The Islamic Post Blog

Banaatun Noor “Ladies of Light” Annual Ladies’ Summer School 2008, “Birth of a Nation” by Khalida
September 26, 2008, 12:55 pm
Filed under: August Volume 1 - 2008, Education, Magazine/ Culture, Religion | Tags:
By Nafisah Begum, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Holy Islamberg, NY– Amid the picturesque Catskill Mountains, His Eminence Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani laid the foundation for the intense educational program to be followed during these thirty days by ladies from around the United States and Canada. All have gathered during this holy month of Sha’baan in anticipation of this year’s rigorous program.
One by one, ladies assembled in the designated camping area; radiant smiles, warm hugs, and love were found everywhere as friends reunited, after weeks of preparation and anticipation, in their quest for Islamic knowledge and fellowship. Just days before, the International Qur’anic Open University (IQOU) Men’s Summer School had concluded, so many of the male students left their camping equipment intact. Tips on what to expect in anticipation of the unpredictable weather were being given by seasoned campers. El  Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah  Gilani instituted these summer schools in order to further Islamic education during a time when most are on vacation from their jobs and secular classes.
Each year the curriculum is geared towards the unique spiritual individuality of each student, which will allow them to reach their maximum potential. Like past summer classes, the intensity of the program was met with enthusiasm and zeal by each student.
Three levels of instruction were established in order to achieve the desired outcome: for first-time attendees, the elementary level, the intermediate level which is more challenging, and the advanced curriculum.
El Sheikh Gilani and his family have given endless time and resources in order to assure the highest standard of education. With this in mind, he commissioned top Arabic- speaking teachers from IQOU, some leaving their continued studies in Ayubia, Pakistan,  and the Caribbean Islands campuses, respectively. All of the teachers have been instructed first hand by his Eminence in the science of speaking, writing, and understanding this beautiful and universal language of Islam.
In addition to the intensive Arabic, preliminaries to a separate course, Dars ul Azam, were also added in the interest of furthering the studies of those in the advanced classes. This renowned classical course, which normally requires eight years to complete, has been condensed and formatted into a one-year program of study scheduled for the fall semester by the Vice Chancellor of IQOU, Sultan Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani (See Dars ul Azam, to the left).
Islamic cooking and knitting were two classes greatly anticipated by the students. Due to large numbers, the students were divided into two groups. Outdoor cooking classes were set up on outdoor stoves. Indoors, others were either perfecting or learning to make beautifully knitted scarves and hats.
Cooking on outdoor stoves was a first-time experience for many of the younger students.  The sizzle of garlic, onions, and cumin and other rich spices permeated the air; and smiling faces were seen as students sampled their finished products. Each recipe was dictated the day before each dish was prepared.
Every aspect of the ladies’ well being – proper rest, eating, exercise, health, and recreation- was met with the same careful attention by the staff.  Members of the American Muslim Medical Relief Team (AMMRT), and several hakeemahs, lady herbal-remedy doctors trained to specifically assess a patient’s physical and spiritual condition ( the masculine form being hakeem), were also on hand as part of the initiation of a wellness clinic to be set up in this village very soon.  The  Health and Wellness Clinic aims to provide free health screenings to all students and staff.


Public Speaking.

Make a 360° Change for the Best!
This year’s focus has become ‘Come prepared to make a 360° turnabout.’ For many, this meant coming full circle; back to their spiritual origin- their unblemished esoteric state, when they were within Allah, Exalted is He. For others, new, heartfelt intentions were made to completely stop old, unproductive or self-destructive habits in favor of a new beginning –enthusiastic and loving re-establishment of Al Islam, in its letter and spirit, in their lives. Attendees became newly inspired, and motivated to excel in every undertaking during enlightening classes on Fiqh (Islamic  law),  tilaawat of Holy Qur’an, and an Introduction to Holy Qur’an;  Islamic History, a study of Mishkat al Masabih and Riyadh As Saliheen, Conversational Arabic, and Arabic Calligraphy. One seasoned camper and staff member, Ms Karima Begum, was heard telling the girls, “My mission is submission!” These words for some were also an expression of their commitment to turning 360° in response to the invitation of their most blessed Imam, to fortify and enrich their lives and the lives of their families as well, with their re-invigorated practice of Al Islam, and to share this beautiful light and knowledge with all. By the end of the day these words could be seen on everything from hats to book bags which the young ladies used to remind themselves and others of their commitment.  As a result of the ladies unwavering pledges to make a 360° turnaround, students are holding conversations in Arabic much to the delight of their teachers, with previous greetings of, “Good morning; how are you?” now heard as, “Sabaa’hal khair, khaifa haluk?”
We all send countless blessings upon Sayideena Rasooli Akram (SAW), Ahli Bayt (RA), and Sultan Mubarik Ali Gilani whose endless love, and concern for our well-being has made this all possible; for it is the desire of our beloved Murshid that all students under his umbrella gain the maximum benefits from attending these once-in-a-lifetime events.


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