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Seeking: Knowledge without Barriers – Seekers Highlight with Sidi Suhayb Booth

Suhayb Booth was born in Sunderland, United Kingdom and moved to New Zealand with his family as a child. He converted to Islam at the age of 26 and lives in Auckland with his wife and two children. He is an active member of the SeekersPoint Auckland, where he has taken on the role of Academy Manager.
This video was recorded before the launch of SeekersPoint Auckland, and speaks about Sidi Suhayb’s journey to Islam and how Knowledge without Barriers has been a important part of this journey.
This blog is part of our Seekers Highlights series for our Ends of the Earth Campaign. We hope that you are inspired and motivated by Sidi Suhayb’s story. His story and many other wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for Knowledge without Barriers, please support us in bringing knowledge to the Ends of the Earth. Your donation truly helps!

On Knowing Yourself to Know God – A SeekersCircle Reflection

by Ustadha Leila Adam 
Imam al Ghazzali, may Allah have mercy on him, said: Know that the key to knowing God is to know your own self.
Therefore, says Imam al Ghazzali in “The Alchemy of Happiness”, you must seek out the truth about yourself: What sort of thing are you? Where did you come from? Where are you going? What is the purpose of your creation? What is happiness and where does it lie? What is misery and where does it lie?
The Four Natural Drivers
In the journey of self discovery, it is useful to find out some aspects of what to look for. For example, our nature will have one or more of the following four attributes as a major driving force in it:

  1. Bestial (pig-like)
  2. Predatory (dog-like)
  3. Demonic
  4. Angelic/Lordly

A bestial nature will be preoccupied with satisfying the urges of sleeping, eating and copulating, and generally be driven by bodily pleasures. It uses the faculty of appetite to get what it wants.
A predatory nature will be dedicated to freedom of the self to think and do as it pleases. It uses the faculty of anger to get what it wants.
A demonic nature will derive pleasure from deception, treachery, slandering and corruption of truth. It uses the ego to get what it wants.
An angelic or lordly nature enjoys peace and contemplation, and has a sense of yearning for higher states. It uses knowledge to get what it wants.
The bestial quality is good for caring for and strengthening the body so that it is able to do good works, but it must be kept under careful check.
The predatory quality is good for self defence when attacked, but it must not be allowed to drive us to do injustice. The demonic quality will drive a person to think negatively about everything and everyone, valuing only their own self.
The angelic quality is that little voice in the head that suggests doing a valuable act, but one should also beware of the lordly tendency to be too clever and take advantage of others.
The Four Virtues
A person who has allowed their bestial qualities to dominate will be overtaken by greed, gluttony and passions. They will always be chasing their desires. A person who has their bestial qualities in good check will be contented, chaste; and moderate and balanced in behaviour and life habits. This can be termed ‘Temperance’.
A person who has allowed their predatory qualities to dominate will be overtaken by enmity, detesting, slandering and cursing others. They will always be arguing and getting angry at people who disagree with them. A person who has their predatory qualities in good check will be courageous, generous, chivalrous and patient with others. This can be termed ‘Courage’.
A person who has allowed their demonic qualities to dominate will be self-centred, and have a sense of superiority and arrogance over others. They will dislike others and look down on them. A person who has their demonic qualities in good check will be charitable and compassionate, having sincere concern for others. This can be termed ‘Justice’.
A person who has allowed their lordly qualities to dominate will be clever and might use cunning and guile to get what they want. A person who has their lordly qualities in good check will have insight and discernment, and a sense of certainty of what is good and right. This can be termed ‘Wisdom’.
From this understanding come The Four Virtues: Courage, Temperance, Wisdom and Justice. These are four virtues we should try to cultivate in ourselves.
The Heart is Our Kingdom
The heart is the kingdom of the person. We have to protect this kingdom from the ‘vandals’ that will capture and harm it. The heart was created for the Hereafter and its happiness is in knowing God. We get to know God through His Signs (His words and creation). The heart feels joy when it sees the wonder of what God does.
The heart ‘hunts’ for this knowledge of God through the 5 outward senses and the 5 inward mind processes. The body is the vehicle of the heart. It is the only way that the heart can access what it needs. The 5 outward senses are of course: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. The 5 inward mind processes are: visualising (seeing something in the mind’s eye), cognitive thought and understanding, memory (remembering), recollecting and reusing (dhikr), and reflecting and pondering (tafakkur).
These 10 faculties can be thought of as the ‘armies of the heart’, and should be under its command. If the heart is overtaken with desires, passions or egotism, the armies will be misused. If a person doesn’t strive to develop the Four Virtues, the heart will get ‘captured and imprisoned’ by the base natures. It then has to ‘bow to the idols’ of dogs, pigs or demons.
Diseases of the Heart
If we let our behaviour go unchecked, the cumulative result of repeatedly following our desires, emotions or egos will be the development of diseases in the spiritual heart. Just as the body will get diseases if we don’t eat properly or sleep well or exercise regularly, so the heart will suffer if our behaviour isn’t controlled. 
A person who submits to the bestial urges of appetite will manifest diseases of greed, shamelessness, foul behaviour, flattery, envy, rejoicing in other people’s misfortunes, and miserliness.
A person who submits to the predatory urges of anger and emotion will manifest diseases of hastiness, impulsiveness, impurity, lawlessness, loudness, boasting and flaunting themselves. They will also be scornful and attacking of others.
A person who submits to the demonic urges of negativity and arrogance will manifest diseases of treachery, deception, fraud, meanness and spoiling of the good, as well as callousness and lack of empathy.
The angelic or lordly nature of humans is linked with their superior intellect, over and above the animals. This quality makes us able to understand things deeply and drives us to aim for higher states. Human life provides a limited time to achieve the higher states that the heart yearns for. When we die there is nothing left of appetites, passions and egos, but the damaging effects of the disease and scars they leave on our hearts can last for eternity.
Related links:
Purification of the Heart Video
SeekersGuidance free online courses: 
Purification of the Heart & Praiseworthy Character (from Ghazali’s 40 Foundations of Religion)
The Marvels of the Heart

