Gems upon Gems

Salamualaykum,

As promised, I’m going take some time out today and share all the wonderful gems I collected from the DC Hidayah conference in August. Alhumdulillah, there were lots of speakers so I’ll highlight which speaker said what and so on. Overall, it was an absolutely amazing weekend. The theme of the conference was the Qur’an and its importance in our lives. It was so inspirational to see the youth in my community doing such monumental things for the deen, may Allah reward them abundantly. Ameen. I am truly blessed to be a part of this amazing Muslim community.

Imam Javed:
His talk was about getting to know Allah ‘azzawajal through the Qur’an.

  • When we read letter or an email from a dear friend or loved on, do we skim through and try to guess what they said? Do we read the beginning and end and just assume the rest? No, we read each and every word, and perhaps read it more than once. We want to know the meaning behind every word. This should be our attitude towards the Qur’an. Allah has sent us a beautiful message full of clarity and guidance and we should be extremely eager to read, understand, and implement it.
  • Every Prophet (AS) was given a miracle, and as we know, the greatest miracle given to Rasulullah (Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was the Qur’an. People may change parts of Islam or attack parts of it but there is no one who will stand before you and challenge the Qur’an. It was a miracle when it was revealed, it is now, and will be till the end of time.
  • It is said that a person is ibnul haal–a son of his states. We are all prisoners of our emotions. It’s easy for us to be overcome by how we are feeling and react based on whims. If we look at the Qur’an, so many emotions are portrayed in one ayah. Forgiveness and the adhaab of Allah are often mentioned side by side or even in the same ayah. When we are in any state of emotion, it’s easy for the rest of our actions to portray those feelings. For example, if you look at a piece of art, you can sometimes gain insight into how the artist was thinking/feeling at the time. The same thing goes for any literature. It’s very difficult for humans to change their state so quickly and have that manifested in what they do.
  • A female poet once said, “I am hidden within my writing, like the scent of roses is hidden beneath its petals so if you want to get to know me, seek me through my writing” (something along those lines, can’t make out my handwriting :p.) If you read anything, you see parts of the author’s character and personality in their writings. So although it’s impossible for us to see Allah, if we truly want to see Him, Allah introduces himself and shows His attributes to us in the Qur’an. Even if we look at ourselves, our own attributes are a reflection of Allah’s attributes. When we begin to understand the Qur’an and have that zeal to get to know our Creator and our Malik, hamd of Allah becomes true and sincere.
  • From the ahadith about the end of time, we learn that this Ummah will be destroyed by qatl and fitan. It won’t be swallowed by the earth or go through monstrous punishments like the previous perished nations. Turning our backs on the Qur’an will be the reason for the fitan this Ummah will face. If we look at the other nations who were sent Messengers and miracles, whenever they rejected the miracle they were sent, Allah sent overwhelming punishments and destruction upon them. Also when this happens, love and brotherhood will disappear and hypocrisy will prevail. May Allah protect us from every sign of nifaq, Ameen.
  • In one famous hadith, Rasulullah (S) told us to hold firmly onto the two thaqalayn–the two heavy things. 1. Qur’an 2. Sunnah. If we do so, we cannot be led astray bi’ithnillah.
  • The Qur’an is not just a miracle but it is also a source of miracles. We know that it is a healing for the sick and provision for the poor. It provides tranquility in our hearts and minds. Imam Javed shared a story of a Sahabi (ra) who was once walking in a jungle when he was suddenly confronted by a lion. A normal reaction would be to run for your life, but as soon as the lion came close, it sat down and became a transport for the Sahabi (ra) and took him where he needed to go. If we understand and live by the Qur’an and strive to reach the state of eeman that our pious predecessors had, the Qur’an may very well become a source of miracles for us too.

Usthadh Ashraf Ali:
He spoke about Islam and finance using the story of Qaroon as a reference.

