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The Struggles and Concerns of Sincere Seekers – Video and Notes from the Student Assembly

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Term 3 at SeekersGuidance kicked off with a brilliant student assembly on Saturday, September 7th EST. Read more and watch the recordings below.
Knowledge is About Struggle
Dean of Academics, Shaykh Rami Nsour, shared some gems on the need for struggle in pursuing knowledge.
“As a seeker, whether you’re just beginning your journey
or whether you’re continuing on your journey,
whether this is your first exposure to studying with us at SeekersGuidance,
whether you’re a returning student,
whether you’ll continue to study with us at SeekersGuidance or
whether you’ll continue on study overseas with someone locally,
as long as you are a seeker of knowledge, realize that there will be struggles.”

The Concern of Sincere Seekers of Knowledge
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Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Founder and Executive Director of SeekersGuidance, then shared some priceless and inspiring stories of his teachers and fellow seekers and their commitment to seeking knowledge.
“This is the Prophetic Inheritance. When we’re connecting with it, this is what will give you life, and is the means for the true life, the spiritual life: living under the light of Allah subhanaHu wa ta’ala.”
The six concerns of sincere seekers mentioned by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani were:
1. Commitment to Knowledge – A story from Shaykh Adib Kallas, reading his books in the dark except for the light of the smallest lantern
2. Living the Knowledge gained – A story from Shaykh Abd al-Rahman al-Shaghouri, despite being bed-ridden, insisting on giving his guests their due rights
3. Consistancy in Knowledge – Shaykh Nuh Keller, who in 15 years of study only missed 2 classes of hadith with his teacher
4. Concern and dedication to knowledge – Mufti Mahmoud Ashraf who despite being advised to rest from reading, when given a book he had not read before he excitedly kept it under his pillow for reading
5. Walk with knowledge –Shaykh Muhammad Qaylish, who would constantly recite the poetry of Ilm even when walking in the marketplace
6. True commitment – Shaykh Isam Eido states “A student of knowledge who studies for less than 10 hours a day is not REALLY a student of knowledge.”
A question and answer session followed.
Watch here:

Seek, Act and Strive – Advice from Habib Ali Al-Jifri for Seekers of Knowledge

“The blessing that Allah Most High has sent to you all (SeekersHub Global students) is an immense one – that He created for you those whom you can take sacred knowledge from through a continuous chain of narration so that you are confident of its authenticity. With respect to its transmission– its understanding, and its ability to purify the soul, with excellent delivery, coordination, organization, and gradualness in learning– Through the hearts of those teachers, some whom I know many good things of from their inner purity and their love to do good.
And for this I ask Allah, mighty and majestic to make hearts feel the meaning of truly beholding this favour of Allah, how he placed this favour in a certain time and place in which it is perhaps difficult to otherwise enjoy this opportunity to learn.
1-habib_aliFirst Advice
The first possible thing that a seeker of knowledge should begin with in this situation of learning and discipleship is to strive to feel the immense bounty, to behold the immense bounty of Allah Mighty and Majestic to extoll his immense bounty. You should extract the essence of praise and thankfulness, from within the heart, with verbal praise and an active thankfulness. Verbal praise being the glorification of Allah and be continuous in the glorification of Allah. And show thankfulness for the fact that He allowed us to praise him.
Active thankfulness is by taking advantage of the opportunity that exists in a place like (SeekersHub Global)
Allah says “If you show thankfulness, then we will certainly give increase to you.”
So from the tools, or, from the important things one can do to protect this blessing, is that the servant who has been blessed should act according to the gratitude due, to the extent of their ability. And from the active thankfulness that is due in this situation is to have high aspiration.
Aspire to organize oneself for real commitment, then value the time that has been spent for the sake of the student. The Shaykh or the teacher that teaches you has sacrificed a great deal of time in the preparation of each lesson, in making the lesson ready, then in teaching that lesson, then in the research put into this lesson for your sake… this time is precious because the most valuable thing the scholars have is their time. So if they put in all this time for your sake, then it is befitting that you show thanks to Allah in a proactive way and realize the value of this time and prepare in advance of each lesson and do extra readings before each lesson then after that, when you attend the lesson, our entire being should listen attentively. You should have complete focus while keeping the correct intention for this act at the forefront of your mind.
Then after each lesson, go back and memorize and review. Make sure you’ve understood everything correctly, verify what you’ve understood from the explanation if you aren’t sure that you’ve understood anything correctly. And acting upon that knowledge, which is the second point.
Be actively thankful:
1. Give thanks to Allah proactively
2. Prepare for your classes in advance
3. Do extra reading before each lesson
4. Do extra reading after each lesson
5. Listen attentively
6. Focus
7. Correct intention in the forefront of your mind

