7 Good Reasons for Attending a Sisters’ Halaqah

From forging a sense of community to providing an iman boost, the benefits of attending a weekly halaqah are many. Umm Ismail shares seven good reasons to get you out of your house on the path of knowledge.

When was the last time you attended an Islamic talk or listened to a khutbah? In many areas, mosques are not even accessible to women, while children and childcare may make some courses out of your reach. Learning is still an obligation on every Muslim, and your weekly sisters’ halaqa may be your solution and inspiration.

The Arabic word ‘halaqah’ means a ring and it is used to refer to a circle of Islamic knowledge. Historically, the transmission of knowledge usually took place in the masjids, a practice that can be traced back to the Prophet (S). This tradition was preserved by the Companions (RA) and their successors and scholars throughout the history of Islam up until the present day.

Many ahadith extol the virtues of halaqahs as well as the etiquettes that should be observed. Moreover, this has been one of the main ways in which women learned about Islam from the outset. As a hadith tells us: “A woman came to the Messenger of Allah (S) and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, the men have taken all your time; give us a day when we can come to you and you can teach us what Allah has taught you.’ He said, ‘Gather together on such and such a day in such and such a place.’ So they gathered and the Messenger of Allah (S) came to them and taught them what Allah had taught him” (Bukhari and Muslim).

If that is not enough, here are 7 more reasons to inspire you:

Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every Muslim: How much time do you set aside for learning the deen? For most of us, life is a blur of work and/or studies, family, housework, salah, some Qur’an and the odd talk. There are ample opportunities to learn about Islam via the internet or Islamic books. However, these methods are not an adequate substitute for attending a halaqah. Alone, you are more vulnerable to the ploys of shaytan, not least of which is procrastination in the face of other “more pressing” priorities. In addition, when leaving your home to learn, you are rewarded for every step you take in the pursuit of knowledge.

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Benefitting from the blessings of the circles of knowledge: “Whenever some people gather in one of Allah’s houses (mosques) to recite the book of Allah and study it among themselves – then calmness (tranquillity) descends upon them, the angels surround them, mercy covers them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with him”  (Muslim). SubhanAllah, how many of us are striving to benefit from this hadith?

Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil: The Prophet (S) said, “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is, you either enjoin good and forbid evil, or Allah will certainly soon send His punishment onto you. Then you will make supplication and it will not be accepted” (At-Tirmidhi). This duty is incumbent upon all of us especially given the trials we are witnessing at present. Most of us may revile what we see in our hearts, but feel ill-equipped to challenge and make a change. Attending a halaqah will give you both the knowledge and confidence to make a difference – and to do so with wisdom.

Forging a sense of sisterhood: A hadith tells us that on the day of Judgement, seven groups of people will be under the shade of the throne of Allah. Among them will be “two (people) who love each other for the sake of Allah, meeting and parting for that reason alone…” (Bukhari). Halaqas are a wonderful way to get to know and to love your sisters in Islam.

Akhlaq and Self-Discipline: Instead of fitting your life around deen, you will learn to organise your life around your commitment to the deen in general and learning in particular. This can enable you to develop a positive competitive spirit towards learning. Group activities encourage you to learn and observe the etiquettes of gatherings, to interact with different personalities and to encourage only positive speech.

Iman Rush: As you establish the commitment to attending and take your learning seriously, taking notes etc. you will immediately feel your iman is boosted. Just being in the company of other righteous sisters can inspire and humble you and make you grateful for the favours of Allah (SWT).

Most beloved deeds by Allah: “The Prophet (S) told us that these are the most regular constant deeds even though they are few (Bukhari). It is hard to sustain our efforts to learn consistently and we tend to have periods of activity and long periods of inactivity unless we are incredibly self-disciplined. Even if we multi-task, listen to talks or Qur’an as we cook, we still hit blips or have interruptions. A weekly halaqah offers a regular space for you to learn at a steady pace and this knowledge can be reinforced by immediately sharing what you learn with your family.

What are you waiting for? I am praying to Allah (SWT) that you will now be motivated to get to your local halaqah or, if you are homebound, to find an online halaqah.

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21 responses to “7 Good Reasons for Attending a Sisters’ Halaqah”

  1. Faqir says:

    Aint nothin better than that iman rush, thats for sure! I wish there was some kind of switch to keep that rush on :)

    • Zainab says:

      If there was a switch to keep that rush on, we’d take that “rush” for granted. Cookies taste better if you don’t eat them all the time :D.

  2. Sarah says:

    Do you think someone could give us tips on how to lead an effective Sister’s halaqah in your area? like how to start one? what to do? what to focus/not focus on? and also maybe some notes on what topics to talk about and what aspects to consider or include. I would greatly appreciate any pointers on this area.
    JazakAllahu-Khaiaran!

    • Sister says:

      Great idea! I think an entire post or posts can be written on this topic actually.
      The content would vary based on the age group and knowledge level of the audience and expertise of the leader.

      One suggestion if you are not a scholar or too knowledgeable yourself and your audience is of average knowledge would be to listen to a CD set like Tafseer Juz ‘Amma by Sh. Muhammad Alshareef. There’s a complementary free binder to go with this on the emanrush website you can all print. You can listen to 1 CD per week, discuss the points you benefited from.

      A most necessary topic is that of Tawheed (oneness of Allah, our belief in Him, servitude to Him alone) and Akhlaaq (Manners) also.

      Book ideas: The Ideal Muslimah, Fundamentals of Tawheed, Etiquettes of the Student of Knowledge

    • UmmIsmail says:

      My dearest sister in Islaam,
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful and may Allah azzawajaal send His blessings upon our Beloved Prophet sallahu alayi wasalaam.

