A Tribute to AlMaghrib Institute
As I sat there in my school uniform, I whizzed over the forum, with a glimmer in my eye, I said; “wow! These people sure know how to have fun mashaAllah!” In awe of their interactions, this is something I was yet to experience due to my age and a lack of practicing Muslims in my locality. Since returning from Hajj, times had changed, and after being introduced to AlMaghrib Institute I was hanging out on their forums, with the few Uk’ers making some noise – we wanted to benefit from AlMaghrib too!
Little did I know back then, that in my late teens I’d travel to Canada and a few months down the line I’d be heading up the AlMaghrib team in Birmingham in hope of making an impact in my community, in sha Allah. Everyone has a deep desire inside them to make an impact – I’m sure that’s you too? We all have a small prodding of the soul inclining us to call others to goodness and to excel. I had that desire, which pushed me to get involved and taste the pleasure of impacting lives.
A few years on as I move forward in my life and transition from being Ameerah of Qabeelat Fawz, a Student Body of AlMaghrib Institute to a new dimension in the Da’wah, in hope to make an impact via I am Alima and make it my sole focus, I wanted to pay respect to AlMaghrib Institute for several things.
As an Ummah, we face several problems; one of those is that we fail to focus on what is in our control, and worry about the Worlds problems, that our weak shoulders are unable to carry.
A verse that comes to mind is:
[blockquote cite=”Surat Al-Baqarah, 2/141″]That is a nation which has already passed away: there awaits it whatever it has earned, while you will have what you have earned. You will not be questioned about what they have been doing.[/blockquote]
[div style=”overflow:hidden”]At times we spend much time focusing on what others do incorrectly and we forget that we make the same mistakes or we worry about what is happening oversees, yet we forget what is happening in our homes and communities. On that frightening day, Allah won’t ask us about that which we had no control over. We will be asked about how we spent our lives, what difference we made in what was in our control and what we contributed to society.[/div]
This is not to say that we shouldn’t worry about what is happening oversees, please don’t get me wrong as the Messenger of Allah, said:
[blockquote cite=”Muslim”]The Muslims are like one man, if his eyes complains then the whole of him complains, and if his head complains then the whole of him complains.[/blockquote]
We have to make du’a, we have to care and ultimately we have to do everything that is in our control, however big or small it is.
During my time with AlMaghrib Institute I have learnt many things which firstly I’d like to Praise Allah , and then say JazakumAllahu khayrun to the Qabeelat Fawz Crew, AlMaghrib Institute Staff, AlMaghrib Shuyukh, AlMaghrib Qabaa’il all around the world and our dear Students for making it such a pleasurable journey. The ethics, lessons and culture within AlMaghrib is amazing, and you can only appreciate it if you come in as an outsider, and then leave once again. I’d like to share what has impacted me the most and in the process pay a tribute to everyone at AlMaghrib Institute for everything they have done, in sha Allah.
‘Aisha radiAllahu ‘anha at a young age was placed into the house of the Messenger of Allah and within it, she learned principles that contributed to her becoming one of the greatest Scholars known in Islamic History. It was her training ground in becoming a leader.
Yusuf (‘alayhissalaam), one of the greatest Messengers of Allah went through a similar situation, yet very different in it’s own right. At the age of six he was thrown in a well, left to die by those whom he expected to protect him, and then he was sold into slavery by a group of travelers he wished would be his saviours. After this, he was bought by a couple whom he sensed hope from, and once again they let him down. Finally, he assisted a man in Prison, and asked him for help, yet he forgot him once he was released. All these trials were preparing Yusuf (‘alayhissalaam) for something great; Prophethood and the position of the Minister of Egypt. These were stages of training Allah subjected him to so he could make an impact in society, which he did. Due to his perseverance and patience he is remembered in the Qur’an today and Allah (‘azza wa jal) describes his story as the best of stories.
Another example that comes to mind is Yunus (‘alayhissalaam), for me it’s one of the most heartfelt stories. Here was a man who loved Allah so much that he was chosen for Prophethood, but even good people make mistakes, right? Yunus (‘alayhissalaam) had a limiting belief; he believed he could not call his people to Allah (‘azza wa jal). He had a fear that they would harm him, if he did. This wasn’t any old fear, because Prophets don’t run so easily. Rather, this was a man who went through turmoil internally, which lead him to come to a decision to flee from his post, and yes you read right – he tried to run away from his people, he did the wrong thing.
As he ran, Allah was watching him, He was carefully formulating his return. And did he come back? Yes he did! After being thrown out of a boat alive, he waited for death. Was Allah still watching? Yes He was!
Then his return came. As he was swallowed by a Whale, he stepped back and contemplated. I’m sure he cried, felt the pain, wondered where he’d gone wrong and why? Then he did what he was created to do, he turned back to Allah with sincerity, he said;
[blockquote cite=”Surah Al-Ambiya, 21:87″]There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.[/blockquote]
What do you think happened next? Allah brought him back to safety, his inner peace was restored. This was his training ground and he needed to go through these various stages to prepare him for the real thing, to prepare him for his dream – which was to call to Allah with might, willingly and fearless full of passion.
