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13. Putting into Practice the Pedagogical Insights of Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi

Putting into Practice the Pedagogical Insights of Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi

Hajj Muhammad Mujtar Medinilla

A man came running from the far side of the city, saying, ‘My people! follow the Messengers! Follow those who do not ask you for any wage and who have received guidance. (Surah Ya Sin: 20-21)


Assalamu alaikum. 

I would like to greet everyone in attendance and apologize for confronting you all at the end of a very long day with the additional effort of listening to a talk delivered in Spanish together with simultaneous translation into English.

I would also like to thank The Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies for their kind invitation to participate in this module, which I was pleased to accept as a special honour.

Furthermore, I am particularly pleased to see that representatives of the Islamic Shakhsiyah Foundation will also be taking part in these sessions. When all is said and done, the most important thing is to meet together, because every gathering, with sincerity and a desire to please Allah, brings knowledge, illumination and a renewed understanding of our growth.

With the permission of those in charge and all of our teachers here present, I should now proceed to my talk:

Last January in Granada, during the VII Educational Seminar, when Hajj Uthman Morrison proposed that I might contribute to this course, I expressed my gratitude and delight to be here among you, but also my surprise because, to be honest, I couldn’t imagine what I could possibly bring to the table, being fully aware of the level and quality of the people of Norwich and England, regarding the subject of education, and more specifically as it concerns Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi and his work.

In fact, it caused me a certain feeling of ambivalence; on the one hand, what better theme could I find more amenable to treat with than Shaykh Abdalqadir’s thoughts on teaching? I was delighted! But on the other hand, I knew that talking about this subject would be a problem, as I would always feel dissatisfied with the end result. How was I to do proper justice, in a single presentation, to everything we have lived and learned with our Shaykh? However, this feeling of apprehension, was overtaken instead by the desire to embark upon a task that had been in my mind for quite some time; to gather the whole subject into a book. Therefore, preparation for this presentation has served as just the prompt I needed finally, to rise to this challenge, and to fulfil what I regarded as a personal obligation, to leave a record of our lived experience, in relation to his teaching for the coming generations, especially for the benefit of the up and coming teachers, who might find it useful to their development.

Because we have received, both collectively and individually (here I am reminded of so many men and women, and their personal experiences with the Shaykh), an essential heritage that we need to transmit to our young; we embody it, it is all within us. When Shaykh Abdalqadir was going to leave Granada in 1993, he said on our farewell: “When they could have killed me, they didn’t do it; now it doesn’t matter, because you have it all.” The transmission had taken place. We were already a community, like the one described in the ayah recited by Sidi Bashir Lund:

“A man came running from the far side of the city, saying: ‘My people! Follow the Messengers!  Follow those who do not ask you for any wage and who have received guidance.” 

(Surah Ya-Sin,  20-21)

In everything that has been said so far, throughout this course, there is much of the educational thought of Shaykh Abdalqadir: Hajj Uthman, Hajj Idris Mears, Saida Fatima Dennis, Sidi Ibrahim Lawson, Abdassamad Clarke, Hajj Abdarrazaq Goodall… And I also think about other people who could tell us much. Perhaps, between us all, we will represent the embodiment of everything that has been transmitted by our beloved Shaykh over these last fifty years.

In truth, I regard all of these experiences as my own; all of the educational projects over the years, in the different communities of Shaykh Abdalqadir, on so many levels; from the madrassas, such as the Madrassa of Mallorca and the Madrassa of Larache, to centres of higher education, Dallas College and Lady Aisha College in Cape Town; and also the primary schools, La Maestranza de Granada, among others, and even those who have attempted home schooling, etc., from the first school experiences in Norwich, the forerunner of those which would later follow.

But I will take the community which I belong to, the community of Shaykh Abdalqadir in Granada, and the point we are at, as my central theme; because as an educator, I must speak from existential experience, rather than abstract ​hypotheses… Because there is no teaching without a connection to reality; I think this is the best approach. I don’t know much about this place [Tower Hamlets], neither its context nor circumstances. I only hope that some of what I say, from the perspective offered by my own physical distance and context, may be of some use.