Love & Intention – SeekersPoint Auckland Launch Weekend by Sr. Chloe

By Sr Chloe Idris
This past weekend was the launch of Seekers Point Auckland. My husband and I had booked our flights a month in advance to attend this event, traveling from Wellington to Auckland straight after work. We had both made a personal commitment to attend beneficial gatherings in New Zealand whenever possible, and after our experience at the 2012 SeekersRetreat in Taupo, there was no way we wanted to miss this.
It was such a blessing to be in the presence of Shaykh Faraz Rabbani as well as local teachers Ustadha Waseema Ahmed, and Ustadh Haamid BenFayed. The launch was a jam-packed weekend filled with beneficial and inspiring knowledge, and although I left the event feeling physically exhausted, I was also spiritually nourished again in a way that made me realise I had been famished for quite a while.
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, filled with our responsibilities and everything that we ‘have to do’, ‘must do’, and ‘need to do’, we forget that God is always with us. We forget that we can open up to Him at any time, and He will listen. We forget that God hasn’t made it hard to become closer to Him; all we have to do is take the first step, and He will come to us running. The message that I took away from the launch was love, in all its forms. Love for the Divine, love for the Prophet in his human perfection, love for our fellow human beings. This weekend emphasised to me that the foundation of this religion is love, and in fact, love is the very reason that we exist at all. We are engulfed in mercy by the Creator, and we were created purely to know Him. Deep down our souls recognise this and yearn to be back with Him, yet we suppress this natural inclination, we suppress our fitra.
The Shuyukh empasised the importance of reflection as a means of attaining God-consciousness. They emphasised the importance of creating a habit of pausing before doing, taking a moment to consider the ‘why’ behind the action. Each pause is in fact an opportunity, a chance to purify our intention and open a space for God in our heart. Imagine a day filled with these moments – moments of reflection, moments of remembrance, moments of noble intentions. By filling our days with moments like these, attaining God-consciousness becomes easier, and we will become increasingly close to Him. God isn’t absent from our lives, He isn’t disinterested and uninvolved. In reality, He is only a thought away.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala fill our hearts with love for Him, and the Beloved Prophet sallallahu alayhi wassalam. Ameen.

Waitangi Weekend – What, Where, When? SeekersPoint Auckland Opening Events

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So, this is your chance to join this historic launch and at the same time take part in a whole weekend of Islamic learning events with your family! There is just ONE requirement: a commitment to learning authentic Islam!

What: The Launch of SeekersPoint Auckland – part of a worldwide Seekers initiative to build a wholesome community of adults and children who 1) seek authentic knowledge, and 2) serve their community in the best of ways.
When: Friday 7 February to Sunday 9 February // Where: Stardome Observatory, One Tree Hill, 670 Manukau Road. Royal Oak.
Why: there is great need for our Ummah to learn Islam in a proper, holistic way, to serve others and to build a community based on proper Islamic foundations for the future of our children, all for the sake of, ultimately, seeking Allah. Muslims, and the world, need the blessing of Islam, as it has blessed the world during previous eras in history with great civilisations of progress and benefit to humanity. That will only return by upholding Islam itself, through learning and practice of the highest degree!

