We hope to make this a new series with regular updates from the students at our full time seminary program.
Alhamdulillah, the first week of the Qalam program is officially complete…whew! That was easier than I thought it would be. Needless to say Shaykh Abdul Nasir went easy on us (for now!). It’s been a good experience so far and I hope that’s a sign for the rest of the year. Our class hours are from 7:30am to 1:00pm with the rest of the day to be used for reading various texts (in Arabic, gulp!). The campus has been made amazingly comfortable and welcoming (look for pictures soon). Shaykh Abdul Nasir wasn’t planning on any decoration and wanted us to study on the floor, ol’ school style! I don’t think Br. Abdullah would have that. Thanks for the comfy sofas! It’s cozy and intimate and allows for great one on one interaction with our teachers. There are a little less than 20 students in the class, half of which are brothers and the other half obviously sisters. It’s been a comfort knowing how down to earth and welcoming the students have been. It’ll definitely make the program easier knowing there’s someone there to lean on.
Since Sh. Abdul Nasir was welcoming us gently, we focused on just one text this week: أيها الولد (My Dear Beloved Son) by Imam Ghazali. It’s a series of letters filled with advice that Imam Ghazali imparted to a student of his who had studied with him for 30 years. Having had a close relationship with this student and considering him like a son, he had no qualms about giving him a verbal lashing. It was a great and fitting way to start off the program. It definitely put us in check (which is something I know I need). There’s a lot of beautiful advice though. He pretty much tells him the studies he completed mean absolutely nothing if not acted upon. He goes back to basics which is the beauty of it all. It doesn’t matter how many daleels you know, or how many hadiths you’ve memorized, or how awesome your halaqa is. At the end of the day it’s all about purification of the heart and soul; and along with good deeds, you have a chance of earning Allah’s loving mercy. This is being said to a student of knowledge of 30 years! Needless to say it was a humbling experience for us youngins.
In addition to that, we had a discussion session about “what’s in the news”. We’ll be doing this on a weekly basis to discuss contemporary issues affecting the Muslim ummah both locally and globally. Under the guidance of Sh. Abdul Nasir, it was a great way to discuss our views and opinions about these matters through the lens of Islamic principles. I can easily see this becoming one of my favorite classes as you don’t always have the opportunity to discuss these issues in a mature and objective setting. Alhamdulillah there was a lot of meaningful discussion from the whole class and I look forward to learning a lot from my classmates, in addition to Shaykh Abdul Nasir, which goes without saying.
It’s truly an amazing thing to have the opportunity to enroll in on-site Islamic Studies program without having to relocate to a foreign country. Studying what is considered to be the inheritance of the prophets is a daunting task and to be able to do that in a society I’m already familiar with and with a shaykh I trust is truly a blessing. I ask Allah (swt) to always make me truly grateful for this opportunity and to show my gratitude by serving Him and His deen through the knowledge I gain.
Please keep all of us in your dua’ especially for sincerity & the wisdom to use what we learn properly.