Sunday, 1 March 2009

The Light Of Guidance

The Light of Guidance - Fundumental of Faith 101 this was the first Al-Maghrb Insttitue course that I have attended on the recommendation from a good Akhi I met at another Institure, Tayyibun. It was in a way just like being at Uni' with the first 101 course!

I was very impressed with the structure of the course, timing and content coverage was impeccable (who said the UK Muslim Ummah cannot organise things, dispels the idea that their is a MST (Muslim Standard Time) well for this course only).

It was a 4.5 days course, split over two weekends near Earls Court, and had Alhamdullilah 500+ students taking part. As always with such events, the sisters outnumbered the Brothers, so Akhis, where are you....we need to win this battle of the sexes!

The course started around 9.50am and finished around 7.00pm so all in all was a long day. I went on my own for the first weekend and met some really nice Brothers there, and this was a crowd that was different than other courses I had been on. They had a real good ethos and balance about them, from all kind of backgrounds and nationalities (Sri Lankan, Brunei, Malaysian, Somalian, Afghanistan, India and from all around the UK... and oh yes the French contingent too! (Can't forget them on stage with their rather weird

The Al-Maghrib UK group was known as Qabeelat Al-Shams (Yes the Sun, for a nation that does not get much sun - how ironic). The Ameer (leader) of the Qabeelat was great as were all the volunteers, it was really like a family gathering. MashAllah.

The seminar was a great opportunity to grasp a greater understanding and fall in to depths of the awareness and knowledge about the crucial beliefs that form the skeleton of Islam, and to tie our hearts to these truths.

The LoG on Aqeedah Seminar covered in summary the following:

  • Definition of Tawheed
  • Importance of Tawheed
  • Categories of Tawheed (history; differences of opinion regarding categorization schemes)
  • Tawheed in Allah's Lordship (Ruboobiyyah): reality and definition
  • Quranic Proofs of Ruboobiyyah
  • Western Proofs for the Existence of God (Ontological, Cosmological, Kalam, etc.)
  • Critique of Western Proofs; comparison w/ Islamic Proofs
  • Atheism (arguments; refutation)
  • Ruboobiyyah by itself is incomplete (proofs)
  • Allah's Right to Be Worshipped (Uloohiyyah)
  • Definition of Worship
  • Meaning of Ilah; meaning of Kalimah
  • Manifestations of Worship (Du'a, Sajdah, Tawwakul, Sabr, etc...)
  • Deviations in Worship (Talismans, Magic, Astrology, etc...)
  • Other concepts (Tabarruk; Tawassul; Shafa'aah; etc...)
  • Shirk: definition; history; dangers; categories; causes
  • Evidences used by Muslims who seek to justify Shirk
  • Kufr and Nifaq: definition; dangers; categories; relationship with Shirk
  • Manifestations of Major Kufr

It was truly an eye opener especially the key issues for me, was "Sihr" ("Black Magic") that is not so prominenent especially in the sub continent culture and is important to the see the tell tell signs.

Few things I had taken note from the course was amongst many:

- If one wears a "Tabeez" (pocket chain round the necks with the so called Words of Allah written on in it, in order that it protect them from the Shaytan, it is better avoid having such things with you as this may be a sign of shirk without one knowing it, and also it may in fact do you more harm then good. There was incidents that the Shaykh had witnessed himself and showed in his Seminar too, where in opening the Tabeez, he found the names of the Shayateen written in them, and this broought a sigh of 500 odd people in the hall, which said it all.

-Breaking down Tawheed into 3 constituent parts: (1) "Ruboobiyyah" - The One Lord (2) "Ismu wa Sifa" (Names and Attributes of Allah) and (3) "Uloohiyyah" - the right to be worshipped. All three must be present to have Tawheed.

- To understand the principles of Tawheed is to understand and bring you closer to the Devine Lord and how Allah (swt) would want to be worshipped. This may help one to undertand the pitfalls of entering into "Shirk" (to associate another object with Allah).

-Intercession specific to the Prophet صل الله عليه و سلم:
Every single prophet was guaranteed one dua

  • Nuh عليه السلام- used his for the flood.
  • Musa عليه السلام- used his to seal the heart of Pharaoh
  • Suleiman عليه السلام- Asked for a kingdom the likes of which nobody had, and would ever have.
  • The Prophet صل الله عليه و سلم- Saved it for the Ummah for the Day of Judgement. This shows us the mercy of the prophet صل الله عليه و سلم.

Other information from the Al-Maghrib course guide:

Aqeedah is linguistically derived from the term 'aqadah' - a verb which means "to hold fast to" or "to establish". Our 'aqeedah is the pillar by which our deen stands firm, the fertile land from which all of our actions blossom, and it is the foundation from which all other Islamic sciences grow. '

According to our scholars, 'aqeedah is the firm creed and beliefs that one's heart is fixed upon without any wavering or doubt.

Are we certain about these beliefs to which our hearts should be tied? How well do we know the fundamental tenets of Islam, relating to our eman in Allah (swt), in the prophets, the books, the angels, the Last day and Qadr [fate]? Imam Abu Haneefah, rahimahullah, called his work on 'aqeedah "al-Fiqh al-Akbar" (The Greater Understanding), while he referred to shari'ah as simply, "the understanding of science".

"...Knowledge is the discerning proof of what is right and what is wrong, and it is the positive force that will help you surmount the trials of comfort, as well as those of hardships. Knowledge is your most powerful sword against your enemy, and finally, it is your most dignifying raiment in the company of your close companions." -- Mu'aadh ibn Jabal, radi' Allaahu 'anhu

This is one of many seminars on Fundamentals of Faith from Al-Maghrib Inst. with others and the series, 201, 301, 401, and Comparative Religion.

There were some memorable events:

-Shaykh (who is from Texas, USA), tells us a story of him going into a corner shop in the country to top up him mobile phone, as he asks the women on the counter, "...can I top up my Oxygen?"

-The 'Paper Bag" shirk blow up! - Where we had written Shirk and Kufr on each side of the paper bag and then in kind of perfect harmony we blow and burst. This was a good end to a long 4.5 days.

-Chinese Fortune Cookies - where each person had to eat the cookies and make sure that they do not peep into the fortune script, as a sign we can abstain from listening or reading predictions for the future from sources inc. horoscopes etc.

-French contingent with their 100 per cent perfection in their transmission of their answers in the group exercise with the analogy of the TV in the bath tub, synonymous to having a manual i.e. the Qur'an and Sunnah and not following it with disastrous consequences.

-The food was great - day one was kebabs, and then it got better, with biryani and chicken. There was coffee and tea throughout the day in the break out rooms just keep us awake in the afternoon, though the Ameer saw to that in any case if anyone was nodding off.

Plus you had Islam Channel recording the whole seminar, so watch this space, this seminar is coming on a TV near you (try to have a look out for me - doh!).

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