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7 Mental Notes from Ilm Summit


ilmsummit_listen.jpgI’ve enjoyed about 3 weeks now since Ilm Summit ended.

Key word – enjoyed.

See, there’s a lot of brothers and sisters who attended the program that are likely still going through withdrawal pangs after having spent two straight weeks seeking knowledge, engaging our teachers (may Allah subhaana wa ta’aala reward them for their time and efforts) anytime we wanted, and occasionally throwing down (or, in Shaykh Yasir’s case, turning into positions that would be the envy of a Cirque de Soleil performer) in a game of table tennis.

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By the beginning of the second weekend, I could sense the dread beginning to settle in – that the whole event would come to a close very soon.  At 5 days left, the countdown began.  Some of us had not even stepped out of the hotel beyond a breath of fresh (humid) air during that time.  In less than 16 days, many of us were becoming institutionalized Shawshank Redemption style.

As for myself, I was looking forward to leaving and returning to my family.  I’m sure many of you remember the hadeeth of Handala (RA) about iman going down returning to one’s family that Shaykh Yasir mentioned (humorously with his wife on) during his discussion of what to do after leaving Ilm Summit, and you may be thinking, this is where the knowledge is, why would you want to return to your wife and kids, and job, and all the other mundane minutiae of life you were blessed to escape?

The best way I can relate this is with an analogy, one related to college.  Remember when you graduated?  Sure, you (hopefully) learned a bunch both in and out of class, you formed amazing bonds and relationships that will always remain dear to you, and you likely lived (often barely) through some rather interesting experiences.  Fun as it was, you probably wanted to move on to the next stage of life, taking what you’d learned and put it into practice, making your own way in the real world.

It was the same thing for Ilm Summit.  I picked up a lot both in and out of class, and was anxious to return to “the real world” to practice what I’d learned.  And alhamdulillaah, what a huge difference those changes have since made in my day-to-day life, which is why I say, I’ve enjoyed the past few weeks post-Ilm Summit.  Here are a few habits and lessons learned I picked up:

1.  Focus – Where Is It?

As an aspiring student of knowledge, I found it that it was easy to fall into the trap of placing one’s focus on so many issues to the neglect of oneself.  The real benefit is first ourselves and our relationship with our Creator and then others.

On that great Day, when I am faced with a second-by-second account of all that I did, said, thought, and intended, the majority of that time will focus a spotlight on me, not others.  Would I not be better off focusing my questions, on seeking answers to my own weaknesses?

I found that turning a critical eye to myself and my habits provided the framework of thinking, the mindset, to really focus myself on ways to truly pull the most out of Ilm Summit to benefit myself and really change the way I lived my life.

2.  Heart Disease – Diagnosis and Treatment

Each morning, from 8:45am – 9:00am, we would study the etiquettes of seeking knowledge, alternating between Shaykh Yaser B and Shaykh Yasir Q.  It’s the type of class where you might find yourself thinking, “I know that brother X or sister Y could benefit from these lessons,” little realizing the one who can benefit the most is oneself.

There was a lot of ground covered, and I won’t rehash all of it, but from what was covered, I began to observe within myself, and I began consciously noting what disease that was described and the feeling in my heart as I was going through it.

For example, one advice that was given was that when you think that someone else is showing off, realize that the one with the problem is you, not that person.  That’s a natural thought – so and so is trying to show his knowledge to his friends or teacher.  That feeling did hit me, but it hit me after the class, so immediately after I felt the thought, and the feeling in the heart that came with it, I made a mental note of it and immediately made du’aa for the person, repented for the thought, and asked to be purified of the disease.

I noted that when I felt the feeling, there was a lot of negative feeling, one which the mind could not justify.  And, throughout the event, and even now after, I look out for that negative feeling in the heart in other situations, and subhaanallah, I can point out the problem now because that awareness from those classes is now there, and I can consciously fight against it, whereas before, it was like, I was the unconscious incompetent – I didn’t know that I had a problem, or that that negativity was a problem.

