It has been almost a year, and I have been meaning to write about my one-week getaway I took towards the end of the year 2010 – one I have been thankful for all this while: Knowledge Hive 2010.
I have been in the working world for a little more than a year, and if I were honest with myself, I have to shamefully say that once I entered this phase of life it is easy to forget the routine I have religiously set during university life. I like working, but it has taken its toll on me somehow on a spiritual level. I struggled to find times to attend lectures – the kind of activities I have filled my student life with previously. I know I love this kind of thing (it works as a stressbuster for me indeed). Reciting Quran after each prayer is no more an option, and by the time I reach home, what’s usually left is a tired me.
And after a year, I just knew I needed a break from work to re-stabilise, and most importantly, to reaffirm my purpose of life in this world.
A Vacation – A Break from Work
Everyone needs a vacation, and I sure needed one too! But I had no idea where to go, and neither had I a mate to go on a holiday with – my housemate was definitely not taking a week leave, and my brother was still a long way from his semester break. To go alone travelling (now that I am back in Malaysia) is an absolute no-go when it comes to my parents.
And I have long known that a vacation solely spent on sight-seeing won’t give me any satisfaction. I hate taking photos, and I did not think I want to spend a week relaxing on a beach. I wanted something else, and when you know exactly what you want, things are much easier.
A Long Yearned Event
Hence, I chose to attend AlKauthar Institute‘s event Knowledge Hive. I have my first encounter with AlKauthar when I attended one of its courses in my final year – The Mark of a Jurist (a course on Qawa’id Fiqh), and I was aware of its coming to Malaysia, and could only be happy that they were having this special week-long programme. I know that such programmes have been conducted in the UK while I was there conducted (by UK Chapter of the Institute), but the fees at that time, which was close to GBP400 or so – almost the same as my monthly allowance, made it impossible for me to attend. When I knew they are having the same event in Malaysia, I knew I could not forgive myself if I didn’t attend. I saved my annual leave for this event (as 5 of the 7 days fell on weekdays) and despite a bit of a financial constraint (I was saving up for a wedding at that time) – I willingly threw RM850 for the event – by instalments of course, and they offered an early-bird rate to me Alhamdulillah.
And plus, we were having it at Janda Baik, Pahang – an amazing place that is only a stone’s throw away from where I was living.
The Unforgettable 7 Days
I offered a ride to the organiser, to fetch any sisters in need of transportation to the venue, and I found myself picking Shazia at Masjid Jamek early in the morning – she was clad in a black abaya, and her husband (who I later learnt was tied to work that he could only wish to join us) helping to load her luggage into my Getz. I drove all the way back on DUKE, and I remember thinking that it was only within a blink of an eye that we were already in Janda Baik – a proof that I actually did not realise that the heaven on earth was actually less than an hour away from my home. We got lost, but since we were fed with beautiful sceneries – Subhanallah – (streams in between houses, can you imagine?) I did not mind a bit. Then we arrived at Camp ABC, only to be mesmerised more by the view it offered. We were placed in the same room – six person in each, with 3 bunk beds – a few steps away from the hall in which our learning session would be held.
The learning materials were given in a file and some books – and recalled feeling super excited with the opportunities to study under Shaykh Bilal Ismail, Shaykh Musaaid Dawood, and Shaykh Yawar Baig on these topics intensively (I hope I did not miss ny in this list):
- Zaad al-Ma’ad: Provisions of the Hereafter – Imam Ibnul Qayyim (We were given the physical book, and studied a number of chapters of it)
- Umdatul Ahkam – Imam Abdul Ghani al Maqdisi: Chapter of Food, Drinks, Clothing, Hunting, Udhiya
- Selection from summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari on Book of Fitan and Book of Tawhid
- Bayquniyyah – Science of Ahadeeth
- Bidayat as-Sul by Izz ibn Abd as-Salaam, translated by Aisha Bewley – a study on the Prophet SAW, and we were given a physical book of this.
- Life Skills – taught by Shaykh Yawar
And let me give you a peek on the daily schedule prepared for us:
Oh yes, we do have exams and I can fully comprehend the need for one (or else everything learned will be pushed into my short-term memory only!), and we did have breaks for physical activities which I declined to join – I had enough during my team-building at work, I reckoned that spending some quiet times at the stream would serve me better.
I doubt that the knowledge was the only thing I gained during my seven days at Camp ABC. I got to know amazing individuals – Some mothers attended with their teenage daughters and sons, some were just-married couples, and many, of course, were singles like me.
Many of them are successful in their professional careers, and I had the chance to talk to them and dig their experiences. And we did share the same pressure of memorising the different types of ahadeeth, for the exams, which made it all even more unforgettable. These people had the gut to stay up late the night before exams to revise, while I was safely tucked in bed not long after the midnight passed!
And surely, the presence of the shaykhs – the learned ones among us, is almost a sure fire way to boost your motivation to become a better person, seeing their characters and all – may Allah forgive and bless all of them and their families.
I’ll now let these pictures do the talking – pardon the quality though!
Some recordings from the event, if you have time to spare:
Sh. Yawar Baig (Fajr Reminder):
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There are a few more on Alkauthar Malaysia Youtube Channel.
As the Sufi Abu Yazid Al-Bustami once said “I have been in hard worship for 30 years, but I didn’t find anything more difficult than being practical about one’s knowledge”, putting what I have learned into practice is still the hardest part and I pray that I’ll have the taufiq to act upon these rich knowledge I have been blessed with (I never believe that ignorance is bliss!).
I have tried my best to share as much knowledge as I can with others, especially the girls in UCSI (University College Sedaya International) – who patiently listened to me explaining points that I have learned from Umdatul Ahkam.
I remember on the day the Knowledge Hive ended I promised myself to save up and spare my annual leave in 2011 for this event again (and influenced my then yet-to-be husband to do so too), but then this year they replaced this with the Twins of Faith family festival. Upon attending the festival I was informed that they are having Knowledge Hive again in 2012 (10-14 July to be exact, insha Allah) and as I could not attend it myself – I will be on my maternity leave & confinement by that time, God willing) – I am encouraging you to attend it, and that is what made me feel much obliged to write this in the first place!
It has been shortened to four days if I am not mistaken, and this time around children are welcomed – at no cost. It is yet to be on AlKauthar’s website (http://alkauthar.org), but I’m sure soon there will be and I can assure you this is not something you’ll regret insha Allah.
After all, if peace of mind and tranquillity is all that you are looking for, then what can beat being surrounded by angels who will keep supplicating for you?
*Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet said: “When you pass by the gardens of Paradise, avail yourselves of them.” The Companions asked: “What are the gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied: “The circles of dhikr. There are roaming angels of Allah who go about looking for the circles of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them closely.” Tirmidhi narrated it (hasan gharib) and Ahmad.
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri and Abu Huraira reported that the Prophet, peace by upon him, said, “When any group of men remember Allah, angels surround them and mercy covers them, tranquility descends upon them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him.” Narrated by Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn Majah, and Bayhaqi.
Note: Dhikr means remembrance (of Allah) and Islamic knowledge is certainly the kind of knowledge that makes you remember Him.
**I am attending AlKauthar’s Home Sweet Home course this weekend insha Allah, and had my partner signed up for next year’s Mark of a Jurist course (the one I attended in Manchester). Come and join us!