Beyond A Story: Once Upon the Nile

Community Spotlights

Beyond A Story: Once Upon the Nile

by Noor H. Salem

It was an incredible weekend in Farmington Hills, where more than 200 students gathered for yet another seminar, hosted by Qabeelah Ittihaad, Michigan. Once Upon the Nile: The Epic of Moses, taught by Shaykh Mohammed Mana, brought attendees from Canada, Ohio, and even as far as Chicago.

While the students may have come to merely learn about the life and experiences of Prophet Musa (as), evidently the majority went home feeling like they’ve learned more about themselves. One student explicitly said, “I thought I will leave with the detailed story of Prophet Musa (as) and his life, but went home feeling like I learned more about myself than anything else.”

It was so beautiful, that while deep reflection of the Qur’an was covered, with several group activities as well, students were able to recognize this Qur’an is for everyone. Allah (swt) did not limit the Qur’an to a certain class, gender, group, age, or ethnicity. Every being can find soul food in this book, to cure their grief, worries, depression, hardships, or simply to remember their purpose of life. Every story in the Qur’an applies to every single believer at one point or time in their life or another. That’s why there is a diversity in themes, topics, and characters. The Story of Prophet Musa (as) is truly inspiring at times of both hardship and ease. He (as) is truly a role model, for his character, gratitude, and Tawakkul [trust in Allah swt] are simply incredible. Students were given a sense of hope, while reminded of the importance of not losing connection with the Qur’an, like previous nations. The Qur’an is a cure for every worried mind, grieved heart, and anxious soul. Seek happiness through the Qur’an and seeking closeness to Allah (swt).

Shaykh Mohammed dives into the topic of oppression of previous nations, while pointing out the obvious of oppression we see across the globe today. Nonetheless, it’s not limited to that. “We often think of oppression, and we immediately visualize leaders, governors, and politics. We don’t realize that we can be causing oppression in the smallest circles of our lives. The worst is to wrong someone else and not even know it.” -Shaykh Mohammed Mana

The class covered patience, repentance, manners, dealing with those around you justly, standing up to oppression, being firm in belief, and gratefulness. Moreover, Shaykh Mohammed did not fail to remind student of equality, while instantaneously advising them to not let wealth and status feed their ego. Stories of the past clearly reflected in our society today. “You judge the health of a society based on what the weakest amongst them are given access to. If they don’t have equal access you know it’s unhealthy; there is injustice.”

Besides observing the equality structured in a society, Shaykh Mohammed reminds the audience, while sending shivers down their backs, to not seek honor in anything except their submission to their Creator. “You can have economic or financial success today. Don’t seek your honor and dignity with it, for you may lose it all in the blink of an eye. You may have status and position amongst the people today. Don’t seek your dignity through it. You may be humiliated in what you sought out honor in tomorrow.”

He went on to remind his students that whoever has between him or his brother discord with rights involved, should settle it now. Before a day comes where there is no currency of gold or coins; the currency that day is good deeds or bad deeds. For, it may be perhaps a person you looked down upon, backbit in the gathering because everyone else was doing so, or forthright transgressed upon their rights. The price of Jannah is not worth it.

Qabeelah Ittihaad Michigan, Al-Maghrib’s chapter of Southeast Michigan, was founded in 2005. As of today, the Qabeelah has hosted more than 70 seminars and one-day seminars. Their mission is to help their communities by providing them with opportunities to seek Islamic knowledge in a fun, engaging, and extraordinary way. It’s more than just sitting in a classroom and taking notes- bonds are built, memories are made, and seeds of friendship are planted.

They’ve had more than four students complete the Al-Maghrib degree audit to its entirety, two of which are now Al-Maghrib instructors themselves. The Qabeelah hosts seminars on various topics, covering Qur’anic Tafseer, pillars of faith, beautiful patience, Fiqh of marriage, modesty and clothing, ethics and manners in Islam, history, and many more heart-warming courses. Other than hosting seminars several times a year, Qabeelah Ittihaad’s volunteers get together to put their knowledge into action: they give back to their community. Of the many projects conducted, they’ve made almost 300 personal hygiene packages, brought hot food to a homeless shelter, helped pack clothing for the needy, and much more. They work as a team, strive as a team, and experience the incredible fruit of their efforts as a team, alike. Respect, integrity, manners, optimism, and helpfulness are all qualities of Qabeelah Ittihaad volunteers.

It was an extremely heart-touching and mind opening seminar that touched the life of every student sitting in the audience in some way or another.

Their next seminar will be Into the Mirror: Seeking Spiritual, Personal, & Intellectual Growth Through Sahih Muslim, on the weekend of May 4th-6th. Enroll at

Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.


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