Monthly Archives: December 2013

Qalam Seminary Blog: Snow Day

“We’ll have class online inshaAllah” was what Shaykh Abdul Nasir told us in an email early Friday morning. It had snowed at night, and driving conditions were bad. Ice all over the roads, cars covered in ice/snow, and literally freezing cold temperatures. It was so bad, local scholars were reminding people that Jumu’ah is not obligatory on someone if driving is too dangerous. This weekend would be an interesting one.

As Texas is not prepared for snow, roads still had ice on them two days later. Thus, we were, for the most part, stuck inside. It is amazing how much value something as simple as leaving the house has when one can’t do so. For that matter, it seems that when we lose something, we see the true value of what we had. Consequently, we see the Prophet, sallalLahu ‘alaihi wa-sallam (peace and blessings be upon him), warning us not to fall into this trap, and reminding us to value things we have before we lose them.

The most well-known example of this is the advice of the Prophet, sallalLahu ‘alaihi wa-sallam, “Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death.”

Let us try to take these moments as reminders to take advantage of what we have and use our abilities, time, and possessions in the correct manner, before it is too late. We have many blessing we often overlook. They could be something we have had our whole life, or something we just got recently.

Regardless, it would be smart for us to save ourselves from the sorrow of realizing that we had wasted what was given to us once it is taken away.

 

Qalam Seminary Blog: Shaykh Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

By Jannah Sultan

It was a Tuesday night as I blankly stared at the laptop, searching for words, what to type. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Why was it so hard for me to write down my thoughts for the halaqa even though this was not my first time? I had been researching and reading up so much on such a great woman who had changed peoples’ lives for over 1400 years, and now here I am, trying to relay how she changed mine. The question in my head was, “how?”

How was I suppose to allow these sisters to feel what I felt? To be so inspired that they also want to be like our mother Umm Habibah (RA). How? Our teacher Shaykh Abdul Nasir had given us resources to research and understand these great women of eman, yet I still felt pressure due to the amana (trust) of making sure I am relaying the truth and not misunderstanding anything. I again sat quietly, pondering on how to go about this task. Why is this so hard for me? Of course the other issue was that Shaykh Abdul Nasir was going to listen to it and give feedback; the pressure never ceases at Qalam.

I decided it would be best to just write freely, letting my thoughts flow through my fingers without restraint. When I felt like I was done, I then started to fix and adjust my wording. It wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be, but I knew Shaykh Abdul Nasir would help me.

Thursday, the day before the halaqa, I’m finally able to meet with Shaykh for help in what I think are a few tweaks here and there. I’m already nervous going in because I feel my content is not as strong as it should be. The meeting begins with me asking questions, making sure everything I wrote about her is true. But now Shaykh is asking me what are my main points, what do I want to communicate? “Uhhhhh..” as I stumble for words, in my head I’m thinking, “Oh no! Why is he asking me questions? Please don’t, I thought only I was going to ask the questions…” Words come out although I don’t know if any of it makes sense.

Shaykh looks at me trying not to make me feel bad, continuing to ask me questions to broaden my spectrum of thought. By the end of the meeting, my entire perspective of the topic did a 180. There was only one issue: my halaqa was the next day. I rushed home worried about how was I going to make my “whatever” speech amazing in such little time. Shaykh made it very clear to me that he wants excellence, he wants quality! How was I going to prove to him that I can give him that?

For the rest of the day all I did was perfect my thoughts. It was a process: I kept editing over and over, unable to stop. The more I read it, the more I kept changing until I delivered it to my friend who said, “Stop, it’s perfect.” I sighed of relief, at last I can live normally again.

I finally got some rest and am now on my way to the halaqa. How will it be? How many sisters will there be? Who will be my audience? I walk in to find very few sisters, most of whom I know. “Alhamdulillah,” I thought, “I can do this!” I begin a tad nervously, but then I ease into a point of no stress, no worries, just me being me.

Alhamdulillah, I said what I wanted to say hoping Allah accepts it from me. Now I’m just wondering how Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda will respond to the recording of my halaqa. Until then, I am left in curiosity.

 

Qalam Seminary Blog – Home Away From Home

By Amina Darwish

“Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar.” The beautiful sound of the athan filled the room. The muathin’s voice is calm, soothing, and full of conviction. The carpet was covered in tiny erasers, pieces of a pen, and other random objects that served as proof of the 50 children that had just left the room. We sat silently and listened til the end of the athan. We then learned that the imam that was calling people to prayer was actually a single father of three children. He lost one of his legs fleeing a war zone. And after spending countless days in the hospital, he spend countless other days fighting with Child Protective Services to be able to father his own children. Then one blessed day, he found a community and a community found him.

We all have thoughts and dreams of what a community should look like. People should know each other, love each other, and support each other. There was a point when I had honestly lost hope and wondered if such a community was even possible. Last Sunday, Allah blessed our class by introducing us to the community of this imam. Maruf is a masjid in North Dallas that serves the refugee community. It has won awards for their system of settling refugees within 4 months and helping them regain their independence, their sense of self, and the dignity that was lost fleeing from a war zone.

It was born out of a vision of keeping the Ummah of Mohammed (pbuh) together. The idea is so simple, yet so profound. Anyone from around the world is my brother or sister in faith, or my equal in humanity. The leaders of the community are humble, compassionate, and efficient. There were no quibbles about the gender of the board members; there was just a team that loved the Prophet (pbuh) and sought to honor him by living out his legacy of compassion.

Then we met a 13 year old boy. He was a hafidh with dreams of becoming an imam. His love of learning was obvious. His eyes twinkled when he talked about completing his memorization at age 10. He smiled with pride as any boy his age would. If we hadn’t been told, we would have never known that this boy was an orphan. That the only family he knew was the other sole survivor from his village that had embraced him and asked him to call him dad. Despite his loss, he was proud. He was excited about life. He too had found a community and a new home.

Such is the community that returned my faith one day by witnessing a people that loved each other like the companions of the Prophet (pbuh). With all the atrocities in Burma, Syria, Somalia, and countless other countries, a feeling of helplessness is very overwhelming except that now, we can actually help. The actions could be as simple as packing supplies, but the feelings of love and compassion behind every action were as bright as day. The light of compassion and service to others would be enough to soften even the hardest heart. Allah says in Surah Hadeed,

“Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are defiantly disobedient.”

Whenever we leave this world, our deeds will be the legacy that defined our lives. Hopefully our legacy will be one of compassion in the footsteps of the one who was sent as a mercy to the worlds. May Allah bless all those that do good for His sake. Ameen.

 
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