslim community in London, Ontario invited him to become their resident imam. This wasn’t really something he was looking to pursue, but he humbly accepts that Allah (SWT) is the best of Deciders. He knew that people around the world looked to North America for inspiration on all matters, and it was the responsibility of the Muslims living in this part of the world to set an example of how beautifully our religion can be incorporated in our lives. From there, his travels and work have taken a refreshing direction, allowing him to immerse himself in the community by working on projects that people really need.
When you ask him about his role as an imam, he candidly says that being an imam isn’t his job. The work he does to serve the community is a volunteer effort. His actual day job is his business, the biggest priority in his life is his family, and he seamlessly makes time for it all. If you’re looking to know the secret to his success, he isn’t shy to share it. First things first, Imam Slimi will tell you to wake up for fajr and not go back to sleep. Take advantage of the barakah in time during the most beautiful hours of the day. Then he says to prioritize things in life according to importance. Family always should come first. Make time for the people who live with you no matter how busy your day gets. By starting at home, you are not only going to create peace and comfort for yourself, but also build strength and stability for your family.
So it makes me wonder, a full time business, a big family (he has 5 kids!), his role as an imam, and all those projects that he has initiated, how does he do it? Simple. He attributes his success first to Allah (SWT), and then he says he is blessed with a wonderful team. People he can trust will carry out their work with the best of intentions to serve God.
Among all his projects, the closest to his heart is the newest that he has launched for family counselling. With the help of professional therapists, Imam Slimi and his team hope to combat the serious issue of mental health problems for North American Muslims. These days he is busy laying out the building blocks for a counselling program which will help Muslims seek out assistance from qualified people who also understand the depth of deen as well.
When Lanterns asked him what he wanted to leave behind as his legacy, he gave us a profound quote. Sitting and reading this again inspired me to take my emaan to serious account, and I hope that it might have the same effect on you. Imam Slimi said, “For my legacy, I want to leave behind a balanced scholarship and a generation that understands and acknowledges the beauty and greatness of Islam and is able to see that it connects the reality of people to the revelation.” I couldn’t have said it more beautifully.
If you ever get the opportunity, head over to Sayeda Khadija Centre to listen to one of his khutbas and speak to Imam Slimi himself, you’ll find him to be warm, approachable and comforting – all the qualities that make a brilliant religious leader in the community who brings Islam to life in all our lives.