Another Term Completed at the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary – Courses Coming Soon!

In the midst of all the challenges brought forth by the new realities facing us during this global pandemic, the SeekersGuidance Istanbul Team has been working tirelessly to continue bringing life-changing knowledge to students from around the world.

Last week, The SeekersGuidance Istanbul Team finished the second term of lessons at the Dar al Fuqaha Seminary. With the help of technology, we were able to keep students connected to their lessons and teachers, while maintaining best practices during the pandemic. For the safety of our students, term two was held exclusively held online.  Scholars recorded lessons from an empty lecture hall, as students tuned in from home.

 

 

 

 

 

This term, senior scholars including Shaykh Usama Rifai, Shaykh Ismail Majzoob and Dr Mahmoud Masri taught various Islamic sciences including: Fiqh, Hadith, Aqeeda and more!

Keep an eye on our newsletter and social media feeds as we will be releasing the courses online, completely free, for thousands more to benefit shortly.

Interested in registering for a course now? Take a look at our course catalog for over a hundred beneficial courses: seekersguidance.org/courses

A final word — all this is made possible with the help of generous donors like you. Support The Dar al-Fuqaha Seminary and other important projects brought to you by SeekersGuidance. Click here and Donate Today.

The SeekersGuidance Summer 2020 Intensive: Reflections and Testimonials

The SeekersGuidance Summer 2020 Intensive offered three programs of study to serve Muslims with varying needs and concerns. Programs included an Islamic Foundations Program, and Arabic Ijaza Program, as well as a Youth Program.The intensive, originally planned to be held in Istanbul before the pandemic, was adjusted and moved online in order to serve Muslims around the world in this difficult time. With the help of streaming and collaborative technology, we were able to hold daily live lessons with teachers from various countries, while giving students an interactive and immersive learning experience.

Teachers included:

  • Dr. Mahmoud Masri (Turkey)
  • Shaykh Talal Azam (UK)
  • Dr. Abdurrahman Idrissi (Turkey)
  • Shaykh Walead Mosaad (USA)
  • Dr. Faysal Hafian (Egypt)
  • Dr. Nuri Friedlander (USA)
  • Shaykh Yusuf Welch (Canada)
  • and more!

Like all our programs, all this was provided completely free. The response spoke for itself, with over 500 registrations, here’s what some of our students had to say:

“It was a beautiful learning experience. The live sessions allowed for far more interaction with the teachers than expected”

“This is the briefest and probably the most worthwhile experience I have had since Ramadan. It was intensive!”

“I am severely sight impaired and the courses at Seekers Guidance are like light in my life”

“It was insightful to say the least. I enjoyed the program and it taught me many things I didn’t know before”

“Connecting with Scholars from all over the world is in itself a great and life-changing experience”

“Living in Italy, I never had the opportunity or the means to even get a basic Islamic education before, so now I have a much stronger foundation. I also still cannot believe everything is free and state-of-the-art quality. I would urge people to support SeekersGuidance financially, and to make dua for them”

If you missed the summer intensive, don’t worry. Courses will be made available on our website in the coming week!

Meanwhile checkout other great free courses by leading scholars by visiting: seekersguidance.org/course-catalog/

The Beginning is Allah; the End is Allah~ Imam Amin

The Beginning is Allah; the End is with Allah.

Join Safina Society and leading contemporary teachers and scholars in the premiere of the Converts Conference  as we visit essential themes and issues facing the awakened community and how to benefit and enrich the faith within every heart.

Imam Amin  begins our conversations with a moment of reflection. Imam Ghazali in his magnum opus indicates that there are two fundamental aspects ,that if properly understood by the individual would lead them to the purpose of life.   Take a moment and reflect on what is your beginning? and  what then is your End? If you can answer these then you have your purpose at hand. sTherefore,  the ultimate purpose of paradise is not itself , it is Allah.

When you are with Allah, there is no End; and when you start with Allah there is no Beginning.

 

Why knowledge?
The purpose of life is to know Allah. Since knowing Allah is the Ultimate goal, how do we go about this? What then is beneficial knowledge?

It is that which leads you to Allah; that which leads you to realisation of Allah.

everything other than Allah is truly false; and when you understand that you will never get trapped in any other than Allah.

Whatever you imagined ; it is not Allah.
When you are no longer in the forms of words, sounds and imaginations…you are in reality.
Why beneficial knowledge? So that we may possess what we need to fulfil our purpose. We are travelling, on a journey to get back to our location; back to our Lord. It takes knowledge to get there.

everything other than Allah is truly false; and when you understand that you will never get trapped in any other than Allah.

when you have a hard time with worship, good deeds or kindness to others…know that you are cut off from Allah.

