I was highly delighted when I was given the opportunity to mentor the youth of our community for 4 days, which eventually turned out to be the most productive days of my life!
Watch the testimonials on YouTube here.
You can read the full report here.
Blog for Tuesday 23rd April 2019 - DAY Nine
By Ijaz Lalji - Tanzania
Can't believe we are on the last two days of this marvellous trip and in another 72 hours we will all be back to our homes, back to the normal life. Time has past as fast as a blink of an eye!
A tiring but no doubt a very enjoyable weekend came to an end starting from the 15th Shabaan (Saturday) in Karbala, the Sunday in Kadhmain and the Monday in Samarrah and Balad.
Classes on day 9 (Tuesday) began at 9 am with Dr Madad Ali talking about the various GI problems that common people face. The next class at 10 am was probably the most awaited class: it was about The Jinn by Shk Khalfan. Shaykh explained the following about the jinn; What is a Jinn, Do we have believing Jinns, What do the Jinns eat, Where do they live, and other noteworthy information on the Jinn.
We then got a break for Salaah where the majority of us went to the Haram of Imam Ali for Zohr Jamaat Namaaz. As per the schedule we were supposed to meet Ayatullah Sayid Mohsin Hashemi who is the head of the Q&A department of the Office of Ayatullah Sistani. Sadly we were unable to meet him since he was unwell.
After a lovely lunch, we had a session with Sh Nadir who continued with the discussion on the different temperaments.
After the session, everyone was free for the remaining of the day whereby the majority went for shopping.
The day was ended with the Ziarat of Imam Ali (A.S) along with the recitation of Dua Tawassul at the haram.
Blog for Monday 22nd April 2019 - DAY Eight
By: Goulamhoussen Sharmine & Goulamhoussen Sabera (France)
Haraam in Kadhmayn is a place full of serenity which provides an inner appeasement. After performing our Salaat ul Fajr in Jamaat at the Holy Haraam of Bab ul Hawaej and his grandson Al-Jawad (as), we have recited the Ziyarat Al Wida and have asked the permission to our 9th Imam (as) to be able to visit his son and grandson in Samarah.
In the road to Samarah, we stopped to Balad where the uncle of our beloved 12th Imam is buried. He is known as the one who fulfills all wishes and especially for couples who want children.
Samarah... is a mix of joy and sadness and being invited to this place right after the 15th Shabaan is a totally unbelievable sensation.
When we arrived, buses had to park far and we had to walk... at these moments hearts were impatient to be able to visit our 12th Imam (as)’s father, mother, aunt and grand father. But we were ashamed not to be properly ready to meet the parents of our awaited Imam, since we are full of sins... how can we ask his parents for His reappearance whereas our actions couldn’t welcome him?
When finally we saw the large golden dome in front of us, we forgot all our worries and we tried to enjoy each second.
First we asked the permission before entering the Haraam...
Alhamdulillah we had the great opportunity to perform our salat ul Zohr in Jamaat there before performing Zyaraat.
Bibi Narjis Khatoun is the beloved mother of Al Muntathar... He will definitely accept all the wishes her mum will ask from him... we supplied her.
Then we went to the Sardab, the place where Imam e Zamana was seen the last time before his Ghaybat e Kubra. It was an indescriptible moment... he was here... and now he is hidden and waits for us... waiting for 313 beloved servants who will be able to help him to establish justice all over the world. Are we ready to welcome him?
Before returning to Najaf near Amirul mominin, we made a stop to perform our Salat ul Maghrib and Isha with an Iraqi family who opened their home with a very warm welcome. It was a touching moment which underlined love and a very powerful devotion for the Zawaars of our Aimaahs.
This day was wonderful... we made ourselves reflect on the aim of our lives and our preparation to serve Imam Mahdi(as)... Meditation is 70 times better than Ibadat and during all day we reached some heavenly places full of meditation Alhamdulillah.
Blog for Sunday 21st April 2019 - DAY SEVEN
Aliya Vakil - India
Neelam Vakil - India
Sara Fatema Tejani - Oman
The journey from the Land of Father’s to the Land of Imam Hussain (as) began on 14th Shaban. Indeed, we were considering ourselves to be so extremely blessed to be in that Holy City on the Night of Salvation - Shab e Bara'at. Though the city was glittering with the traffic and candles, but none could match the majesty of the Golden Dome of Aba-Abdillah. A festive aura intermingled with the awe and deep sadness that envelopes Karbala descended on us as we alighted at our hotel. Maghribain Salaat was recited as Salaat e Jamaat and was followed by dinner. And then began the highlight of the night.. the amaal in the hotel. everyone sat on the floor.. no big small.. no order or uniformity.. and everyone immersed him/herself into the various Duas of the night that followed. A point that kept coming back was ..Is it Imam who is Muntadhar (The Awaited One) and us Muntadhir (the Waiting Ones) or the other way round. Are we actually looking for his arrival or is he awaiting our awakening?
