Archive for category Halaqah Corner
Shaykh Omar Suleiman said:
“Has anyone ever thrown stones at you?”
Those were the words of my teacher to me once when i was complaining about how tired i am traveling and teaching. The point being that truly our jobs are super easy. We fly in comfortable airplanes, stay in comfortable hotels, etc. The most we have to deal with is an annoying person or a cranky TSA agent. The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wa salam), the greatest of creation, was spit on, cursed, slandered, pelted with stones, and slept on a bed of branches.
If Allah has blessed you to be involved in Islamic work in any capacity, never show except the highest amount of gratitude and dont ever allow yourself to feel sorry for yourself. Whether you are a volunteer, organizer, speaker, etc. just be thankful that Allah is using you for good without making you go through what others who were far better than you had to withstand.
With that being said, the true soldier in my family is my wife mashaAllah tabarakAllah. She deserves all of the duas and appreciation.
I think everyone remembers the first time they gave a halaqah or a lecture. And if you haven’t given one, mark my words inshaaAllah you will remember your first one.
For those of you who are about to give one for the first time, I pray the following advice benefits you. Again, one of the reasons I really wanted to put a resource out there for guidelines in regards to giving a halaqah or a lecture is because I had previously tried to search for this information on my own, and I did not find much. I don’t claim to be an expert, and all of the following are just from my own personal experiences.
If anyone has anything to add to these points, please post in the comments section below :)
1. Check your sincerity.
An action that begins with a sincere intention is sure to be fruitful, bi’ithnillah. And keep a close-eye on your intention. It doesn’t hurt to pause every once in a while and silently make dua to Allah to make you sincere.
Begin with the Khutbatul Hajja and any du’a such as the du’a of Musa (Rabbi ishraH lee Sadree…)
2. Don’t try to “wing” it!
A friend of mine was about to give her first halaqah. I spoke to her the night before and she expressed frustration, and said “I was thinking of just going in there and winging it.”
I probably reacted somewhere along the lines of “NOOOO!”
Do not do that. You’re setting yourself up for failure. This is not an audition for the school play. It is the dissemination of sacred knowledge and sincere advice.
Prepare your halaqah in advance, and read over it often. Give it to someone to check, just in case. Practice giving the halaqah, and do it enough times so that you won’t have to keep looking down at your paper, because this can lead to a break in people’s attention. (See point #8)
Practicing beforehand will also help to avoid that “first-time-monotone.” You know what I’m talking about? It’s when someone feels so overwhelmed with nervousness, that their voice loses any sign of emotion, and they begin to sound like a robot reading off a piece of paper.
3. Don’t welcome questions/comments during the halaqah.
If it’s your first time, a simple question could side-track you and make you lose your train of thought.
When you are about to begin, just mention to everyone to “please write down questions during the halaqah if you have any, and we will try to go over it at the end; if I cannot address the question, I will get back to you inshaAllah.”
Similarly, a simple comment could leave you flabbergasted and wondering how to continue with your halaqah. People love discussions and enjoy chiming in with their own reflections, and inshaAllah as you begin to give more halaqaat, you will become skilled at hearing a comment or a question during the halaqah, addressing it warmly and correctly, and then moving along smoothly.
4. Pick a single topic – don’t bombard them.
Pick a single topic and let it all revolve around that topic. It can be a very general topic such as “Relationship with Allah,” or “Righteous Companions,” etc. but don’t go in there with the idea of just giving “General Pieces of Advice” and then bombard them with 15 pieces of seemingly disorganized and unrelated “advices.” If you have a lot to say, find a way to make it fit into a single topic, so that it is easier for others to follow.
We may think to ourselves, “This may be the only time I see these people, I should make sure they hear everything!”
To this I say, “If you want them to come back, give them something they can enjoy and easily digest — if you give them heartburn, you probably won’t see them in your halaqah again.”
