Bismillah Hir Rahman Ar Raheem ( In the name of Allah, the Giver and Owner of Loving Mercy)
As attendees of Islamic conferences, we sit down with our families with the intention to seek knowledge from our beloved scholars. It’s a weekend or longer filled with sessions, prayer, and seeing friends you haven’t seen in a long time. As attendees, we come in with the intention to seek knowledge but we often end up confusing knowledge with inspiration.
Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda articulated this point in the Boys II Men session at the ICNA 2017 conference. There is so much knowledge out there, and even if we attended every conference and every retreat we would still not be able to gain a significant amount of information because we are restricted to a weekend. In conferences, such as ICNA, you can and are meant to gain knowledge, but it is primarily for inspiration. Inspiration isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it is essential because it embeds in us the desire to want to continue to learn and grow. Nonetheless, it is important that we make a clear distinction between the two. If people weren’t inspired to learn nobody would become a scholar, hafiz or an imam. The inspired person can only learn if he makes the effort to do so.
A lecture on a subject can introduce you to an issue, but a book will give you way more information. As Muslims, we must seek knowledge so we can better ourselves. We must go back to our communities and at the minimum read some books or take some classes in our free time to learn. We just have to make an effort. Sheikh Jangda mentioned that if you just replace the 10 minutes you are on your phone before you go to sleep you could learn so much. This message applies to me first. I can say that personally after attending the conference, alhamdulillah, I’m on an iman high, but it slowly fades as we get busy in our day to day lives.
We have to make the intention that we will continue to seek knowledge outside of conferences like ICNA by using the inspiration and advice that we received during that weekend. Inshallah, we can use knowledge to better ourselves, our communities, and to please Allah (SWT).