The amaal brought to a conclusion by a brief but passionate mushaaira session by Sayed Mohammad Ansar Naqvi and Sayed Ali Raza Naqvi (The Naqvi Brothers).
A couplet that reduced us to tears:
"Karam ka chhota sa ek maujiza sunaau tumhein
Thay 2 crore bashar karbala mein phir bhi hamein
Nahi mila koi Pyaasa Hussain(as) ke dar par"
The group then started trickling towards Imam Hussain as, for the makhsoos ziyarat of 15th Shaban. Time flies.. especially when one is in Karbala.. and the Adhaan e Fajr caught us unaware.
The day of 15th Shaban brought about more festivities.. celebration vibes were apparent from the lavish breakfast that hotel treated us to. Zohrain was recited as Salaat ul Jamaat and was followed by a brief but profound speech by Sheikh Khalfan, who emphasised upon a line from Salwat e Shabaniya.
After lunch, as our troup began the journey towards Kadhmain.. we all knew that we were not able to fulfill the haqq of ziyarat. After bidding farewell to Imam Hussain (as), we left for Kadhmain.
We were well settled in our rooms in Kadhmain well before maghrib and started leaving towards the haram for namaz e maghribain. The night was serene with a light shower and as we got into our beds that night..peeking at the golden domes and the fluttering flags of al-Imamain al-Kadhmain.. we were just contended to now be at the land of Maula Bab-ul-Hawaaij and his Holy Grandson Jawad al Aai'mma(as)
Blog for Saturday 20th April 2019 - DAY SIX
By Sarah Meghji - Uk
and Tahera Khatau Haji - Kenya
We began our day learning about the importance of hope and how to instill hope in a patient so they feel better, which we can apply in our daily lives. We then understood how our temperaments are different and how each food effects our temperaments and how to ensure that we eat foods which will suit us. Sheikh Khalfan proceeded to give us an introduction on his book 'prescriptions for physicians' and gave us practical examples of how to deal with a patient and how to present ourselves to them. Such as, approach the patient with a smile, be patient with them, treat everyone equally and these can be implemented on our day to day lives.
Dhohr led us to the shrine of Imam Ali (as) and bid farewell to him while promising to return soon as we were leaving to visit his son the Holy Imam Hussain (as).
We left for kerbala, and although the journey was very long it made us reflect and think about the love that the zawwar of Imam Husayn have for him as the streets of Kerbala were filled with people using all forms of transport to get to their beloved Imam.
After a scrumptious dinner, we were blessed with the opportunity to sit with the Naqvi brothers for the blessed night of 15th Shabaan Amaals. Their recitation was so beautiful and evoked many emotions in our hearts. This night has so much significance as it is also the wiladat of the 12th Holy Imam and Shabe Baraat. This is also the night when our sustenance/rizk and our life’s decree is decided.
Then we left for the Haram to perform the Ziarat of Imam Hussayn(a.s) and Hazrat Abbas(a.s).
Blog for Friday 19th April 2019 - DAY FIVE
By Kanwal Hasan (Canada)
Imam Ali (as) said: “I do not worship a Lord I cannot see”. This made me reflect on his faith and certainty in Allah. This was only possible because of his sincerity and worship. In order to develop ourselves, we discussed the small changes we can implement in our everyday lives which have a significant impact on our spirituality.
There was a lot of focus on the effects of food both physically and spiritually on us. For example, a lot of thought has to be taken when consuming meat. This includes the animal’s temperament, lifestyle, hygiene, diet and how it is caught. This made me realise there is so much more to the food we eat than I had imagined.
One of the things I found really interesting was how Prophetic Medicine can cure something as common as Appendicitis with simple prescriptions.
Due to time constraints, we prayed Maghrib Salah at the hotel in Jama’at. And this made me think how even though we were not in the Haram, it was a very precious moment as we began by reciting Dua e Samaat.
After Salah, we visited Ayatollah Basheer Najafi at his residence. While we were entering, we saw a crowd of people waiting to meet him and this made me feel blessed to have this opportunity.
Overall, I felt very tired from the previous day but because the content was very intriguing and the group vibe was positive, I felt there was a lot to take away Alhamdulilah.
Blog for Thursday 18th April 2019 - DAY FOUR
Sumanah Hussein Ladha (Sweden)
Raeesah Meghjee (Canada)
Sabiha Shivji (UK)
Day four started with Dr Madad Ali’s session focusing on different properties of fruits. The amazing benefits of dates struck me and Sheikh Khalfan shared a Hadith about a specific kind of date (Barni dates) and 9 benefits of eating it which ranged from taking away pain to angering Shaytan.
