Can all of my students please stand up.” About 15 of us awkwardly rose from our seats at the end of the session. The females of our class constituted about 25% of the female side of the audience; the males of our class about 95%.
We were attendees at the local MSA’s event. This was the first session of a series of monthly halaqas with Sh. Abdul Nasir, and this month’s topic was love and marriage in Islam. During the session, Shaykh talked about how love is mentioned in the Qur’an, the different aspects of it, and advice on how one navigates college life with these strong emotions. The session was naturally followed by an enlightening Q&A and snacks, but I felt the real benefit from attending this event came from meeting the members of the MSA.
Sh. Abdul Nasir introduced us as his students who would one day be called to give this halaqa instead of him. It was an intimidating an exciting thought – one day, in the near future insha’Allah, I will know enough about Islam to help first myself and others address their day-to-day concerns properly. One day, I will know and I will do.
We spent the week in class studying a series of books called the مبادئ. They are 3 booklets by Dr. Akram Nadwi from the UK written as primers for the different sciences: Usool al-Tafsir, Usool al-Hadith, and Usool al-Fiqh. These booklets were just stapled pieces of paper written for his daughter who was struggling through these sciences as she was studying them. Halfway across the world, we’re struggling through the same terminology and categorizations and history. May Allah make studying His religion easy for us all and reward the scholars for their efforts and precision in these sciences.
It’s sometimes frustrating when we know all these words are not an end result; following the chain of a hadith all the way to the Prophet (S) is not going to help me if I’m not following his actions with my actions as well. However, it is also important for those of us in the class to remember that we can only excel in our actions if we excel in our means to understanding those actions. So I just remember the Arabic expression خذ ما طفّ لك “Take what’s in front of you”, and focus on the task at hand.
After the MSA event, we exchanged numbers and email addresses, and tried to schedule a time when we could meet on a more regular basis. Unfortunately, our schedules conflict and we couldn’t set anything up. We still plan to work with the local community and provide what they need, but in the meantime, I’m happy with studying what it means to be an authentic hadith, with a little bit of love on the side.