The Second Advice
The first point was approaching learning properly, with the tools of learning. Now the second point is to act upon what you learn.
Our teacher used to say to us, “Knowledge calls out to action, if action will respond to it, and if not, then knowledge leaves.” So the memorization of knowledge, or preserving it in the soul of the seeker of knowledge after correcting ones intention, is pledged upon by acting on that knowledge.
To be keen on acting on what you learn, then, be keen on teaching others. Those people who have children or a wife, or a husband, or they have friends or siblings at home. Or whoever is around them. Every one of you should be keen that when you learn a single point, that you should teach it.
“The best amongst you are those who learned the Qur’an, and then teach it.” (Hadith) Then bring forth, from Allah Mighty and Majestic, the essence of connectedness to the prophetic Muhammadan standard of noble character. This knowledge is the knowledge of the True way, the knowledge of Islam. It is a great light. It is not just the letters read in the books and memorized and explained.
These letters are but forms, but these forms have no intrinsic value, they are dead, when no light is put into them, if no spirit is breathed into them. And its spirit is the fruit of genuineness in acting upon it and adorning oneself with the prophetic character traits when you act upon it.
Knowledge into action:
1. Act
2. Teach
3. Live the Prophetic Standard

Further Advice
Instill brotherhood between yourselves; do not become busied when you interact with one another, by other than the matter for which you all originally came for. Live the prophetic manner in your interactions; between the young men amongst each other, and the young women amongst each other, and between the man and woman. It is important for each person in ensure that they see everyone else as though they are their brothers and sisters. And that it is a duty to be concerned for them, and to be protective of them and to watch over them and to pray for them, and feel for them, for their problems, for what happens in their lives and to extend a helping hand in a way that is appropriate.
If anyone is in need of help, he should be supported. You should feel as though you are one body, the likeness of the believers in their affection for each other, and mercy for each other, and feelings for each other is like a single body. If a single limb complains, the rest of the body expresses fever and sleeplessness. This is what the beloved (upon him be peace) said.
Knowledge is the inheritance of our master Muhammed (Upon him be peace)
Also, each seeker of knowledge amongst you all should strive to have the understanding, the experiencing and realizing of what? Of the fact this this knowledge is the inheritance of our master Muhammed (upon him be peace) and the transfer of inheritance is always according to the relationship with the one who it is inherited from. It is not possible for anyone to inherit from another person if there is no relationship between them. So there should be a strong relationship of the heart between every one of you and the Beloved Prophet (upon him be peace) to the utmost extent possible. Established through love, attachment, and sending plenty of prayers upon him. Be guided by his guidance and hold steadfast to his Sunnah (life example). And to look at all of creation the way he looked at it – with the eye of mercy. Mercy for the lover, and the hater, for the one who does good, for the one who does bad, for the one who is friendly, and for the one who is hostile. Think the best of those who are around you. This is strength that is supported by him to the extent of the connection and love for his noble person. For truly these are key, if only you grasp them, the realities of knowledge would become manifest to you and the fruits of knowledge and Allah Most High’s benefiting you.
I ask Allah, for myself, and for you all, for perfect divinely-gifted ability.
Indeed His is One who is the one takes care of that, and is All Able to grant it.
May the peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammed, and his family and companions.
And all praise be to Allah, Lord of all the worlds of being.”