 I have consciously left aside on this occasion, the intellectual speculation and reflection on the subject (which I consider to have been well covered in the talk presented on my behalf by Hajj Abdassamad Clarke, entitled Islamic Education vs. Assimilation, in the first part of the module, last May) in order to offer you, instead, the close and sincere account of a lived experience. It is a risky business, but I think it is essential to examine all of our fine educational concepts, and the extent to which they are being applied or not, in the reality of my community: to remind my people of the great value of what has been transmitted to us, and that there is no better than to put it into practice. For, how can we continue to talk about important matters such as ijaza, if we don’t first elevate the qualities of trust and honour in our communities? The question of trust in our teachers is still unfinished business for us in Granada.

Whilst acknowledging The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister, whose main protagonist provides a central narrative thread for this talk, I would also like to quote another character in this key novel, Yarno: “Man is not happy until he limits his undefined aspirations”, in order to bring focus to this presentation. I have narrowly defined the field, our Granada community, placing limits on the great expectations usually awakened by Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi’s ideas on teaching, in order not to suffer the disappointment of failing to encompass what was anyway beyond my scope, and by limiting myself to what we have experienced. It has been, for me, an opportunity to reflect upon the role and teaching of Shaykh Abdalqadir in our community. It has to do with our “now”, where we are headed, the way forward.

So, let us allow Wilhelm, and perhaps other characters from The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister, to accompany us from time to time along the way, given the great importance of this novel for us as educators, Europeans and Muslims, and given the impact it has had upon the thinking of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi.

When he was 13 or 14 years old, Shaykh Abdalqadir took “important bearings” from this book. In an excellent piece of work on the book, Hajj Ahmad Gross provides us with the following account: “In the middle of WWII his friend’s sister [Netta Hannah], a war pilot, was about to die of tuberculosis. He visited her while she was in bed. There were two books beside her. She offered to pass on to him everything she had learned in her life, if he chose the right book. The two books were The Culture of the Renaissance in Italy, the most respected and renowned book by the famous Swiss historian Jakob Burkhardt, and The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister, in the English translation by Thomas Carlyle. “I examined them with shaking hands, and chose Goethe. I had made the right choice.’” 

Shaykh Abdalqadir’s life as a young man, as in Wilhelm’s life and as he himself recounts in his biography, had seemed not only without destination, but in itself nothing but a troubled and turbulent wandering.” And like Goethe’s character, he took the path of theatre. They both did it with a high purpose: Wilhelm, to transform the theatrical institution in the most elevated school of a whole nation; Shaykh Abdalqadir, to resolve the two great questions that would occupy his whole life: the couple, the relationship between man and woman, and the end of the State. From his experience in a theatre company, Wilhelm went on to the great theatre of the world; Shaykh Abdalqadir, to a personal voyage to decode and liberate a world which was in the grip of and enslaved by the structuralism of the modern State and the power of usury. 

Shaykh Abdalqadir connected with this intellectual current, which has always been present in Europe and the Western World; Goethe, Schiller, Nietzsche, Wagner… These men, together with Belloc, Jünger and Heidegger, had completed for him “a whole mosaic of understanding”. “These thinkers had pointed the way to a new destination for me and a new beginning.” But it was Goethe, in a way, who had opened the door to the threshold of Islam. 

How many similarities we find between The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister and The Book of Strangers by Shaykh Abdalqadir! And how to forget, when thinking about this time in our Shaykh’s life, the beginnings of our own journey, as young people, and thus to address the importance– in the words of Hajj Abdallah Luongo, rahimahu-llahu of “honouring the highest aspirations of the young people amongst us.” “This passing on and transmitting to continue with Hajj Abdallah rahimahu-llahu of whatever it is of understanding Allah has favoured us with is a seminal element in Shaykh Abdalqadir’s teaching. The educating of our youth together with the dynamics of an ongoing dawa is the clear affirmation of Allah having honoured us with the highest Deen, and the only one acceptable to Him. Wherever this is taking place is where the authentic work of Shaykh Adbalqadir is happening.” (Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi, Leading Intellectual of Our Time, Granada).

“Nobility cannot be transmitted by an institution; this can only be done by a clean society; clean in its streets, clean in its transactions, in all its relations, in every sense.” These were the words of Shaykh Abdalqadir in 1990, when we were gathered in the old zawiya of San Gregorio, to start the school project… More than twenty years later, in his book The Interim is Mine, Shaykh Abdalqadir observes: “The recovery of the human species from its present devolution requires controlled union and guided upbringing. In the case of humans, personal education is, by definition, also social. Not just an educational group but a social nexus is required to fashion humans of quality.”

