// Encouragement to attend Islamic classes!
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« on: Dec 27, 2007 08:40 AM »


This is from a few weeks ago, I thought I would repost it to give people encouragement to go and attend Islamic talks and classes in person inshaAllah  flowersis


Where were you?
by Huma Ahmad

I remember right out of high school being at ISNA Headquarters in a tiny little cornfield town called Plainfield, Indiana. Very plain, except for the surrounding farms and fields and maybe a new development at the edge of town. And in a special week in a warmer than usual August attending what would be the fledgling beginnings of a youth program called Alim. Back then it was a few classes a day on various subjects like Islamic law, Arabic, and Hadith. The class that was to be my favorite was on Seerah by a man then unknown as Abdul Hakim Jackson.

So many years later, I found myself again a few weeks ago in a Seerah class by a now fairly renowned Dr. Professor Sherman Jackson. This time in an elegant law building on the campus of NYU on a busy touristy December weekend in Manhattan.

I never realized until taking this class again what an impact that one week in August really had on me. So many of the principles of Dawah I have carried with me over the last ten years, guiding my activities in my community, on my website, in my interactions with others have been solely derived from that one class in August. So many of my ‘theories’ and ideas of Islam were so thoroughly influenced, it has lasted to this day. (Not to mention inculcating a life-long love of Seerah, which my bookshelf attests too.)

The reason I tell you this is that, this time, before and after the class so many people asked me to take notes and share it with them.

How can I share notes of 6 hours a day? How can I explain a person’s hand movements and expressions, inflection of voice and laugh? How can I impart the atmosphere of a class, the energy between teacher and student, the underlining of a word in chalk. The before class, the after class, the private interactions, the harmony of praying together. The shared emotions of a group listening to the last moments of their Prophet’s life and then witnessing a new Muslim testifying the declaration of faith in front of you as tears slide down a person’s cheek next to you.

Even if I have audio, video, how can I make you have the experience.

How can I give you something that has affected me for ten years?

I can’t.

Why weren’t you there?

Yes, you had this test coming up, this paper to write, this party to attend, this obligation and that. But, what about the last class? And the one before that? The one after that? The one coming up? What about the one ten years ago/from now?

Time slips by so quickly and we miss the opportunities that we could have benefited ourselves with. How can any Muslim come to a good age and not know a word of Arabic? How can they not know anything about Seerah, Islamic history, Hadith? Are we not ashamed of calling ourselves Muslim and knowing nothing about our religion except what we need to get by.

We all have obligations. We all have goals. But where were you? Where are you in this caravan of knowledge, self-improvement and spirituality? Where is your motivation? Where is your zeal and love for Islamic knowledge?

Yes. I know we all have ipods, audio downloads and youtube. But can you imagine an Imam Siraj speech’s affect on a 15 year old at a MYNA camp, compared to watching it on youtube? Can you imagine listening to a podcast of Sh. Hamza’s Saturday night speech at ISNA and having the same buzz of being there? Can you imagine a week long profound class on Seerah in notes. Have you ever tried to read notes from an Islamic class?!

Have you ever seen a picture of the Kabah and have you ever been there?

It’s NOT THE SAME. You need to be there. I can tell you how sweet it is. What it feels like. What it looks like. But will you ever taste it?


So, next class, next speech, next conference, next retreat think about it. Maybe you can shift some things around. Maybe you can organize your schedule so you can attend.

Maybe you can be the one writing the notes.

P.S. This is not directed at anyone particular, not even those who asked for notes Smiley I direct this to myself first. (I did not attend the Makkan period class when it came last year, how much I regret this you now know) I hope only that we may all make extra effort in the future in improving ourselves as Muslims.

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« Reply #1 on: Jan 12, 2008 02:41 AM »

As salaamu alaikum

Thank you for sharing this.  So true, "live" or  "Memorex" - just no comparision.

I just wish the conferences, week-long classes and the like weren't so cost prohibitive; not just the registration costs so much as the cost of transportation, lodging, meals and okay money to buy at least some of the things that inevitably are there.  The costs multiply if all members of a family attend.  So sadly, sometimes the only alternative to get even a piece of the experience and knowledge is via the net or other methods; even relying on someone else's notes.  Of course it is sooooo hard to take notes and listen intently to what is being said.  I haven't attended a conference in years and each time I see something of interest coming up I'm not able to attend; wish we could have some really good ones in our local area.

As salaamu alaikum

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