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.

 

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.

A Simple Resolution: Creating Safe Spaces Within Our Communities – Saad Razi Shaikh

It is upon each one of us, to be a source of strength and mercy, to ourselves, and to our fellow believers.

Watching a kid pick up a new sport is fun. Watching an adult pick up a new sport is even more fun. I understood the latter, when I first started playing table tennis, well past my childhood. In the beginning, I struggled to place the ball, and myself around the table. But eventually the effort paid off and I found my groove.

Cut to the present, when again in a later initiation of sorts, I began to learn a new language. Was I late to the party? Surely not, but every time I struggled to find the right words, I was reminded again of the familiar sensation. Of being somewhere near to both excitement and shame.

This is not a unique situation. All of us, at different times have experienced the joy and anxiety that comes with diving into something new. There are niggling doubts to be placated in one’s own mind. Then there is the consciousness of how we would be perceived by others.

Even after a person has made up his mind to switch from place to the next, there is a zone of uncertainty in between the two. One wrong push, from the self, or from others at this point can derail the person. So even a person about to set upon the right track, can fall remiss.

This is where how we build our communities, how we respond to the journeys of others, different than ours, comes into picture. How often do we fall short in our husn al – thann for others? How often do we jump the gun, and refuse to provide second chances (https://seekersguidance.org/articles/general-artices/making-70-excuses-for-others-in-islam-a-key-duty-of-brotherhood/) to others? Are our mosques, our community centres, our hearts, are they the safe spaces we urgently need? Are our spaces inviting, as opposed to being intimidating? And to those of us in transitions, as often we are in life, are the spaces facilitative of our change for the better?

Safe zones enable meaningful transitions. We veer naturally towards them, even if we don’t realize their importance. This is where the catch is. If the congregation is not the safe space the person requires, he or she may just drift away to a place that’s more understanding. And that other place may just spell the doom of their akhirah.

A person may be battling personal traumas or just general confusion regarding the world. Community has to be the enabling space for them to set their compasses right. If not, both the individual and the community lose out. The task to remedy this is confined not just to community leaders. It is upon each one of us, to be a source of strength and mercy, to ourselves, and to our fellow believers.


Saad Razi Shaikh is an Indian journalist based in Istanbul. He writes on popular culture and community initiatives.


 

 

Watch Imam Khalid Latif: Give Your Zakat to the Islamic Scholars Fund Before Year-End.

Thank you for making 2019 a year in which you made a difference by so generously giving and supporting the work we do at SeekersGuidance.

With just a few days left in the year, please consider building on the profound impact you’ve made in 2019 with a Zakat donation that helps scholars and students of knowledge in need.

Prefer Click Here

Prefer Click Here

Imam Khalid Latif speaks from the heart on the Islamic Scholars Fund:

  • He reiterates how so many people around the world have benefited from the work of SeekersGuidance.
  • He tells us how scholars are sacrificing their lives and their time, in order to give us the knowledge we need to live.
  • He’s seen these very scholars often working in refugee camps and war zones, or closer to home, luminaries of our tradition who are working at gas stations or driving cabs just to make ends meet.
  • He reminds us that if we knew what they possess in knowledge, we would flock to them, but they don’t have the support system they are deserving of.
  • The Islamic Scholars Fund plays such a critical role in supporting these individuals, through whom we will continue to draw close to our Creator.
  • They are the ones who will also cultivate a new generation of scholars who will carry this critical mission forward for our next generations.
  • They are the ones who won’t let us forget what we have in this religion.

Help us raise $500,000 by years end to support the most deserving and needy scholars, as well as students of knowledge around the world – young men and women who are devoting their lives to help keep the torch of the Prophetic tradition alive.

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Allah does not lift sacred knowledge by removing it from the hearts of people. Rather, He lifts it through the death of scholars—until only the ignorant remain, confused and confusing others.”

Can We Count on Your Help Today?

Prefer Click Here

Prefer Click Here

Prefer Click Here

Will you continue to support your passionate community of people who are changing lives by making Islamic Knowledge accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world, completely FREE of charge?

 

SeekersGuidance is 501(c)(3) registered Not for Profit. Donations are tax-deductible in the USA.

Shaykh Faraz Asks For Your Support of the Islamic Scholars Fund. There Is Still Time Before Year-End.

