The final session of Day 1 was the most anticipated session with Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri. The session began with Sister Fatimah Siddiqui (General Secretary, Minhaj Sisters UK) introducing our keynote speaker, Dr Ghazala to the session.
Dr Ghazala firstly congratulated Minhaj Sisters UK on their continued perseverance despite the unprecedented circumstances in the past year. She then went on to explain how knowledge, the topic of this year’s Al-Tazkiya, has been a central focal point of Islam. It holds an immense legacy and historical significance. The beginning of Islam, the roots of its origin, began with the command to Read in the name of Allah ‘Iqra’. Allah Almighty, The Most Merciful, begins His own first introduction with the most Beloved of His Prophet (PBUH), through appreciation and understanding of what it means to learn and seek Knowledge. It is so significant that the beginning of the process of divine revelation, the very first verse to be revealed to the Holy Prophet (PBUH), revolves around ‘Ilm’ (Knowledge).
Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri then went on to explain how the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was also a seeker of Knowledge and aspiring to find the true reality of life. And what was that true reality of life? ‘Read, in the name of your Lord, Who taught man by the pen.’ [al-‘Alaq, 96:3-4]. That true reality of life was to connect with Allah Almighty, and the basis of that connection is through Knowledge. So, Knowledge and seeking Knowledge is one of the most pivotal and essential elements of Muslims person’s life.
Dr Ghazala highlighted that the very essence of Islam, the purpose of the Deen, is to inculcate within us Knowledge, so that we may achieve Wisdom which is why the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was sent to us, to provide us with this Knowledge.
Unfortunately, we have lost the connection with seeking true knowledge and making that extra effort to gain Knowledge, losing that thirst for Knowledge. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) stayed night after night in the Cave of Hira, yearning for the truth. He (PBUH) would often go hungry and thirsty, but that hunger and thirst was not for material things, but it was a thirst to seek the reality of His Lord and Creator. After meditation, contemplation, working hard days and nights, spending in Ibadah of Allah (SWT), then Almighty Allah revealed His first verses of the Holy Quran.
In this day and age, we have information at our fingertips, but do not have the inclination to delve further, to make the effort to seek Knowledge. Dr Ghazala emphasised that we should have a fundamental understanding of Islam so that we can act upon its tenets. We should at least encourage the pursuit of Knowledge for ourselves and the future generations.
It is not just about seeking and learning knowledge, but also about taking care of Knowledge. The way the Holy Prophet (PBUH) supervised knowledge through the transference of one person to another so that it would be kept alive.
Dr Ghazala Qadri concluded the session by highlighting the importance of having and taking part in circles of knowledge so that it can be transferred. The participants felt the session to be very thought provoking and inspirational and were looking forward to Day 2 of Al-Tazkiya.