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Seek Knowledge with our FREE Online Courses

Take one of our FREE online courses this term with SeekersHub

Seeking knowledge is one of the surest best ways of drawing closer to Allah, and finding Divine assistance in one’s life & religion. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whomever Allah wishes well for, He grants deep understanding of religion.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
free online coursesHelp us Spread the Word
1. Encourage friends and family to take the courses. Email them, and try to give a personalized recommendation. Please share this blog on social media.
2. Become a SeekersHub Online Ambassador on Facebook: SeekersHub Online Ambassadors.
The goal of this group is to educate our peers about SeekersHub events through social media. Members are encouraged to share more ideas to get the word out with everyone else in the group.
“Whoever points to the good has the reward of those who act on it,” said the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
free online coursesWhy are our courses FREE?
Our course are free due to ”Knowledge Without Barriers”. This is an expression of our commitment to spread the light of Prophetic guidance as far & wide as we can–without barriers. Knowledge without Barriers is a direct response to the contemporary challenge Muslims are facing globally regarding access to authoritative and sound knowledge in Sacred Sciences.
With SeekersHub you can learn directly from quality teachers, who are highly qualified.
Teachers such as Ustadh Abdul Latif Al-Amin who has been nurtured by SeekersHub from student to teacher. We also have some excellent up and coming scholars who will, God-willing, be the leaders of the future.
Which Courses Should You Take?
All our courses focus on topics that are “beneficial knowledge,” but we would recommend:
1. If you’re starting on the path of knowledge I suggest:
The Absolute Essentials: Beliefs, Prayer, and Spirituality
Taught by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani & Ustadh Abdullah Misra
The 40 Foundations of Religion (by Imam Ghazali): Excellence in Faith and Actions
Taught by Shaykh Faraz A. Khan
2. If you want to learn about life of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and to acquire Prophetic character & conduct:
Meccan Dawn: The Life of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad
Taught by Ustadh Abdullah Misra
Prophetic Conduct: Islamic Manners in Everyday Life
Taught by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani & Ustadh Abdul Latif Al-Amin
Gardens of the Righteous: the Sunnah of the Sunnah
Taught by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani & Ustadh Abdul Latif Al-Amin
3. If you are a seeker of knowledge:
SeekersSteps: We highly recommend that you join the SeekersSteps Curriculum if you want a clear path towards learning. We currently offer three courses in the curriculum, which should be taken in order at your own pace for maximum benefit. Please see the website for more information on this groundbreaking initiative.
4. If you are seeking spiritual guidance and to improve your relationship with Allah:
The Marvels of the Heart
Taught by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus
5. For clarity on key life concerns:
Islamic Parenting: Raising Upright Children
Taught by Faraz Rabbani and Ustadha Shireen Ahmed
Money Matters: Islamic Finance in Everyday Life
Taught by Faraz Rabbani
… and more. See the full list of courses at courses.seekershub.org and join other keen seekers on the path of knowledge guidance.

Watering Our Souls – Moez Masoud on ‘Knowledge Without Barriers’

Moez Masoud, Egyptian television and radio presenter, religious leader and activist, was recently speaking to the SeekersHub Global team about the concept of Knowledge without Barriers. He was very excited about the idea that our courses are free to anyone, anywhere in the world, stating that is this something “revolutionary”. He said this about Knowledge without Barriers, “Something valuable (knowledge) is being given out free! This is really the water that gives life to our souls”.

You can register for a course right now. Term two courses open on 29th April.

