MYL Norway organizes 3-day training Itikaf during the holy month of Ramadan

The Minhaj Youth League Norway arranged a three-day optional I’tikaf for brothers and sisters. Separate arrangements for I’tikaf were made for brothers and sisters in Minhaj-ul-Quran Center Oslo. The Itikaf was observed from 11th to 13th of September 2009. The youths thronged the center for registration before the evening ritual prayer. The verve and enthusiasm of the participants was exemplary and highly encouraging and motivating.

The Itikaf is a pious gathering marked by training one's self in abstention and asceticism, observing spiritual solitude for self-accountability, inner peace and tranquility and acquiring tolerance and moderation in social behaviour through spiritual devotions, remembrance formulas and supererogatory ritual prayers according to the teachings and spiritual guidance of the great saint of our times Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri. Introspection, purgation & purification of the ill-commanding self through repentance and exercise in getting firm resolve to put into practice the spiritual teachings are some of the main objectives of this training package. It has added significance because it is observed in the holy month of Ramadan. The spiritual training for womenfolk in particular is unique and matchless as it is not observed anywhere else on the MQI model which is meant to foster a peace-loving, tolerant and moderate social environment to make life in the society a loveable experience charged with a passion for human dignity, restoration of human rights and equality and justice. The teachings of Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri form the core activity to pursue these objectives with zeal and enthusiasm.

The participating sisters reached the first flour of Itikaf-gah before evening prayer. After the registration of 33 sisters, the participants got to know one another. Getting acclimatized they were briefed about the training package and the activities and devotions they were to observe. They were given the plan and precautions and care needed to make it a valid performance.

The schedule consisted of (among other things) lectures by Huzoor Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr. Mohammad Tahir ul Qadri, lectures by sisters in Minhaj Youth League on various topics, followed by question and answer sessions, recitation from the Holy Quran, meditation, halqa-e-durood, Mehfil-e-Naat and Zikr. There were also several Islamic topics that were part of the deliberations. One topic that really touched the hearts was the importance of respecting the parents in Islam.

The Training Group consisting of Minhaj Youth League and Minhaj Woman League had also arranged a Nafs-e-Ammara course. This course was given to the sisters by our dear sister Noshaza Hussain Qadri from Minhaj Woman League. In this course sister Noshaza spoke about the role of the nafs (ill-commanding self), how our soul is in constant fight with our ill-commanding self, and how important it is for us to know the ways and means to control it. Sister Noshaza was also there during question and answer session, which helped us understand things in a better way.

Special light was thrown on the concept of human rights especially women rights in Islam. The speakers made it clear that Islam is the only religion, which has given constitutional protection to the human rights and that there was need to educate people about the real teachings of Islam. The Itikaf ended on Dua.

33 sisters participated in this three-day Itikaf observed according to the Sunna of our Holy Prophet (SAW)'s Sunnah. It was a great opportunity to seek forgiveness for sins and to isolate from all material things, and attain to the nearness of Allah SWT. As the evaluation forms showed – each sister felt that she had gained something from this I’tikaf. Some sisters also mentioned that they felt they were leaving as a better and different people than when they had arrived. The sisters in Minhaj Youth League Norway extended their heart congratulations to all the participants of the optional I'tikaf in Minhaj ul Quran Centre Oslo. This was a unique opportunity for all of us to acquire more knowledge about our faith and the fundamentals principles that Islam espouses.