Week 1: Introduction to the Seerah

Main Points

This week, there are 4 major topics that should be covered:

  • What is seerah?
    • Discuss the root word of “seerah”
    • Discuss the linguistic and practical definitions of “seerah”
  • Seerah sources
    • Discuss the idea that seerah does not have one “founder”
    • Discuss the implications of the sahabah being the preservers of the seerah
    • Discuss the idea that within the study of seerah, usually many different narrations are accepted
  • Why should we study seerah?
    • Discuss the concept that seerah has always historically been a study of love, and that in order to love someone, you have to follow them, and to follow someone you have to love them
  • Mentioning the name of the Prophet ﷺ
    • Discuss the 3 opinions on how often salawat must be sent on the Prophet ﷺ
    • Discuss the virtues of sending salawat on the Prophet ﷺ

Discussion Questions

  • Do you feel that the seerah is still relevant to us so many 100s of years after the Prophet ﷺ’s time?
  • What do you hope to gain from studying the seerah?

Reflection Points

  • You must know the Prophet ﷺ intimately to properly love him.
    • I asked the group to try to come up with 5 facts about Hedwig from Harry Potter and timed how long it took. Then, I asked them to come up with 5 facts about Sa’ad ibn Muadh. The group wasn’t able to do the latter. We then discussed the fact that if we know more about a fictional character’s fictional pet than we do about a man whose death caused the Throne of Allah ﷻ to shake, then there’s a serious problem.
    • It’s important to point out that this exercise isn’t meant to make the attendees feel bad; it’s simply to put into perspective how much we actually don’t know.
    • I’ve done this activity multiple times in various settings with different age groups and using different people for the example. The results are overwhelmingly the same. A Harry Potter character works well if you need something gender neutral or for an all girls setting. Using a sports star, such as Lebron James, would work well for an all boys setting.
    • Our problem is not a problem of knowledge but, rather, one of love. That is, we all know that we should pray our 5 fardh prayers at the very least, but often, we still struggle with it. If we truly loved the Prophet ﷺ and Allah  as are their rights, we would not find following such commands difficult. Instead, it would be an honor and a joy to rush to do those things that they asked us to do.
  • You cannot discuss the seerah without talking about the sahaba (radiAllahu anhum) and vice versa.
    • Quite literally, the only reason we have our Islam is because of these people, so it behooves us to at least know a little about them.
  • We are commanded by Allah ﷻ  in the Quran to love the Prophet ﷺ.
    • “Say if you do love Allah then follow me (i.e. Muhammad ﷺ ) Allah will love you  and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [3:31]
    • Often, when we think about acts of ibadah, we consider things like memorizing Quran or keeping additional fasts. Although those are both virtuous, Allah ﷻ did not command us to do either of them. However, He did command us to know, love, and follow his Rasul ﷺ .

Lessons

  • Islam is a deen of love
    • This ended up becoming a theme for our halaqahs. I elaborated on it a little by pointing out that for most kids born Muslim, Islam becomes a ritualistic list of dos and don’ts, and we’ve forgotten why we’re doing these things: love for Allah ﷻ. We all know the hadith of Jibril, where imaan, Islam, and ihsaan are mentioned, but we’ve forgotten that the foundation of all of that is love.
  • Learn it, love it, live it
    • Learn about the seerah to love the Prophet ﷺ and his sahaba, which will in turn cause you to fall in love with Allah ﷻ and make it easy for you to live Islam by following the sunnah.

Action item: Send salawat on the Prophet  ﷺ one hundred times a day this week as a means of increasing our love for him.

Resources

  • In the Footsteps of the Prophet by Tariq Ramadan (Introduction: pages ix-xii)
  • Revelation by (Foreword by Dr. Sherman Jackson: pages 18-20)

 

 

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