I now pay more attention to how my heart is feeling, and if it’s feeling particularly numb, I assume that it’s those black spots accrued from sinning beginning to blacken and harden my heart, and I ask to be forgiven and purified.  I try to think of as many sins that I just might have committed throughout the day, and keep asking to be forgiven til I feel my heart is getting better.

At the next Ilm Summit, I hope the Adab al-‘Ilm classes are longer each day, insha’Allah.  Those alone were worth the trip, may Allah subhaana wa ta’aala reward our teachers and give them the highest place in Paradise for teaching us this knowledge.

3.  Water Boy

Throughout my life, I’ve had this issue with showers – I always like to stand there and just kinda veg out, getting lost in my own thoughts.  The problem was, 30 minutes later, and on a daily basis, that was a lot of water wasted.  And very possibly a minor sin repeated on a regular basis, which would then turn it into a major sin.


During our discussion of fiqh at-taharah, I was shocked by the amount of water used by the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim for ghusl – approximately what amounted to one cup of water.  Since that time, if I do space out in the shower, I keep thinking of that cup, hurry up, and get out.  My time has been a lot better since.

Speaking of water…

4.  Clean Living

Somewhere in there, it was mentioned that we ought to try remaining in state of wudu throughout the day as much as possible.  I decided to try it out, and it became a habit that I have maintained since then.  Alhamdulillaah, it feels amazing to always be in that state, and I feel almost filthy now if I’m out of it even briefly.  Best of all, you’re always ready for salaah when the time comes, alhamdulillaah ;)

Another manifestation of “clean living” – for the those 16 days, I stopped eating non-zabiha (to my knowledge) completely.  And honestly, I felt a lot better because of it.  I haven’t changed my opinion on the matter, but I have yet to touch non-zabiha anything since maybe the first day of Ilm Summit.

And speaking of eating, another beneficial habit I picked up when seeing the huge portions provided by the caterers, I intentionally ate smaller portions (I’m not sure how 1/3rd of my stomach is measured in terms of food quantity, but it was a lot less than normal) and found that also provided a type of spiritual comfort which I can’t quite put into words.  It also got me to lose about 7 lbs the past few weeks =)  Another bonus:   no biriyani burps during Ramadan taraweeh ;)

5.  Calvin Klein Models Can Give Ijaazah Too

Alright, everyone who was at Ilm Summit knows who I’m talking about, right?  The title of this section is in no way meant to denigrate whom we all know I’m talking about – Dr. Jonathon Brown.  This brother, who came to Islam in 2002, has an amazing amount of knowledge in the sciences of hadeeth and gave a number of amazing sessions on the history of orientalist thought and how it their thought processes were used to criticize the hadeeth literature.

Masha’Allah, the real lesson here is that Allah blesses whomsoever He Wills with what He Wishes, and if there was any Muslim brother I’ve seen who made me think of Yusuf (as), he was it.  But even more beneficial for me, besides the amazing lectures, was his style – I was thinking of asking the brother for fashion tips.  I mean, there he was on stage teaching in a 3 piece suit.  A three piece suit!  It reminded me of what I heard of Imam Maalik, not talking about the hadeeth of the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim til he had made ghusl, put on his finest clothes, perfumed himself, and then came out to teach the hadeeth.

So yes, another lesson, dressing indifferently, especially when coming to seek (or teach) knowledge, may not be the greatest of etiquettes in the world.  Respect yourself, and respect the knowledge, and adorn yourself well.

(for the record, Dr. Brown neither is nor was (to my knowledge) a CK model, but yes, he can give you ijaazah in certain ahadeeth).

6.  Respect Your Roommate

After being married for close to five years now, I kind of was taking life for granted.  Whatever little flaws I had (like leaving my clothes around, not picking up after myself, etc) tended to seem trivial to me before Ilm Summit.  Sure, my wife might complain, but these were the minor flaws of a great husband that one just had to sacrifice and put up with, right? ;)

At Ilm Summit, I had a new roommate, and I consciously spent some time making sure that I did nothing to offend him by keeping my clothes in areas which would not intrude upon him (too much).  I tried to tidy up my wudu water, and in general, to keep the place clean.  That’s what being considerate was all about, right?  If the neighbor has rights on you, how about your roommate?

