ISRA Retreat on Nawawi’s Arba’een: Hadith 35

I didn’t tell you that yesterday Noora danced in the middle of the dhikr circle. She stomped her feet to the beat of La ilaha il Allah, whirling dervish of nasheeds that she is. Today, the baby who has abducted my body for the past 4 months kicked and flipped for the first time (that…

Columbia, South Carolina, here we come!

Today we are making our way to Columbia, South Carolina for a two-day retreat of an in-depth study of Nawawi’s 40 Hadith compilation, or al Arba’een. Led primarily by Shaykh Manzar-ul-Islam Azhari and Shaykh Muhammad Mendes, and sponsored by ISRA International, this is the 8th annual winter retreat of its kind. Called Jewels of Mercy,…

The 40

It’s late, but it’s still August 7th, and as promised, here are you notes from the Rihla. Since we last spoke, I was only able to watch one class, but inshAllah these notes are of benefit. The notes are from Imam Zaid Shakir’s class on Imam Al Ghazali’s text, Forty Foundations of the Religion. But…

Day 6: Homecoming

Yesterday was a very bittersweet day. It was the day we left to go back to the “real” world–back to our homes to continue the journey on our own. In a way, I feel that we already were in the “real” world in Tennessee. We were doing things as they should have been done all…

Day 5: On Acceptance

Today has been a relaxing, but long day, so this message will be brief. But I’ve learned a lot about acceptance from all the teachers. For instance… We must accept the place that we are in life. We must accept the decree of Allah (swt) and His Wisdom in putting us in the particular situation…

Day 3: You are like the company you keep

Today was such a spiritually uplifting day. I feel that I’m receiving so much benefit here–from the sisterhood and brotherhood to the information from the lectures. MashAllah. Today I want to share snippets from a lecture from Shaykh Mohammed Mendes, entitled “The Qur’an on the Journey to Allah.” In it, he extolled a shaykh that…

Day 1: We have arrived

We have arrived…in the Appalachian mountains, in the heart of the Cherokee nation. We are exhausted. I’m not sure if this program should be called a retreat. The schedule is intensive with back-to-back classes that begin early in the morning before Fajr and end late at night after Isha. So the day basically runs from…

Back to Basics

It’s Sunday today. We haven’t even been home for 24 hours yet, but we must go shopping. We emptied our refrigerator clean before we left. And though family members cooked food for us to eat, we’ve had enough of eating the same meal three times a day and eating dinner food for breakfast. What we…

Day 19: Journey to Hebron

We were greeted by a strange man today. You know the kind…the one that talks, sighs, and grunts to himself in the street and makes you want to walk the other way. The kind that will say anything to you without hesitation. The kind of crazy sage that speaks some truth amidst their chaos. He…

Day 18: You and Michelle

“You and Michelle are driving me nuts,” I keep saying as Hassan passes other cars on the one lane road from Eilat to Jerusalem. There is another car in front us with a like-minded driver, bobbing in and out of the opposite lane just to get around slow drivers. A sticker in the back window…

Day 17: Eilat

Eilat is truly a vacation within a vacation. Yesterday all I could tell you about was how beautiful it is here and the abundance of marine life. Today, we see the people and the city for what they are. It seems to be extremely HOT here everyday…so much so that if there was one day…

Day 16: The Room with a View

Hmmmm…Ramallah had me going there. Today we are on vacation. We are journeying….to Eilat!!! The hot spot in the south of Israel touching the Red Sea…beach town…coral reefs…blue skies smiling at me. We left at 6am to make the four hour drive to the south. Sorry, can’t tell you much of what happened during the…