The Sacred Path of Love: Gateway to Gratitude
So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. – Al-Baqarah: 152
Gratitude – the act of faith borne out of love. Being grateful for the air we breathe, for the ones we love, for the graces we have been bestowed with. To be grateful, to Allah Al-Aziz for being granted with the beauty of Islam, to Allah Al-Wadud for the love of His Beloved, Muhammad salallahualaihiwassalaam.
For more than 400 participants at the latest ‘Sacred Path of Love’ conference, gratitude went beyond just its simple meaning. ‘Gateway to Gratitude’ was appropriately made the sole theme for Sout Ilaahi’s second inaugural conference, held in December last year.
What is spirituality? How does one apply it into one’s life as a Muslim? What does the virtue of gratitude have to do with all of it? What is shukr anyway?
Masjid Sultan’s packed auditorium proved testament to the enthusiasm in finding the answers to those questions. No one in the right state of mind would want to miss the sharing of renowned scholars – both international & local ones – for the answers we all have been asking in our deepest of hearts.
Shaykh Ahmed Tijani Ben Omar shared that Islam is not merely a religion of fear, rituals nor peace, but truly a religion of love. How could we deceive ourselves that we love, when no one can possibly grant us unconditional love except for Allah? What is our love in comparison to His love?
Hailing from Ghana, West Africa, Shaykh Ahmed’s style was an eye-opener to many participants. In between recitations of the Qur’an and qasidahs, he comically expressed that he could never let the microphone go once he had it – a problem that no one was complaining about.
The crowd was also blessed with the presence of the likes of Dr. Osman Bakar (Malaysia), Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad (USA), Professor Zachary Wright (USA), Shaykh Ebrahim Schuitema (S. Africa) and Shaykh Muhammad Al-Ninowy (USA), all originating from distant lands. Fresh perspectives on the Deen were shared, particularly from a foreign viewpoint.
Local scholars were also not spared the limelight, with Ustaz Leyaket Ali, Ustaz Mohammed Iqbal, Ustaz Muhammad Zahid Zin among the list of speakers.
Much was shared by the distinguished ulama’, with topics ranging from the various aspects of spirituality – in both individual & societal contexts – as well as the many exceptional qualities & traits of our Prophet Muhammad, salallahualaihiwassalaam. The issues never ran astray from the given topic – gratitude was often linked to each & every lecture. One is to have gratitude towards one’s Creator, His Messenger, as well as the many blessings in one’s lives.
“The scholars of my ummah are like the Prophets of the Bani Israel.”
We were also lucky to be joined by Shaykh Hisyam Kabbani on the first day of the conference, who was in Singapore for a series of separate events. Having taught Shaykh Gibril Haddad, both teacher and student exuded the same aura of calmness often associated with sufi scholars. In actuality, most – if not all – the scholars at the two-day conference had the look of peace upon their faces, a distinctive mark of a muallim.
The ‘Sacred Path of Love: Gateway to Gratitude’ was clearly an event immersed in love: the ultimate virtue of kindness, compassion and affection. The looks of eagerness displayed by participants yearning for ‘ilm and the willingness of scholars in sharing their knowledge was beyond one could possibly imagine. From the start of great friendships to ultimate life-changing experiences, the event has served a great many purpose besides just a simple sharing of knowledge.
If there is one thing to look forward to in the year 2012, the Sacred Path of Love conference is definitely one of them! Mark you calendars brothers & sisters, for Sout Ilaahi is looking forward to welcoming you again this year with another group of scholars just as great as the last.