SeekersPointAKL_Launch_Announcement_FB_Cover_v0.02_2014-01-23How: The Launch events are over the whole weekend, with the official launch on Friday night, and an exciting weekend of learning from classical texts with scholars during Saturday & Sunday, ending with special evening events on Saturday and Sunday night too.

Who: A huge network of global scholars have joined to participate, teach, and facilitate this journey. In Auckland, this journey has been 10 years in the making, so this is not a sudden or new idea: both the global leaders and the Auckland organisers have combined many decades of community service experience across many areas to now bring this initiative to the Auckland community, which they have been preparing for this since 2004. The entire SeekersAuckland team has extensive experience in serving the community in numerous different fields and organisations, and are all dedicated seekers of Knowledge. You can expect a humble, concerned, and balanced attitude from them at all times!
Commit to the whole launch weekend, and this is what you’ll get!
Includes: Friday Night Launch Dinner with All International & Local Scholars – includes presentations by scholars, catered dinner, with separate area for special requirements (e.g. children, segregation etc.).
2) The Saturday/Sunday Weekend of Learning: Overall theme: Human Nature – Prophetic Guidance to Knowing Yourself. Taught by the scholars:  Shaykh Faraz Rabbani (Canada), Ustadha Waseema Ahmed (Auckland), Ustadh Haamid BenFayed (Auckland).

Includes: Saturday and Sunday morning and afternoon learning sessions with our four scholars (international and local) – includes lessons broken into sessions, catered lunch in the Space Room/out in the Park, with separate area for special requirements. All sessions are compulsory.

3) The Saturday night Special Evening: A History Of Prophetic Praise: The Praise of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) throughout Islamic history.
—>Includes: Saturday night presentations by scholars, sample recitals of praise, fully catered dinner, with separate area of special requirements.
4) The Sunday Evening SeekersConversations: an open forum on: ‘Secularising Islam – Diluting a Rich History’ – a full panel of scholars and guests answering questions
—> Includes: Sunday early evening Panel Discussion with scholars and audience (open forum), refreshments in the Stardome foyer and, to end the weekend, a Planetarium show “Seven Wonders” with guest comments from the scholars on the marvels of Allah’s Universe.

