A day of worship... 'playing badminton' and 'having a good time'
This certainly was a day of the most profound worship but it did not involve any praying of nafil (supererogatory) prayers, or any of the renowned modes of non-obligatory worship.
This was a form of worship which is superior to the customary non-obligatory worship. In fact only a few moments of this type of worship is superior to a thousand nights of the best nafil prayers.
So what is this worship and what is the reference for such a lofty claim about it? Well in the words of some of the greatest personalities that have ever lived:
“... a small amount of time in the company of awliya (saints) is far superior to a thousand nights of sincere non-obligatory worship (nafil prayers)...”
This is a famous quote from Mawlana Rumi, and virtually the same is quoted from Gauth-ul-Azam Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani in his book al-Ghunyah; and also from other great imams.
So, this day out, in the Lake District was arranged by Muslim Youth League UK to reward their most hard working members. The main feature of this treat was that it was a unique opportunity for a small number of people to spend time in the company of Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. From over 500 hundred hopefuls only 70 lucky souls were chosen for this unique opportunity.
One of the barometers for measuring the effort of MYL UK members was with regards to al-Hidayah 2009. The booking phase of which has been a great success with the maximum capacity of 1200 participants being exceeded. The organisers are now in the process of trying to arrange as many additional places as possible.
There are many other ongoing projects of MYL UK such as publication of books written by Shaykh-ul-Islam, Producing DVDs of the many English lectures by Shaykh-ul-Islam, subtitling of selected Urdu lectures by Shaykh-ul-Islam and many other projects, most of which will be launched in al-Hidayah 2009. Those working on these projects were eligible to be chosen to participate in this day in the company of Shaykh-ul-Islam.
The venue for this great day was also fitting for the occasion. The scenic environment was the perfect setting for such a spiritual gathering.
On the arrival of Shaykh-ul-Islam, he met the participants and congratulated them on working hard for MYL thus enabling them to be selected for the event. As the whole idea of the organisers was to have an informal environment, Shaykh-ul-Islam informally chatted with the organisers and the participants.
The event began by the recitation of the Holy Quran by Shaykh Hammad Mustafa al-Qadri, the grandson of Shaykh-ul-Islam, whose recitation showed that he has been mastering the art of Qira'ah (recitation of the Holy Quran) as it was very clear that even though he is at the tender age of 10, he has the hallmarks of being a world class Qari alongside having many other attributes. Followed by the recitation of the Holy Quran, the plan was for one of the participants to recite a nasheed praising the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW, but Shaykh Ahmad Mustafa al-Arabi, the 3 year old Grandson of Shaykh-ul-Islam had other plans. He insisted that he would recite the nasheed, and that, by playing on a daff while his older brother sang the nasheed. Low and behold he got his way and carried out his wish to the delight of the participants.
Shaykh-ul-Islam conversed with every participant. It was a very pleasant and humorous sitting, with Shaykh-ul-Islam making some of the participants the butt of a few jokes, which they all enjoyed.
After Dhur Prayer which was lead by Shaykh-ul-Islam, lunch was served. The participants dined with Shaykh-ul-Islam and members of his family.
After lunch everybody headed outdoors into the courtyard of the venue which had staggering views of the lake and mountainous surrounding full of greenery.
To the delight of the participants Shaykh-ul-Islam agreed to play badminton with the participants.
All those who played badminton with Shaykh-ul-Islam were out rightly defeated by him. The next item was some musical nasheeds sang by Shaykh Hammad Mustafa al-Qadri, Assad Siddique from France, Kabeer Hussain and others. This created a very spiritual environment which led many to tears. The nasheeds added with the scenic environment created the perfect spiritual state.
Shaykh-ul-Islam then gave an informal talk to the participants. The talk was based on four books by Imam Ghazali, Shaykh Abdul Qadir al-Jilani, Shaykh Abu Madyan and Shaykh-ul-Akbar. Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri shed light upon the benefits of the company of the friends of Allah together with the rights and duties of such a practice. He further explained the sort of relationship a true seeker and traveller (on the spiritual path) should have with one's Shaykh.
In conclusion Shaykh-ul-Islam prayed for all participants and for the success of MYL UK.