Allah commanded Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, in the Quran–” My Lord, Increase me in Knowledge.”
The prophet will teach us, increase us  in knowledge and purify us so that we may receive the gift of a Sound Heart : Qalb Saleem.

Seeking the knowledge of the religion is an obligation on every Muslim.Knowledge is that which is necessary for your existence at your present condition.

What do I need to know right now to get right with Allah?

There are 3 basic  types of knowledge:
1) knowledge of tenets of faith that will help you know Allah — what am I supposed to believe as a Muslim?
because if the belief is firm and established then you will make a connection with Allah
The Prophet (SAW) was asked, which knowledge is superiour? Faith that is not shaky– faith that is firm.
Think of big mountains–do you notice that they do not crumble? but if they are faced with something that is unshakeable.

Your faith needs to be unshakeable

2) The knowledge of how to serve Allah; Islamic Jurisprudence  opens the doors to practice what you learn and strive to fulfil what your personal responsibility is to Allah. Within yourself you need to be One. ‘You need to have a faith that if everything else was gone, I would still stand on La Ilaaha Illallah’, states Imam Amin; for our Lord is truly , ” with you everywhere you go.”

3) Spirituality. This is where  you taste the sweetness of Faith; for faith has a sweetness like nothing else in the world.

All of our sciences lead us to our purpose…to please our Lord.

Why do I marry? I want this person to help me to reach Allah
Why do I have friends? I have friends to help me know Allah
These righteous people have ” no fear and no anguish”; Allah takes care of all of their concerns.

Society has taken  the soul of the religion; and the body without a soul is just a hollow form. We need to put the soul back into the body.

How do we get there?

Knowledge is required by an active process of learning.
Islam is the religion preserved by the relationship based on the framework of the  teacher and student transmission of knowledge.
The one who acquires knowledge comes to the realisation that they have no knowledge to speak of; and humility sets in.

Humility of the heart is to be able to say ‘I do not know’ in its own proper place.’ explains Imam Amin.

for knowledge to transform you need 3 matters:
1) Sources and evidences: ask yourselves where do we get it from? Our primary resources in the whole world are the Quran and Sunnah.
The true wayfarer finds all his sources from the Quran, if you are getting things from somewhere else then you are without.
2)  Now that we have connected to the Quran and the Prophetic Traditions; you need a methodology of how to extract rulings and understandings from these sacred sources.  If you do not have a way, then you will be caught up in opinions.
3) You need someone with the ability and the  divine gifts from Allah to understand the received knowledge.

I’ve learned enough to know that I don’t know anything…knowledge is a journey that never ends.

A student is not a student who doesn’t learn from those who know more than him,  from the  one  equal  in knowledge and the one less  in knowledge.
Traditional learning is defined as the studying with a teacher; so no book without a teacher. The framework set in place, requires a deep respect and love for the way of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Knowledge is vital and ‘ learning is from the cradle to the grave, ‘reminds Shaykh Yahya Rhodus.

We are grateful to Safina Society for this video. Cover Photo by  Al Maaida

 

 

Resources for Seekers:

Worship, Coffee and the Meaning of Life

Habib Hussein Al Saggaf on Beneficial Knowledge and Intentions

Audio & Notes: What is Beneficial Knowledge

How does Islamic knowledge transform us and why?

The Treasure of a Sound Heart, Surat al-Shu’arā’ (verses 83-89)

The Rights of Our Hearts 

On Knowing Yourself to Know God

Keys to Successful Seeking of Islamic Knowledge: Advice from Teachers and Teaching Assistants

Bringing Certainty to the Heart: A Step-by-Step Guide

Who is looking out for Muslim converts this Ramadan?

How Can A Convert Follow A School Of Thought Correctly?

Family Problems, Islamic Support, and Marriage Preparation for Converts

What Role Does Culture Play in Islam?

An Invitation to Support the Islamic Scholars Fund – Imam Khalid Latif

During these times of crisis, many scholars and students have been left without support – and we can’t afford to let this prevent the spread of Prophetic light, guidance and knowledge. 

Imam Khalid Latif explains the Islamic Scholars Fund and the importance of supporting students of knowledge and qualified teachers around the world during the pandemic.

Don’t Let a Faith Pandemic Happen: Support Our Islamic Scholars Fund This Ramadan 

Faith Pandemic

We need your help to raise $1 million in Zakat and Charity to urgently support scholars in need around the world.

There are so many deserving Students and Scholars in need who are struggling to continue to teach their communities.