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COST: None.
Under the Knowledge Without Barriers initiative (breaking down all barriers to seeking knowledge) no costs are charged for any part of the weekend:
All Presentations by Scholars – FREE
All Lessons & Planetarium shows – FREE
Both Fri night and Sat night dinners – FREE
Both Sat and Sun lunches – FREE
Parking – FREE (at Stardome, around One Tree Hill, on Manukau Road, and on)
Notes: 
1) All details of timings and venue opening for above events has been confirmed. But, it will be provided upon Registration. Everyone must register. We need your registration for catering, seating, and for fire and safety requirements, all attendees must register by Monday 3rd February.
2) The special planetarium program “Seven Wonders” will screen at the conclusion of the Sunday evening event.
3) All instruction will be in English, with any references and sources in Arabic. (All Teachers are in fluent in both).
Donations Welcome: This weekend of events will still cost the organisers (the SeekersPoint Auckland team). We do not receive funding from any source. Knowledge Without Barriers is powered by your generosity! We invite you to donate whatever you can. You can donate when you register, or into the donation box (“koha” – Maori for donation) when you come.
The Venue: All events are at the Stardome Observatory – 670 Manukau Road, One Tree Hill!
(This is a unique venue that gives us the opportunity to be constantly reminded of Allah’s vast creation, both while we are inside, and for children and parents to enjoy the park surrounds outside. And, we will be treated to some special wonders of Allah’s Universe)
KIDS:
We chose the Stardome for many reasons, including being child-friendly. As long as you have someone to help supervise your children, you and them will be able to enjoy the entire weekend of learning. Here are some options:
*The Stardome Interactive Space Gallery will be available for children at all times. All children should be supervised by an adult. The gallery is not very large, but it provides a wonderfully presented educational area for children to discover
*There will be a special kids show which is suitable for children from 4 to 10 years old, during the weekend (times TBC).
*There is a separate area for mums with babies/toddlers to still take part in the program. This area also leads directly outside.
*There is also the park just outside and plenty of space to run around.
Note: Mature children 12 years old or over who can sit in class can be registered as full participants. You can assure them these teachers will make Islam more interesting than they’ve ever found it before! Please note that numbers are limited due to fire safety ratings.
FOOD:
The Menu will be a mix of Malaysian, Indian and European and we have asked our caterers to keep food non-spicy for children.
SEATING:
Men will be seated from the front, followed by couples who wish to sit with their spouse, followed by sisters. The Planetarium is not large, so everyone will be in premium seats! Further, there will be a direct live telecast to the nearby Sun Room for sisters who prefer to be segregated. This may also suit any mums with babies or toddlers. For meals in the main Space Room, there will be separate areas for men and women, without a physical barrier. There will be the Sun Room available for those sisters who wish to remain segregated for meals. There will also be ample option in the spaces around the Stardome, including outside in the courtyard and the many park spaces, especially those who wish to relax with children and friends in the park immediately outside.
DON’T MISS OUT!
This weekend is truly a rare opportunity to be with the founding scholars of SeekersGuidance together at the same time. These scholars have established SG with an amazing vision and Allah (God) has blessed them with an amazing ability to make profound global changes to date: SG not only educates directly, but also supports many other scholars all around the world through its amazing global network. It is truly an effort directed to preserving Islam, through helping teachers and students alike! It facilities and increases local community service by helping communities build around an authentic holistic understanding of Islam. This facilitates local and regional cooperation in serving communities in many ways around the world. Seekers of Allah serve better, and don’t burn out, because they are well-grounded! SG has already been building well-grounded, well-serving communities the world over. SG also has a Qn & Ans service on Islam. SG does not charge for any of its services; all their work is made possible by donations. Come along, learn, be inspired the SG founders and help start building a future for our community and your children here in Auckland.
CONTACT:
All queries may be directed to us at: [email protected] OR TEXT: 021 763 810.
REGISTRATIONS:
These will be opening this week, at www.seekersguidance.org/Auckland. So be on notice, keep your Waitangi weekend entirely free, and start planning now – get your notebooks, pens and bags ready and dont forget to register by this coming weekend!
URGENT REMINDER: SEEKERSGUIDANCE ONLINE COURSES – CLOSING!
What you CAN register for NOW is your SeekersGuidance course for this new year semester at www.seekersguidance.org – it will be too late by the time we meet at Waitangi weekend, as the semester has started (don’t worry, learning is flexible, so you can catch up!), so register, free, now: registrations close soon! There are a huge range of courses, for absolutely everyone. Start learning the proper way to worship Allah, delve into one of the courses on Seeking Allah through the science of purification of the heart, or take an Arabic or Quran course, or learn the full Islamic way to marriage, parenting and money matters! Browse through the sections and reflect on what you need guidance on in your life, right now!
——

SeekersPoint Auckland

[email protected]
021 763 810

Why is SeekersGuidance launching SeekersPoint Auckland (and what is it)?

