An Update on The Istanbul Summer 2020 Intensive Program and More

We hope that you and your family are keeping well in these difficult times. Due to the current conditions around the world, we regret to inform you that we have been forced to postpone the SeekersGuidance Summer Intensive until further notice.

However, we are committed, as always, to continue offering reliable and authentic Islamic knowledge without barriers.

Here are a few things that you may benefit from as we await relief during these tough times…

The SeekersGuidance COVID19 Webinar

Last week SeekersGuidance put together an important webinar to provide clarity in these challenging times with Muslim scholars, teachers, medical professionals, and thought leaders from around the world.

Missed it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Click here to watch now.

The SeekersGuidance COVID19 Webinar

SeekersGuidance Course Registration Opens Soon – We’re Launching an Exciting New Open-Course System. Plus Dozens of Free On-Demand Courses on a Wide Range of Subjects Available Now.

We’re live-streaming classes with qualified Muslim scholars from around the world. Everyday. Don’t miss out, click here to view our daily live schedule, and connect to Prophetic Guidance today!

Deserving Muslim Scholars Need Your Help Now

The current COVID-19 crisis and the ensuing lockdowns are creating havoc in the lives of scholars–many of whom are now unable to teach; their classes are cancelled–for many, their already precarious livelihood is threatened. Give your zakat and charity now to urgently assist them through the Islamic Scholars Fund.

To read more about the situation, click here.

 

Give a Little, Make a Huge Impact: Dar al-Fuqaha Needs Your Support to Buy Media Equipment

Give a little and make a huge impact.

We need to raise $6,000 USD immediately to provide The Dar al-Fuqaha Seminary in Istanbul with the media and recording equipment they need to continue supporting students.

This will not only ensure that current students can continue to benefit from their teachers during these difficult times, but will help reach thousands more with the Prophetic Guidance they direly need.

Don’t delay, give what you can and become our partner in this critical project, and earn the reward of on-going charity. 

We Need to Be Concerned. The Situation is Getting More Urgent. Please Give Zakat & Charity Now.

Asalamoalaikum wa Rehmatullah, may this find you and your loved ones safe.

We need to be concerned. The situation is getting more urgent. Please give Zakat and Charity now.

The current COVID-19 crisis and the ensuing lockdowns are creating havoc in the lives of scholars–many of whom are now unable to teach; their classes are cancelled–for many, their already precarious livelihood is threatened. Give your zakat and charity now to urgently assist them through the Islamic Scholars Fund.

We’re only at $11,000 of the $150,000 we urgently need.

Give your zakat and charity now.

WHY ARE OUR SCHOLARS SO IMPORTANT?

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.” Throughout history, the scholars have carried the Prophet’s torch — in teaching and guiding, and ensuring the community remains on the straight path.

The Dar al Fuqaha Seminary is Being Directly Affected

We have all celebrated the recent launch of the Dar al Fuqaha, where almost 150 students are benefiting on-ground from a full schedule of classes with leading Islamic scholars, from Syria and elsewhere, at the Mevlevihanesi, a historic Ottoman seminary in Istanbul. This was made possible only through the Islamic Scholars Fund and your support.

But now, this is under threat. There is a complete shutdown, with an imposed curfew, empty halls, and the livelihood of most of these scholars is under threat.

Don’t wait till Ramadan: give your zakat and charity now to support needy and deserving Islamic scholars –who are so challenged by the current crisis.

Supporting scholars–who preserve and spread the light of faith and Prophetic guidance in these testing times–is the best of charity:

عَن أبي هريرة أنَّ رَسُول اللَّه ﷺ قَالَ: مَنْ دَعَا إِلَى هُدىً كانَ لهُ مِنَ الأجْر مِثلُ أُجورِ منْ تَبِعهُ لاَ ينْقُصُ ذلكَ مِنْ أُجُورِهِم شَيْئًا رواهُ مسلمٌ

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever calls to guidance has the like of the reward of those who follow them–without this reducing their reward in any way.” [Muslim]

Supporting Islamic scholars is among the highest of Ummatic imperatives today.

