Notes from the SeekersGuidance Winter 2010 General Assembly
By Beenish Akhtar
SeekersGuidance held its first ever General Assembly for the Winter 2010 semester. Students from over 15 countries tuned in to listen to inspirational messages from Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus. The following notes on Shaykh Faraz Rabbani’s portion of the program were taken by Sr. Beenish Akhtar of Virginia (US). The audio for Shaykh Faraz’s talk can be found here.
[Intentions for the Student of Sacred Knowledge]
What is our intention for seeking knowledge?
1. One’s overarching intention should be to please Allah SWT. For our after life. For the next world.
2. To remove ignorance from one’s life. Ignorance is known as darkness in our tradition. Knowledge is a light that shows the way, in which one can pursue.
3. To lift ignorance from others who are ignorant.
4. To revive the religion in one’s own heart and in the hearts of others.
5. To preserve Islam.
6. To learn virtues, piety and mindfulness of Allah because these things aren’t possible without knowledge of Allah. To get rid of one’s own vices.
7. To be thankful for the blessing of the mind; to maintain soundness of health, physical or mental.
There are countless intentions you can have while learning.
Imam Haddad says: Have a high intention in seeking knowledge.
One should seeking the pleasure of Allah through learning about one’s self so that you may assist others. This entails a certain amount of seriousness. Knowledge is only sought in order to act upon it. Acting on it means leaving the immediate for what is to come which means knowing that the next life is better for you than this life.
[Correct Manners of Seeking Knowledge]
To benefit from this knowledge, you need a sense of priority and clarity in what you learn. A serious seeker of knowledge should always uphold the correct manners.
You will not obtain knowledge except for six matters:
The mind is a muscle, you can train it. Busy your mind with beneficial knowledge, both worldly and next worldly, through concentration and taking notes. Review what you’ve studied. Force yourself to think critically about what you’re reading. ALWAYS consider: “How do I act on this? What are the consequences of this?”
Logic tells you how to think clearly, one should study this. How one constructs and breaks down arguments. Beneficial logic, not philosophical things. Pay attention to sharpening your mind.
You have to be able to focus. In order to do this, REMOVE distractions. Commit yourself to excellence in everything.
Be keen to seek this knowledge because you’re trying to seek the please of Allah swt. Bring the guidance of the Prophet SAW into your life. Learn about the virtues of knowledge in order to gain this avidness.
“When you are on the path of knowledge, the angels lower their wings for you to walk on”.
When you’re on this path you’re fulfilling the purpose of life.
3. Resolute patience
Reflect on the last verse of Al Imran:
“Oh you who believe be patient and outdo others in their patience. and fortify yourself. Strengthen your self and be mindful of Allah in order to obtain onto absolute success.”
Remain FIRM on what is pleasing to Allah, in the difficult times and the easy times. Hold yourself firm to be thankful.
Acquire patience: FAKE it at first. Know the characteristics of the patient and stick with them.
Set a routine to do so and stick to it even when you don’t feel like it!
One of the great virtues: Negate your own will for the sake of Allah swt.
Hold yourself to a rigorous study schedule! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Use the blessed times: the early morning, the late nights, afternoon after doing work and school. Remind yourself WHY you’re doing all this. It’s for Allah. When your purpose is clear, treading on this path becomes clear.
Have a plan! Know how this knowledge fits into your plan.
Knowledge needs certain financial commitments. Whether taking a class here or overseas. Part of this is prioritizing. Plan to have the resources so you can afford classes and the REALLY important things. You need to save. Its a part of the journey.
5. Guidance of a teacher
You can’t travel the path of knowledge on your own. They can help you prioritize. Consult your teachers! Don’t hesitate to consult! Formulate a personal study plan. Be guided on what you should read. Until you can obtain a state where you have awareness of what you should be doing and where you should be going.
6. A long time
The knowledge that your seeking is a knowledge that is supposed to humble you. Supposed to remind you of your slave hood to Allah. Your servitude to Allah. REAL knowledge is knowledge that causes awe of the divine. And causes you to become humble.
Knowledge with awe is for you, and knowledge that isn’t it is against you.
Beenish Akhtar is 24 year old graphic design student studying at George Mason University. She has taken two SeekersGuidance classes so far and plans to take more in the future insha’Allah.