How you can help to support this groundbreaking initiative:

1.       Sign up to be a Monthly Donor. Access our Operating without Barriers donation page at https://seekersguidance.org/donate

2.       Advocating. Encourage your friends and family to sign up for our classes, and to make a donation. Utilize your social media profile to bring visibility to our project. http://www.facebook.com/seekersguidance / http://www.twitter.com/seekersguidance

3.       Sign up for a class! Registration is now open for our new academic term. Don’t miss out on the multitude of classes our learned, traditional scholars provide. https://seekersguidance.org/courses

4.       Supplicate. Most importantly, please keep SeekersHub Global in your prayers.

To lead Ramadan prayers, mosques seek special voices – The Washington Post, featuring SeekersGuidance teacher, Shaykh Hatim

To lead Ramadan prayers, mosques seek special voices – The Washington Post

[Shaykh Hatim Yousef, featured in this article, is now teaching at SeekersGuidance, Alhamdulillah. His first course is Practical Tajwid. The course focuses not only on applying the rules,  but also on how to apply them well, how to pronounce the sounds correctly, and how to make one’s recitation as close as possible to that of the Prophet- Allah bless him and give him peace.]

With Muslims coming to worship night after night during Ramadan, mosques aiming to enthrall their biggest crowds of the year look to one person in particular: their reciter.

His is the voice chanting the Koran, leading worshipers in prayer. And during the month of Ramadan, which begins at sunset Sunday, the special late-night prayers last two hours, which makes a beautiful singing voice and a powerful sense of soulfulness especially important.

The Koran emphasizes the value of a sweet voice, said Hatim Yousef, one of the reciters at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) in Sterling, where 3,000 people come each night of Ramadan to the mosque’s seven branches.

“The Ramadan prayers are long, so it makes it that much nicer,” he said.

Even Muslims who tend to be less observant usually come to mosque at some point during Ramadan, a month when Islam teaches that the power of prayers and good deeds are amplified. It’s believed to be the time when the Koran was revealed. But many American Muslims don’t understand Arabic, and Islam teaches that the poem-like Koran is only truly understood in that language. So the reciter’s transmission is essential.

In addition to reciters with a melodic voice, mosques also seek a hafiz, someone who has memorized much or all of the Koran. Because the American Muslim population is small and relatively new, many American mosques have to hire a hafiz for Ramadan from overseas or elsewhere in the United States.

But the Washington region has one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, and leaders have focused in recent years on producing homegrown spiritual leaders. Part of the drive to get U.S.-trained clergy, including Ramadan reciters, is because of tighter, post-Sept. 11 visa restrictions, local Muslim leaders said.

An increasing number of mosques that have in-house reciters are in the Washington area. Some are older Muslims who came back to study after establishing secular careers; others are U.S.-born youths who lead hundreds of people during Ramadan.

Yousef, 35, grew up studying Islam’s sacred music in Dubai and then English literature, focusing in graduate school on Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Now, he leads some of the regular prayers during the year at ADAMS and teaches Koran at the mosque’s school.

Speaking in a soft, melodious voice, Yousef says his goal in leading prayer is for listeners to be engrossed in scripture.
“I feel success if people have more presence of prayer, if they are more connected to God, if they sort of don’t focus or don’t mention or think about anything but the Koran,” he said in the upstairs prayer hall, where his students sat on the green carpet before floor-to-ceiling windows, studying texts propped up before them on small wood stands.

One of his students, a 14-year-old who has become a hafiz, will sit beside him during the Ramadan prayers and follow along to correct him if he makes any errors. Yousef’s regular work schedule will be shorter during Ramadan so he can practice for reciting during the nightly prayers, which run from about 10 p.m. until midnight, after the daily fast is broken at sunset.

In the Middle East, Koran recitation is a profession, with people hired to sing at weddings and funerals. Here, most people have other careers.

The roles of all Islamic spiritual leaders are in huge flux in this country as a largely immigrant population builds uniquely American Muslim institutions. While mosques and imams in Muslim-majority countries tend to be about meeting people’s basic prayer needs, their counterparts here are just starting to look more like American churches or synagogues and offering more.
ADAMS, for example, now does a 10-minute lesson in the middle of each Ramadan night’s prayer, and during the year holds lectures and concerts of spiritual music.

