Disclaimer: This article is mainly about my experience attending the conference, rather than the contents of it. I have shared some of the contents elsewhere, and I will, insyaaAllah, write a few more articles about the jewels that I managed to pick up from there.
I may have mentioned this before, but I’ll say this again. Ilmfest 2015 was held in Putrajaya in May, at the same time I finished my neurology posting. It was also held after two emotionally and spiritually challenging months for me. I had the worst (best?) emotional roller coster ride since 6 years ago. It was a ride that had me asking “what is the point of all this, really?”, one that had me feeling that something shattered me as if none that I have worked for all this while has worked, one that had me open my eyes to hope, to the sunshine after the rain, and that had me look back and say “the hard work I put in actually paid, alhamdulillah!”.
With the theme of “Optimism At Times of Tribulation”, it was definitely what I needed the most.
All of us go through difficulties in life, in one form or another. It is the nature of this life in this world. It has been promised to us that all of us would go through tests, and the level of difficulty would depend on our views in life, our faith in what is going to happen next.
It does not matter whether you’re tested with problems of health, finances, knowledge, authority, marriage (or the lack of it), friendship, work or anything at all, the answers in the Quran are the same. We may start wondering why, but that is not the only question we should ask.
We shall all respond in a positive manner – to find the solution, fully believing that Allah has the answer to every problem. We just need to find it.
We shall also look back into ourselves, what did we do wrong? Why did we, as humans gifted with forebrains and a complex limbic system, let this happen? So that we could learn a lesson and become better people, and not to learn to blame others (including God, or for some, the absence of God), for whatever is happening around us.
It is only when we look into ourselves, that we could remain upright. It is only when we correct ourselves, that we could move forward. Nobody in this whole world will do that for us. Nobody in this world will prepare us the right environment for us to thrive. We need to do it ourselves, then only we could be at peace no matter what life throws at us.
Whatever calamity that occurred to us has only one purpose: to build us up. They are not there to bring us down to despair, not to crush us that we could no longer stay upright.
“Everybody grieves, but you should not let your grief paralyse you,” said Sheikh Abu Eesa.
They also taught us to focus. Not to let any of the trials deviate us from our goals. In fact, those tests could be reminders for us to refocus, to stay on the right path. If we are focused on our targets, the trials will appear smaller and easier to handle.
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They are such amazing people. To see them lined up in the stage was one of the most life changing experience.
These are the people who spent hours upon hours studying the book of Allah. They studied the Quran, they memorised the Quran word by word, they studied about the entire life of Prophet Muhammad SAW, they studied the books written by the people who studied the Quran, and there are thousands of those books!
These are not the only books they studied, some studied psychology, social science in college, some pharmacy, arts and design, chemical engineering and many more.
We could see that they are in love of what they are doing.
The was they smile when they were giving their lectures.
The way their eyes light up when they spoke about our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW.
The way their faces brightened up for just imagining having dinner with the Islamic scholars of the past.
The way their voice softened and that gentle gaze appeared when they mentioned their wives, who sacrificed by being thousands of miles away from them, so that the husbands could go around the globe and spread knowledge.
The way they joked with each other, those peaceful-no-trolling kinds of jokes that are funny but did not hurt anybody.
The way peace and serenity seemed to descend on this earth when Sheikh Yasir Qadhi gave the talk on the Parables of Light. It was an out-of-this-world experience for me.
The gentle, friendly way they spoke to each other, as if they were brothers from the day they were born.
Well, they are, and we are, brothers and sisters in Islam.
The different sizes, skin colours , original ancestries of each of them, each of us. We all look different but none of that mattered at all. We are one, because we believe in one God, and we believe that Prophet Muhammad SAW is Allah’s messenger.
I love the way they say their prayers at the end each lecture. Praying that we will all be continuously guided, that we will all be at peace with whatever life throws at us, that we will all become more united, that the world will one day achieve a peaceful state.
Most importantly, that we should all continue to increase our contribution to the people of this earth, and become better servants of Allah SWT.
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I could not thank Allah enough for giving these speakers guidance, that they could spread the light to people like us.
I could not thank Allah enough for giving us the opportunity to attend this conference.
Words could never describe the gratitude I have for those who sponsored this event.
All praises and gratitude is to Allah for sending down the Quran, as the guidance for all mankind.
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If you asked me, did the conference fulfil my expectations?
I’d say, it exceeds expectations. 🙂