by Aarif Rasheed
In the Name of God, The Compassionate, The Merciful
Assalamualaikum everyone,
The Need in Our Community
For about the last 10 years we have been trying to establish for ourselves and the wider community an aspiration towards fulfilling our potential as Muslims – our higher potential as the best of Allah’s (God’s) Creation.
Our goal so far has been to revive the classical Islamic education in our community: the highest standards of academic excellence that we know is responsible for the great Islamic civilisations of the Golden Years of Islam.
We now know that in this post-colonisation era, access to traditional Islam from the great lands of learning that we now see in utter strife, such as Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, had been diminishing for some time. The wider post-colonisation reality of the Muslim world was one in which the academic excellence of the previous Islamic civilisations had all but gone.
Already Part of the Community
Over the last 10 years, we have had numerous international scholars from Islamic institutions around the world come to us who have been learnt widely and deeply in such cradles of knowledge. The result of this hard work is that many students are now learning with either local teachers or with scholars teaching from the around the globe. We have regularly come together for learning together locally, and for serving together locally. Students, and volunteers, are scattered across all the well-known Islamic organisations, including RMDT, WTG, Al-Hikmah Trust, Fatimah Foundation, IWCNZ, etc.
What we see is that from learning Islam together, and practising together (including, importantly, serving others together) we actually build a community together. But not just a community for the sake of building one, but a community that is based on guidance from Islamic teachings, respect for those teachings and the teachers that teach them, and a respect for all that is sacred in our world.
Join Us On This Journey
We invite you to join us on this journey to reestablish the high standards of academic excellence and service. This return to excellence involves spreading balanced, mainstream understanding of our religion, so that we may once again be a people of Taqwa (God-Consciousness) & Service.
These efforts must occur under the guidance of scholars who are both deeply learned in the religion, but also in the context and needs of the communities that are being served. SeekersGuidance has brought together such scholars, and established institutions that are now bringing together all these years of efforts into one globally coordinated but locally based, effort. This has meant a great increase in access to scholarship, which is also now free of any cost, under the Knowledge Without Barriers initiative of SeekersGuidance.
SeekersPoint Auckland will represent the first formal SeekersGuidance collaboration in New Zealand. Many of its students, servants, and now, associated teachers, are in Auckland, and the community is one that is more than ready to embrace the SeekersGuidance ethos of serving the community and upholding the standard of Islamic excellence.
SeekersPoint Auckland is where seekers of knowledge and servants of the community (hopefully that is everyone!) can come together and support each other to remain committed to Building a strong, united community. That is, united on the teachings of the Quran & Sunnah as compiled and codified by the continuous generations of scholars from the time of the companions. That strong community comes out by facilitating the learning of this authentic Islam, and serving of others, both as the means to ultimately seeking the pleasure of Allah The Almighty.
Giving Access
Therefore SeekersGuidance has made it a priority to make the seeking of authentic knowledge accessible to everyone. The 20th Century (post-colonisation of much of the Muslim) saw a considerable weakening of access to authentic knowledge. SG is striving to reeducate the masses globally, given the huge now prevalent post-colonisation. This is so that we can return to the academic excellence that existed in the earlier times of Islamic civilisation. The ongoing destruction of cradles of knowledge like Iraq and Syria (and more recently Egypt) has greatly affected the prolific teaching and learning that was going on in these lands.
In the present climate, there is a lot of pressure on Islamic institutions around the world. In this difficult environment, SeekersGuidance has been able by Allah’s blessing to make sacred knowledge available for free, globally, thanks also to the generosity of those who can afford to donate. Presently, over 10,000 students in 130 countries already are establishing their grounding in Islam, with many amazing stories of those who previously couldn’t access proper Islamic knowledge for reasons of cost and being unable to find scholarship where they are.
Global effort, Local results!
SeekersGuidance aims to reconnect Muslims to the academic excellence of traditional Islam, and accessing any local scholarship available is a high priority. SeekersGuidance is involved in supporting many of the great scholars now scattered around the world, and in ensuring they remain accessible not just locally, but globally! This means supporting scholars and their families as and when required, and allowing scholars to devote their time to academic excellence, meaning proper guidance from scholars and a reawakening of love for Islamic sciences. Of course, a major symptom addressed by this revival of Islam is making Islam relevant once more to our people, young and old, wherever they may be in the East or West.
SeekersPoint Auckland Events, 7-9 February, 2014
SeekersPoint Auckland is launching! This allows the Auckland community to access even more of SeekersGuidance benefits, including the visiting of major scholars, supporting of local scholars, facilitating committed service to beneficial organisations already serving Islam and Muslims here in Auckland and much more: many of the symptoms we see in our community, such as Islam appearing less relevant to many young Muslims and gradually disappearing from our Masjids, are symptoms of the underlying absence of this knowledge and spirit of Islam that must be properly established, wholesomely and organically, in our community!
International & Local Scholars
We will be having very special scholars visiting us to explain all this, and launch Auckland’s SeekersPoint! SeekersGuidance founder Shaykh Faraz Rabbani will be travelling to Auckland to join us, along with local scholars, to not only launch SeekersPoint but also teach for the weekend while here. Shaykh Faraz alone will be travelling for over 30 hours to reach us, to be with us for only 3 days! Though in huge global demand, such local milestones wherever they may be, are so dear that the scholars are making his way to Auckland especially for our launch events.
Many NZ and Auckland students who are already learning with SeekersGuidance will get the opportunity to meet the people behind this global initiative that is going local everywhere, without barriers!
Guests from all around New Zealand: we will also be joined by seekers and community leaders from all around New Zealand, including Wellington, Hamilton, New Plymouth and Christchurch. If you’re interested in coming, or establishing a connected community in your area, please let us know ASAP so that we can help you in any way we can!
CONTACT:
All queries may be directed to us at: [email protected] OR TEXT: 021 763 810.
REGISTRATIONS:

OPEN NOW at www.seekersguidance.org/Auckland. So be on notice, keep your Waitangi weekend entirely free, and start planning now – get your notebooks, pens and bags ready and dont forget to register by this coming weekend!