We ask you to help and support these inheritors to spread this light and guidance, and enable many individuals to have a deeper connection with our creator.

Give your Zakat and Charity to support the Prophetic legacy, increase people’s faith and spiritual growth during the current pandemic.

Supporting Islamic Scholars

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported to have said: “Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.” [Related by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i, Ibn Maja, Ahmad, Ibn Hibban, and others] 

Islamic Scholars Fund

Support the Spread of Sacred Knowledge through the Islamic Scholars Fund this Ramadan, by giving your Zakat and Charity to Help Us Raise $1 Million for Deserving Students and Scholars in Need Around the World. 

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed, and we pray you have a blessed end to Ramadan.

Wasalaam,

Waseem Mahmood
Business Strategy Manager

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

How Does the Islamic Scholars Fund (ISF) Use Your Zakat & Charitable Donations?

SeekersGuidance Confirms that 100% of Zakat & Charity Goes to Support Deserving Scholars and Students Around the World

In the Name of Allah, Merciful and Compassionate

In light of some recent questioning of the disbursement of the Islamic Scholars Fund (ISF) in 2019, SeekersGuidance would like to clarify that 100% of the fundsZakat & Charity–Collected by the Islamic Scholars Fund are disbursed to Eligible Scholars and Students on a regular monthly basis.

How Does the Islamic Scholars Fund Work?

Islamic Scholars Fund

seekersguidance application process

The following is a clarification from our Finance Coordinator, Faizan Rehman [CPA]:

Clarification from the SeekersGuidance Finance Coordinator: 100% of Islamic Scholars Fund Contributions

Go To Eligible Scholars and Students

Assalamu alaikum,

We can confirm that SeekersGuidance Inc is a US-registered 501(c)3 and our accounts are publicly disclosed along with our annual IRS filings. 

In Fiscal 2019 we raised over US$400,000 for the Islamic Scholars Fund and all of these were disbursed. 

We also confirm that 100% of the funds collected by SeekersGuidance for the Islamic Scholars Fund were disbursed to approved and eligible scholars or students of knowledge–less credit card processing charges.

We also have appointed an independent external accounting firm, C&A Financials, who is led by professional CPAs; they review our financial statements before filing to the IRS.

Our 2019 Financials will soon be available to all after IRS filings.  If there are any queries, please don’t hesitate to email me at: [email protected].

We can also put you in contact with our external accountant.

Wassalam,

Faizan Rehman, CPA, BSc(Hon) 

Finance Coordinator

Seekers Guidance Inc.
[email protected]

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Faith Pandemic

Support Seekers Spread Clarity in Confusing Times with Shaykh Abdul Rahim Reasat

Spread clarity in confusing times

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SUPPORT OUR GLOBAL ISLAMIC SEMINARY

SPREAD CLARITY IN CONFUSING TIMES:  SUPPORT SEEKERS SPREAD THE LIGHT OF GUIDANCE 

Help us raise $1,000,000 this Ramadan to reach one million students in our online courses.

With your support, SeekersGuidance has served over 250,000 students in our online courses so far. In 2019 alone, we have served almost 4 million unique visitors to our website.

However, in these testing times, the need to spread clarity and guidance is even more critical. Your support will help us reach 1 million students and tens of millions of visitors – so they can gain clarity and certitude in these confusing times. 

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why support Seekers Guidance

Give now to our #SpreadClarityNow campaign, to spread clarity and guidance when it’s needed the most. You can support our Seekers Growth Fund in TWO ways

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No other Islamic Seminary reaches as many people, so consistently, so easily, with such clarity, so imagine how much greater that impact could be if we are able to increase this capacity.

“The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain that sprouts seven ears, each bearing one hundred grains. And Allah multiplies for whomever He wills. Truly, Allah is All-Bountiful, All-Knowing.” (Qur’an, 2:261)

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for everything you have contributed.

Wasalaam,

The Development Team

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary

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

The Ramadan Reader: A Guide to Fasting, Prayer, Qur’an, and Spirituality in the Month of Ramadan

A Practical Guide to Fasting, Prayer, Qur’an, and Spirituality in the Month of Ramadan

 

Fasting:

 

Prayer

 

Qur’an

 

Works of the Heart

 

See also

SeekersGuidance Launches the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary in Istanbul

The Dar al Fuqaha Seminary In Istanbul

In Partnership with the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University — and Classes Begin

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate 

For a number of years, SeekersGuidance has been supporting displaced Syrian scholars based in Istanbul (Turkey) through the Islamic Scholars Fund. 

This support has enabled them to dedicate themselves to teaching and spreading balanced, mainstream Islamic knowledge and guidance in a dignified manner.

