The LiveDeen's event was held today at the Marriott Hotel, Karachi. We had set out early, and at least three people whom I knew wanted tickets (and there were none, so they were basically looking for extras). I was up since Fajr, and we had to leave by 8.30 am. A lot of time was spent in a flurry of phone calls and messages and I tried my best to reach out to people who were the organizers of this event to arrange for extra tickets. It was exhilarating to be talking about 'extra tickets' in an event like this Alhamdulillah :)).
So we reached there by 9 am and two of those three people were given tickets. The third person (a friend of mine from Quran class) was not able to get any. She was pretty disappointed when I told her I'm sorry, I couldn't get one for you even now. A while later, her elated beyond elated message came, "I got the ticket!" Alhamdulillah! Allah SWT Makes ways we can't even fathom! A teacher of hers had an extra ticket, and had the thought to ask her whether she wanted one. She said yes immediately, and was there at Marriott in 15 minutes Masha Allah :). Lesson number 1: If you're really really sincere about something pleasing to Allah SWT, and even if there is apparently no way that thing can happen, Allah CAN make it happen (IA).
Then, the setting up of the video conferencing software (I believe it was the one which is used by HEC when they deliver lectures through the network of universities connected to their systems) took place for a long while. I could see a sea of people all around me, all expectant, all excited. A really amazing environment, Alhamdulillah.
The talk began exactly according to the schedule: 9.45 am. Brother Nouman Ali Khan was speaking from his own institute: Bayyinah Institute (located in Texas if I'm not wrong), from an empty classroom. It was around 12.45 (after midnight!) his time. It was incredible that he had agreed to a speaking engagement at that particular time, because that is the time when one usually wants to... crash :). The talk was focused on 'how to make our individual selves substantial'. Main lessons from that were:
1. Make your primary duties to Allah SWT strong : prayers, charity, Hajj, etc.
2. Accept that there are problems within yourselves, and within the community (Muslim community where you're living in).
3. Accept the criticism you receive. Even if it is 99% wrong, be grateful for the 1% that has been brought into your notice. Admitting the problem is really essential, and that was the main difference between Adam (as) and Iblees.
4. Now that you have accepted the problems, turn back to Allah SWT. And this turning back does not include only primary duties (salah, charity etc), it includes the following as well:
- Sincere dua'a to improve yourself.
- Start making yourself better. Start with your relationships.
- Improve relationship - first and foremost - with yourself! Basic character changes are essential. Be ethical, just, honest in your dealings, pure in your language, watch what you do when you are alone, take a good look at yourself when 'nobody is watching you', etc etc.
- Improve relationship with your family. Start with your spouse, move on to children and in parallel, your parents of course. Don't let one's rights disturb the others' rights. For e.g, if you're caught between your wife and your parents, look at whose rights are being neglected at that point, and fulfill those.
4. One of the biggest ways in which you can improve yourself and your society (especially Pakistani society) is entrepreneurship. If honest business practices are established here, Pakistan can become a hub for attracting business, investment, and ultimately affect all the other sectors of society. Honest, ethical practices are required, and then you can get rid of the 'corrupt system in which we live, ripe with fraud, lying, cheating and bribery'.
5. Don't lose hope! The very fact that so many people turned up on a Sunday morning to hear an Islamic lecture, says something about this society :).
I'll do the next part of the lecture in another post Insha Allah. We then got a break for tea.