New imam-training programs offer preaching, including the first accredited program in the country, at the International Institute of Islamic Thought in Herndon, which began last year and has a preaching course taught by an Episcopal priest.

But during Ramadan, the focus is on worship and, of course, the voice.

One of the world’s most famous Koran reciters will lead worship this month at the Islamic Center Northern Virginia in Fairfax. Sheikh Mohammad Alraee is in the area from Saudi Arabia to get his PhD in systems management, and for the last couple years has been leading Ramadan worship at the center.

“Once you listen to his voice, it’s a whole different spiritual experience,” said Muhammad Farooq, president of the mosque. Muslims aim to read the entire Koran during the month of Ramadan, and when Alraee gets to the end,Farooq said, “thousands of people are crying, listening to him.”

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Check out Shaykh Hatim’s SeekersGuidance course — Practical Tajwidand other online courses at the SeekersGuidance Academy. (Registration now open.)

Where did the shaykhas go? Afterthoughts on Female Scholarship from the SeekersHub Retreat

Sr Whittini Brown Abdullah reflects on her time at the SeekersHub Retreat, and how ti prompted her to recognise the female scholars in her community.

I don’t know when I first heard the term “shaykha”. I think my friend was joking with me about how maybe one day I’d become one given the zeal I had as a new Muslim. She and her older brothers had taken to affectionately calling me “shaykha” because of that zeal. We laughed and kidded around about the term, but she informed me that she was serious–I really could be a shaykha if I wanted to. Shaykhas had always existed and weren’t any innovation she was making up–they were key to the history of Islam from the beginning, though we don’t pay much attention to that history these days. That was ten years ago. And those were the days…full of that innocent vigor for the deen that many new Muslims have, until they mature into normalcy and complacency as the years pass by (thus the need to purify one’s heart by seeking knowledge and being in good company–thank you, SeekersHub Retreat)!

But I heard that term again four times this year after a resounding deafness of ten years–it must be a sign. Two of the times I heard (read) it were in the memoirs of Muslim women like myself who found themselves in other countries to perfect their ibadah (See G. Willow Wilson’s The Butterfly Mosque and Ethar El-Katatney’s Forty Days and Nights…in Yemen).

The other time I saw the term mentioned was in The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (RISSC)’s 2010 publication of the The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims. There, I read about a certain Sheikha Munira Qubeysi of Syria who was listed as #24 in the Top 50 of the 5oo Most Influential Muslims of the World. According to the publication, Sheikha Munira is the head of the largest women-only Islamic movement in the world, offering Islamic education exclusively to girls and women focused on learning the Qur’an and hadith collections by heart. The women who are a part of the movement cater exclusively to the needs of Muslim women in their communities, functioning as scholars and teachers in a network of madrassas across the Middle East. And get this, members of the Qubaisiat movement identify themselves by the way they tie their hijabs at the neck and the color jilbab they wear.

But where are the shaykhas here?!?

They are hidden.

Right. under. our. noses.

…in the least expected of places.

The last time I heard the word “shaykha” was last week at the SeekersHub Retreat. All the scholars, who included men and women alike, emphasized the need for more female participation in Muslim events such as these…more female scholarship to be exact. I expected that girl power rhetoric from the women, but it was really inspiring to hear it from the men. There were two female scholars assigned to lead some of the adult lectures at the retreat, but one of them could not make it because of the ignorance of the U.S. government. Perhaps bigotry would be a better word to describe it. A lot of Muslim scholars seem to have a hard time getting into the U.S. these days, but whichever spin you put to it, basically it wasn’t meant to be. However, in her place popped up two female scholars straight from the audience, invited by the sole woman on the stage, Ustadha Zaynab Ansari. No one saw it coming. Where are the shaykhas? Again, I tell you: Hidden. Right. Under. Our. Noses.