Prefer Click Here

Prefer Click Here

Thank you for making 2019 a year in which you made a difference by so generously giving and supporting the work we do at SeekersGuidance.

With just a few days left in the year, please consider building on the profound impact you’ve made in 2019 with a Zakat donation that helps scholars and students of knowledge in need.

Help alleviate the confusion, help those looking for guidance and clarity, help those looking to leave our beautiful religion.

If we don’t support our scholars, how will we preserve this gift of our religion?

Let me tell you about the Italian student of knowledge who can’t afford the books he needs, living in a basement without heating, or the Syrian scholar who told me that he can’t afford to pay his Wife’s hospital bills.

Help us raise $500,000 by years end to support the most deserving and needy scholars, as well as students of knowledge around the world – young men and women who are devoting their lives to help keep the torch of the Prophetic tradition alive.

Your Brother, Faraz Rabbani

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Allah does not lift sacred knowledge by removing it from the hearts of people. Rather, He lifts it through the death of scholars—until only the ignorant remain, confused and confusing others.”

Can I Count on Your Help Today?

Prefer Click Here

Prefer Click Here

Prefer Click Here

Will you continue to support your passionate community of people who are changing lives by making Islamic Knowledge accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world, completely FREE of charge?

 

SeekersGuidance is 501(c)(3) registered Not for Profit. Donations are tax-deductible in the USA.

From the Dawn of History – Stories of Light

Join award-winning author Mehded Maryam Sinclair with your family as she takes you on a breath-taking journey through:

  • The Formation of the Universe and Planet Earth
  • The Creation of the First Human
  • The Divinely-Intentioned Establishment of Human Life on Earth
  • The Procession of the Divine Messengers
  • The Fulfillment of the Message in the Prophet Muhammad,
    may Allah bless him and give him peace

Foster in your hearts a true, deep certainty in our Divinely inspired history. Foster in your family a deep bond of shared listenings and meanings.

Register Here

Who is looking out for Muslim converts this Ramadan? Imam Khalid Latif

The convert experience in Islam is one that is tough for many. Muslim communities throughout the world get excited when someone enters into their doors saying they want to accept Islam. There are hugs and laughter and a large uproar – and then everything stops and the convert has to figure out how to move forward on their own. Trying to navigate through the diversity of legal and theological opinion in Islam can be tough enough, but doing so on your own is that much tougher; as is navigating through the cultural diversity that exists in the Muslim community on your own; questioning yourself and wondering what parts of your identity you need to abandon to fit in on your own. I could keep going – but essentially the point is we don’t do a good job in taking care of our converts

That Much Harder For Muslim Converts

I bring this up because Ramadan is just days away and during Ramadan it’s that much harder for a lot of converts. Every Muslim’s family is not Muslim. Every Muslim does not have a family to eat suhoor with or have iftar with. How many iftars have you hosted or attended to which a convert was invited? Or at the end of the month extended an invitation to an Eid celebration to someone who is a convert? Our consciousness doesn’t seem to extend to this place.
I had a young woman tell me once that Ramadan is interesting for her because each year her family offers her food and she tells them she can’t eat it because she’s fasting. They respond by asking, “Oh, you’re still Muslim?” It’s not an experience that her family shares with her.
Another young woman told me her experience fasting during Ramadan was hard because her family wouldn’t accept her Islam. When it came time to eat lunch, her father would put a plate of food in front of her because he refused to acknowledge that she was a Muslim. She was quite torn in deciding what to do and not having a community, or even simply a few people who understood, to turn to made it that much harder.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

A young man mentioned to me that his family had been completely fine with his conversion, but no Muslims really included him in anything. He expected that the local mosque would welcome him in and invite him to things, but he found that if he didn’t make a point of going on his own, no one really asked him to come. No one checked in on him, asked him how he was doing, or if he ever needed anything. During past Ramadans, his mother would call him daily to wake him up for suhoor, which he proceeded to eat on his own and then waited til sunset to break his fast alone as well. He doesn’t seem to think this Ramadan will be any different.
Try to think of who might be observing the month of Ramadan alone this year, not by choice but because there isn’t any other option for them. Make a point to include them in a way that makes sense for them. That might be inviting them to a large gathering or making the time to be with them in a smaller, more intimate atmosphere. Where others have forgotten, let’s make sure we’re remembering to do our part continuously and to the best of our abilities.

Follow Imam Khalid Latif on Facebook.
Photo by Jim Pennucci.