This AlMaghrib seminar was held in the basement of The Prayer Center of Orland Park in Chicago. It was our first visit to Chicago, and for us to travel to take an AlMaghrib class…well that made this place very special. Masha Allah this masjid beautiful on the outside and inside!
I wasn’t trying to stalk anyone…really. Looking around the parking lot, you can see that people from surrounding states came to take this seminar. I have a feeling that they would all say it was definitely worth the travel!
I think it’s safe to say that coffee is a big help when it comes to patience! The class started at 10 am both days, and the Sheikh was very punctual, so the fact that there is a Dunkin Donuts on every street in Chicago was a big help.
Who doesn’t love Surat Yusuf? When I was a kid, still learning how to read Arabic, Surat Yusuf was my favorite because it was relatively easy to understand. Many of the words were already part of my vocabulary. I read the surah more times than I can count, but I learned more information in this class than I can ever imagine. And it’s not just meaning that we learned…not just the story of who and when…but the story of why and how. We are always told that patience is the best of virtues, but beautiful patience…well that’s a different story. To turn to Allah when the worst thing happens to you…to only seek Allah’s help, and not complain to anyone but Allah, to hold all your tears and only cry when the only one watching is Allah…that’s what Prophet Ya’qub did – that is the meaning of Beautiful Patience.
There he is, the Sheikh that taught us everything we need to know about Surat Yusuf. Imagine the best teacher you ever had in school…Intelligent, Nice, Funny, Humble, Approachable, Understandable…and did I mention funny? Masha Allah Sh. AbdulBary has all those characteristics. His teaching style is perfect. The fact that he was raised in America makes all the difference. He understands his students, he knows the society that we live in…his references are all things that we can relate to as Muslims living in America. You can definitely feel that Sh. AbdulBary knows what he’s talking about, or as my brother put it, “You can tell that he has ‘Ilm”. Oh and may I mention that his voice while reciting the Quran is absolutely beautiful! May Allah reward him greatly.
Best thing about the class: The 10 min break. Sheikh AbdulBary would lecture for 50 min, then we would have a 10 min break – 5 min for him to catch his breath, and 5 min for asking questions. Each break, he would switch between meeting with the sisters then the brothers. This system worked for both days, and if this was a double weekend class, it would work for both weekends. This allowed the students to establish a relationship with the teacher. The sisters and brothers would crowd around the Sheikh and just ask questions. No one felt uncomfortable because Sh. AbdulBary is so down to earth! Subhan Allah it’s like we tried to squeeze as much knowledge out of him as possible! Alhamdulillah we learned a great deal, and it gave us (especially the sisters) a connection with the Sheikh that we don’t really have with our own local Sheikhs.
I think the total number of students for this AM seminar is about 200 students. That’s actually a decent number for a one weekend class. The Ameerah told us that for their previous class, Fiqh of Salah (which came the week after finals), the entire masjid was packed. From the basement to the actual prayer area! What makes these classes so amazing is that they really bring the entire community together. Imagine taking a class that only lasts two weekends (or in this case, only one weekend) with almost everyone that you know in the community. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, everyone is eager to learn about their religion. The atmosphere is just amazing. I guess in this case, it was because of the wonderful hospitality of Qabeelat Wasat. May Allah reward them and bless them for their work!
The last day of class. You know that feeling that you get after a whole night of Qiyam Al Layl (praying and making dua all night)…the feeling of exhaustion and satisfaction? That’s the feeling that I had after this class was over. We were super tired, but ready and excited to come back to Minnesota and share our experience with everyone. We were honestly quite scared before we took this class, we didn’t know what it was going to be like, but Alhamdulillah we were not disappointed. It was just as good as we hoped it would be. All the hype and testimonials the students have been saying about AlMaghrib classes…it’s all real. What ever you read about how amazing the teachers are and how good the content is…believe it. Looking back now, all I can say is Alhamdulillah that we were fortunate enough to attend this class, and I pray that the Muslim community in Minnesota will be able to experience one of the AlMaghrib seminars soon, insha Allah.