[Ustadhas Zaynab Ansari and Rukayat Yakub at the SG Retreat, photo by Nadiya El-Khatib]

To begin with, Ustadha Zaynab Ansari led her sessions as informal discussions with the audience members, opening the floor for our input. This mode of learning reached its peak in the Time Management for Mothers class, where each woman in the audience seemingly had advice to give. For a moment there, I almost felt like a shaykha. Almost. I need more knowledge. I was asking more questions than giving knowledge. My one sole piece of advice was for people to enroll in Ustadha Shireen Ahmed’s Islamic Parenting class at SeekersHub. But as the hadith says, the one who points to good…

But I digress. During that same session for mothers, Ustadha Zaynab invited Ustadha Rukayat Modupe Yakub (Shaykh Muhammad Mendes’ wife) to the stage for her expertise. Then at another session, Dr. Mona Hassan, a Professor of Islamic Studies and History at Duke University took the stage with her, straight from the audience. MashAllah. These women were unprepared, but being the learnéd women that they were, they could present on the topics at hand right on the spot in several sessions. Now that’s scholarship.

Thing is, it only got better after that. The men were extolling the virtues of seeking knowledge from women. They reminded us that many of the hadiths of the Prophet were transmitted by the women around the Prophet. Shaykh Yahya Rhodus mentioned that A’isha alone transmitted at least 50% of the ahkam of sharia we have today, and taught men and women alike. Shaykh Yahya also advised that both men and women need to learn the fiqh of menstruation, and he also mentioned a book I have yet to read: Aisha Bewley’s Islam: The Empowering of Women.

He then went on to say men need to get over any issue they have of learning from women. We all learn from women–our mothers are women! He also mentioned that there is something special about visiting the graves of the Mothers of the Believers, and we should not skip the female awliya when visiting their cities and the graves of their husbands, brothers, sons, etc. There is a special connection to them because they are our spiritual mothers–and he’s right, I had a much stronger connection at the grave of Sarah (ra) in Al-Khalil/Hebron (Palestine) than I had at the tombs of her son or husband, the Prophets Isaac and Ibrahim (peace be upon them both) located only a few feet away!

But one of the most fascinating highlights of the SeekersHub Retreat was the time that sisters got to spend one-on-one (or actually, five-on-one) with shaykhs.  You know the story–with high profile shaykhs, a possé of brothers will form around a shaykh so much that a woman is too shy to hang around to ask her questions. So a mealtime was dedicated for sisters to eat lunch with the various shaykhs at their reserved tables and ask them any questions. It was a sister who suggested the idea and I’m forever indebted to her for that–and the pen she gave me when both of my pens died. I had so many questions that I had to write them down, but alhamdulillah, I got my answers and felt that I had each shaykh’s undivided attention at the time of questioning.

But I’d like to share the convo I had with Shaykh Muhammad Mendes during that mealtime. We had just finished reading Imam Ahmadu Bamba’s poem on the recitation of the Qur’an, and it sounded good and well, but the excerpt we read did not address my concerns over the complexities of keeping connected to Allah while a woman is on her menses. Shaykh Muhammad Mendes advised that the period is not the time for a vacation from Allah–one can and should still honor the times of prayer, making dhikr and fikr instead. Women should pick up the scholarly books, make dhikr, and make du’a. Better yet, you could still have the benefit of reading Qur’an via technology or through a book which has less Qur’an in it than commentary or translation. During Ramadan or when one would normally fast and can’t because of menses, eat less and feed a poor person instead. And then for my most eager question: How do we find the shaykhas?! Shaykh Muhammad said sometimes one must talk to the men to find the women who are teachers or go to the women’s halaqas to find the learned among women in your area because the shaykhas don’t really put themselves out there.

