This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
LEADERSHIP EXCELLENCE COURSE [MALAYSIA]
11th – 17th March 2012
SBA Leadership Excellence Course - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
…a life-changing experience!
“… And whoever follows a path to seek knowledge, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the Houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that Sakeenah (Tranquility) descends upon them, and Mercy envelops them, and the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them amongst those who are with Him.” Prophet Muhammad (saw) talked about the feeling of tranquility for those who follow the path to knowledge and action, and if we ask the members of the SBA LEC, then the whole week would best be described as one where our souls experienced a rare form of ‘sukoon’ (peace). And the reason for this inner-peace was only one – for the first time ever (for many) and as a reminder (for some) we came face to face with our real, actual and practical ‘maqsad’ (goal) in life. As Sh. Yawar Baig put it – the existence of anything is valid only so long as it fulfills its purpose. If it does not or stops fulfilling that purpose, then it is as good as dead. Many of us were voluntarily ignoring our purpose, while others had never even given it a thought. As each day passed in the beautiful atmosphere, we were all being asked one question: Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allah's Reminder? [57:16] Indeed, hope and answers came to us in flashes – “Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death! Indeed We have made clear the Ayat to you, if you but understand.” [57:17] Indeed, many a dead hearts came alive, and many a wandering souls found direction as the words of Allah and His Messenger (saw) entered the periphery and channeled the flow of our logic-filled brains and doubt-filled minds! 70 participants came together for the course in Malaysia at the famous ‘Palace of the Golden Horses.’ The colors of Kuwait, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Darwin painted the whole event 1
with variety, yet unison of purpose – which is so unique. The following is a brief take on the course. It does not delve into detailed lessons and particularities, but gives a bird-eye view of the experience and a summary of its rare features that enabled it to reach the degree of ‘excellence.’ I. CLEAR INTENT AND SIMPLICITY YET PROFOUNDNESS OF VISION
The pre-requisites of anything show the purpose and intent behind it. While glancing at the intent behind SBA LEC, we understand that it is not a course aimed at giving you a ‘knowledge-high’ or to make you a pseudo-scholar in a week. Rather, its whole-hearted focus is – Tazkiyyah [Purification of the Self] and Tarbiyyah [Nurturing of Manners]. The basic premise is that an infertile land does not inherently yield a good produce – therefore, in order to absorb the Words of the Creator, prepare ourselves for action, stay patient on the challenges that come on the Path of Allah, and succeed in earning His Pleasure, it is necessary to go through training and grounding of self to the Quran and Sunnah. Willingness to learn, seriousness of purpose, application of effort, questioning, willingness to share, personal discipline and a sense of fun - all of these packaged into one, and Alhamdulillah, it was great to see all the 70 participants who managed to safely arrive with all of those qualities mentioned above, intact. II. WITH THE ‘INHERITORS OF THE PROPHETS’ (PEACE BE UPON THEM ALL)
The Prophet (saw) said, “…Indeed, the scholars are the inheritors of the prophets, for the prophets do not leave behind a dinar or a dirham for inheritance, but rather, they leave behind knowledge. So whoever takes hold of it, has acquired a large share (i.e. of inheritance).”
