Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Great Exposure

I am writing this post in view of my 2nd Cousin (and Insha Allah to his brother as well who will be completing soon) who has been given the honour by my spiritual teacher to teach us at Roha.
Ya Hafeez and Redouan Bin Youssef Alhabshi,
Alhamdulillah, all praises be to Him and only to Him alone.
Congratulations to Hafeez for successfully completing your studies at University Hassan II in Casablanca. Good luck to Redouan on your studies.
Ya Hafeez,
I am sure you have made your parents proud and at the same time managed to gain much knowledge that would be useful to you and those connected to you in this life and in the next one as well Insha Allah. Remember that great successes come from Him alone. He grants it to whomever He wishes and He could also take it away anytime. Pray that He allows you to benefit from this success throughout your lifetime.
Last night, I was amazed at your capability to conduct a 15 minute Muqaddimah session about Imam Malik and his well known book Muwatta’. I was also very excited when I knew that you had to look into 6 different references that were drafted to explain Muwatta’. Research is the key to detailed knowledge and the skill to know where to look for the right information is the key to research. Master the art of research so that you will have access to knowledge at all levels.
Personally, I have an English copy of the book as my Arabic does not allow me to venture deeper into the teachings of others in relation to Muwatta’.
I thought I might give you some heads up before you embark on this illustrious journey to teach us at Rohah. I may not be the best person to do so and you may already know what I have to say. Just take it as a simple reminder from your brother who has much interest in your future. It appears that you (and your brother) are Habib Omar Al-Shatrie’s succession plan for the continuation of Majlis Ta’lim and I pray for that plan to be successful Insha Allah.
I remember my father telling me that when we want to start doing anything, even if we are repeating it, we must always renew our intention to have that act be dedicated only for Allah. This is because intention is an extremely important indication of sincerity. That is why in Volume 1, Book 1, and Number 1 of Sahih Bukhari which is about Revelation, Imam Bukhari (ra) cited the hadith about intention as the first hadith. He cited the hadith below to begin his magnificent compilation of Hadith:
Narrated by 'Umar bin Al-Khattab:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for."
This way, even before Imam Bukhari embarks on his work to compile the Sahih Hadith, he hopes to get rewarded with the intended deeds. This is a documented example of how Imam Bukhari plans to perfect his intention in the beginning of his work even though the Hadith about intention has not much relevance to the scope of Revelation. Therefore, I urge you to make du’a that your intention be steadfast to only serve Him alone and whatever that you do is because of Him alone, especially before classes.
Remember that Muwatta’ was formulated by one of the greatest jurist of all time. In teaching it, you must be able to understand Imam Malik’s thinking and his method of writing. Understand why he wrote it in such structure. Understand the flow of the syllabus, the spirit of the book, his intended outcome from his readers and students. These are among the many unwritten elements that exist surrounding the kitab and I feel that it is very important to know the answers to it especially when you are trying to teach it. It may be that the answers you seek are not in any books but you will have to deduce such answer from experience and wisdom. Search for the answers by understanding Muwatta’ in greater detail rather than just taking what is written for granted. Be grateful that you have a great teacher sitting beside you to guide you through it. One of a good way to be grateful to him is to ask him if you are not sure as the Quran instructs us to ask those who remember (or know) for guidance when we are uncertain.
This is a great opportunity for you to gain great experience and exposure. Teaching is never an easy thing to do. Being the only one up front will expose you to much scrutiny from your students. This is especially so when your students are all older than you are and are your own relatives. Understand your subjects and students well. Impart the necessary knowledge to all of them bearing in mind the standards of each one of them.
Remember, if you try to be too simple, you lose the attention of the intellectuals, which will result in a great loss. However, if you try to be too complex, you will lose the attention of the laymen, which will also result in a great loss.
You must also be able to absorb the best qualities of all your teachers and see how well it gels with your own personality. Be flexible in changing your intonation and energy. At times, being loud is necessary and at times being soft is the best approach. Notice how Habib Shatrie has a different way of addressing each member of Roha? How he speaks softly to the elders and those who are soft spoken by nature? How he uses his confrontational skills with those who have adversarial backgrounds? Take some time to analyze his communicational skills because if you are able to master it, it will allow people to listen to you attentively.
Be brave in deducing answers from the knowledge that you have. Be humble to say that you do not know. Even the great Imam Malik once admitted that he did not know some answers.
Give relevant examples to the fiqh that you are teaching. Most of your students are working adults (and retired as well) and you may not have the advantage of having industrial experience but most of them have children thus you could use your knowledge and experience as a youth to relate to them. In one way, you could share with them how you overcome your youth issues so that they could apply that in bringing up their children.
Remind them that the Mercy of Allah is much greater than His wrath and that He loves His mercy and dislikes in using His wrath unless we are transgressors to His commands.
Remind them that it is Haram to give up hope to Allah.
Remind them to always have hope in Allah.
As Saydina Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) said in his letter to his newly appointed Governor in Egypt:
 “Indeed, divine promises are a blessing spread over all mankind. The promise of God is a refuge sought after even by the most powerful on earth; for there is no risk of being cheated.” 
Therefore, convey to your students Allah’s promises. It creates hope and hope leads to faith in Allah. The stronger the hope is, the greater the faith will be.
Create hope in the hearts of your students by conveying to them all of the sweet promises from Allah as well as the necessary steps towards it.
Learn about Prophet Muhammad (saw) and how he uses his wisdom in conveying the divine messages of Allah. Speak to people in terms which their brain can comprehend. Not in the waves that your brain functions. I see a lot of gap exist between Shariah teachers and the community because of this break in communication.
Shaitan may not be able to haunt you with ignorance because of your Shariah knowledge but he will try to get you through your intention and pride. He will make you feel that you are superior over your students. He will put extreme pride in you. He will try to make you as arrogant as he was when he Disbelieved Allah by arrogantly denying His Divine command to bow to Prophet Adam (as).
Never feel Takabbur with the respect that you receive as Takabbur is the special attribute which belongs only to Allah,as the Creator, not to humans who are merely His creation. The Prophet was known as Al-Amin before he was given the mantle of Prophethood. So earn the respect of people before you can expect to be respected.
As I have stated at the beginning, renew your intention at the beginning and at the end of something so that you may be sincere throughout.
Lastly, I invoke Allah’s blessings on Prophet Muhammad (saw) and his pure progeny. I seek refuge of the Might of the Almighty and of His limitless sphere of blessings, that He may give us together the grace to be humble to willingly to surrender our will to His will, and to enable us to acquit ourselves before Him and His creation. I seek from Allah the culmination of His blessings and pray that He may grant you and me and all Muslims His grace and great success in His cause.
Verily, we come from Him and to Him we will certainly return to.
I will always be here to assist you in any way that I can Insha Allah.
Allah knows best.
Blog adjourned. 

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