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.