  • Allah gives and Allah takes away so ask for your reward in the akhirah. Don’t take your full part in dunya but also do not forget it.
  • Reciprocate good with good. Be grateful to Allah by spending in His way.
  • Allah loves to see the effects of His blessings on his servants. Dress and look nice at all times :)
  • Don’t get overly excited about your money increasing. It belongs to Allah and it is there for you to use in the best way.
  • Don’t get deluded by success. Refer all your blessings and success to Allah.
  • Power of Intention: If you see someone donating a lot towards a worthy cause and you say to yourself, “Man, if I had that kinda money, I’d do the same thing” Allah will bi’ithnillah accept your intention and perhaps reward you with actually doing what you intended if you had the dough. ;) Never underestimate the power of intention.
  • Human beings transgress when they think they are self-sufficient.
  • In dunya, look at those below you; in deen, look at those above you and you will be written as a thankful servant.
  • Don’t assume that because you have wealth, Allah is pleased with you. In Surah Fajr, Allah mentions the reality of those who consider their wealth as a source of prestige and honor and how they will be humiliated because they did not honor nor give to the orphans.
  • Whatever we have does not belong to us. Allah owns everything we have. If it was ours, why would we be asked about it on Qiyamah?
  • When you have taqwa of Allah ‘azzawajal, He will provide for you like the birds–they leave their nests on an empty stomach and Allah fulfills their need by night. Allah will also provide for you from places you would never imagine. May Allah make us among the Muttaqeen.
  • Another reason we should not fret over worldly gain/wealth too much is because whatever we get is what was written for us anyway.
  • You can be among the richest 10% in society but if you are constantly worried and concerned about your wealth, you will only see poverty before your eyes.
  • Stay away from Riba! From Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet, peace be on him, said: “Riba has seventy segments, the least serious being equivalent to a man committing adultery with his own mother.” (Ibn Majah, ibid).

Hafidh Haroon Baqai
He asked the audience to ponder upon three questions to get an idea of how our relationship is with the Qur’an. His talk was titled “The Qur’an as my Buddy”. My notes are quite incomplete because I was just in so much awe of how eloquently he spoke about the subject mashaAllah.

  1. How much do I read the Qur’an? Is it a part of your daily routine? Qatadah (ra) was a well known Tabi’ and he would finish the Qur’an every week. But in Ramadan, he would finish the Qur’an every 3 days! ‘Uthman (ra) is reported to have said.. and SubhanAllah, he was referring to himself when he said this: “If our hearts were pure, we would never get bored or distracted when reading the Qur’an”
  2. Does hearing/reading the Qur’an affect me? Does it have an impact on me?
  3. How much do I live the Qur’an? What is my attitude towards the commandments of Allah? Do we say “Sami’na Wa Ata’na” or do we wait for when the deen is convenient for us so we can begin practicing? Do we pick and choose which ahkaam ‘work for us’? Do we we find obstacles in the deen of Allah?

“….So whoever has these qualities when reciting the Qur’an and listening to it from others, the Qur’an is for him a Cure: thus he becomes rich without wealth, becomes honoured without relatives, and finds solace where others have anxiety.His concern when he begins reciting a surah is, “When will I be admonished by what I recite?” His objective
is not, “When will I complete the surah?” Rather, his objective is, “When will I
understand from Allah, Mighty and Majestic, His address? When will I restrain myself?
When will I learn a lesson?” This is because the recitation of the Qur’an is an act of
worship, and thus cannot be done with heedlessness, and Allah is the One who grants
Capability for that…..”

-Characteristics of the People of the Quran (Imam Abu Bakr Muhammad b. al-Husayn al-Ajurri, d. 360 )

Sh. Mahmoud Abdel Hady
His talk was about Musa (AS), specifically about the blessed moment when Allah (swa) spoke to him.

