Al salamu 'alaykum (greetings of peace) and happy 11th day of Ramadan! I pray you are well and settling into the blessed rhythm of the sacred month!
Last week, I wrote: "We plan and God plans," as I was writing from my childhood home and getting ready to pack my bags and fly back to Ohio. Well, little did I know that God planned for me to stay a bit longer in California. Shortly after I sent my last email, I discovered that I had caught Covid and I would not be going anywhere except straight to bed! I slept for about two days straight, and came to consciousness to discover that my mother on the third day after me, and then my father on the fourth, also tested positive for Covid. So, it has been a challenging week to say the least. And unfortunately, we had to cancel today's halaqa as Shaykh was also not well. Please keep all of us in your prayers. :)
I will keep it short today. I believe it is moments like these, where we are tested and given hardship with ease, that we can truly reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives. I believe that through such tests, God also gives us the openings to communicate what we might not otherwise communicate in "normal" times. So let me say this:
As we wind down the Project Illumine Qur'an halaqas, we are nearing the moment when this journey will end. On days like today, when we get a real sense of what it feels like to NOT have a blessed engagement with the Qur'an with Shaykh at the helm, it is a good time to reflect on what this journey has meant, and to take the time to communicate what we might not always take the time to say.
We were supposed to engage Surah 111: Al Masad and Surah 109: Al Kafirun tonight. After that, we only have four surahs (two halaqas) and then Surah 1: Al Fatiha at the conclusion. We are three halaqas from the end. I have been trying to think of ways to make our last halaqa together extra special, and would like to ask you for a personal favor.
If these halaqas have benefitted you, touched you, inspired you, made you laugh, answered a question, saved your faith, reignited your love for the Qur'an, or even encouraged you to open a Qur'an for the first time, would you kindly consider writing a note to let Shaykh know? I would love to collect any thoughts, reflections, or thank you notes in a book to give to Shaykh as a gift for sharing his lifetime journey with all of us. I believe that for him to know how his journey has impacted yours would be a tremendous gift. It doesn't need to be long, or detailed, or anything other than from your heart to his. It would mean the world to me, and I believe, to him as well. Thank you so much for considering and please send your messages to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. :) xoxo
Wishing you continued love, light, and beauty in this blessed month! Hope to see you online next week insha'Allah! May Allah keep you and your loved ones safe, healthy, and surrounded in mercy always!
In Peace and Hope,
The Usuli Institute