When our faith continues to waver, it usually takes more than an iman rush to get us back on track. The only way to bridge the widening gap between us and our Creator is to take practical steps for life-long changes to our attitude and lifestyle. For over 330 registered students, the latest seminar offered by Al Maghrib Institute, the leading Islamic institute in the West, provided them with just that.
During the last week of January 2013, one of the most highly anticipated seminars took Qabeelat Nurayn, the DC-Maryland-Virginia student body of Al Maghrib Institute, by storm– literally. Despite the warnings for snow and heavy traffic, nearly 600 students gathered at the Mason Inn hotel at George Mason University to attend the free Friday preview of Behind the Scenes: Spiritual Practices of the Best Generations taught by Imam Omar Suleiman, one of the most popular instructors at Al Maghrib.
“This class had our largest attendance in our ten-year history, alhamdulillah,” Arif Kabir, ameer of Qabeelat Nurayn said. “Over 50 people were on the waiting list for this class, and even after switching to a larger venue, there were still more people that wanted to register.”
The record-breaking number of attendees reflected a combination of the tireless efforts of Nurayn volunteers, numerous testimonials from other Qabeelahs, and most of all, the essence of the class itself.
Ayesha Ahmad, Nurayn marketing head and longtime student explains, “Imam Omar Suleiman highlighted many of al-muhlikaat (the destructive flaws in every human being). Curing bad character, backbiting, mockery, breaking promises, and arrogance were all discussed on Saturday, leaving many students "beat down" as Imam Omar had promised. Sunday was certainly more uplifting as we spoke about istiqamah (consistency) in our good deeds and how to keep up with a daily wird (spiritual regimen).”
Other students related their Behind the Scenes experiences and the huge impact it made on their daily lives. Courtney Rupert, a new student at Nurayn, recounts her emotional experience during the class saying, “There were times where Imam Omar would say something and I would get so wrapped up in my thoughts because what he said hit home personally. An hour into class and I was already questioning my intentions about seeking knowledge and the decisions that I have made. My favorite part about the class was that we all laughed and cried together. Most of us were emotionally naked and I found that beautiful. To let go, to let your guard down in front of other people and cry is just beautiful.”
Zara Tariq, another student, describes how she put what she learned into practice. “I felt that this class was not only relevant, but extremely practical,” she said, “It helped me realize the small things I was doing wrong on a daily basis that I knew would affect me negatively in the long term. This class gave me things to take with me and implement in my life right away.”
“Alhamdulillah, this seminar was one that I'll never forget,” concludes Ayesha Ahmad, “It was one that I think a lot of people will never forget.”
“Our next seminar will be Divine Link: Fiqh of Salah. This class will be a natural transition from our last class on purification, and we're working to make that seminar experience just as impactful, all with a greater focus of increased professionalism, insha'Allah,” Kabir said optimistically.
More information about the next seminar can be found at almaghrib.org.