One topic that I enjoy for a First Halaqah is “Righteous Company” because I see it as a way to encourage them to attend future halaqaat and Circles of Remembrance. There are many other benefits to making this a first-time topic.
5. Make it relevant and applicable
Da’wah is always tailored to suit the audience. Find out the general description of your audience, and prepare accordingly. High schoolers are addressed differently from University-goers.
New-to-Islam vs. Not-New-To-Islam
Married vs. Single
Recently started practicing vs. Been Practicing
You get the point, inshaAllah.
6. ‘Aqeedah first
Always be wise in your da’wah and include clear messages regarding ‘aqeedah, as this always comes first.
Even a topic like “Righteous Companions” – you can easily bring `Aqeedah into that.
If you’re unsure how to do this, leave a question inshaAllah.
7. “Sorry guys, this is my first time”
Is this something you want to say? I don’t know… maybe, maybe not. I’ll leave that up to you.
(I personally wouldn’t say it, only because it may make you more nervous, and make them more aware of your “first-time-ness.”)
8. Eye contact is important.
And you need to make sure you know what’s on your paper so you can make eye-contact for long periods of time. Try to meet everyone’s eyes, not just a couple of people. Let each of them feel like they are being addressed personally.
That is all for now, again please add to this list, and I will also see if anything else comes to mind.
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Allaah and the angels, and even the ant in its nest and the whale in the sea will pray for the one who teaches people good things.”
(Reported by al-Tabaraani from Abu Umaamah; see Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1838)
If you are ever struggling with your sincerity to Allah swt during a speaking or a teaching situation, this is for you:
A thought to ponder upon for all bloggers, halaqah-givers, teachers of Islamic knowledge, etc…
Ask yourself, what if they [the blog-readers, halaqah-goers, and the ‘students’ in front of you] benefit from my words, and I don’t? What if this is saves them, but destroys me?
A sobering thought…
Oh Allaah, benefit me by that which you have taught me
Author: Al ‘Allaamah Ash Shaikh Saalih Al Fawzaan – hafidhahullaah
Source: Explanation of Buloogh al-Maraam – Vol. 6 Kitaab al-Jaami’; Chapter: adh-Dhikr wad du’a. – Pg: 347-348
Translator: Abu Fouzaan Qaasim
Original Source @ http://www.salafyink.com
1565: On the authority of Anas ibn Maalik (radhi Allaahu ‘anhu) who said: The Messenger of Allaah (sallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to say
O Allah! benefit me with what you have taught me, teach me what will benefit me
and provide me with knowledge that will benefit me.
[Collected by an-Nasaa’ee in al-Kubraa: 7868 and al-Haakim: 1:510]
1566: at-Tirmidhee has a similar hadeeth on the authority of Abee Hurayrah (radhi Allaahu ‘anhu) where the Messenger (sallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) says at the end of it
“And increase me in knowledge. All praise is for Allaah in all circumstances and I seek refuge with Allaah from the condition of the people of Hell.”
[Saheeh at-Tirmidhee (3599). Authentic excluding “all praise for Allaah…..” unto the end]
“Oh Allaah, benefit me by that which you have taught me…”
This is because) a person could have knowledge of something but not gain any benefit from it and his knowledge (would then) become a proof against him. He would become like a donkey carrying books, carrying around knowledge but not receiving anything from them
So the intent is not merely to gain knowledge. However, the intent is (to gain) knowledge and action, the knowledge that benefits (its possessor
As for knowledge that isn’t beneficial, then this doesn’t aid the person at all. Rather, he will be from the foremost to be roasted in the Fire on the Day of Resurrection as it is authenticated in the hadeeth.
“Teach me that which will benefit me…”
Because if Allaah doesn’t teach an individual, he will not learn anything. Just as the angels said
“Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us.” [2:32]
So you are asking Allaah to teach you what will benefit you and benefit you by what He teaches you
“And provide me with knowledge that will benefit me.”