Help spread the light of Prophetic guidance in these challenging times. Invest your Zakat and charity impactfully — to preserve sound, reliable Islamic knowledge for future generations.

Please remember, we don’t need to wait until Ramadan. The best of zakat and charity is the giving that has the greatest benefit. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

So go to seekersguidance.org/donate — give generously; encourage others to give; and pray for the scholars and students in need, and for all those affected.

Need to find out more about the Islamic Scholars Fund? See: seekersguidance.org/articles/featured-articles/the-islamic-scholars-fund/

What Happened to the Online Courses at Seekers? (Exciting new course format!)

Many of you are wondering what happened to the online courses at SeekersGuidance Global Islamic Seminary?

First, our On-Demand courses are still available. We have dozens of downloadable courses on a wide range of topics, all completely free.

Some of our courses include:

So… Where are the “Term-Based” Courses? (The Good News)

SeekersGuidance has grown, Alhamdulillah. By the end of 2019 we had passed 250,000 student registrations in our online courses–all of which are taught by qualified scholars, and all of them completely free.

We think deeply about how to be of the greatest, widest, truest, and deepest benefit. As a result–based on our team’s experience, consultation, consideration, and discussion–we have taken a bold new step:

We’re scrapping the Term-based course system, and adopting an Open Course system. Our new course offering–with almost 25 new courses–is launching on March 31st, insha’Allah.

What is this New Open Course System?

In our new Open Course system:

One. Anyone can register for any course, any time.

Two. You can complete the course at your own pace.

Three. You have retain full access to the lessons; assignments; forums; and live sessions with the teachers–for as long as you need to complete the courses.

Four. Reminders will be customized to your individual course completion.

All our courses remain completely free, Alhamdulillah.

How We’re Enhancing the Student Learning Experience

With this, we’re enhancing the learning experience at several levels, including:

One. We have a completely revamped course catalog–not only much more elegant, but also much clearer in terms of the wide range of our offerings (over 150 courses!).

Two. All our offerings are more clearly divided into structured learning streams and levels–with clearly-defined learning outcomes. We presently have five learning streams:

  1. The Seekers Islamic Studies Curriculum (formerly, the Steps Curriculum)
  2. The Seekers Learning Arabic Curriculum
  3. The Seekers Youth Islamic Studies Curriculum
  4. The Seekers Live courses–which are the current classes being taught live by the Seekers teachers, daily, across the world; and
  5. The On-Demand Courses–which are more general Living Guidance courses on a wide range of issues and subjects.

Three. Enhancing the student learning experience by significant upgrades to the Learning Management System (LMS); its interface; its useability; its mobile interface.

Four. After this, we’re implementing a world-class Student Information System, to (1) give each student clarity on their learning progress and next steps; (2) assist our teachers in mentoring students; and (3) facilitate fruitful student-teacher relationship that is key to a successful, fruitful learning journey.

“The teacher and the student are partners in good,” the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, [Ibn Maja and Tabarani] 

We’re working to revive this blessed partnership, which transmits the blessing of Prophetic inheritance–reliable, uplifting knowledge and guidance that spreads benefit, light, and good in lives, communities, and this world.

The Seekers Growth Fund

This is part of the investment SeekersGuidance is making in improving the benefit, reach, and impact of our educational offerings. We have set a goal of reaching one million students served through our online courses by the end of 2022, insha’Allah. And we’re aiming to transform the impact and benefit of our offerings, as well–while keeping everything completely free.

For this, we need your support. The Seekers Growth Fund aims to raise $1 million in 2020, to invest across six critical projects related to expanding the reach and impact of our knowledge and guidance offerings.

By investing in the SeekersGuidance Growth Fund the IMPACT and BENEFIT of your support will be tremendous. Just some of the ways you will help:

Build an Online Learning Arabic Program that will serve at least 100,000 students in the next 3 years.