However, our senior scholars felt there was still a clear gap: these scholars were dispersed across Istanbul and neighbouring areas—and it was difficult for students of knowledge to access them, and to have a clear program of traditional Islamic studies.

The Next Step: The Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary Launches—and Begins with Hundreds of Students

To address this, Dr. Mahmud Masri, our Senior Academic Advisor, proposed the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary, and the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University embraced the proposal and partnered with SeekersGuidance in January 2020 to launch this visionary program.

The Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary connects leading mainstream, traditionally-trained senior scholars with students of Islamic knowledge from around the world, completely free—at the beautiful Ottoman Madrasa, the Yenikapi Mevlevihanesi, founded over 420 years ago.

Launch of the Ijaza Program

Classes began on January 25, 2020, the Ijaza Program began with 15 weekly classes—each at the maximum 100-student capacity—with leading scholars including Shaykh Usama al-Rifa’i, Shaykh Khalid Kharsa, Shaykh Ismail Majdhub, Dr. Mahmud Masri, and many others. 

This program is meant to revive the classical system of scholarly authorization (ijaza) in a meaningful way: students who complete a text, or level of study, or program with understanding and mastery will receive specific scholarly authorization (ijaza) in what they have completed.

The Specialization in Islamic Law and Method

These classes—in a wide range of classical Islamic studies disciplines—will culminate in a Specialization in Islamic Law and Method (Takhassus fi’l Fiqh wa’l Usul). Details of the current weekly schedule and the Specialization can be found below.

The goal of this Specialization in Islamic Law is to produce scholars who can address the critical challenges facing Muslims and humanity in our times—through deep training in both classical texts and contemporary issues, under-trained, qualified specialist scholars.

These classes are open to students from across the world. Already, there are students from several dozen countries attending the Ijaza Program—despite it not being widely announced yet. Alhamdulillah.

The Dar al Fuqaha Seminary In Istanbul

The Launch Ceremony

At the launch ceremony in mid-January, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (founder and Executive Director of SeekersGuidance) emphasized that this Dar al-Fuqaha’ Seminary, and the Ijaza Program seeks to connect seekers of knowledge with leading mainstream, trained scholars, through the system of direct study (talaqqi) that is the key to recognize traditional Islamic learning. 

He stated that the hope and aspiration is that the Specialization in Islamic Law and Method will facilitate the transfer of the Prophetic inheritance that these leading scholars have to a new generation of upcoming scholars—around the world—who will be able to uphold, live, and transmit this life-giving Prophetic legacy, and spread knowledge, guidance, and good.

Abdüs Samet Koçak, representing the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University, made clear the esteemed institution’s commitment to facilitate the success of this globally-impactful project, as part of fulfilling its own vision of being a leading institution of higher learning.

Dr. Mahmud Masri introduced the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Seminary project, as a collaboration of SeekersGuidance and the Sultan Mehmet Fatih Waqf University

He explained why the classes were beginning under the title of the Ijaza Program (Dawrat al-Ijaza). The point of Islamic knowledge isn’t scholarly authorization (ijaza). Neither the scholars teaching nor the students are in this program for mere authorization. Rather, the purpose of Islamic knowledge is drawing closer to Allah, through seeking and spreading the good, for oneself and others. 

However, the ijaza system requires revival as part of the revival of traditional Islamic studies—through rigorous curricula of Islamic studies, with high standards, and careful, conditional granting of qualified authorizations that can be trusted and relied upon.

Dr. Mahmud explained the full Specialization in Islamic Law and Method, with its stages and levels. You can read its details below. This is, insha’Allah, a truly Ummatically-impactful project.

Shaykh Usama al-Rifa’i and Shaykh Isma’il Majdhub Emphasize Mastery, Roundedness, Sincerity, and Truly Benefiting From One’s Teachers

Two of the seniormost scholars in the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Seminary, Shaykh Usama al-Rifa’i and Shaykh Ismail Majdhub spoke about their great joy at the launch of this project.

They both highlighted how “ijazas” (scholarly authorizations) have become in danger of losing their significance—with people giving and receiving “baraka ijazas” or ijazas without complete, rigorous study and training under qualified scholars. 

Thus, a revival of sound scholarly authorizations that are (1) through rigorous, complete study; (2) limited to the text or level of study completed; and (3) demonstrated uprightness of the one receiving the authorization is a significant step forward.

These senior scholars reminded students of the need to (1) take their studies seriously and to strive towards mastery; (2) to have well-rounded study of all components of a complete curriculum of Islamic studies; (3) to ensure that their knowledge is sought sincerely for the sake of Allah; and (4) to make the most of the opportunity of direct benefit from their teachers’ example and wisdom.

