So today was the first day that I officially tuned in for classes at the Rihla in Bursa. Sure, I’ve seen glimpses of lectures coming and going from my husband’s office, but I never sat down to fully focus and take notes. I have to thank Sister Maryam Mirza for that–she left a comment telling me how she looked forward to my notes from the Rihla Live Stream Pass–jazaki Allahu khair sis for pointing me towards the good 🙂
I only caught the last two sessions for the day–one that was live, and one that was a rebroadcast of yesterday’s last session which I actually missed, but I still have some precious jewels, pearls, and gems to share with you.
One is from Sidi Naem Abdul Wali in his Culture and History Class. He spoke about madhabs and the incorrect ways many Muslims think of them, praising their imam over all the others or taking and choosing what they wish from all the madhabs. He is actually a very funny brother, mashAllah, and had an interesting way of showing through his own example how we can incorporate the best of all the madhabs in our lives without mixing the madhabs or resorting to madhab supremacy disorder. And you know how he did it? Sidi Naem simply told us the story of how he makes wudu. He tries his best to fulfill the obligations of all the madhabs in his wudu, mashAllah. For instance, he starts by making the intention to remove hadath/impurity (a Shafi’i principle). When he washes his arms, he washes them the Maliki way–by rubbing them rigorously (which doesn’t overstep the rules of the other madhabs in washing the arms). When he rubs his hair, he does not just touch one hair (all that is required in the Shafi’i madhab), but wipes his hands over his whole head (which is required in two of the schools of the thought). In this way, he has taken the best of all the madhabs–the obligations of all the madhabs–and made them his own while still adhering to the Hanafi madhab and not taking anything away from it. He honors all the imams in this sequence of wudu without mixing the madhabs. Subhanallah. I thought that was a very interesting story–a gem we could all inculcate in our lives inshAllah to get the most out of wudu. And you know the scholars say excellence in prayer comes from excellence in wudu…
The other gem is from the life of Imam Al Ghazali which was discussed in Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s appropriately-named class, “Jewels and Pearls”. When Al-Ghazali was in his 20s, someone took his bag of books. He went after him saying that he needed his bag because it is where all of his knowledge was. The robber replied, “What kind of knowledge do you have if it can be taken away?” At that moment, Al Ghazali knew that what the robber was moved to say was a sign from Allah. True knowledge is committed to memory, and from that point forward, Al Ghazali memorized all of his notes. He took three years to memorize the knowledge that was contained within the books that were taken from him.
Which reminds me of the shuyukh in Tennessee who told us to review our notes, commit them to memory, and act on them once we got back home. In honor of this last gem from both the Rihla and the SeekersGuidance Retreat, I related these notes to you from my memory. Any good that came from my mouth is from Allah alone and any mistake or error is solely mine. May we be of those who digest and internalize what we are taught…those whose knowledge truly is within their souls and not just held in books on shelves or in bags…those who take the best from all rightly-guided sources of knowledge–Amin!