It struck me that I wasn’t quite applying the same thought process at home.  14 days later of being considerate towards my roommate made me realize, these habits ought to continue even afterwards.  And alhamdulillaah, they have, and my wife appreciates it greatly, so if someone went around saying, “Ilm Summit can make you a better husband,” they wouldn’t be too far off.

7.  The Fitrah – Your Daw’ah Trump Card

It was interesting (and practical) to find out that one need not seek other religions, and review (and reject) them for the sake of intellectual justice – the fitrah trumps that because it inclines us to tawheed, and coupled with the ‘aql, towards Islam in totality.

It put to rest that question (we tell others to explore and be openminded, shouldn’t we be intellectually honest enough to do the same?) that I had for a while regarding all this.  As a result, I need not start by proving the existence of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, but rather, I can start by yanking at their fitrah by teaching the Qur’aan and the Sunnah to nonMuslims.

There were more lessons, but I thought I’d limit it to my top 7.  Some of the items in the list were what some would consider mundane and minor, but to me, those new habits have made a huge difference in the quality of my life and the peace, happiness, and stability within my heart.  They were lifechanging and I hope insha’Allah to benefit again likewise at the next IlmSummit.

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Siraaj is the Executive Director of MuslimMatters. He's spent over two decades working in dawah organizations, starting with his university MSA and going on to lead efforts with AlMaghrib Institute, MuslimMatters, and AlJumuah magazine. He's very married with wonderful children



  1. Nihal Khan

    September 22, 2008 at 4:28 AM

    Ilm Summit 2009… I come!!!!!!!

    ….inshaAllah :)

  2. argentyne

    September 22, 2008 at 4:57 AM

    Assalamualaikum, jazakallah for that article. Please don’t think that anything that you’ve learned is small or insignificant, for people who don’t get a chance to attend such events, even a written account could be very beneficial. You never know which tiny thought can trigger a big change, so please go ahead with a part 2. Maybe you could even invite someone who’d attended with you for what he/she learned.
    Jazakallahu khayran.

  3. Harun

    September 22, 2008 at 5:20 AM


    I was a bit sceptical about the Ilm Summit but what you have mentioned has really made a difference to how I think about it now. It sounds very beneficial inshaAllah

  4. vindicated

    September 22, 2008 at 8:59 AM


    Jazakallah for sharing your experiences and the lessons you learnt, it really made me feel as if I was a part of it all. Although I don’t live in North America, but in Pakistan, I often find myself wishing I did. The reason being, even though Pakistan is a predominantly Muslim country, there is a lack of such fun/ inspiring / imaan lifting activities or events here. For some reason, even the religious minded here take Islam as a ‘thou shall forsake evil’ affair and if anyone tries to involve a bit of fun in it, he’s thought of as peculiar. This, and due to the fact that I’m personally more comfortable with English rather than Urdu, I find myself a bit isolated at times. Sure, I can listen to Sheikh Yasir and other scholars via mp3s and watch their videos on YouTube, but it’s obviously not the same thing as being there in person and learning through direct means.

  5. Hidaya

    September 22, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    What are ilm summiters doing to spread the knowledge they gained????????/

  6. Amaat al Kareem

    September 22, 2008 at 10:39 AM

    I agree with argentyne – I have been waiting on the Ilm Summit part two review. I have tried to be patient, while trying to live off what little knowledge is on the forums. This has been an extremely beneficial post – at least the insight to the knowledge no matter how little it is, will suffice alhamdulilah. I look forward to reading more of the lessons you and others have learned at i.S insha’Allah.

