Community Reflection: Bilal Zaidi on the Sacred Time Project

MSA’s Sacred Time Project is a tradition that goes back nearly a decade. Twice a year, MSA-ers and community members take the unique opportunity to spend the weekend with religious scholars. Bilal Zaidi, an LS&A junior and a veteran of many past STPs, shares his thoughts below on the benefits of attending.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

والحمد لله رب العالمين

وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وآله وصحبه وسلم

By the Grace and Mercy of Allah, Most High, we find ourselves at the doorstep of an auspicious weekend to be, God Willing. What I am referring to is not any ordinary event or occasion. Rather, I am speaking of a gathering of light, a heavenly interaction taking place between eager students and scholars who have devoted their lives to the message and legacy brought forth by our Master Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم.

The Sacred Time Project, a name that was coined in 2004 for the Michigan MSA’s first weekend spiritual retreat, holds a very special and dear place in my heart. I was first exposed to the University of Michigan and its first-class MSA through the Sacred Time Project when I was a sophomore in high school. I have made friendships at these luminous weekends that still last to this very day.

Attending the Sacred Time Project has given me a heightened sense of appreciation for the rich tradition that is our deen. I can almost guarantee that there are people who envy our situation, who would love to trade places with us. We have the gift of scholars and people of God, Most High, who travel many miles to impart to us the knowledge, wisdom, and light that they have to offer. Surely it is incumbent upon us to make use of the resources we have, that we may reach our ultimate goal, which is to know Allah, Most High, and seek His Pleasure.

In a well-known tradition of our Master and Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, it is narrated that he صلى الله عليه وسلم  once said, “When you pass by a garden of Paradise, avail yourselves of it.” The Companions asked, “What are the gardens of Paradise, O Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, replied, ‘The assemblies or circles of dhikr. There are some angels of Allah who go about looking for such assemblies of dhikr, and when they find them they surround them.” (This tradition is found in Fiqh-us-Sunnah Volume 004.)

Such a garden will be made available to us this weekend, God Willing. We would surely be at a loss if we did not heed the command of our Master and Beloved Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and enjoy the company of Allah and His celestial servants. It is an interplay that will have implications not only for our lives in this world, but surely and more importantly for our fate in the afterlife.

STP March 2013

This semester’s Sacred Time Project begins the evening of Friday, March 15th and will run through the end of Sunday, March 17th. Registration for the Sacred Time Project is now open at MSA’s website.

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