Tens of thousands of students gain a deep understanding of the Qur’an through the Seekers Qur’anic Literacy Certificate and reach hundreds of thousands–potentially millions– through the Qur’an Tafsir Project and the Qur’an App.

Preserve and spread the beautiful legacy of Syrian and Yemeni traditional Islamic scholarship–characterized by its balance, moderation, and depth–in times when it is urgently needed.

Train high-level scholars to be able to address the critical issues of this age–to give clarity to individuals and communities in otherwise confusing times.

The Seekers Youth Certificate and Seekers Youth Guidance reach thousands of young Muslims around the world–giving clarity and certitude to our children in confusing times.

Give generously to support the Seekers Growth Fund, to help us build the world’s first truly Global Islamic Seminary.

WE NEED YOU TO BE A PART OF THIS GROWTH

No other Islamic project reaches as many people, so consistently, so easily, with such clarity.

THIS IS THE PRESERVATION OF THE PROPHETIC TRADITION.

Please give generously to support the Seekers Growth Fund, to help us build the world’s first truly Global Islamic Seminary.

You can also mail cheques to:

SeekersGuidance Inc.
PO BOX 261
Washington, United States
99004

The Seekers Growth Fund also accepts charitable loans (qard hasan). To set this up, please email [email protected]

Jazakum Allah khayr.

 

Reliance of the Traveller (Umdat al-Salik) | 10-Month Intermediate Course in Shafi’i Fiqh (Arabic Only) | دورة في الفقه الشافعي للمتوسطين لمدة ١٠ أشهر

In the Name of Allah, Merciful and Compassionate, with blessings and peace upon our Master Muhammad, his folk, and companions,

Attention to all interested students, Shaykh Dr. Mohammed Badhib will be teaching:

عمدة السالك وعدّة الناسك | Umdat Al-Salik Wa ‘Uddat Al-Nasik

Reliance of the Traveller

Class Format:

  • Two live classes per week, 1.5 hours each
  • This class will run for approximately 10 months

Timings:

  • Wednesdays at 8:30pm (GMT +3 | Makkah)
  • Saturdays at 8:30pm (GMT +3 | Makkah)

First class will begin Wednesday, March 25th.  Click here to convert to your timezone.

Location:

  • This class will be offered online only via Zoom

Purpose and Conditions for This Class:

To study an intermediate text which covers the main chapters of fiqh which has the relied upon opinions of the Shafi’i school. The prerequisite for joining this class is that the student has covered at least the following texts or their equivalent:

  • Safina Al-Naja’ (سفينة النجاء)
  • Al-Muqaddima Al-Hadramiyya (المقدمة الحضرمية) with experience reading from one of its commentaries such as Bushra Al-Karim (بشرى الكريم)
  • Al-Yaqut Al-Nafis (الياقوت النفيس)

Students are expected to attend live, or to follow the recordings.

Language of Instruction:

This course will only be offered in Arabic with no English translation.

Cost:

  • Free; all SeekersGuidance programs and courses are completely free

Extra Notes:

  • Preparation, participation, questions, and doing recommended readings is expected. There will be an online forum for questions, discussion, and for related texts, and resources.

Even though this class is completely free, students are expected to apply for the course and will need to be approved by the SeekersGuidance Academy team.

Introducing The Centre for Arabic Manuscript Verification and Editing – Istanbul, Turkey

By Shaykh Mahmoud Masri

SeekersGuidance launched The Centre for Arabic Manuscript Verification and Editing in January 2020, in partnership with  the Fatih Sultan Mehmet University Research Centre, ISAM – Centre of Islamic Studies, and the Institute of Arabic Manuscripts. The purpose of this is to contribute to the revival of Islamic scholarship, through training scholars and academics to properly edit and publicize our great heritage of manuscripts (makhtutat).

