By Noor H. Salem
It was unexpected, but it happened. The Al-Maghrib weekend seminar Behind The Scenes sold out, with over 300 attendees. An open Free Friday event was held on Friday night in Canton, but Saturday and Sunday the seminar was at the University of Michigan-Dearborn dedicated to those who registered. The single weekend degree seminar is hosted every few months by Qabeelat Ittihad, the name of the tribe of this area. The topic varies, and so does the speaker. It was the first time Omar Suleiman, the speaker, came to Michigan, and it was definitely an extraordinary experience with him.
Every chair in the auditorium was filled and everyone was eagerly listening to the wonderful examples from the life of the Prophet (s) on how to better their character, increase in good deeds, and reflect on their life. The Prophet (s) was obviously the best of examples and teachers, and was known as â€œAl-Sadiq, Alâ€™Aminâ€ (s), the truthful and trustworthy, even during pre-Islamic days. He was patient with those who treated him ill, kind and merciful to the young and old, and generous to the hungry. Prophet Muhammad (s) would give food to the hungry and stay hungry. He would take clothes off his back to give the needy. Yet, he did not sit in a palace, sleep on a royal bed, and eat elite food. He was the most humble one, and if a stranger walked in the gathering of the Prophet (s) and his companions, they would never know which man he is.
One of the most intense subjects of the seminar was good character, and how it was mentioned in the Quran metaphorically to a palm tree, specifically a date palm tree. The tree is firm, as is the person. The tree gives off fruit (dates) the entire year, and the person spreads good on those around him. So a good Muslim is supposed to have good character as part of the deen. A story to reflect upon was told, of a woman who prayed, fasted, and gave plenty in charity. Her character though, was terrible. The Prophet (s) said that there was no good in her, and that she is in hell. Vice versa though are examples of those who couldnâ€™t worship much, but had the best of character. For that, they were promised paradise. Backbiting, slander, and gossip is part of the majority of conversations, and the Prophet (s) warned us of the consequences. Not only do they cause fights, hatred, emotional pain, and shame, they cause a great weight of sins on the scale. The punishments of these are overlooked by people, and if there is one thing anyone wants to change, it should be eliminating these.
The seminar lasted until Sunday night, and everyone wished it could go on longer. It ended with everyone writing a letter to themselves on how theyâ€™d like to become better as individuals. Each person placed it in a sealed envelope, and the letter will be mailed to them in three months. It was a heart touching class, and everyone seemed hyped to register for the upcoming course.
Look for upcoming seminars near you at: Almaghirb.org/Michigan