Sheikh Khalfan also discussed food items good for the brain and intellect. These include honey, vinegar, raisins, celery, meat, lemon and quince. Everything in Allah's creation is in perfect harmony and balance with the universe and so is the food. If we were to adhere to the advice of our Masumeen (as), we would not only be healthier but prevent many diseases.
The much awaited meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sistani finally took place. His office is in close vicinity to the Haram which carries a strong symbolism. When you see this personality walk in the room tears roll down your cheeks. A man with so much knowledge and so many followers around the world is so simple. His voice is soft and humble. Despite this, his personality is so powerful!
Ayatollah Sistani made many important points some of which were:
The Adhan and Iqama recited in a newborns ears should be the beginning of a spiritual upbringing where the child is always connected to the sound of Allah and his representatives as this will enter and affect his heart.
We should always behave softly and kindly with people around us as even Prophet Musa (as) was instructed in the Holy Quran to speak softly to Pharaoh the tyrant.
We shouldn't be jealous and always wish the best for people around us and do whatever in our power to help people with different difficulties, be it good advice. Lastly Ayatollah Sistani ended by saying he prays for the Muslims daily, especially those living in West and he advised us to keep our fellow Muslims in our prayers too.
Meeting this esteemed personality is a very humbling and spiritual experience. It makes you look within yourself and scrutinize your own position in regards to Allah. May Allah protect him and all Marajas!
We were then fortunate enough to visit Masjid -e- Hanana, a place where it is reported that the walls of this mosque bent in respect to the body of Imam Ali (as) when it was passing from Kufa to Najaf. In this mosque, Imam Hussain's head was also kept for some time and at this point. Both instances relate to the name of the mosque Hannana, (cry of the camel baby separated from its mother).
From this it is clear that our Imam's were not just leaders for us, but for all of creation.
Close by to this was the Shrine of Kumayl ibn Ziad. He was a close companion of Imam Ali (a.s) and helped to avenge Kerbala. Imam Ali trusted him with his secrets and gifted him with Dua e Kumayl. This shows us that we can strive to be near our present Imam and be one of those close to him by emulating Hazrat Kumayl’s qualities of loyalty, trustworthiness, and faithfulness.
Being Thursday, a day where we dedicate time for our deceased ones, we were fortunate to visit the graveyard of Wadi us Salam. This is a very holy Land on this earth and many great personalities are buried here one of which is Sayyid Qadhi, teacher of Allama Tabatabai. We visited his grave and got to know one of the pathways to spiritual advancement is regular visit to graveyard which he practised. Because this is the best reminder of our final destination...no one is in this world permanently, yet we amass wealth as if it was and pay little attention to the eternal abode.
We will inshallah be making our way to Karbala in a few hours!
Blog for Wednesday 17th April 2019 - DAY THREE
Time flies when you are on a spiritual journey that you honor so much!!
After having a good rest and a warm breakfast we were fortunate enough to have a brief discussion by the Son Of Ayatullah Hakeem's son who gave us a warm welcome and emphasized to us the boundaries between halaal and haraam that we are faced with living in the waste.
Following that we were honored to meet Aytullah Ishaq Al Faydh after praying zohr Jamaat namaaz at his residence. He spoke to us graciously for a substantial period of time. His first piece of advise to us was to never lie no matter how small the lie is and who is it towards. Another important point he addressed was to treat patients with lots of humility and calm them down at their time of desperation.
Following lunch we had our lovely, informative sessions by our three learned scholars.
The first was by Dr. Madad Ali who stressed on the importance of having a concept of Allah (s.w.t) which will help us avoid Depression, Anxiety and having thoughts of suicide. He concluded the session by the importance of the Holy Quran and how it helps the human body to become spiritually strong.
The second session was by Shk Nadir who spoke about the difference between prophetic (traditional) and modern medicine where he stressed that prophetic medicines focus more on release rather than ingestion. He also added that conditions like vomiting and diarrhea are neemah from Allah (swt) as they expell all the toxins and dirt out of the body.
The final session of the day was by Shk Muhammed Khalfan whose topic was the Outline On Spiritual Wayfaring. He started off by explaining the fundamental elements of a spiritual journey and concluded by giving information on the 5 kinds of sleep discussed by the H.Prophet (S.A.W).
The day ended with a ziarah of Imam Ali (a.s)'s shrine. Desperately looking forward to the next day especially the most awaited trip to Karbala!
Blog for 16th April 2019 - DAY TWO
Nisbat Zahra Asgaraly
Can’t belive it’s Day 2 already! After starting off the day with some going to the Haram for Fajr prayers, followed by a warm breakfast, it was time for the most awaited bit, the classes with the learned scholars.