The Centre for Arabic Manuscript Verification and Editing trains researchers, students and scholars in the science of manuscript verification,  editing and publication through structured courses. It is hoped that this will set a precedent of collaboration among institutions, and lead to further development of this critical science.

The Importance of Manuscript Editing

The importance of this science has largely been neglected in our community–especially in parts of the Islamic world that host the largest and richest collection of historical Arabic manuscripts. There are at least six million unique manuscripts that have been identified across the Islamic world.

Only about 10% of these manuscripts have been published–and, sadly, most of those haven’t been published reliably.

The vast majority of this great heritage remains unknown and unserved.

Reviving this science of manuscript editing will allow us to take these great works of Islamic scholarship from the dark storage rooms into the light of publication, thereby providing scholars deeper understanding and insight of our rich scholarly tradition–and contributing to the revival and renewal of Islamic scholarship.

Manuscript Editing Requires Careful Training

It’s worth mentioning that without proper training in this science, we run the risk of publishing works that are unreliable, as we have seen in the past.

Scholars and academics alike have reported the dire need for the development of strong methodology and process in this field.

Though this work is critical, few organizations have shown interest in this field, making the involvement of an international organization like SeekersGuidance even more visionary.

SeekersGuidance continues to dedicate itself to preserving and disseminating traditional Islamic guidance in conformity to our rich intellectual tradition.

A Reflection from a Student of The Centre for Arabic Manuscript Verification and Editing

By Yusuf Ferzan Yüksel

A Historical Perspective

Human beings have made tremendous efforts over thousands of years to record and transfer knowledge from generation to generation. Today in our digital world, we all witness a phenomenal revolution in the ways and tools people use to serve this purpose. Before the digital age, the invention of the printing press opened new horizons before humanity and significantly enhanced our capacity to record and spread knowledge. Regarding the principle that our knowledge accumulates over centuries and we build new information upon all the data that has arrived at us so far, an intriguing question poses itself: “How were we recording and transferring knowledge before the invention of the printing press?” The answer is quite apparent, as thousands of libraries around the world contain millions of manuscripts, that are hand-written works.

From the 7th century until the great Western scientific revolution took place, Muslims were carrying the flag of knowledge and science and thus, they produced millions of manuscripts in every scientific field of research. This enormous legacy we inherited from their centuries-long efforts is not only our legacy as Muslims, but it is also a great part of the accumulation of knowledge and thought created by humanity throughout history. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for us to reach this accumulation and develop healthy relations with it first, then benefit from what it offers to us as a source of knowledge as well as of new perspectives.

Importance of this Science Today

In order to achieve this goal, we need to make critical editions of thousands of manuscripts in various fields, giving priority to the most important ones. It is well known, manuscripts are not like printed books. Since they were copied by hand, they may contain errors or differ from the original work. This necessitates a special process of comparing different copies of the same book so that one could reach an editioned copy which is more likely to be in accordance with the original work. This phase is the most crucial part of the process of studying a manuscript for publishing which is generally called “at-tahqiq”.

Recent Efforts to Reconnect to Our Manuscript Heritage 

Even though there is an increasing interest in our legacy of manuscripts in the last decades, we still have a long road to reveal the real dimensions of this hidden treasure. Realizing the need for more experts in this field, some foundations have started to organize “tahqiq” courses. ISAM (Centre for Islamic Studies) is the most prominent foundation in Turkey in organizing these courses. Between the years 2013 and 2018 they organized 25 international “tahqiq” courses at different levels. Since 2018, it ISAM has shared its experience by organizing “tahqiq” courses in cooperation with important educational institutions in Turkey, such us Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University and Ibn Haldun University.

International Cooperation to Train Researchers

The most recent “tahqiq” course organized by ISAM was held in Uskudar/Istanbul last month offering two different levels: Basic and Advanced Levels. The course was organized in cooperation with Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University, SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary (Nuru’l-huda) and the Egyptian Arabic Manuscripts Institute.

Through these strategic partnerships, this time, they were able to gather experts from multiple countries such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and Turkey; not to mention the 60+ participants from around the world.