He (sallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) didn’t just say “knowledge” only. Rather he said “knowledge which will benefit me.” Knowledge that is of no benefit will be a proof against the one who has it
So in this (hadeeth) there is a very important regard for (beneficial) knowledge and that the Muslim should ask Allaah to teach him what will benefit him and to make his knowledge beneficial for him and not a proof against him
And in this hadeeth proves that knowledge is connected to action. So there is no benefit in action(s) without knowledge instead it will be a cause for misguidance. And likewise there is no benefit in knowledge without action. Rather that would enrage Allaah, Glorified be He and Most High
This is why we supplicate daily
“Guide us to the straight path. The path of those whom you have bestowed your grace upon.”- 1:6-7
They are the people of knowledge and action
“Not the way of those who earned your anger.” – 1:7
They are the people of knowledge without action
“Nor those who are astray.” – 1:7
They are the people of action without knowledge
Hence there isn’t any benefit in knowledge without action nor action without knowledge. They must be united with one another
“And increase me in knowledge…”
This comes in the Qur’aan
And say: Oh my Lord increase me in knowledge.” – 20:114
No matter how much a person attains of knowledge he is still ignorant. That which he is ignorant of outweighs that which he has knowledge of by far. So no one should have the audacity to say: “I’m finished (seeking knowledge), I’ve gained an abundant amount of ‘ilm.” No, let him ponder over the statement of the Most High
But over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing (Allaah).” 12:76
So (in this du’a) you are asking Allaah to be increased in beneficial knowledge
“All praise is for Allaah in all circumstances and I seek refuge with Allaah from the condition of the people of Hell”
This is praising and exalting Allaah in all situations. Therefore the Muslim praises Allaah in all situations. In good times he praises Allaah and in bad times he still praises Allaah, and he seeks refuge with Allaah from the condition of the people of Hell.
- Word-Word by-Word Study Chart of the Supplication for Gaining Knowledge – PDF
Designed and translated by Aboo ‘Imraan al-Mekseekee, Daar-ul-Kutub Publications
I was just browsing through this website, and subhan Allah, I don’t remember the last time I said “wow” out-loud, so many times, in succession. There is some amazing stuff on this website, composed/translated by the brother, so check it out when you get a chance. I’m going to be re-posting some stuff that I want to return to often, here, with a link going back to his page. Inshaa Allah
A powerful incident in which Shaykh Uthaymeen advises a young boy in regards to praising…
Working in any Muslim organization, or giving halaqaat, you are bound to be praised. The people mean well, but they don’t realize what a dangerous thing they are doing sometimes. Always remind yourself that the people who are praising you, do not have knowledge of the Unseen, so they do not know all of your flaws. They have a biased view of you. Allah swt, the Knower of the Unseen, knows about every stain on your heart, and every error made by your tongue, and every glance of your eyes. If you do not remind yourself this, you are walking down the treacherous path to self-amazement.
If you are praised, remember the dua for it:
Allahumma laa tu’aakhithnee bimaa yaqooloona, waghfir lee maa laa ya’lamoona, [waj’alnee khayram-mimmaa yadhunnoon].
O Allah, do not call me to account for what they say and forgive me for what they have no knowledge of [and make me better than they imagine].
While giving halaqaat or a short talk, I’ve come across many different sisters, but I noticed these two “extremes” (and I use the word “extreme” to describe their unhealthy thought processes).
Sister # 1
On the one hand there is the sister that, no matter how much you emphasize at the beginning of the talk: “Sisters, I caution you to look at your own faults and your own shortcomings first, before anyone else’s. This talk will benefit you most, if you hear it in light of your own mistakes. The burden of your sins on your shoulder should be greater than those of anyone else’s sins, because those are the sins that you are going to meet Allah s.w.t. with.
No matter how much you emphasize that, she still spends the majority of the talk thinking about how much her cousin/friend/neighbor needs to hear this. This sister is being deluded. She overlooks her own faults and places a magnifying glass over the faults of others. It’s difficult to get through to her with these subtle warnings, because she will always be thinking of someone else who needs to hear that warning.