The first session was an interactive discussion with Dr Madad Ali on spiritual healing whereby he started off by explaining the concept and its effectiveness, as well the ability of our bodies to self heal, and how it’s enhanced by the recitation of Du’as and Qur’an. He shared with us a powerful hadith that states that Surah Al Fatiha can cure all diseases except death!
He then enlightened us on how what has been commanded and prohibited in Islam is for our own good. This included a healthy discussion on different parts of prayer and their health benefits, including the neutralizing of negative energy, and different postures being a cure for different body aches!
The second talk was by Shaykh Nadir Jaffer on Prophetic Medicine, that left us awe-inspired and even more eager for the lessons to come!
Among the things discussed, were inspirational real-life events where people have been cured by using the tibb al ma’sumeen. One of the most Interesting remedies discussed was that of 7 ‘Kaloonji’ (black seeds) and a tablespoon of honey on an empty stomach being a cure for any ailment!
Being medical practitioners, we often forget the importance of the psychological and spiritual aspect of the patient’s illness, and focus all our attention on the physical. This session brought to light the beauty of our religion and how there’s a prescribed prevention and cure for every illness.
This was followed by a beautiful session with Shaykh Mohammed Khalfan on the Anatomy and maladies of the soul. He highlighted the 3 faculties of the soul, including:
# Aqaliya (intellect )
# Ghadhabiya (anger)
# Shahwiya (Appetite/ Desire)
The 4th faculty - Wahmiya ( imagination), being encompassed within the faculty of aql.
Imam Ali (as) says, "You dont see an ignorant person except that he either exaggerates or neglects"
A healthy soul is the one that is balanced.
Based on each faculty of the soul, an exaggerated and negligent state is a diseased state. Thus, a person can achieve an angelic, predator, beastly and Satanic stage, depending on which faculty is allowed to rule.
The session left us reflecting, that knowing oneself implies knowing the soul’s anatomy and the maladies that may arise if it’s not well cared for.
After a quick lunch, we then proceeded with our trip to Masjid Kufa, the house of Imam Ali (as) and the burial site of Hazrat Meetham at Tammar.
A feeling of pride interspersed with grief swept over us, as we realized the extent to which the lovers of the Ahl al Bayt (as) have sacrificed their lives so willingly, and made us wonder, will we be able to have a similar level of devotion when it’s demanded of us?
The highlight of the days’ trip came when it was time to visit Masjid Sahla, and being a Tuesday night, the overwhelming feeling of longing to meet the Imam (atfs) was evident in every eye. The recitation of Du’a Faraj under the open skies with sorrowful hearts left us leaving rejuvenated to realize our purpose and mission better.
The day thus ended with a feeling of absolute serenity and introspection, Alhamdulillah.
Blog for 15th April 2019 - DAY ONE
During the Medical Retreat Shaykh Nadir Jaffer was given the opportunity to serve the esteemed guests of Ameer al-Mu’mineen (AS) in Najaf al-Ashraf.
The programme was opened by Haj Shabbir Bhai Dharsi (Najaf Office Manager).
Alhamdulilah, having safely arrived at Najaf, I got to meet the participants coming from nine other countries from a wide range of professions such as: Medicine, Midwifery, Pharmacy, Biomedicine, and many others.
In the evening, we received a very warm welcome by Sheikh Nadir who discussed the importance of the month of Sha’ban and how blessed we are to be Zawwar at this time of year. Sheikh was also very pleased to announce this Medical Retreat as being the first of its kind run by the World Federation Najaf Office. I pray for this retreat to be the first of many to come so it can benefit and reach out to more people inshAllah.
Before leaving for our first Ziyarah, Sheikh Khalfan enlightened us with a lecture on the purpose and method of Ziyarah- emphasising on the importance of niyyah and striving to find a balance between the quantity and quality of our duas. Sheikh also shared some practical advice on the etiquettes of Ziyarah. For example, the name ‘Ali’ is derived from the Arabic root meaning ‘elevated’- hence our supplications to such a personality should be for a higher purpose.
Next, the time we had all been impatiently waiting for! As we began walking towards the Haram for Salatul Maghribayn, my eyes set on the dome of Imam Ali’s shrine for the first time. Words will fail to describe the serenity of the experience.
Finally, we were very pleased to meet Shabbir uncle and his family during dinner. May Allah grant the efforts of all the organisers, volunteers and lecturers. I am very excited to see what the next few days will bring!
The Madressa Centre of Excellence regularly holds teacher training programs globally and these programs help ensure that the teachers who will be educating the children of our community are trained to the highest level.