It could be said that the first step, without which an authentic education will not be possible, is the establishment of a community with amr, because the recovery of the traditional form of teaching is linked to the recovery of this form of Islamic governance par excellence. As Shaykh Abdalqadir says in the preface of his fundamental work Root Islamic Education: “(...) the true pattern of Islamic society emirate ruling the people and a fuqaha’ ruling the amir, by defining shari’a limits, not by cult of personality.”

If we begin to talk about education in mere ‘pedagogical’ terms, we will be blocking real education from taking place, real teaching from being established. When Amir Malik, the amir of our community in Granada, asked Shaykh Abdalqadir a few years ago, to write a ‘definitive’ book on education, the response of Shaykh Abdalqadir was clear: “But I’ve already said everything I had to say on education!” And this is true, but his contribution to education, has generally been addressed at everything that must be established ‘before’ we arrive at the field of teaching, and without which it doesn’t matter which teaching method we use, as it will not have an effect.

 In Granada, therefore, the first thing we must ask ourselves is where we are going as a community, in order then to be able to define which educational model will lead us to that goal. Is this school model consistent with the direction we want to take? Will this school serve to form men and women who are capable of redefining the world in which we live, of firmly establishing our position as Muslims and replace, in short, the mad logic and the disaster, with a new thinking which is guided by the honour of Islam?

I know I am touching on a delicate subject, but we cannot pretend to find an educational model in this land, if we are not actively working to find an answer to the role of the Muslims in Europe in this time. We are talking about establishing a renewed Islam in Europe, with formal relations among the communities, with local amirs; establishing links between them, regarding all aspects, including commerce and economy, outside the banking and financial circuit, establishing a post-usury culture; reconciling the native converts with the immigrants, helping those among the latter who are in difficulty, strengthening ties between different Muslim groups. Our presence here today, over and above these words, bears clear testimony to our desire to advance toward our political unity, as well as our already great spiritual connection. 

And in my opinion, all Muslim communities should start, in as much as possible, school projects and colleges from school age to the end of high school level. In addition to the attention given to children and the young, these represent an important structuring factor in the communities where they are integrated. The educational question is not ‘only’ a matter for those who have children; if we frame it in this way, we will be placing the business on a very low plane. These days in England have made me reflect: given the historical moment in which we find ourselves, it might be a blessing for us in Spain, not to have the ‘facilities’ or ‘freedoms’ that exist here: home schooling, free schools, Waldorf schools… In Germany they have thousands of Waldorf schools… Are they articulating change, a real transformation of the system? Our ‘difficult’ situation in Spain forces us to find a solution from the social sphere, to grow as a community.

That afternoon at the zawiya, Shaykh Abdalqadir came down from his room, into the musalla, where we were gathered, sat with us and said: “In truth, a school is not necessary to be educated, but you (as adults) really need the school”. In a way, he was also telling us: Alongside the essential social nexus, you require a team of teachers… The school emerged from the community, promoted by Shaykh Abdalqadir; a task which has always been taken on by the amir, with the will to protect Muslim identity and to form our children in a correct manner, with Tawhid, beyond the State system; a school that would serve as a conveyor belt for the transmission of the teachings of our Shaykh to successive generations… We were all present there: the authority, the amir; the educators, the teachers; and the base of the jamaat, the families. That was the framework; those were the necessary elements for the children’s school, the great school. What we weren’t perhaps aware of at the time, were the great challenges that this path held in store for us all. 

And all these challenges are still present today. It might seem that, in our history as a community, we have clashed over and over with the problem of the school (and I suppose this to be the case in all those communities that have one); but the school wasn’t really the problem. Rather, the school was merely the visible tip of a huge iceberg, the great mass of which lay submerged beneath the surface. The same dynamic is reflected in the state system, under which it is not possible to find a solution to the perennial ‘education problem’: they are constantly debating the issue, without realizing that their disastrous educational system is only a reflection of the parlous condition of public and private life overall in modern society.

