Saturday, April 14, 2012

The knowledge from Spring Camp 2012

In His name, the Most Beneficent, the Merciful.

I always enjoy going to talk, forum or camps whenever I see there's one. This because in my opinion for someone to grow more and expand his view, he should seek more knowledge. However, whenever I got back from one talk or forum, I always had people said to me "Haris, share what you got with us", and I will replied "InsyaAllah". But, most of the time I didn't fulfilled the promise, because I don't know how and when. The information I got mostly stay in my book, in exception of few lines that stuck in my mind. Other than those, I can say I didn't even bother to revise or re-read them back.

Before this event, I went to SIMPLE, Sharing Islam With People, a two days talk program by Brother Shah Kirit, a Muslim convert speaker from Malaysia who shared with us his experience and journey of how he met Islam, the resistance he face and his wide knowledge about other religions. Today, he is an active speaker who give talks around Malaysia about the importance of spreading Islam messages to other non-believers.

Back to our topic, I planned to write what I got from the program to share with others but due to few circumstances, again I failed to fulfill my promises. With all those promises I broke, I am deeply apologise and ashamed of myself. Now, allow me to share my experience and knowledge I got when I went to a Spring Camp with the theme of "Face-THE-Book".

The Spring Camp was organised by Ikram UKE for four days and three nights, from Thursday until Sunday. The camp was held at Gilwell Park Scout Activity Center, located just at the suburb of  the city of London. One can't never though that there is a park which is really suitable for outdoor activity at only half an hour car ride from the London centre.

The theme, as one can guess, is about the importance of ourselves to read and understand 'The Book', the Holy Quran, by our heart. There were three talks given throughout the camp, from Mr Azman Yaacob, Ustaz Azzam Che Idris and Brother Aiman Abu Zaid. I don't think it is practical for me to write back ALL what I have written in my book but I will try to share with you the important ones and what had me able to relate back with our life.

The first talk given by Mr Azman Yaacob was about Surah Al-Furqan (chapter 25) verses 63 to 77, the characters of Ibadurrahman (the true servant of Allah the Beneficent). There are twelve characters all of them, or some might say seven depends how they tafseer the verses. Mentioned by Allah one bye one, the characters are the humble and tawadu', the one who says good words even when being cursed at, who prostrate at nights (Qiyamullail), one who scared of the Hell-fire, they who spend neither extravagantly or parsimoniously, who have strong aqidah and believes to the oneness of Allah, one who do not slay human soul, who do not commit fornication, he who repents, doesn't be a false witness, who leave meaningless actions (langha), the one who know by heart the words of Quran and finally, those who prays for their families.

Then, Ustaz Azzam Che Idris gave an explanation of how we can 'interact' with Al-Quran. He said, to interact with the Holy Book we should read every words and verses of it and feel as if Allah is talking with us, and every words in it are mean to ourselves. He told about the trick of 'putting our name' into the verses when we are reading it, for example instead of "Ya Muslimin ....", we can read it as "Ya Haris...", so that we can really get the warnings or the messages into our heart. He encouraged us to have an intention that one day we should have a firm grip on the Arab language, for the sake of getting the Quran words more deeply.

Finally, it was a talk about Surah Yusuf from Brother Aiman Abu Zaid, an Egyptian who is living in London. He is a member of Ikhwanul Muslimin. He told us that the story of Yusuf in the Quran is a very special one. This because it is the only tale in Al-Quran that is completed in one chapter and being fully narrated from the beginning to the very end, to compare with others stories which at most occasions being told separately in different chapters and some is not being fully written of the details. What we can learn from this beautiful story is about four aspects of human: mental, heart, psychology and physical. The story of Prophet Yusof is about the process of tarbiyah one had to go through in his life. He said, tarbiyah means a process of trying to gain a degree of completeness through a gradual process of development.

Done with the talks, here is the best knowledge that I personally think have really amazed me, the story of Jalut and Thalut. My team had been given a task to do a play of the story of Jalut and Thalut, extracted from Surah Baqarah (chapter 2) verses 246 - 251, and I found this story is very interesting and have a great lesson for us to learn. These are the verses:

Did you not see a group from the children of Isra’il (Israel), after (the time of) Musa when they said to their prophet: [QETafseerComment] “Appoint for us a king, so that we may fight in the way of Allah.” He said: “Is it (not) likely, if fighting is enjoined upon you, that you would not fight.” They said: “What is wrong with us that we would not fight while we have been driven away from our homes and our sons?” But, when fighting was enjoined upon them, they turned away, except a few of them, and Allah is Aware of the unjust. (246)

 And their Prophet (Samuel A.S.) said to them, "Indeed Allâh has appointed Talût (Saul) as a king over you." They said, "How can he be a king over us when we are fitter than him for the kingdom, and he has not been given enough wealth." He said: "Verily, Allâh has chosen him above you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allâh grants His Kingdom to whom He wills. And Allâh is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower. (247)