  • As you struggle in Allah’s cause, giving da’wah, spending in times of ease and difficulty,  forgiving others, etc. Think of the end as you do your work now. Allah will not waste the reward of the believers.
  • Musa (AS) was very familiar with his stick. Allah simply asked Musa, “What is in your right hand” but he replied saying what he used his stick for. Imagine how he must have felt at that moment.
  • One of the bounties of Allah is that things are constant and don’t change their property in dunya. If the objects around us randomly changed all the time, we would always feel unsafe, we’d live a miserable life full of uncertainty. In hell fire, we know that it is so deep that the inhabitants continue to fall for 70 years. Things are always changing. May Allah protect us from the fire. Ameen.
  • So when Allah made the stick turn into a snake, the concept of trusting Allah in all matters was being established.
  • We all have a snake inside of us that we need to get over and trust Allah in his decisions for us. Listen, obey, and Allah will take care of you.
  • Musa (AS) took inventory of his deficiencies and made du’a to Allah to help him. We should do the same. Acknowledge your weakness and ask for help.
  • Allah told Musa (AS) how He took care of him and that He will continue to do so. Why? To put his heart at ease.

The rest of my notes are a little jumbled but they are a compilation of gems from Br. Saad Tasleem, Imam Zia, Dr. Daoud Nassimi, Imam Shaker Elsayed, Ustadh Sulaiman Jalloh, and Imam Safi Khan

  • Hidayah is to show someone the way to their destination in a nice way.
  • Motivation to be on the right path only comes from Allah.
  • None of us are complete in our guidance, that is why we supplicate in every prayer: ‘ihdinassirat al mustaeem’. Some non-Muslims point to this and say, “Look, the Muslims already know they are misguided”. To this, we should reply with the above. None of us are complete in our guidance so we continuously ask for it.
  • We should ask Allah to guide us to understanding the Qur’an and Sunnah, give us the will power to love the straight path, and help us to be active on this path.
  • We cannot expect the Ummah to unite over anything but the Qur’an and Sunnah.
  • We should also ask Allah to protect us from whatever will hurt us along this path–enemies, doubts, shubhaat, and to help us realize what we have done wrong so we can correct our mistakes.
  • Focus on yourself. Anyone who is misguided cannot hurt you if you are rightly guided.
  • Islam has to be your career, not a hobby.
  • Some signs of Hidayah include:
    • Always thinking of returning to Allah.
    • Abandoning this life of delusion.
    • Preparation before meeting death.
  • Our book of records should match the Book of Guidance.

Dr. Altaf Hussein gave the most inspiring talk on Saturday night and it was just one of those things you had to experience yourself so I didn’t get too many notes. His was mostly about social service and having concern for humanity. SubhanAllah, it was very realistic and touching. He’s a social worker (:)) and I have to say, he’s one of my biggest role models. May Allah preserve him, Ameen.

Sh. Safi Khan gave a brief synopsis of what each Surah covers in the Qur’an.

