iERA’s New Muslim Retreat is a quintessential experience for all New Muslims, regardless of where they are on their journey through Islam. The retreat is a juxtaposition of sorts, from attendees having taken their shahadah several years ago to others only having recently become Muslim!
This experience, for all intents and purposes, is far from what a typical person would envisage of a retreat. An average day would begin with the morning prayer and conclude late into the evening with an activity; culminating in over a dozen hours of a diverse range of activities and modes of learning. Attendees are stimulated in a number of different ways, through traditional style learning such as in the prayer room, through conference room lectures, in practical workshops and most importantly, though person one-to-one sessions with their mentor. All of this with breakfast, lunch, dinner and breaks sandwiched in between!
The onus of the retreat is not to rest the mind or the body, such an intensive few days can only have one true purpose – to stimulate the soul – empowering a new Muslim to truly connect with Allah (swt).
Instilling the Prayer into our Daily Lives
Without a doubt, out of all the pillars of Islam, the prayer stands out as the most daunting one for a new Muslim, simply by dint of them having to memorise supplications and movements in a language alien to their own.
However, Islam is a way of life, not an activity which is practised once a week or once a year and the prayer is essential to maintaining one’s vital connection with Allah (swt). As such, over the course of the retreat, the schedule is based on the five daily prayers to help inculcate them into a new Muslims daily life. Time is also devoted to helping them establish other beneficial habits such as reciting and pondering over the Qur’an daily and growing their knowledge of Islam through small but consistent study.
During this most recent retreat in November 2017, ‘The Journey Of The Believers’, iERA Founder and instructor for the course Abdurraheem Green covered a plethora of topics, centring around the notion of rights. The Rights of Allah (swt), the Qur’an, the Prophet (peace be upon him), Spouses, The Self, Non-Muslim Family members, Animals etc. This series of topics were chosen to help ensure that attendees holistically grasp the rights that they are responsible for as a Muslim.
In a way, this retreat was a crash course for the attendees, the daily grind of everyday life and their surroundings can stall their progress which may result in a lack of growth or even worse, leaving the faith behind altogether.
This retreat gave them an impetus to immerse themselves in an optimal learning environment and take inasmuch Islamic knowledge as they could. That is why the Retreat’s primary objective is to connect the attendees back to their creator, so they are able to tackle their issues and challenges head-on when they jump back to reality.
Now that the New Muslim Retreat series for this year has concluded the ‘Journey of the Believers’, the journey 2017 attendees will continue for the remainder of their lives. iERA will continue to support the New Muslim attendees via their volunteer mentors who they were paired with on the first day of the retreat.
May Allah (swt) reward all the individuals who supported this retreat and those that volunteered their own time to make this retreat run smoothly every year may it be a source of sadaqah jariyah for them.
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