As an Islamic Studies researcher, I highly value these opportunities. Since September of 2019, I have been able to participate in both basic and advanced levels of the “tahqiq” program. These courses have given me the tools to explore and enter the fascinating world of manuscripts. I have had a chance to learn key aspects of the “tahqiq” process from experienced experts such as Mahmud al-Masri (SeekersGuidance/ Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University), Hamza al-Bakri (Ibn Haldun University), Hasan Othman (Umm al-Qura University-Mecca) and Faisal al-Hafyan (the Egyptian Arabic Manuscripts Institute).

I strongly encourage researchers in Islamic/religious studies, comparative literature studies, historical studies, and Middle Eastern Studies to benefit from such services and not to miss the next “tahqiq” course. I pray that the interest in our manuscripts legacy increases over time, and leads to a deeper understanding of our tradition. May Allah, Most High, reward everyone that has been involved with these programs with either his/her time, money, knowledge or thought.

For more information about our work in Istanbul and the newly launched Dar al Fuqaha Seminary click here.

The Necessity of Islamic Institutions in the Modern Age – Imam Khalid Latif

The Need

“With modernity, people lose a depth of perspective that you can only see in one direction, either outward or inward… we’re supposed to be people who can see in both directions.”

Qualified Teachers

“Where you move from having somebody who is just a professor to a teacher: that they embody a sense of ethics, a sense of values, that you’re able to now recognize that they’re not just talking at you, but they live what it is that they’re inviting you towards.”

Traditional Learning

“You build and you grow and you increase through a systematized method of learning because it has an ends—that is not just about the learning itself but what the learning brings you towards and what it allows for you to do.”

Scale

“But the beauty of light is that it just takes a little bit of it to push away darkness.”

Global Impact

“You have men and women like those who run this facility… people have come up to me and mentioned them by name, saying that if not for them and what it is that they speak about and what it is that they give us access to and what it is that they teach us about religion—in countries where religion is heavily corporatized—I wouldn’t know how to deal with the depression that I had that was bringing me to a place where I was thinking of ending my life in this world, because I couldn’t find any way of getting out of it until I learned about God through a different prism.”

“They help us to deal with the challenges that our students bring us, our community brings us every day, rooted in realities that require us to see what it was that we were taught through a different prism through a different perspective. That’s the kind of work you’re being invited to support today; those are the kind of individuals who are building institutions that are set to live much much more beyond them… but where you have benefited become the means through which others can benefit, and to allow and understand for yourself that the house of God, the path of God, the book of God, anything that is qualified of God, is meant to not draw attentiveness to it but to draw attention towards God.”

Beautiful Facility

“You can come to places and spaces like this, and you walk into it and the remembrance of God is not something that gets forced upon you but you just feel it all around you. I walked in the SeekersGuidance facility today—and it was the first time that I’ve ever been in it—and every part of it just made me feel a familiarity and a recognition that turned me towards the Divine. There’s not a lot of places like that, especially in the world that we live in today. And it’s a testament to those who built it, but also those who frequent it. And what you have is unique, but you have to care for it, and you have to build it and grow it, so that it reaches beyond what even you can imagine it to become.”

 

Donate at SeekersGuidance 

Announcing the SeekersGuidance Youth Certificate

Two Year Specialization in Hanafi Fiqh

Attention to all interested students. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani will be teaching:

 

Dars al-Tanwir al-Absar wa Ifadat al-Anwar

 (A Two Year Specialization in Hanafi Fiqh)

In the Name of Allah, Merciful and Compassionate, with blessings and peace upon our Master Muhammad, his folk, and companions

  1. Imam Tumurtashi’s Tanwir, with extensive readings in Haskafi’s Durr
    al-Mukhtar and Ibn Abidin’s Radd al-Muhtar;
  2. Imam Haskafi’s Ifadat al-Anwar Sharh al-Manar, in intermediate Hanafi
    usul, with extensive readings from Ibn Abidin’s Nasamat al-Ashar.
  3. Later, we will cover Ibn Abidin’s Sharh Uqud Rasm al-Mufti, and
  4. Select readings from Ibn Nujaym’s al-Ashbah wa’l Nadha’ir.