    Jazak Allahu khair

  7. SaqibSaab

    September 22, 2008 at 11:42 AM

    Wow, mashaAllah with all those changes, Cyrax, maybe Ilm Summit will make you a better Ameer than you already are. How about some reflections on the effects Ilm Summit had on your relationship with Amatullah and Salahuddin? :)

  8. AnonyMouse

    September 22, 2008 at 1:48 PM

    I love any and all posts related to IlmSummit, subhanAllah! It’s amazing… I feel totally left out! :(
    Sharing is caring, so keep it up! We want moreeeeeeee!

  9. Siraaj

    September 22, 2008 at 3:33 PM

    Amaat al Kareem and Argentyne:
    I’d be happy to do a follow-up article, adding 3 more beneficial “Mental Notes” if there’s interest, insha’Allah =)

    Glad to have offered you another perspective =)

    Wa iyyakum. Allah subhaana wa ta’aala gives each of us a specific situation, and perhaps your circumstances benefit you now in a way you may not realize til later. With that in mind, take advantage of the resources you have and perhaps Allah subhaana wa ta’aala will later provide you with more if you show the interest ;)

    This is my attempt to spread some of it, others may be involved in other activities in their own community, wallaahu a’lam.

    Two weeks away from your kids? You miss the tantrums and cuteness instead of fearing it, and you kind of appreciate it and laugh it off when you return :D


  10. Olivia

    September 22, 2008 at 4:13 PM

    I still havent been asked to cook or iron yet since Siraaj came home! =)

    Masha’Allah its been a blessing to see the positive impact that Ilm Summit has had on our lives as a married couple as well as in other facets of SIraaj’s life. I hope insha’Allah other wives are benefitting as much as me!

  11. Yaser Birjas

    September 22, 2008 at 5:18 PM

    Brought back beautiful memories….as an instructor, I personally learned a lot and benefited greatly wal hamdulillah.

    And having your wife testify for you, that is a big thing :) masha’Allah. May Allah bless you both with happiness in this dunya and the akhira.

  12. Yasir Qadhi

    September 22, 2008 at 7:01 PM

    Great post Siraaj. Subhan Allah we are still reliving the memories of those two weeks!

    I’m already excited about IlmSummit 2009 and have begun thinking up the curriculum. May Allah make it even more of a success than last year’s!


  13. Fatima

    September 22, 2008 at 7:34 PM

    Salaamu alaikum.
    AlHamdulillah it’s beneficial to read about someone’s experience of an event, after some time has elapsed since it ended; it really helps to put things into perspective, when you look back at things.

    I think many of us are past the withdrawal stage now, and are enjoying the implementation stage, AlHamdulillah.

    Re: Professor Brown and Yusuf Alayhis Salaam – it’s funny you should bring this up; we had a standing joke about this which included knives and hands and female students – he definitely defeated stereotypes SubhaanAllah.

    I think when it came to both Professor Brown and Imaam Nasir – may Allah Preserve them both – many of us learnt an invaluable lesson here, viz. the danger of having pre-conceptions about someone based on their credentials, appearance and background.

    These pre-conceptions can sometimes serve as an obstacle in the path towards attaining benefit from someone, because you sit in their lessons, almost in attack mode, determined to prove them wrong, ‘put them on the spot’ etc (for e.g. by questioning them incessantly!).

    AlHamdulillah, these two amazing individuals, almost as soon as they opened their mouths to speak, put all such pre-conceptions to rest.
    I will never forget Professor Brown citing the sanad in his first sentence.


  14. ilmsummitee

    September 22, 2008 at 8:29 PM

    JazakAllahu khairan brother Siraaj for that awesome article…….this IS how ilm needs to be taken, manifested, and appreciated. May Allah bless you and your family for the days to come.

    SubhanAllah, brought back great sweet memories.

  15. Yasir Qadhi

    September 22, 2008 at 10:38 PM

    Sr. Fatima,

    You very eloquently expressed exactly why I wished to invite them to IlmSummit (and obviously to share their knowledge with us as well!!). Really I find many people are too quick to stereotype and overgeneralize.

    Next year as well I intend to invite other speakers to challenge us and help us broaden our horizons insha Allah (within reasonable limits of course!!).

