Monthly Archives: March 2014

Qalam Seminary Blog: Muslim in America

By Syifa Sjah

I spent Wednesday night reunited with my people – high schoolers. On campus at the seminary, I’m always struggling to finish my homework or struggling to keep up in class discussions. At Plano East High School’s MSA event, I lived it up amongst my true peers. Sheikh Abdul Nasir and my classmates Jannah and AbdulRahman spoke about Muslims in America that evening. To be precise, they taught us that being a Muslim means fulfilling the rights Allah has over us and fulfilling the rights of others, and they taught us how to take that from its ideal to its reality. Masha Allah, every single thing they said was so beneficial and rang completely true, and gem after gem I was scrambling to take notes.

The first thing that stuck with me was actually something an MSA brother said: Our faith shouldn’t have to depend on anyone else – it’s just you and Allah. Taking that idea further, I always thought Muslim identity meant being an island. Sheikh Abdul Nasir described it as “The more Muslim you are, the more alone you are.” It never occurred to me that this shouldn’t be the case. It’s true that being a believer is about your relationship with Allah, but it’s also true that the Prophet (S) said you won’t believe until you love one another. He also said, “المسلم من سلم الناس من لسانه و يده”. The Muslim is the one from whom people are safe, people aren’t afraid that the Muslim will hurt them with his hand or with his tongue. Part of being a believer is your relationship with people, being good to them. Making sure to forgive others when they hurt you, and to apologize and make things right when you hurt them. It’s tough to be good to people, it requires being generous with your time and energy, two very limited resources. It’s only possible when no matter what the situation, your relationship with Allah comes first.

Putting Allah first might seem like the lifestyle of someone with superhuman strength, or maybe an occurrence that springs up in the rare moment of a spiritual high. But what about those days where you feel like you don’t care about anyone or anything? Don’t worry, you’re not broken or doomed to Hell. Just like a lamp needs a power source, we need a power source – not an electrical source, but a spiritual one. Reconnecting with Allah is the key, and it’s the mundane little things that are a really big deal in maintaining your connection with Allah throughout the day. Counting your blessings, saying words of gratitude for even the littlest things, acknowledging that it’s Allah who’s taking care of your needs every single second of every single day. The least we can do is thank Allah.

And what takes your relationship with Allah from rare moment to lifestyle habit is dua. Again and again, Jannah and AbdulRahman brought in the power of dua. We all have a long way to go when it comes to fulfilling the rights of Allah over us and fulfilling the rights of people over us, so ask Allah to help you, to make it easy, to make things happen. Jannah shared a beautiful dua, one that the Prophet (S) taught us: اللهم كما حسنت خلقي فحسن خلقي. Allah, make our characters beautiful, just like You made our appearances beautiful. And if you feel like your character is far from beautiful, follow Sheikh’s advice: do whatever little things you can do, like counting your blessings throughout the day, or remembering the one who gave you your food before you bite into it. He says it’s like painting a house. You could worry for weeks about which end of the house to start painting from, but if you start painting a little here and a little there, you’ll eventually get the whole house done. May Allah make us true believers, make us people of the Prophet (S)’s character, and furnish our houses in jannah.

 

Qalam Seminary Blog – Hadith Week

By Ayesha Baig

Sometimes we’re so caught up in what we are doing, we forget why. Why am I doing this? Day in and day out our routine continues but we forget to remind ourselves why.
Last week Sheikh taught us a collection of 40 hadith فَيضُ المُعين about the virtues of the Quran by Mulla Ali Al-Qari. The class was taught at the Bayyinah campus attended by both Qalam and Bayyinah students. Studying the hadith of the virtues of Quran was very inspiring and motivating. It was a great reminder as to why we are doing what we are. It was not only about the virtues of the Quran but also about the benefits of being among Ashaabul Quran, people of the Quran.
The first hadith we learned was خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ
The best among you is one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.
(Narrated by Imam Ahmed)
We learned that the word مَنْ in the hadith gives a very general meaning; this could refer to male or female, a young child or an adult. Anyone who is either learning or teaching the Quran in any capacity would fit in this category. The first qualifier is to learn the Quran, the first step is to seek knowledge and first thing to seek knowledge from is the Qur’an. Also the word تَعَلَّمَ (to learn) comes before the word عَلَّمَ (to teach) this shows that it’s not enough to just know something before we teach it, but we have to learn it properly first. We should be a student first before we can become a teacher. Being a student puts us through tarbiyya or training and teaches us restraint and self-discipline.
We have examples of the sahaba who memorized Quran only 10 ayaat at a time in order to practice what they learned. Abdullah ibn Umar for example was one of greatest narrators of hadith, who had practically memorized the Prophet (S)’s sunnah. It took him 8 years to memorize Surah Al-Baqarah. Why? Not because he didn’t have a good memory, but because his goal was to practice and live those ten ayaat before moving on. The sahaba approached learning Quran with quality over quantity.
Aside from learning how to be a good student, we also learned the etiquettes of teaching. Teaching should be done with the same type of care and concern, love and respect for your students as you would want for yourself. Sheikh also touched upon the importance of sincerity while teaching. Our sincerity shows through our preparation. We may think we already know the material, yet preparing so we can teach with excellence shows sincerity.
The last Hadith we studied was narrated by Anas ibn Mailik from the Prophet (S):
أَهْلُ الْقُرْآنِ عُرَفَاءُ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ
The people of the Qur’an are the most well-informed within the people of Paradise.
They will be visible prominent figures, the most well-known people in paradise, people of distinction and honor. Although learning and teaching is very fulfilling, it comes with its challenges. The question does cross our minds, “Why should we put ourselves through all this?” Studying the collection of ahaadith was a great reminder, it put things into perspective. By the end of the week when we finished the 40 hadith, trying to become among the Ashaabul Quran was the thought that overwhelmed our minds.May Allah increase us in terms of knowledge and make us Ashaab ul Quran. Ameen.

 
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