And their Prophet (Samuel A.S.) said to them: Verily! The sign of His Kingdom is that there shall come to you At-Tâbût (a wooden box), wherein is Sakinah[] (peace and reassurance) from your Lord and a remnant of that which Mûsâ (Moses) and Hârûn (Aaron) left behind, carried by the angels. Verily, in this is a sign for you if you are indeed believers. (248)

Then when Tâlût (Saul) set out with the army, he said: "Verily! Allâh will try you by a river. So whoever drinks thereof, he is not of me, and whoever tastes it not, he is of me, except him who takes (thereof) in the hollow of his hand." Yet, they drank thereof, all, except a few of them. So when he had crossed it (the river), he and those who believed with him, they said: "We have no power this day against Jâlût (Goliath) and his hosts." But those who knew with certainty that they were to meet their Lord, said: "How often a small group overcame a mighty host by Allâh's Leave?" And Allâh is with As-Sâbirûn (the patient).(249)

 And when they advanced to meet Jâlût (Goliath) and his forces, they invoked: "Our Lord! Pour forth on us patience, and set firm our feet and make us victorious over the disbelieving people." (250)

So they routed them by Allâh's Leave and Dâwûd (David) killed Jâlût (Goliath), and Allâh gave him [Dawûd (David)] the kingdom [after the death of Talût (Saul) and Samuel] and Al¬Hikmah (Prophethood)[], and taught him of that which He willed. And if Allâh did not check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief. But Allâh is full of Bounty to the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists). (251)

Let me try to summarise it from what I learnt. The story is about Bani Israel after the time of Prophet Musa, when they were attacked and conquered ('we have been driven away from our homes and our sons') by Jalut and his men. The ones who had escaped prayed to God to give them help to defeat the evil people. They claimed that they will do anything in order to fight for justice. Ironically, when Allah had ordered them to fight, only a few of them took heed of the call while most of them didn't (' when fighting was enjoined upon them, they turned away, except a few of them,') . Funny isn't it? Yet we didn't realise this situation is very similar today.

However, after that Allah had appointed one man among them to lead the fight against Jalut, which is Thalut. Again, this decision was questioned by themselves as if Thalut was not the right guy and claimed that they are better than him ('They said, "How can he be a king over us when we are fitter than him for the kingdom'). Prophet Samuel (based from tafseer Dr Mohsin), the Prophet who had been conveying the messages to them all those time, said that the box of Prophet Musa and Harun, At-Tabut (believes to contain scriptures of Taurat), which had lost before that will be returned to them (' that there shall come to you At-Tâbût (a wooden box), wherein is Sakinah[] (peace and reassurance) from your Lord and a remnant of that which Mûsâ (Moses) and Hârûn (Aaron) left behind, carried by the angels') as a sign of Thalut leadership so that they will obey him. Only after that, they had no choice but to accept him as the leader.

Again, the twists doesn't stop there. When Thalut had gathered enough people and set out with his army to fight against Jalut, he decided to screen his army. After a very long march, he gave out order to his army to not to drink any water from a river they going to pass soon, in exception for one sip. It turned out that most of his army doesn't follow the command but only a few of them ('"Verily! Allâh will try you by a river. So whoever drinks thereof, he is not of me, and whoever tastes it not, he is of me, except him who takes (thereof) in the hollow of his hand." Yet, they drank thereof, all, except a few of them.') With that, he took only those who obeyed his order and went to the fight with Jalut. With God will and His mercy, this very few number of people, yet the best of the best of Iman, managed to defeat the large number of enemy army and Dawud, who is to be the Prophet Dawud and  the next king for the new kingdom later, was the one who killed Jalut.

So that is the story of Thalut and Jalut, full of lessons for those who want to reflect. Honestly, I was very happy when I get to learn the messages of the tale thoroughly. I means, of course I have came through this verses a lot of time, but only this time I get to realise the wisdoms.

In the opening of the tale, we can see a situation at which is very familiar of what is going on today. We always heard people complaining about injustices or oppression happening around the world, and they prayed to God to help the oppressed. Yet when its come to practice or when they been called to fight, they are reluctant and refused to join. So much like the children of Israel.

Next and the most important one, this story is telling us the significance for us to fight 'with ourselves first' before we want to defeat tyrannies. The test of holding themselves from drinking the river water symbolic the importance for us to have a high discipline and and build up our Iman first before we want to fight against evils.It is a simple logic of, how can at one part we claim that we are fighting for Him but at other parts of us we are disobeying all His commands. In the end this story, as been repeated again and again in the Quran, is reminding us that victory is given by Him and not from our strength totally.

Importantly, this verses indirectly have strengthen my believes I strongly hold into before this, which is the need to change the people first before we want to change a system, or to change ourselves first, as a dalil for me. If not, our efforts will just be in vain.

With that I think I am done sharing what I got from the camp. You are more than welcome to tell me if there is any fault in here. Assalamualaikum, and see you again~ =)

p/s: oh forgot, for the play, our team won as the best show lol (eh forgot to tell again, it was a competition that night!)