Category Archives: Dream

Unplanned

This post was unplanned.

The posts that were supposed to have been written after the last one were planned. I was supposed to have chronicled my Dream journey. I didn’t. It was so much to take–so much good, so much hardship, that I took that time to understand it and just could not write about it. It’s funny how we think we can share things with people. Then we realize that we have so much to say that it can’t be said.

I have several notebooks filled with notes and gems from various classes at Dream and other lectures I was blessed to attend in the area. I have only begun to comprehend even one-tenth of what we learned. Let alone share that knowledge with someone else, I haven’t even begun to fully comprehend it. It’ an ocean. It’s an ocean in which you dive again and again and pull out a different pearl every time.

The biggest lesson I learned at Dream is that knowledge truly only gives you a little of itself after you give it all of yourself (this is a statement that I heard often in Islamic circles but did not ever understand until I went to Dream). During a particularly difficult period of my studies (both academically and emotionally taxing), our teacher, Shaykh Abdullah, gave me valuable advice. He said, “You will not learn what you want to learn when you want to learn it.”

“But Shaykh,” I argued. “We have so many milestones we have to meet here. A quiz here, a test there. How will I ever move on to the next module if I don’t understand the lessons in this one?” He smiled and said, “That’s fine. You take whatever understanding you have and you take it forward. And when the time is right, you will understand what you need to understand. It will all come to you later.”

I sighed but made myself relax and move forward.

I didn’t feel like the puzzle pieces fit until we were on our last module. Slowly, a dim light bulb began to shine brighter and I had not one, not two, but multiple aha! moments. It felt truly magical. I was really truly happy for comprehending the beautiful language of Arabic in a new light (no pun intended).

Anyhow, it’s now 2017. A new year.

I haven’t even recuperated from the sudden lack of Arabic and Qur’an immersion in my life. Regular life seems…regular. Not intense. Not academically challenging. Not spiritually immersive. But I know what I want–Dream made my goals clear. Going to Dream and coming back made my goals clearer. That life of immersion is what I want. Immersion in something so powerful and fulfilling as the Arabic of the Qur’an, the richness of its language, the depth of its meaning. It’s beautiful.

It makes life beautiful.

 

 

The Beginning of the (Dream) Journey

This post will serve as some sort of introduction to what I’ll call a “series.” It’s nothing special–just plain old me talking about my experiences.

The beginning of my Bayyinah Dream journey did not begin this year when I was finally able to attend the program. It began with a prayer.

One day in 2008 (or was it 2009), Ustadh Nouman announced that he would be launching a full-time Arabic course in Irving, TX that would take students through Arabic grammar, tafsir, conversation, etc. For me, it was a dream come true. He said it would be called the “Dream Program.” Funny, huh? I immediately made du’a to Allah that one day I wanted to be able to go. Living a thousand miles away from TX wasn’t going to stop me. I knew that this is what I wanted to do, so I made a life plan (this was an actual Word document where I wrote down what I wanted to do with my life, and I’ve been checking off most of those things, alhamdulillah). I talked to my parents about it. My dad said, “inshaAllah.” I took that as a maybe. He meant it as a no.

During my last two years at high school and throughout the four years of college, I was driven by my desire to finish my Bachelor’s degree as fast as possible, so I could find a way to go to Dream. I just had to be there, I just had to get there somehow. I thought about Dream all the time. In terms of my long-term goals, Dream was the “tool” which would allow me to access Islamic knowledge. So it was the first major step in my journey of pursuing Islamic scholarship. In terms of my short-term goals, Dream was the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s an illustration to help you understand what I mean:

flowchart-picture

Fast forward to 2016. I applied to Dream, got accepted, and had two obstacles in my way: my finances and getting my parents’ permission. I made du’a, got depressed for days, made more du’a, prayed istikharah, prayed more nawafils than I ever did in my life for something personal, and made more du’a. I consulted with people who ended up giving me not only moral, but also financial, support. May Allah preserve them all and grant them goodness in this life and the next. Someone close then convinced my parents to let me go to Dream as it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My dad agreed. I was shocked but so happy, and so grateful. Allah was making everything fall into place for me. And so many people were involved in making this happen for me; may Allah bless them all, and grant them the best in this world and the next.

Before I came here, I had many friends and acquaintances tell me one of two things, along with wishing me well on my journey:

1) “You’re so lucky, I wish I could do what you’re doing.” (I assume this refers to me pursuing my dream and/or preparing to study Islam by studying the Arabic language).

2) “Please share with us what you learn.” (This could’ve been short facebook GEMS. But I’m done with facebook gems. Who actually reads a two-liner on facebook and says, “Wow, this really changed my life.” No one).

To address the first thing, I say: Please, please, please, do not give up on your dreams! No matter your age, but especially if you’re young and single! You have time and energy to do things you won’t have time for later. If you don’t have money, if you don’t have resources, it’s okay. Look for other resources. For so long, I took advantage of online Islamic programs, whether free or paid. Talk to people–your teachers, your mentors, your classmates, even people you wouldn’t think of talking to about a particular topic or opportunity. Most importantly, make du’a. Pray istikharah. Tell Allah to give you what you want if it’s good for you. Keep asking, keep begging. Something may seem impossible to you, but it’s never impossible for Allah. Don’t think you’re above something, but don’t think you’re below it either. I’ve heard too many people say, “I’m not cut out for this path (of seeking knowledge/learning the Book of Allah/teaching/da’wah)” or “If only I had the knowledge/skills/resources/money/sincerity, I’d do it.” No, you have the capacity to do it. If you are sincere in your intention to serve Allah’s deen using the abilities He gave you, He will make it happen inshaAllah. Every single person has their own unique abilities that they can use to serve the deen.ย Just trust Him, and don’t give up ๐Ÿ™‚

To address the second thing, I say: We love to share things on social media with the intention to benefit others. I have personally found, though, that I learn much more from long, thoughtful posts that people share on their blogs or facebook pages than one-liners that sound fancy, but might be not as beneficial as their longer, more in-depth counterparts. I also love reading people’s personal blogs where they share their journeys in something that they are passionate about, and I think that longer posts allow that writer-reader connection to happen.

I have learned an incredible amount of new things since coming to TX in July, but I haven’t shared much at all simply because I haven’t consolidated everything into one place in a way that makes sense. I have notes from various classes, lectures, and khatirahs that I plan to share inshaAllah, along with my experiences of living away from home for the first time in my life. I’ll divide the posts into different parts, but without any sense of cohesion in terms of theme. They will be placed in one “series” simply because all of them have to do with my life at Dream. I pray that whatever I share will be a source of benefit to whoever reads it.

Hope y’all enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