By Christal Williams
Gaining knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim according to the hadith in Tirmidhi (74) and there are so many ways you can benefit. In the story of Musa (عليه السلام) and Khidr narrated in Surah Al Kahf, Musa (عليه السلام) travels extensively to gain knowledge from Khidr on whom Allah had bestowed mercy. Allah says, “And they found a servant from among Our servants to whom we had given mercy from us and had taught him from Us a [certain] knowledge.” (Qur’an 18:65). So we know that travelling to seek knowledge is of great benefit. But what now? You’re at your halaqah and have no idea how to make the most of it.
That’s where my 5 tips on how to get the most out of a halaqah come in!
1. Take notes or Record
I have been guilty of being so wrapped up in the talk that I forgot to take notes or record what’s been said, or I’ve forgotten my paper and pen! There’s nothing worse than when you try to relay what you’ve learnt and your mind goes blank. Arming yourself with a pen and paper is the first step to getting the most out of what you’re listening to in the future.
If you’re not much of a note taker, there’s always the option to record. Put your smartphone to good use, with the permission of the speaker, and keep the recording for later so you can replay it and reflect.
2. Put down your phone
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Telegram, Twitter, the list of social media apps goes on and on. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in scrolling that you miss the point of why you’ve come to the halaqah in the first place. What was the narration of that hadith? Which ayah of the Qur’an was that? All questions that can be avoid if you PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE. If you’ve made the effort to be there, put in the work to be present as the reward is immense!
The Prophet ﷺ said, “There are no group of people that sit together in a house of the houses of Allah reading Allah’s book and studying it between them except that tranquillity will descend upon them, mercy will encompass them, the angels will surround and protect them, and Allah will mention them to those that are with Him (to the highest angels)”. (Reported in Muslim, Book 9, Hadith 33)
3. Remember why you’re there and make dua
“Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.”
Just being in the remembrance of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى should lift your spirits. Hearing about the wonders and signs of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى and His mercy should illuminate your heart. No one travels to a halaqah just to sit there and not benefit, but Shaytaan will whisper to you and tell you that there’s somewhere else you could be doing something else that’s more important. Don’t listen to him! He has taken it upon himself to misguide us, don’t make his job any easier. Make sincere dua that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى grants you beneficial knowledge and inshaAllah your supplications will be answered.
“Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allaah will make a path to Paradise easy for him.”
(Sunan Ibn Majah Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 225)
4. Apply what you’ve learnt
Application is key. What’s the point of learning if you don’t apply what you’ve learnt? Knowledge without application is like a donkey laden with books, Subhan’Allah. As Muslims, we love to learn but we seem to stumble when it comes to application. There are people who can quote from the Quran and hadith all day long but don’t, first and foremost, implement them into their own lives. The Sahabah (رضي الله عنهم اجمعين) would not learn a thing without implementing it into their lives first, and this is what made them so great.
Be like the Sahabah, and whilst you’re sitting in your halaqah think about practical ways you can incorporate what you’re learning into your daily life.
5. Make the intention to teach others
Ever heard of the phrase “each one teach one”? One of the most effective ways of retaining what you’ve learnt is to teach it to others. This also ties into making a record of what you’ve learnt as well. There will always be someone that pops into your mind and about whom you can think “wow, they could really benefit from hearing this.”
“Is the reward of goodness anything but goodness”
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean go out and start preaching to people, it could simply mean passing your course notes on or meeting up with friends who couldn’t make it to relay what you’ve learnt. It will not only solidify it in your mind but you are carrying on the prophetic tradition of passing on a good message.
So, these are my tips on how to benefit from your halaqah. Go forth to your halaqah and say “Rabbi zidni ‘ilma” (My Lord! Increase me in knowledge) (Qur’an 20:114) and get the most out of it!
If you have any more tips on how to benefit from a halaqah, please do share them and share the articles with others so we can all benefit Insha’Allah.