Classes Began on January 25, 2020, With 15 Classes—All At Capacity

By the grace of Allah Most High, the Ijaza Program of the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary began on January 25, 2020, with 15 weekly classes. Every class is at the (100-student) capacity. Over 400 students—Turkish, Syrian, Western, and other—had applied. Already, it is clear that this program is addressing a critical need, both locally and globally.

All these classes are being recorded. These classes will be offered as complete online courses through the SeekersGuidance Arabiyya (Nur al-Huda) online portal, insha’Allah.

“I have spent over five years studying in Istanbul, but I haven’t found any opportunity that offers the level of scholarship that Dar al-Fuqaha offers.” said a student from Italy.

“This is an Ummatically-impactful project,” said Shaykh Mumin al-Annan (Syrian scholar, now in Sweden).

This program is open to both men and women, and over 40% of the students are women.

“Whoever pursues a path seeking knowledge therein, Allah facilitates for them a path to Paradise,” said the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). 

We ask Allah Most High that the Dar al-Fuqaha’ Islamic Seminary be a means of His facilitating a clear path of seeking and spreading such knowledge—for seekers everywhere—and a part of a global revival of the light of Prophetic guidance, in an authentic, relevant, merciful, balanced, transformative manner.

The Dar al Fuqaha Seminary In Istanbul

The Summer Program: the Ijaza Intensive

This Summer, SeekersGuidance has announced the Summer Ijaza Intensive—one of three Summer Intensive Programs in Istanbul. 

Already, several hundred students have applied, to study classical Islamic texts in Arabic, at various levels, directly with trained, authorized traditional Islamic scholars. This program, like all SeekersGuidance offerings, is provided completely free—as part of our Knowledge Without Barriers commitment and ethos. 

In total, almost 2000 students (yes, almost 2000) have applied for the three Summer Intensive Programs. You can still apply, till the end of February.

These programs are supported through the SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund—which you can support through your zakat and charity and help support the scholars and students who will preserve, revive, and spread the light of Prophetic guidance across the world, now and in upcoming generations. 

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

Knowledge Without Barriers: A Heartbreaking Story About A Student in Need

I just wanted to share a quick story that reflects the importance and blessings of SeekersGuidance and the Knowledge Without Barriers initiative.

This is a short story about one of the sharpest students in our class, who always looked exhausted. Every half an hour or so, he would stand so that he wouldn’t doze off in class.

Every chance he got, he would ask me about the ‘ulema in Pakistan and Canada. He would lament about the state of his people but was hopeful that one day they would reclaim the legacy of the likes of Imam Bukhari, Baha’udin Naqshaband and Imam Tirmidhi.

One morning, I saw him sitting on a bench outside the masjid waiting for Fajr to come in. As I greeted him and saw the exhaustion on his face, I wondered how many nights he had spent on a park bench, and if that was the reason he was always so tired… That was also the last day I saw him in class, he stopped attending.

I ran into him today, and asked him where he’s been… He smiled and said he’s been attending a reading of Sahih al Bukhari. I asked him when he’ll be returning to class… Sadly, he informed me that he wouldn’t be able to, and that he plans to start at another mahad(institution). Why? I asked, ‘this mahad is known to have a much better program and teachers’… He looked down and said ‘I know, but its too much money.’ I asked, how much? ‘200 lira per month ($35 USD), but the other one I can study for free.’ I told him not to worry, let’s figure something out’, he just smiled and said ‘it’s difficult.’

Often times I hear people referring to programs that cost thousands of dollars. It’s not a lot of money! If people really valued knowledge they’d make it a priority!

This brother left his country to seek knowledge, he likely often sleeps on a park bench, doesn’t own a cell phone.. $35/month is his barrier to entry… $35/month. We may lose a future ‘Alim, one who shows deep concern for the umma, loves the ‘ulema and the tradition, and is more than capable, for just $35/month.

Knowledge Without Barriers is critical.

Seven Muslim Scholars on How to Survive Ramadan and Make The Most of It

The blessed month is upon us but are you dreading the long days without food or drink and the sleep disruption? You’re not alone. This timely seminar has loads of tips and lessons on how to prepare, receive and make the most of Ramadan.

Talks by Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd Allah, Habib Umar bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf and Habib Mohammed Al-Saggaf

Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf

Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Dr. Umar Faruq Abd Allah

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

Imam Zaid Shakir

Habib Mohammed Al-Saggaf

Ustadh Amjad Tarsin (Q&A)

 

Cover photo by yeowatzup.