      Excellent question and I pray to Allah azzawajaal to help me to answer you as best I can,
      1. Shuara – try to ensure that you have sisters in your locality that would be interested and can make a regular commitment to attend a Halaqah and consult them on topics they feel are important to them inshallah.
      2. Logistics – once you have a small group of sisters, you can decide to hold it in your home, alternate the venue so all sisters feel a part of it and can earn ajar from hosting it or find a local community centre that will be willing to accommodate a women’s group inshallah. Ask a sister to look after young children, you could offer to pay her as a good will gesture.
      3. Knowledgeable and Experienced Speakers – I suggest you try to elicit support from those that are knowledgeable, experienced and willing to conduct the Halaqah. We approached Dr Khalid Khan to teach us as and alhumdulillah, we purchased the audio equipment and learnt live weekly alhumdulillah. So, he did not have to travel to us, we called him and he gave the talk live and our group grew by the grace of Allah subhanwatala. If you cannot get a Shaykh, a student of knowledge wil be more than willing to support you inshallaah. There are so many students learning Islaam now via Arees Institute, Al Kauthar, Al Magrib etc
      4. Suggested Topics to begin with – I suggest you alternate between practical issues and challenges sisters face- marriage, raising children etc as well as deen subjects beginning with Tawheed, Ibadah and Tafseer. The first act we will be asked about is Salah and yet many of us are not perfoming our salah correctly let alone with khushoo. See ayah 11 in Surah Raad, Allah will not change a condition of the people until they change their own condition. You can then move to soul purification, adaab and etiquettes of seeking knowledge.
      5. Resources- you can try Ideal Muslimah by Al Qarni, Nurturing Eeman in Our Children, Dr Aisha Hamdan, More than 1000 Sunan by Shaykh Al Husaynaan
      6. Sadaqat– you could also organise a regular collection for sadaqat and agree on where to send the money inshallah. There may be sisters in your own community who need this assistance.
      I ask Allah azzawajaal to forgive my errors. I pray this will be helpful inshallah.

  3. Scott says:

    Brothers, as a note this is a list for sisters. So “hanging with the ladies” or “finding a wife” are not valid options.

    ;-)

    We need more things for sisters.

  4. Brother says:

    A sisters halaqa is probably a good place to find a wife…

    They should allow brothers into a sisters halaqa, have them sit on the side and just scope out the halaqa participants to see which sister suits him best.

    • Scott says:

      The sister that comes over with a stick and threatens the brothers to get the hell out…

      That’s the one you propose to.

      ;-)

      • Someone says:

        Speaking as a sister, I definitely agree with the above answer.

      • Naseebah says:

        but would that sister accept from someone who was in a group of males she had to chase off with a stick?!

        a friend told me that in a conversative/traditional muslim arab society she used to live in, the girl’s mahrem would intensely investigate the character and family of any male proposing, and they would cross-exam him in interviews.

        I asked did they do the same kind of investigation and testing for the girl being proposed to – and she said no way! Scrutiny of her would be unacceptably insulting to the girl’s honor.

        o well.

        • Scott says:

          but would that sister accept from someone who was in a group of males she had to chase off with a stick?!

          The seeds of love are planted in the oddest situations, especially with women who, even after spending nearly our entire existence with them, can still be such a mystery to us foolish, silly boys.

    • Guy says:

      Really bruh? That’s not the point here…

  5. alhamdulillah says:

    unfortunately most many sisters nowadays attend halaqas to socialize..they come every friday, but not to attend , you always find them in the kitchen chatting with their friends.. it is heartbreaking…

    • Scott says:

      At least they’re there ;-)

    • Sister says:

      Maybe it’s best to have husn adh-dhan and good expectations of our brothers and sisters in such a situation. We can say alhamdulillah, at least such people are coming to the masjid and good gatherings. Furthermore, I would hesitate before saying “most” sisters do this.

      and Allah knows best. :)

    • Sayf says:

      I would hesitate to say “most many”.
      Just kidding, couldn’t resist =P}

  6. ummbudimary says:

    ‘alhamdulillah’ i gather you are either single or most likely married without kids. Many moms have a full life INDOORS with little children who need their almost constant attention. So yeh sometimes they need to TALK. Thats a super fundamental need for women.

    I think a practical halaqa for women is one which incorporates socializing time as a necessary ingredient.

    I actualy used to attend an amaaazing halaqa. and ive attended many. but this stands out because one of the things you had to do was ‘introduce yourself ‘ to the halaqa. not a 5 minutes ‘hi i’m so and so and this is my major’ type of intro. but the real thing. as a result, we really GOT TO KNOW eachother. We created bonds…

    The prophet did that among the muslims. He helped to forge true brotherhood. That doesnt come from just meeting here and there. never knowing eachother fully. never knowing eachother’s challenges/issues.

  7. Qasym says:

    Brothers can find a local halaqah or can get assistance in starting one here: http://www.ymsite.com
    Sisters can do the same here: http://www.ymonline.org

    Click on the link and change your life forever…I know mine did:)

    • Abd- Allah says:

      -Comment removed. Please refrain from attacking respectable organizations and making broad, generalizations. YM is one of the most important youth organizations in America. -Editor

      • Qasym says:

        I don’t know what Mufti Abd-Allah posted cause it got edited but if you have any issues with YM, feel free to email me and I’d be more than happy to discuss them with you. lakers300@yahoo.com

        Jazakallahu khair

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