Page 4

T

he Kawthar Learning Circle (KLC) held its Social Wilayah Summer Retreat from 3-6 August 2018 at the Cap-Saint-Jacques regional park in Montreal, Canada. The Social Wilayah Summer Retreat has become a yearly tradition among the KLC family, as an opportunity to strengthen the bonds of social wilayah between students and to bolster their commitment to the pursuit of godly knowledge. The KLC community was blessed with the presence of its respected teachers and noble role models Shaykh Dr Shomali and Dr Heydarpour. The retreat site consisted of a brothers’ wing and sisters’ wing, each with its own facilities, which joined at a central hall where the lectures, discussions and congregational prayers were held. The surrounding forest provided an atmosphere of natural beauty and spirituality, which allowed attendees to disconnect from their outside lives so that they could direct the entirety of their mind and spirit towards self-development and acquiring godly knowledge. Attendees came from numerous cities, such as Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, London, Vancouver, Houston and many more. It was a gathering steeped in diversity – in generation, language, culture, age - yet the hearts were one. Each morning began with meditation and dhikr while the attendees prepared for prayer. At 4:30 AM, Shaykh Shomali led congregational prayers, which was followed by du’a and ziyarah. Afterwards, Shaykh Shomali gave a 3-part reflection on the hadith of Imam Ali(a) to Kumayl ibn Ziyad, which is saying #147 in Nahj al-Balagha. The first part of the hadith describes hearts as containers and says that the best containers are those which can better contain and preserve ideas, knowledge, insight and wisdom, and that this capacity can be increased. Shaykh Shomali put forth the question to the audience: what are the signs of a heart with a large capacity, and how can this capacity be increased? In this hadith, Imam Ali(a) tells Kumayl that people are of 3 groups: 1) knowledgeable people/godly scholars, 2) learners who are on the path of salvation, and 3) the common people without insight, knowledge or intelligence who run after every caller and bend in the direction of every wind. This third group has not acquired the light of knowledge and has not found refuge in a firm pillar. The hadith goes on to mention the merits of knowledge and its supremacy over wealth. Shaykh Shomali led a discussion related to how we can express tawhid (oneness of God) in everything that we do. Each attendee

44

islam islam today today

September // October October 2018 2018 September

was asked to reflect upon how conscious they are of God in their daily life. He mentioned that the difference between true believers and others is not actions, but rather it is knowledge and understanding. Believers connect to God by constantly being conscious of Him. When the heart is open, it causes a change in the recipient. Little by little, knowledge will cause enlightenment. Shaykh Shomali added that we should also share the knowledge that we have, but we need to know and respect our limits. The knowledge must be practiced otherwise will bring darkness and ignorance rather than enlightenment. On the brother’s side, during the session “Be Honest with the Shaykh”, Shaykh Shomali responded to questions about how to acquire answers from the Qur’an. He said: “The Qur’an is like a university, such that you need to learn from the beginning. You can’t just expect to learn answers to advanced questions without learning the basics.” Shaykh Shomali suggested that it’s helpful to reflect on the meaning of the Qur’an and to read the tafsir of the Qur’an (such as Tafsir al-Mizan). The Shaykh also replied to numerous questions about spirituality, seeking knowledge and working to perfect ourselves in this life. On the sister’s side, Dr Heydarpour discussed the spiritual dimension of marriage and parenthood. She mentioned that spouses should be ready to fulfill their own responsibilities in a marriage, without necessarily demanding their own rights. This is because we often demand too much from our spouse and thus we would never perceive that they have fulfilled our rights. Dr Heydarpour elaborated that expectations can destroy a relationship, even if a couple has the best relationship, because these expectations can make us ungrateful. A wise suggestion by Dr Heydarpour for the sisters was for a wife to avoid defining herself based on her husband; rather, she should make God the centre-point of her life. She mentioned that we are all travellers on our way towards God and thus we should have our own private time with Him. Dr Heydarpour also reflected on the power of love for God. She suggested that tasting the sweetness of a loving relationship with God is one of the best deterrents to sin and disobedience. During the “Traveling with Our Teacher” panel session, more than 10 students who had travelled with Shaykh Shomali on his various interfaith excursions presented their thoughts and feelings about their experiences. Students’ experiences varied, as some had visited the Focolare village of Loppiano in Italy, while others had accompanied Shaykh Shomali during his other trips

Profile for islam today magazine UK

islam today issue 63 September/October 2018  

This issue is bi-monthly

islam today issue 63 September/October 2018  

This issue is bi-monthly

Advertisement