The chance to stay in the beneficial company of and learning from even one scholar is such a rare blessing. But, the participants actually got the unique chance to stay and learn from three 2
wonderful teachers. Sh. Mirza Yawar Baig from India, Sh. Mohammad Cheppih from Morocco and Sh. Bilal Ismail from South Africa formed a trio that surpassed all expectations and gratified the hungry minds and souls. While Sh. Yawar tethered our inner-selves to the connection with Allah and putting complete reliance & trust upon Him Alone, Sh. Cheppih taught certain crucial points that were astounding in their sheer practicality in winning the battle against the Shaytan. Sh. Bilal enlightened us with many intricacies hidden behind the words of the Prophet (saw) such that we appreciated them at a greater level, rather than complacently accepting them at face value. What do you say about teachers who travel across the globe, leaving behind the comfort of their lives and homes, to stay awake 18 hours a day just to propagate Allah’s Deen, convey the Message and yearn to affect a change? This is Islam in Action and the students saw, instead of just hearing. And that is a revolutionary concept that changes lives and ignites minds. III. BEST OF DEEN AND DUNYA A routine that fit best in this description – ‘excellence’ and no other name for it: TIME 5:15 am – 7:00 am 7:10 am – 7:45 am 9:30 am – 12:30 pm 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm 9:00 pm onwards IV. SESSION Tahajjud, Dhikr, Fajr Session I – (a) Living Islam: Fajr Reminder Session I – (b) Living Islam: Hadith Session II – Sharing + Leadership Essentials Session III - Communicating to Win Session IV - Team-building and ProblemSolving Skills Session V - Living Islam: Hadith Session VI – Journal Writing and Review
A BLESSED RISING - ‘'O ALLAH, BLESS MY NATION'S EARLY RISING.” The Prophet (saw) made dua’ for our Ummah’s early hours and told us that great blessing lies in them. For most of the participants, it was the first time to understand how true his (saw) words really are. The days would start at 5.15 am with the most perfect way anyone would want to start their day with -Tahajjud. As Sh Yawar says often, you do not work for the Deen of Allah. Allah recruits and chooses you to do that. And the application form for getting 3
recruited in the Team of Allah is – Qiyaam al-layl. With this form duly filled out, and with a kick start like that, you can just imagine how amazing the atmosphere must have been and all the positive energy that surrounded around us all day Subhan Allah - just by re-connecting with the Almighty and actually seeing the words of the Messenger (saw) come alive. Sometimes, seeing is believing. After that, we would be engaged in individual Dhikr till Fajr, where we would congregate again for the Salaah and have our daily dose of the famous ‘Fajr Reminders’ by Sh Yawar where we would learn new lessons about things that we could change and improve in our day-to-day lives. We did not learn about herbs and spices, rather we learnt the concept behind the recipe of success in this world and hereafter – Fear of Allah, connection with Him, asking from and hoping in Him Alone, putting the dunya in its proper place, the important of Ikhlaas and purifying ourselves from all diseases. V. THE SECRET LIES IN THE SUNNAH
As emphasized by the scholars, it is only the Quran and Sunnah that is a firm foundation for your life and its goals. Therefore, whenever we would go for the Hadith session with Sheikh Mohammed Cheppih, he would explain certain ahadith in a way that made so much more sense and gave us a new perspective of seeing ourselves, and how we operate. These sessions were extremely beneficial and opened our eyes to so many things we were all ignorant about for most of our lives- and would probably have continued to be ignorant about it for the rest of our lives if it hadn’t been for the sessions. VI. LEADERSHIP AT ITS BEST Knowledge by itself is not worth anything, unless it comes alive in the form of action – and this action is continuous only if the fuel driving it is passion - passion to lead and to make a difference. And so we would be taught the skill to convert our knowledge into action through three amazing Leadership Modules – Leadership Essentials, Communicating to Win and Team-Building. All by International Speaker, Author, Life Coach, Corporate Consultant and Chairman 4
of Standard Bearers Academy and Trust, Mirza Yawar Baig.