Class Format

Two live classes per week, 2.5 hours each. Students are expected to attend live, or to follow the recordings.

Preparation, participation, questions, and doing recommended readings is expected.

There will be an online forum for questions, discussion, and for related texts, and resources. The pdf of the commentary, and other important works will be provided.

Purpose of the Class

The goal of the class is to begin the journey of gaining mastery of the fiqh details of the Hanafi school.

We will study the meta-matn (Tanwir al-Absar) that is the basis of the central commentary for legal details (al-Durr al-Mukhtar) in the later Hanafi school–and for the central work for the fatwa positions of the Hanafi school
(Radd al-Muhtar).

We define “mastery” as thorough understanding of the text itself, its legal reasoning, and key details. Fiqh is deep knowledge, with understanding of nuances and implications.

The purpose in this mastery is to seek the pleasure of Allah, through benefiting oneself and others by preserving, acting upon, and transmitting this noble Prophetic inheritance in ways that assist others in seeking the pleasure of Allah by following Divine Guidance with conviction and clarity.

The means to mastery would be through understanding of eight matters related
to the text:

  1. Tawdih (clarification of the text, in expression and indication)
  2. Taqyid (conditioning the text, where essential conditions are needed)
  3. Tafsil (detailing the text, where essential details are needed)
  4. Taswir (describing the text’s issues, through practical examples)
  5. Taq`id (clarifying the legal principles the text’s issues are based on or entail)
  6. Tafri` (important derived rulings, classical and contemporary, that serious
    seekers must know)
  7. Ta`lil (understanding legal reasoning and wisdom underlying text’s rulings)
  8. Tadlil (understanding the legal proofs for the rulings of the text)

Conditions for Joining the Class

This is an upper-intermediate to advanced class in Hanafi fiqh. Students need to have completed at least two complete works in all chapters of Hanafi fiqh, including at least one intermediate-level commentary (such as Sharh al-Wiqaya, or the Ikhtiyar, or Hidaya, or similar), with understanding.

Student Expectations

The expectations from the students would be to:

  1. Prepare for the class, by [a] thorough reading of the matn; [b] careful reading of the commentary–with focus on the legal details and reasoning mentioned in the commentary; [c] preparing properly thought-out questions related to the text and its implications. It is encouraged, especially for more advanced students, to research key issues in the reference works and commentaries. (This is not an expectation. Students are welcome to email the instructor for advice on this.)
  2. Attend the class, with [a] attentiveness, through cutting out distractions (no surfing, messaging, texting, etc); [b] participation when the instructor asks questions; [c] asking questions, from their preparation or from things unclear in the text or the instructor’s explanations.
  3. Review of the class notes and text. Research of issues that arise is encouraged, and asking questions regarding things that remain unclear is essential. The more you can keep reviewing the text (especially the matn), the better. Test yourself, by checking whether you remember the key details. Diagramming the text helps.
  4. Take notes. It is best to write out the matn itself, and essentials from the commentary (such as the key details and reasoning). This is also good Arabic writing practice.
  5. Participate in the Class Forum by asking questions, sharing issues of benefit, and getting involved in the relevant discussions, with the proper manners of a keen seeker of knowledge (talib `ilm).
  6. Seek Allah’s assistance, make this a means of seeking His pleasure, have high secondary intentions of acting upon what you learn with excellence, preserving and transmitting Prophetic guidance, to benefit yourself and to benefit others, and to gain all the benefits mentioned by Allah and the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) for those who seek and transmit sacred knowledge for the sake of Allah.

 

And Allah alone gives success.
Faraz Rabbani


All interested students who wish to take this class need to fill out a brief application by clicking here.