  16. UmmAbdullah

    September 23, 2008 at 4:03 AM

    Salaam Alaikum…very informative article , masha’Allah

  17. Pingback: Leaving A Legacy Behind.. « Hidden Souls…

  18. Siraaj

    September 23, 2008 at 1:21 PM

    Olivia and Shaykh Yaser Birjas
    Ha, funny story, one of my wife’s friends saw the change in a conversation I had with her and said, “I’m sending my husband to Ilm Summit too!”

    Shaykh Yasir Qadhi
    And I’m glad you guys are keeping it two weeks. That isolation time is crucial for developing new habits =) But one thing – please make adab al ‘ilm a half hour at least.

    When Shaykh Yasir kept saying, “He’s very different,” over and over again (referring to Dr. Brown) and then I saw him wearing a (stylish) pink shirt, and good looking as he was (masha’Allah), I thought, er, is he on the other side of the fence with regards to gender relations? Is that what Shaykh Yasir was trying to emphasize? Alhamdulillaah, not the case :D

    I think there were also a number of challenges as it related to fiqh, particularly fiqh al maqarin. I know some brothers at least were showing initial disappointment at the covering of madhab rulings without evidences, waiting for the “right” opinion with it’s decisive evidences brought down, but lo and behold, the point was to challenge the students to defend their opinions in the face of others that were formed upon, many times, the same evidences.

    ilmsummitee and UmmAbdullah
    Glad you enjoyed the read – ilmsummitee, who are you?


  19. Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    September 23, 2008 at 1:51 PM

    I hope this isn’t inappropriate to ask, but what did Yasir Qadhi mean by him being very different?

  20. Nahyan

    September 23, 2008 at 1:53 PM

    assalaam alaikum everyone and Siraaj,

    that was an excellent article, very nicely written. MashaAllah.

    Jazakallahukhair for sharing your lessons and really poking those that missed out :)


  21. Fatima

    September 23, 2008 at 2:35 PM

    Salaamu alaikum
    Abu Musa – I think Shaykh Yasir meant that he wasn’t someone the ILM Summit crowd was used to, i.e. he was different from the other instructors at ILM Summit, in terms of his profession, i.e. he’s a Professor at a mainstream university, his appearance etc….at least this was my interpretation of what he meant…at first I thought it might also have been a reference to his Islamic Studies background, but this did not turn out to be the case, for as we learnt later on, the good Professor had acquired much of his knowledge in Arabic and Hadeeth in Egypt.

    Br Siraaj – pink shirt, good looking = other side of fence in terms of gender relations? Now, that’s what I call stereotyping! :)


  22. ibnabeeomar

    September 23, 2008 at 2:41 PM

    im afraid to ask what you thought of br. atif’s hot pink shirt :P

  23. Abu Zayd

    September 23, 2008 at 2:44 PM

    Asalamu alaikum, everyone.

    Although I had to leave after 1 week, I benefited and learned immensely, what seems like a lifetime of lessons and pearls. I have been using the material from just the first week of IlmSummit, in Ramadan talks and khutbahs here in NJ, and people seem to love them.

    I have to get the rest of the notes from the second week. I am looking for an advanced note-taker, one with an analytical mind and an eye for detail and precision. Any one out there?

    Abu Zayd

  24. Siraaj

    September 23, 2008 at 2:45 PM

    Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî
    Maybe that he wouldn’t be running around in a thobe or kurta shalwar, or just poorly dressed? Could also be the manner in which he challenged students to critically look at the issue of hadeeth criticism from the view of an academic, and tearing down such academic arguments in an academic fashion (like Shaykh Muhammad Mustafa Azami did) rather than the shoot-from-the-hip you’re not seeking the truth, that’s not right arguments that are more suited for discussion among people of various religious backgrounds attempting to invite one to the other’s religion.

    Walaykum as salaam, and wa iyyakum – I’ll follow it up later with some other lessons if time permits, insha’Allah.

    Some of the tentative topic titles I had in mind for the lessons – Shaykhin’ and Jivin’, The Cave Man, Independence Day, and Who Moved My Cheese Again?

