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A Winter Residential Review

By Sundus Miladi

I enjoyed various seminars, Qur’an circles, dhikr and reminders at an ISB campus residential over the weekend, beginning 15th December. The Markfield Institute has a special place in my heart and it was a great place to connect with the theme, “Stories From the Quran”.

We began with a beautiful Qur’an recitation of Surah Taha – a very fitting and memorable opening – proceeded by icebreakers. These genuinely helped me to connect with people I may not usually talk to, and created a sense of comfort that boosted my confidence for the rest of the weekend.

Our first workshop of 3 – and possibly my favourite – was The Miracle of Maryam by Hafiz Naveed Idrees. This opened my eyes to some of the incredibly relevant insights we can gain from Surah Maryam, one being the significance of youth in times of occupation. Within this context he also highlighted the importance of Sabr (patience or steadfastness) and aligning your will with Allah’s. I found these reflections quite beautiful as they served as a reminder of Palestinian’s tremendous strength right now.

The 2nd workshop, The Secret Believer in Firaun’s Nation, was given by Sheikh Fazal Muhammad. We explored various aspects of each ayat and the key lessons we can derive from them. One I found most memorable would be the ways to approach conversation with those who have vastly opposing views to you. I really valued the group discussions because I encountered so many diverse perspectives. This was definitely a running theme of the weekend. From the Qur’an circles to lunch breaks, I came across so many new viewpoints derived from each persons’ own unique life experiences, which I feel is essential for me to grow as a person.

We then took a break with a calligraphy workshop and Q&A session with our mentors. A time to ask questions on topics and issues that we currently find ourselves struggling with as young Muslims. The advice and wisdom was greatly appreciated and led perfectly into the next session.

The Wisdom of Luqman by Maillem Al-Rawi was an inspiring and heartfelt way to close the residential. She delivered the workshop in such a lovely, gentle way whilst also giving us great insight into the first few ayat of Surah Luqman. I enjoyed the discussion of its scientific miracles and the emphasis Allah puts on acts of worship like renewing our intentions and giving thanks to Him.

Beyond the learning aspect there is so much about the residential that I cherish. The crisp, early morning, post Fajr walk – Alhamdulillah most definitely worth the sleep deprivation. The formal dinner with its intricate theme of food from the Quran, and the various Quran circles after prayer that brought me closer to Allah and the people around me. The deep contemplation during dhikr followed by beautiful Qur’an recitation during tahajud prayer.

Of course, there were so many precious little moments during this weekend that brought it all together. The warmth, knowledge and comfort I gained is a lingering feeling that I cherish and I am deeply thankful to all the organisers, speakers and beautiful souls that attended – May Allah bless all of them.