Visual tools, enlightening activities (it was back to crayons for adults after a long time!), team-building lessons, top-notch questionnaires leading to astounding personality-revelations, secrets of effective leadership, motivation to build a lasting legacy, working [and surviving] with others – it was a complete package! After a jam-packed 9 hours of Sh Yawar, we had our second Hadith session with Sh Bilal Ismail. From the best of examples - Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) - we learnt how to deal with different situations in our lives and how we could apply the knowledge we already had into our lives, by just BEING Muslims. VII. WRITING IT DOWN
With someone as experienced and as knowledgeable as Sh Yawar, you’d expect to have bursts of all kinds - bursts of knowledge, advice, tips, wit, tears and most of all, laughter. And by the end of it, you don’t realize how quickly the day went by and how quickly the pages of our journal would get filled with so much to take in - from leadership essential skills to communication tips to team skills to problem solving techniques and much, much more. You just couldn’t get enough! Writing is a forgotten trend – atleast it was. We were encouraged to write down our view and thoughts, and then derive lessons from them. Putting it down in words makes it a step closer to reality – a lesson we take back with ourselves to maintain, insha Allah. VIII. SHARING = CARING
Indeed it is! Wrapping up our day was by sharing our knowledge - what we learnt, how we could apply the knowledge, how we understood certain things and how we could better ourselves in all aspects of our lives; whether at home, university, workplace, in the Mosque etc. The best part about these sessions was the strong bond that was being formed day by day. 5
The more we shared what we learnt that day, the more we got to know each other. And the more we got to know each other, the more we appreciated each other and most of all, we really were humbled and touched of the fact that Allah (swt) hand-picked each and every single one of us from all different countries and all different walks of life, and He Willed for us to be at that particular place, at that particular time, Glorifying Him. If Bilaal Habshi, Salman alFarisi, Suhayb ar-Roomi, Wahshi (may Allah be pleased with them all) – could together lift the banner of Islam, so can we – from different color, races, backgrounds, languages! IX. A COMMUNITY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER - STAYS TOGETHER!
One of the best features was the prayer time. A beautiful room which was hitherto unaware of the sounds of the believers resounded with the glory and majesty of Allah’s Word, His remembrance and praise. When you are led in prayer by God-fearing scholars, huffaadh, and men of knowledge – what else is the result but khushoo’ in salaat and power in your dua’? A beautiful moment we shall preserve in our memory is getting introduced to a 12 year-old Muslim man (and I call him a man because he deserves to be called so, unlike the small ‘kids’ we have gotten used to spoon-feeding in our Muslim families) who had memorized the Quran and his impassioned Qira’ah of the Quran awoke the desire in many a mothers’ hearts to do their best to raise up their own children in the same way! May Allah protect and increase goodness in our brother Ahmad and may He give us millions of Ahmads to lead the Ummah. Aameen X. TAKING FROM THE TREASURES OF ALLAH
Allah has not prohibited for His slaves the blessings of this world, in fact He has allowed all humans to make use of the benefits of this world, and specifically kept it for the believers in the hereafter. The course kept the needs of the body and soul in perspective. The venue was better than the best in Malaysia, as were the amenities and food, alhamdulillah. The hotel had beautiful lawns and ponds. Once the body was well-rested and adequately fed, the knowledge was absorbed with renewed fervor. The organizers gave the students and 6
instructors well-deserved tea and meal breaks, alhamdulillah. And after everyone was reenergized, the party started - Sh Yawar style! XI. IRRIGATING THE SOUL
Humble, fearful yet hopeful tears spent in front of Allah irrigate the soul and wash away the impurities of the brain & heart. This is a lesson well-learnt in this course. We were encouraged to sit in front of Allah quietly many times a day to cry out to our Lord – for forgiveness, guidance and success. As one of the participants who came from a strict Military background put it – “I have never seen grown-up men cry. We have been taught that strong personalities are not supposed to shed tears. But here I saw tears become a source of strength!” XII. A TIMELY REMINDER
As the days were drawing to a close, we got a timely reminder when the father of one of the participants passed away suddenly. May Allah forgive him and us. We were powerfully reminded of the fact that dunya indeed is transitory and everything will come to an end, and what remains behind are deeds that one does in this short life.
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL One of the most amazing weeks of our lives was drawing to a close. Participants were so engrossed and at peace with the atmosphere, the learning, productive routine and each others’ company that there was a wish in every heart that this ‘little Jannah’ would continue forever. However, the main motive of the course was to make us realize that it’s time to do and not just talk about it. After a fun-filled and touching Closing Ceremony, there was one thing that we kept us going – the hope, prayers, and promise of the participants to make the Standard Bearers Academy a living reality by 2014 – insha Allah – each one of us in our own way possible.
As was said in the very beginning, this is more of a lifechanging course than anything else. We pray that every single person reading this gets to experience the course because mere words do not do any justice to the experience itself. Our visions are noble, the path has been made easy – it is now up to each one of us to move ahead with commitment and dedication to become true standard bearers of Islam, insha Allah.