I spent that day chasing the male scholars, because I knew I wouldn’t really have another opportunity to (though I had my husband Hassan flag down Shaykh Yahya Rhodus the very next day at Buck Bald Summit for twelve questions on Shafi’i fiqh in relation to perfecting prayer). But I spent the remaining days with some one-on-one time with Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, whose youngest child actually shares the same birthday as my Noora (down to the hour, only 12 hours apart), mashAllah. I asked her where the shaykhas are, and where women in positions like ourselves (English-speaking married mothers with lots of ambition) can go to learn comfortably without neglecting our families. These were her answers in case you, yourself, were also wondering how to find the hidden shaykhas in the U.S. and abroad, and inshAllah become one yourself:

There are several online schools that are excellent options…

  • SunniPath/Qibla, which has an accredited 2-year program leading to an AA (Associate’s Degree)
  • SeekersHub, the dually-online and ground, Toronto-based Islamic school that offers classes and spectacular free online webinars on great topics…not to mention lectures, seminars, intensives, and retreats across North America and beyond…(need I say more?)–this is the baby of Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and Ustadha Shireen Ahmed, a dynamic duo, mashAllah.
  • The Rahma Foundation, a California-based women-centered hifz program, growing out of the Sisters Deen Intensives of Zaytuna and including some online classes
  • Meadows of Al-Mustafa, a completely free online sacred learning program for women only (with some of the same teachers from The Rahma Foundation!)

And a ground school for when the kiddies grow up or a babysitter is in tow…

  • Zaytuna College, a California-based Islamic university–the hub of Shaykhs Hamza Yusuf, Zaid Shakir, and Yahya Rhodus–need I say more?

Now I must kick myself. I was already a part of Meadows of Al-Mustafa, and one of the teachers there, Ustadha Eiman Sidky, who has studied under the Haba’ib of Tarim, taught right in my backyard at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Virginia for twenty years. And um, my in-laws have either studied, taught, and/or worked there for the past twenty years AT LEAST!!! Subhanallah! I must have bumped into her at some point during the past years…and never even knew it.

So you see, there have always been shaykhas in Islam. There have always been scholarly women in the forefront. We just don’t notice them enough or give them their due. We have become blind to what is already apparent.

But now a veil has been lifted from my sight. And I’m going to allow myself to once again imagine walking the streets of Jordan with  a symbolic scarf tied around my neck denoting my status as a part of the sisterhood of the traveling hafizas.  And if I let myself travel further back in my mind, I’m in the women-only masjids of China among the Hui people, who have the earliest history of female imams since 1820. And right after that, I find myself in the company of Shaykha Nana Asma’u bint Shehu Usman dan Fodiyo, who has sent her poems to accompany me along with her cadre of female teachers–young, unmarried, and older sisters–who have sacrificed their free time to teach those of us isolated in our homes being shaykhas to our children.

So where did the shaykhas go? Apparently, Nowhere. They are right under our noses hidden in plain sight working for the ummah at large. Most of them are too modest to call themselves shaykhas and instead prefer the term teacher, sister, mother, wife, friend.
A very special thank-you to all the women I learned from at the SeekersGuidance Retreat…and especially to Ustadha Zaynab, Ustadha Rukayat, and Ustadha Mona, who allowed themselves to be put in the spotlight for the benefit of the ummah. May Allah preserve you and keep you on your path, whether you choose to remain hidden or not:)
Shared with permission from and thanks to Sr. Whittni Brown Abdullah’s THE SANDAL blog

SeekersGuidance Joins Forces with the Al-Ghazzali Centre

Bismillah,

A message to our students and supporters

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We are very pleased to announce that SeekersGuidance has entered into an official partnership with the Al-Ghazzali Centre. Our partnership unites two established organisations, with the same vision, values and aims, SeekersGuidance being based in North America and the Al-Ghazzali Centre being based in Australia.
Together, we are uniquely positioned to offer key educational services globally, including:
  • Online courses: SeekersAcademy
  • Study Circles: SeekersCircles
  • Seminars: SeekersSeminars
  • Webinars: SeekersWebinars
  • A constant stream of relevant and up to date information, in the form of our Answers service, blog and podcasts.

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All of these important services will continue to grow, insha Allah, and result in increased benefit on all levels. All of our existing services will continue, and new services will be introduced.

What does this mean for our students?

