Although the classroom is necessary to understand the details of how to inculculate good character, I understand concepts best when blessed with the company of people with beautiful polished hearts. And Dr Umar is one such teacher, a treasure who exemplifies the type of speech Shaykh Faraz spoke about last week, speech that is true and meaningful and of benefit. At the RIS Knowledge Retreat in December, every time Dr Umar said anything, whether it was before he led us in prayer or afterwards, or during his lessons, he gave us a lot to think about.
And alhamidullah, Dr Umar is here in Toronto right now! At the end of our December lessons we all stood up with Dr Umar and repeated a dua after him about learning together from each other once again in Toronto, and alhamidullah, that dua has been answered with a visit right before Ramadan begins.
The festivities begin tonight with a special Qurba/SeekersHub public lecture by Dr Umar about “What Beneficial Knowledge is” at 7:30pm. I’m very much looking forward to it, because this year I write my thesis insha’Allah,
and I’m praying to be guided to the research question that is of most benefit. Dr Umar’s lessons always help clarify my thoughts about both dunya and deen matters, and insha’Allah tonight will be no different.
Please remember me in your duas! Yesterday I opened an old notebook at random and it was a strange coincidence to see the two quotes below, but it is a reminder that never gets old. No matter how busy things are, we need to plan for consistent learning.
Malcolm X transformed his life in prison through reading. When they turned out the lights, he would read from the streetlights, he got cataracts reading this way. So this year, re-commit to seeking knowledge and following a regular course of study. The Prophets and Companions had a different relationship to knowledge to us today, because whatever knowledge they had, they memorised it. The Companions had the Quran in RAM; they could randomly access the Qur’an. They contemplated its words, and they never moved on past a few verses till they had applied it.
~Reviving the Islamic Spirit 2010/2011, Imam Johari Malik, Closing Session.
As Muslims we need better knowledge. We need a personal program of religious education, and we need serious dedication to education and knowledge. This takes time, effort and energy but this is necessary. To be faithful to Him, you need knowledge and education.
~Dr Tariq Ramadan, Reviving the Islamic Spirit 2010/2011, Closing Session