    Ha, I’ve known Atif for about 5 years now, I know he’s married to a Muslim sister, alhamdulillaah =) What was more intriguing to me was the airplane buckle he was using as a belt for his pants and the old skool converse skater shoes he wore with this suit.


  25. First Aid

    September 23, 2008 at 4:29 PM

    Mashallah great lessons……reading anything about ilmsummit brings all the wonderful memories back and it feels like we are all back there….
    lol at the calvin klien model, to be honest when i first saw Dr. Brown I was surprised and even more surprised when he was reciting the isnaads Mashallah a very knowledgable person but Subhanallah it really makes one aware of all the stereotypes out there
    And inshallah i do hope Br. Atif comes back because i really enjoyed his games and lessons and im still disappointed with myself that my team didnt win the $100 and we were oh so close :(

  26. H

    September 23, 2008 at 6:51 PM

    Just a question. Why does Dr Brown not have a beard?

  27. Siraaj

    September 23, 2008 at 7:01 PM

    Just a question. Why does Dr Brown not have a beard?

    He has stubble, actually.


  28. Al Iskandarani

    September 24, 2008 at 5:47 AM

    Br. Siraaj,

    Like all other articles on Ilm Summit, yours brought out some jealousy in me (the good kind :) ). In fact, reading your post might have been the tipping point – the other day I informed my wife of my niyya to attend next year, inshAllah. I ask that you set aside a couple of seconds in your duas these coming days to ask Allah to ease my path towards making this intention a reality.

    Barak Allahu Feek

    P.S. – With all the talk about Dr. Brown, I had to check the guy out. SubhanAllah, his lecture on hadith collection and criticism was very concise and informative. It is refreshing to find such a role model – both in terms of balancing secular and religious ilm, and in fashion sense. :)

  29. Siraaj

    September 24, 2008 at 2:16 PM

    First Aid
    You know what was funny about that last game? We knew the method that we were supposed to use to solve it (we overheard him talking about it), but we still couldn’t solve it. If too many people got involved, that’s when it was difficult – it’s easier if one person works it. We knew that, but in the end, our team still ended up violating that rule :D

    Al Iskandarani
    I’ve done the same as well (made my niyyah) to attend next year, and I hope insha’Allah to do so. I’ve made du’aa for us both to be there and benefit and change even more, so insha’Allah, we’ll see one another there bro ;) Don’t forget to make du’aa I can be there again (I promise not to participate in trashtalking videos that end up on youtube).


  30. Abdullah

    September 29, 2008 at 7:21 AM

    asalamu alaykum,

    after sharing it, someone from muslimmatters requested that i share this article in a comment on one of the upcoming articles on ilmsummit:

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
    The Meaning of IlmSummit

    Alhamdullilah wa salaatu wa salaamu ala Rasool’Allah
    Ashadu an laa illaha illa lah wa ashadu anna Muhammadan Abdahu wa Rasool

    It is time for Fajr. “Alhamdullilah Who has restored to me my health, and returned to me my soul, and allowed me to remember Him again.””Alhamdullilah, Who has brought us to life after having caused us to die, and to Him is our return.”

    You wipe the sleep from your eyes and make wudu, Bismillah, wa Ashadu an laa illaha illa lah, wahdahu laa shareeka lah, wa ashadu anna Muhammadan abdahu wa Rasool. You put on your clothes and head down for Fajr.

    There you join all your brothers and sisters, some already waiting in the lines in quiet serenity.

    You pray two rakahs.

    The imam comes, and as he begins to recite you are mesmerized by the melodic embrace of the Qur’an as his heart and voice tremble with emotions, barely able to hold back the tears. The sniffles trickle throughout the rows of the congregants. There is peace.

    The prayer ends.

    After thikr and dua, some are off to read Qur’an, some are off to breakfast or to get more rest, and some head off to study.

    8:45 am kicks in.

    The shaykh is ready.

    The students are waiting patiently, poised for taking notes.

    Then, beautiful knowledge flows and swims from the mouth of the shaykh in various colors, forms, and shapes, as the pens scribble and the fingers hover over the keyboards.