  • Learning from an increased portfolio of scholars
  • Benefiting from a jointly developed curriculum by the two organisations
  • Access to more learning material

The goals of the two organisations will be merged to provide direction for the further development of all of our joint services.

SeekersGuidance aims to spread the sacred knowledge that has been transmitted from our noble Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), far and wide, in a way that is pleasing to God and inspires and enables its recipients to act on that knowledge to the greatest benefit.

SeekersGuidance aims to develop students to:

  1. Be sound and balanced Muslims, who adhere to the Prophetic way.
  2. Be valuable members of their community
  3. Act on the knowledge they have through love for Allah and His messesnger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).

SeekersGuidance aims to do this by:

  1. Providing globally accessible religious guidance
  2. Ensuring that educational services are offered with excellence and beauty
  3. Developing a Holistic Methodology for Students to Grow (Prophetic Balance)
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Al- Ghazzali Centre is committed to the dissemination of the true Traditional Islamic Principles and Knowledge from the Prophetic Traditions, and as understood by the rightly- guided scholars of Islam. It aims to decipher information on Islamic Sciences for those searching for Truth and those who are working to raise their standards in the Personal Development of life.

All of the training and knowledge shared by al- Ghazzali Centre is aimed to effect the following:

  • Provide a higher level of understanding of Islam to Muslims
  • Expose Islamic Principles to non-Muslims as a tool to for a successful life
  • Implement the Islamic Principles in the daily lives for the betterment of the humanity

We hope that you will continue to benefit from SeekersGuidance and the Al-Ghazzali centre.

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

Advice from Sidi Abdullatif al-Amin, SeekersGuidance Teaching Assistant:

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“I have taken several classes on SeekersGuidance and have some experience in taking some classes online. One of the most important keys I’ve found with online classes is not to fall behind on the lessons. One may want to set some time aside everyday or a few times a week whatever one can do with consistency and not only listen to the lesson but review as well.

To benefit from online courses one of the keys is sincerity, and consistency , and not to seek the knowledge in and of itself but using the seeking knowledge as a means to keeping closer to Allah….”

Here are a few links on the importance of knowledge and its purpose that we can benefit from:

The Purpose of Seeking Knowledge by Shaykh Yahya Rhodus (audio)

Ten Keys to Seeking Knowledge by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Counsels for Seekers of Knowledge by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

 

You can still register for the Winter 2011 SeekersGuidance Online Courses. Join our large and growing family of seekers: www.SeekersGuidance.org/courses

The New SeekersGuidance Newsletter is Out. Check out the new design, take a course, and suggest to others

Winter 2011 Session Starts Jan. 24. Register NOW!

The New SeekersGuidance Newsletter is Out. Check out the new design, take a course, and suggest to others

 

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Dr. Umar Abd-Allah on SeekersGuidance, its Teachers, Trust, and Learning

Dr. Umar Abd-Allah of the Nawawi Foundation on encouraging people to take the SeekersGuidance courses and to benefit from its teachers and educational opportunities.

“Ibn Ata’illah says: ‘The expressions of the teachers, what they teach us, the people of knowledge of this religion as it truly is to be taught, is the basic sustenance of the family of the listeners.’ The expression of family of listeners it means the people who are poor and needy and need to be taught and given knowledge. The people of the path who are seeking God are like children in a family that have to be fed. So they have to have their sheikhs, their teachers, and they need to know the food they give them is good and proper for them. And when we don’t have people of the ibarat, that can speak these words of guidance and truth, then we are truly poor. And the poverty of not having people who can guide us is a poverty that is much greater and much more harmful than the poverty of people living in poor third-world countries who don’t have food to eat or clean water to drink. And SeekersGuidance is one of God’s solutions to that crisis because it gives us teachers who are authorized to teach the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) religion, who follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and who belong to Ahlus Sunnah wa’l Jammah, who belong to the community of the sunnah and the larger community and will give us the nourishment we will need.” -Dr. Umar Abd-Allah

 

Learn & grow:
“Whomever Allah wishes well for, He grants understanding of religion,” said the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).