  • Baqarah: We were put on the earth so we could care for it.
  • Al e Imran: Being stable, firm on this path. Don’t give up.
  • An-Nisa’: Be just towards the impoverished in society and help anyone in need of it.
  • Al Maidah: Fulfill your covenants/promises.
  • An’aam: Don’t forget your beliefs. All about Tawheed.
  • Al-A’raf: Decide between truth and falsehood. Don’t waver after making the decision.
  • Anfal: Rules of engagement. How to get victory–materialistic and spiritual.
  • Yunus: Belief in divine decree. Whatever happens, happens out of Allah’s wisdom.
  • Hud: Be balanced about being stable on the truth. No extremes. Don’t get frustrated.
  • Yusuf: Be confident in the plans of Allah. Patience.
  • Ra’ad: Streng of truth and weakness of falsehood.
  • Ibrahim: Blessings of Allah. Importance of blessings.
  • Hijr: Allahs protection over you.
  • Nahl: Look at Allah’s blessings.
  • Isra’: Appreciate the value of Qur’an.
  • Kahf: Protect yourself from trials.
  • Maryam: Passing the message of Islam to children and how to do it.
  • Taha: Islam is the path to happiness
  • Anbiya: Role of Prophets (AS) in sharing message.
  • Hajj: Role of Hajj in building an Islamic society.
  • Mu’minoon: Characteristics of believers.
  • Nur: Law of Allah is light for the community
  • Furqan: Warns of the terrible end of those who deny.
  • Shu’ara: Role of media in importing the message of Islam.
  • Naml: Importance of progressive/advanced Islamic civilization.
  • Qasas: Confidence in the promise of Allah.
  • Ankabut: Staying away fron anything that causes doubts in Islam.
  • Rum: Signs of Allah are clear. Why don’t you believe?
  • Luqman: How to bring up children.
  • Sajdah: Be submissive and humble before Allah.
  • Ahzaab: Submitting completely even in difficult situations
  • Saba’: Submitting because this is the way to move forward.
  • Fatir: Submit–way to achieving any honor
  • Yasin: Insisting on giving da’wah even if we don’t see the results.
  • Saffat: Submitting even if we don’t understand the wisdom.
  • Sad: Come back to the truth and do not be stubborn.
  • Az-Zumar: How to be sincere towards Allah.
  • Ghafir: Importance of da’wah and leaving results to Allah.
  • Fussilat: Issue of receiving commandments of Allah with complete joy.
  • Shura: Warns us not be divided. Seek counsel w/each other.
  • Ad-dukhan: Don’t be distracted by position/status.
  • Al Jathiya: Do not be arrogant
  • Ahqaf: People who accept/reject the commandments of Allah.
  • Muhammad: Obeying the Prophet is conditional to our deeds being accepted.
  • Fath: Victory only comes from Allah’s help.
  • Hujurat: Etiquette of relationships.
  • Qaf: Making choices between right guidance and falsehood.
  • Adhariyat: Choice between Allah and humans.
  • At-Tur: Path of Paradise and Hell. Make a choice.
  • Najm: Choice–source of your information: Allah or others.
  • Qamar: Get to know Allah through His punishments. Might of Allah.
  • Ar-Rahman: Get to know Allah through His blessings.
  • Waqi’ah: 3 groups of people and their end.
  • Hadid: Balance between material and spiritual.
  • Mujadilah: Getting away from all other systems, methodologies. Member of Islam.
  • Hashr: Examples of how to be a member of Islam.
  • Mumtahina: Tests you take to be part of this community.
  • As-Saf: Importance of unity.
  • Jum’uah: Roles of Friday prayer in promoting membership.
  • Al Munafiqoon: Danger of hypocrisy
  • Taghabun: Various things in life that occupy you and how they diminish your membership in the community.
  • Talaq: Don’t differ with each other. Patience.
  • Tahreem: Role of women in receiving membership in Muslim community.
  • Mulk-Murasalat: Da’wah.
  • 30th Juz: Reminds of the hereafter. Biggest distracting force is money.

As soon as any of the recordings for these lectures come out, I will be sure to share them inshaAllah. For now, I hope my poorly compiled notes can give you a taste of how this conference went. IMHO, DC Hidayah was better than IlmFest and ISNA combined (haven’t been to ICNA (yet)) and I pray that Allah blesses all the organizers, speakers, volunteers with all the best. Ameen. Another reason why I loved this conference was because it completely changed my sister Ayesha. She was so inspired by all the talks and seeing how the Muslim youth in our area organized such a massive event, that she totally changed her hobbies, likes/dislikes, and she started getting involved with Al Maghrib, MSA, and started hanging with a different crowd. She truly wanted to be a part of all the circles of knowledge in our area whereas before, she wasn’t so keen about these things. As she said herself, “I saw all these young brothers and sisters and how they had done/are doing so much for the deen, and I looked at myself and asked, “what have I done?” SubhanAllah.

-Fi Amanillah-

P.S.: This post probably gave away my location lol… if it was wasn’t obvious already.
P.P.S.: Please make du’a for me. Rasulullah (Salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “There is no believing servant who supplicates for his brother/sister behind his/her back (in his absence) that the Angels do not say: The same be for you too.” (Muslim)

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