Just like these examples, on a much smaller scale, yet very pertinent to the individual involved, within AlMaghrib we are literally thrown into our roles. I, back then took on a managerial position and learnt how to manage a group of thirty people over my years at Qabeelat Fawz. I would argue we’re taught to lead, to take control and make the best out of our situation, to make it wow!
There are many things I cannot but appreciate about AlMaghrib Institute and the time I spent within the organisation. I may add, I have no allegiance to an organization, person or following except the Messenger of Allah but I still need my niche! So back then I made it my focus to prioritise my efforts on practicing Muslims who wanted to gain knowledge in a more academic manner, AlMaghrib was perfect for this. And the fun b-e-g-a-n!
So what did I learn from my time with AlMaghrib?
[dropcap2]1[/dropcap2]Your age doesn’t matter, potential does! Even though I was young, this didn’t stop AlMaghrib from taking on, they saw potential and this caused them to take me on. Another example is; I recently took on a young sister within Qfawz, her name is Sonia, she’s sixteen and she puts some seniors to shame (well y’all know what I mean!). As I put her forward, I sensed and came across opposition due to her age, however persistent in my resolve I pushed it forth and she became a member of Qfawz crew. Sr. Sonia has taken Qfawz by surprise, she’s excelled regardless of her age.
[dropcap2]2[/dropcap2]Self responsibility and trusting you to excel, even if you make mistakes, you are given the chance and opportunity to get back up again, in hope of excelling the second time.
[dropcap2]3[/dropcap2]Creating cultures of excellence– Within AlMaghrib we have a culture of no backbiting, if you have an issue you say it to their face, or you remain quiet (yes it’s as simple as this). This is the culture, that’s encouraged, a culture of honesty, uprightness. And every time this has not been respected and controlled, we’ve seen organisations fall apart and people get hurt, so you can see why I value this so much.
Secondly, have you heard of Halal Smack talk? Within AlMaghrib the statement; ‘we’re gonna take you down for the sake of Allah’ is not uncommon! Competing in righteousness is a culture I encountered at the start, where showing off to people is off the radar, rather winning for the sake of showing off to Allah is at the forefront!
[dropcap2]4[/dropcap2]Gender doesn’t matter, your skills and worth does – During my time within the da’wah scene, I’ve encountered various people and places which advocate that sisters should be neither seen, nor heard. Where at times you become a mere number or a piece of paper with a question. Within AlMaghrib Institute, if you’re a woman – you can be a leader and still maintain your modesty. You can do great things and still be a sister! You can maintain your roles as a mother, sister, and daughter and still make an impact. You’re given the opportunity to excel, regardless of your gender.
[dropcap2]5[/dropcap2]Respect for the Shuyukh and turning to them at the times of trials for some Prophetic wisdom.
[dropcap2]6[/dropcap2]Non-judgmental nature towards others – At times we’re all tainted with this, however at AlMaghrib we hold a principle very dear to us; that Allah understands what the hearts conceal and it’s not for me and you to judge. This doesn’t mean we’re not encouraged to enjoin good and forbid evil, rather we do just this, but in the best of manners, judging their action and not their heart, as this is best left to Allah, Al ‘Alaa.
[dropcap2]7[/dropcap2]The emphasis on good manners – we all know the importance of good manners within Islam, I remember once when we were looking into hiring a Shaykh for AlMaghrib, I remember a profound statement by Br. Noor Syed, the CEO of AlMaghrib where he said; “when it comes to a Shaykh we value adhab more than anything else.”
As you can see the lessons have been immense and I cannot thank Allah (subhanhau wa ta ‘ala) enough for blessing me with this opportunity to excel.
I would like to add, just like any organisation AlMaghrib Institute has it’s improvements, no doubt – however, I firmly believe the goodness, impact and efforts overweigh them. Over the years I have seen lives being transformed from attending one seminar and the impact that a Qabeelah created in their city, by the help of Allah . This being said, feel free to email them if you have any improvements!
And now the sad bit, even though sometimes you need to move on, I want to say to Qfawz first and foremost and then to everyone at AlMaghrib, especially the Students, I will truly miss the presence of being around brothers and sisters who truly want to take their communities to another level, as the Ameerah.
So yes, it feel likes the end of an era and the beginning of a new one! A huge thank you, wa Jazakum Allahu khayrun to everyone at AlMaghrib for fulfilling your role as a worthy training ground to excellence, for me and others involved. MashaAllah, y’all are doing great, may Allah increase you in success and sincerity and forgive you all for your shortcomings and mine (sorry for all the slips, falls and trips!).
Alima Ashfaq is the founder of I am Alima and hopes to transform it into the forefront of assisting women come closer to Allah (swt). She is the author of a number of publications, most notably Du’as of the Superstars.