Once upon a time, when Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef drafted his first plan for AlMaghrib Institute, he envisioned an organization that would rejuvenate Islamic education systems in the West. It would take nine years before his idea is challenged.
In case you haven’t heard, AlMaghrib Institute has gained a new darling, and she’s far from Canadian and American landscape–away from a Western audience that has traditionally been the torchbearer of AlMaghrib Institute. She sits as an island, home to 17 million Muslims and a terrain overlapping with lush paddy fields, numerous pristine beaches and the world’s oldest tropical rainforest.
She calls herself Qabeelat Ihsaan, and she resides in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital and second largest city of the country.
“We are truly humble to be a part of AlMaghrib family,” Ameerah Faradila Naim said. She remembers their promo event in May 2010, “Rise of the East,” which aimed to acquaint the Malaysian community with the AlMaghrib-sphere. Audience members congregated for a talk on the importance of acquiring knowledge, followed by a screening of Sh. Muhammad AlShareef’s Seerah series, “Desert Rose,” and a presentation by guest speaker As’ad Lath, Operations Manager of AlMaghrib, U.K. The community was more than receptive to carry the AlMaghrib torch, for immediately after the event, they had 17 new members register as volunteers for the “Let’s Bring AlMaghrib to Malaysia” initiative.
Despite being the newest addition to our family, Q.Ihsaan traces its roots as far back as AlMaghrib’s birth nine years ago. “One thing I will always remember,” Naim said, “is when Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef mentioned the 12 Malaysian sisters who came for the FIRST AlMaghrib seminars back in 2002 in Maryland. Masha’Allah, we are part of the [AlMaghrib] history from its early stages.”
And in the course of many years, Malaysians studying abroad tasted doses of Islamic education where AlMaghrib seminars were held. They created a team and, after seeking advice from As’ad Lath, went straight to local Islamic authorities for approval and permission to hold AlMaghrib courses in Malaysia.
“Alhamdulillah, it’s like a dream come true. Most of us who missed those best moments of AlMaghrib seminars a few years back can attend the seminars without having to fly all across the continents, and it is one of our goals to share these beauty of seeking Islamic knowledge with our fellow Malaysians.”
This mindset brought in fresh waves of dedication to Malaysian volunteers. Where punctuality, organization and creativity meet, Q.Ihsaan has made her own rich territory, and her volunteers are her own enthralling guide. For example, it’s become a signature of Q.Ihsaan to welcome instructors at the airport–carrying signs and large grins on their faces as the Shaykh walks towards them from the gates.
In all their seminars, they boast an elaborate set-up: original “Say Alhamdulillah and MEAN IT” mugs, volunteer arm bands, cupcake stands, human-size GEM boards and tables of dessert assortments… And their seminar pictures–unrivaled in their quality–are taken by professional photographers during each Qabeelah event, as are their video recordings. According to Naim, video recording the seminars is required by the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (JAKIM) and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS).
“Alhamdulillah, all those beautiful moments in the seminar is within our record,” Naim said.
Since their initial foray into the AlMaghrib world, Q.Ihsaan students often collaborate with preexisting Islamic non-governmental organizations for hosting community events and services (i.e. free talks with ‘IlmTour; charity iftars at nursing homes). In fact, Naim and her fellow volunteers hope to unveil a new Qabeelah initiative in 2012 that will “kick off some sort of community service as a give back to the community.”
New though they are, students of Q.Ihsaan is creating a ripple of excitement along the Eastern hemisphere. So far they’ve hosted traveling students (some which are returning for a third time) from the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, India, Minnesota and Pakistan. “We are in the process of expansion within Southeast Asia,” Naim said, and here she specifically mentioned the initiative to bring AlMaghrib to Singapore and Indonesia. “We are making a lot of dua’a for the success of Qabeelat Ihsaan and our soon to be sisters and brothers in the neighboring country.”
From writers here at AlMaghrib Institute: We welcome you, Q.Ihsaan, into our family. And we look forward to your many successes ahead…
You can connect with the students of Q.Ihsaan via their YouTube channel, Twitter feeds, Facebook page and Qabeelah website. Their next seminar, A Shepherd’s Path, is coming to Malaysia this month on Oct 14-16 & 22-23: www.almaghrib.org/malaysia