    There is no time to lose.

    The shaykh ends the session and moves directly to hadith.

    The sweet sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him, beautifies the gathering and brings happiness and delight to the minds and spirits of the students, and showers them with hope and tranquility.

    That session ends, but the knowledge does not end there.

    As you traverse throughout the day, your heart, spirit, and mind soak in the miracles of the Quran, the beauty of hadith, the precision of fiqh, the grace of tafsir, the depths of iman, the beneficence sharia, and the wonders of Islamic Spain, amongst the ocean of knowledge.

    Yet your day is filled more.

    You take an afternoon nap so that you can worship and study better at night. You research and revise with fellow students or alone. You eat with your brothers and sisters in faith and with the shayookh to take time to learn from their wisdom, manners, knowledge, experience, and advice. You are amazed at the level of knowledge of the students amongst you and try to benefit from them. You try to wake up for qiyyam. There is not a moment to waste because you may never get this chance again, and you may miss that one piece of information that could change your entire life.

    You are not overseas at a madrassa.

    And you are not overseas in a university.

    You are in a hotel in Houston, TX, in the United States of America

    You are at IlmSummit 2008.

    The Birth of a New Reality for Islam in America | IlmSummit 2008: History in the Making

    Realize though, that we do not want to be in a hotel any longer.

    What is necessary in the meantime will suffice.

    The time has come to change history, and to change the course and direction of Islam in America, with the help and guidance of Allah.

    It does not have to be a hotel anymore because the time to think and plan bigger has come, if it is not already long overdue.

    The time has come to establish a University of Islam in America with a full campus and instructors and students living there, teaching, learning, practicing, sharing, and benefiting day and night.

    The time has come to raise our own standards, and to raise our own scholars and callers to Islam who do not have to go to foreign lands to understand and learn and teach Islam at a very high level, but can gain that all right there in America. The time has come to raise such people who not only understand the religion but also the society in which they live because they were born, brought up, and raised in it, so that they can impart it to others and implement it in the most suitable, wise, and beneficial fashion for the land in which they live. And that is because they are simply a part and parcel of it.

    The time has come for the average non-Muslim American to be walking the streets with his companion and walk by that University amongst all the beautiful trees and greenery and see walking down its steps a bright-faced young man dressed in white and with hair on his face, and say: “I love those people, they are excellent. They bring so much benefit to the society and their religion is so simple and beautiful. I wish there were more of them, and I want to be like them.”

    The time has come to turn that dream into a reality.

    The time has come to raise up such an institution for the benefit and betterment of humanity, and this society in particular.

    The time has come to bring the fruits of Islam to the people and to establish its peace, beauty, wisdom, and simplicity in the daily lives, transactions, living, and families of our community, and with that practice, spread those fruits as far and wide as we can to the people, with the help, mercy, and guidance of Allah.

    The time is now and the time is to act. Because things will not wait for us. And because we do not have to wait any longer.

    Insha’Allah, one day in this country, a parent will no longer be hoping for their child to attend Harvard, UCLA, Stanford, or Yale.

    Insha’Allah, they will hope for their child to attend that University of Islam in America, because that is where the real benefactors and movers and shakers of society are shaped, educated, and inspired. Because that is where the sincere and true way of life is practiced, embodied, and shared for all who wish. And because it is at such institutions that the promise, hope, and the future of this people and land reside.

    And so the dream is in the air.

    Change must come and we must work for that change.

    Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.

    In the immediate time however, insha’Allah we will be in that hotel.

    And, insha’Allah, we will be living out that dream as much as we can.

    Subhana ka lahum wa behamdik, Ashadu an laa ilaaha illa lah ant, astaghfaruka wa atoobu elayk

  31. Siraaj

    September 29, 2008 at 12:55 PM

    This article shouldn’t be buried at the bottom of a comments page of a (relatively) old article on IlmSummit bro – it ought to be published.


  32. ibnabeeomar

    September 29, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    will be incorporated in the next article inshallah :)

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