MSA West 2018
The 20th MSA West conference was this past weekend, with the theme "Turn to your Lord: Becoming God Conscious in an Unconscious Society", a very appropriate theme for our times. I think I took more notes than I ever have before, and had a great time with friends and the beautiful weather. The speakers ranged from Ust. Maryam Amiribrahimi to Sheikh Jamaal Diwan, Imam Zaid Shakir, Sh. Abdul Nasir Jangda, Zahra and Ahmad Billoo and a few others.
Some highlights from the weekend:
- "Don't let your imperfection silence your narrative"
- Dr. Hatem Bazian talked about this and how it was important to speak to our politicians and representatives and tell our story, before it gets told-incorrectly-by someone else.
- "It is better to be alone than to be in bad company"
- Pursuing desires without contemplation pollutes our heart
- In terms of wrongdoings/sins, Shaytan either makes us always forget, or always remember them, both of which are bad.
- "To be upset of the divine decree stains the heart horribly"
- This also erases your good deeds
- “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” (Qur’an, 2:286).
- We've all heard this one before, but what Zahra Billoo said stood out to me; if you have those days where you don't know if you can make it to the next, if you can keep going, know this: Allah wouldn't have you live with those thoughts if you couldn't get through it.
- [another favorite] When you are sick or traveling and shorten your prayers, or for women who are menstruating and can't pray, you get the same reward as what you would normally pray. Allah's rahma is never ending.
- Ustadha Maryam said: patience is feeling like a hypocrite because you're praying, doing what Allah says, and staying away from what he declared haram, even when you don't want to but you do simply because He said so. When you do these, you are not a hypocrite, you are God-conscious and struggling with your nafs to become a better Muslim.
- Find one small deed to stay connected to Allah with, you don't know what little thing you do for someone might take you to jannah (heaven).
- Every time you do a small dua for every Muslim past and present, you get raised a rank, forgiven a bad deed, and get a good deed for each person. SubhanAllah, what a religion.
Those were some (condensed) points that stood out to me, I hope they inspired you as well :)