Sister # 2
On the other hand, you have the sister who attends the halaqah/talk, and she thinks that you somehow spent the night meticulously fashioning your talk to be completely directed at her and her shortcomings… in order to humiliate her. Because she feels like it was done out of spite, this is something I would term paranoia. Every warning of yours is an arrow pointed straight at her. Now, for a sister to listen to a talk in this manner: thinking that it is directly linked to her and her well-being, would be great. However, she takes it too far if she leaves the talk feeling like you just executed a personal attack on her. She feels too humiliated to act upon the advice that was given. She may or may not approach you to confirm her suspicions, but if she does, that’s your chance to recognize and address the sister’s problems (whatever they may be), inshaa Allah.
Sister # 3
The middle path is a sister who, and alhamdu lillah I know sisters like this, when you caution them to focus on their own flaws, they do that. Then they take in every piece of advice, asking themselves “How can I apply this knowledge in order to improve my relationship with Allah swt?” This is the sister that benefits the most from the talk, and this is the attitude that I encourage myself to aim for. When you hear advice, don’t be like the first sister whose arrogance led her to brushing it off as something that is meant for someone else. And don’t be like the second sister who let her paranoia blind her from following the advice.
And Allah SWT knows Best.
Part 2 of this post will describe Sister # 3 in greater detail, and in a different context, inshaa Allah.
Bismillah walhamdu lillah
The first time I was asked to teach, a sister asked, and I basically told her no, for different reasons. I wasn’t qualified, the distance was far, why on earth was she asking me, is she serious, no way… (This is what went through my head)
The second time it happened, I was caught off guard. It was a different sister who asked this time, and she was one of my teachers and close friends. She called the morning of the halaqah and asked if I would teach it. She wasn’t going to be able to make it to campus because of a death in her family (rahimahullah). That’s like the hardest situation to say “no” in. First of all, she was one of my favorite people. Second, she came to me at a delicate time for her and needed a favor from me. So I decided to agree this time.
What’d I say next? Something that to this day, makes me feel embarrassed.
“Uhh…what should I teach?” I asked her. — As if I have ijaazaat in so many books, she just needs to pick a topic, and I’m ready! (lol)
“Whatever you’re comfortable with.”
Awesome, that would be…absolutely nothing.
What to choose, what to choose…
I rushed to my Islamic library and started grabbing books off the shelf. I figured, I can go to campus early and start preparing there. I have no idea why I thought to do that, I always concentrate much better at home. But there I found myself, sitting in the MSA club room with my books and papers in front of me, freaking out.
My friend walked in, she knew what was going on, and told me to relax, it’ll be fine. Mhmm, I continue to freak out.
I think I went to class after that. Then, when it was a little while before the halaqah, I met up with that same friend, and we went through my notes. I left to sit alone for a while, concentrate and prepare to teach.
Then it was time. We picked up our stuff and went to the room. When we got there, I put my stuff down and decided I still had a few minutes to prepare, since people were late in showing up. So I went and started pacing outside, like a weirdo. Those few extra minutes really helped though.
Okay, now, now it was really time. I took my notes, and entered the room.
I praised Allah, and began teaching my first real halaqah.
I decided to do it on the most difficult topic (for me), sincerity.
How did it go? Umm…I’d rather not say…let’s just say, with each halaqah, I get to learn more and more things about myself and about teaching.
I’ve tried to google “how to teach a halaqah” and stuff, but nothing too helpful has come up. So, because of what seems like a lack of information out there, I want to share the little that I know, in the hopes that next time someone searches for information regarding this, they can find something that can help them inshaa Allah, bi’ithnillah.
That’s the story behind this category/page. :)
“So be afraid of Allah; and Allah teaches you. And Allah is the All-Knower of each and everything.” Surah al Baqarah, ayah 282
May Allah aza wa jel teach you and me. Ameen