Therefore we find ourselves on an almost head on collision with these questions that are so sensitive for us, those which Shaykh Abdalqadir had already encountered in his youth, about which he has warned us, giving us specific and general indications, arguing the case and revealing these in almost all his written works; the establishment of a healthy and vital relationship between man and woman, and liberation from the mythic power of the State. These two elements, in the words of Hajj Abdassabur Kirke, the “vital stems of his work”, were already present as seeds in the work that would emerge from this 22 year old young man, from this Wilhelm/Shaykh Abdalqadir, who revealed in his first theatre plays, that these didn’t belong to the “enormous accumulated information” of a student, but rather to a perceptive quality which corresponded to “another kind” of teaching. When Hajj Abdassabur asked him about this, he replied immediately: “That’s it, I knew, but I didn’t know I knew.”

 “Do it!” 

With this indication, which concluded the latest message which Shaykh Abdalqadir sent us early in January this year, during the VII Educational Seminar of the Al-Andalus Educational Foundation in Granada, he called us to form groups of seven, nine or ten men, closely united by a ruhani (spiritual) alliance. He called us to establish between us, quoting his own words, “asabiyya, a close and sincere brotherhood, based on the blessed sunna”. Which means, in fact, establishing the highest form of nobility in European history. He sent this message to all the educational projects linked to him, and which had gathered for the seminar.

“Do it!” This is his latest word to us. And I have reflected much about this… A few days later, a group of ten young adults from our community had gathered, ready to “do it”, bound by commitment with Amir Malik. And it was by this message from Shaykh Abdalqadir, the inspiration which emerged from the high aspirations of all the projects and, as a final impulse, the words of Shaykh Abdalhaqq Bewley, which closed the gathering, those which he pronounced at the end, beyond his wonderful speech on education, words which were not written, that just came out of his heart, calling our young to support each other, to work together, to live the light emanating from the Messenger of Allah (s. a. w. s.) and transmitted by our Shaykh… This is the model of Madinah Al-Munnawara, our chance to survive in the face of the collapse of the structuralist State system, incapable of educating people. In his own words: “The Shaykh or guide should gather from seventy men, like Sayyidina Musa, to ten men, like Rasul, sallallahu alaihi wa salam; these small jamaats will be able to go anywhere and do anything. And they will be the ones who are the guardians of Qur’an and Shahada.” (Shaykh Abdalqadir’s Moussem 2012 Cape Town talk).

I have asked a few of the members of this group about the nature of what they are doing, about their vision of what they want to achieve, to learn for myself whether they realize the enormous importance of their endeavour… And I have also tried to communicate to them my conviction that this is the mature fruit of more than thirty years of a community’s history. Their choice is the fruit of a sowing, on a land fertilized by very specific conditions: three generations, a dynamic amirate, families and individuals who have overcome many trials… Nearly all of them have experienced the school of the community as children, most of them have then been at the madrassa in Mallorca, Dallas College in Scotland, Granada and South Africa, even at the Shaykh’s house… and including a wide variety of experiences over time related to our communities around the world. 

There is no doubt that we have a generation that has received this transmission. They are young adults, working shoulder to shoulder with their elders… We have an example right here: Sidi Muhammad Gutierrez, who was a student at our school; we are now working together on the school project to improve what we have today. We don’t need to say much to understand each other; sometimes a simple glance will suffice… This he has received from his own experience as a student.

During the great difficulties we have had of late, in which we have taken hard knocks on various fronts, our community has demonstrated its strength, its unity. Suddenly, when we needed it most, during the general ‘crisis’ meetings, with great temperance, a firmly rooted knowledge surfaced which clarified and readjusted the situation. I felt I was re-living all those moments in which Shaykh Abdalqadir transmitted to us that same teaching. The past, our tradition, returned to illuminate the present. I observed the younger ones amongst us and could perceive how a true recognition, a learning process was taking place. They need the closeness of those men and women who have been immersed in the teaching of our Shaykh. It becomes very necessary to hear the voices of those who treasure this knowledge in our communities.

And I remembered the words of Shaykh Abdalqadir during one of his talks at the old zawiya: “The circle of knowledge, of study, of wisdom, all of this transforms man. So we have to recover the strength I had seen in the faces in this community” (Shaykh Abdalqadir, Discourse on Muhajir, Ansar and Nomads). It was a time in which Shaykh Abdalqadir taught us. The houses were open and we lived according to what he taught us.

Because we have been in serious danger of becoming a community of “home and mosque and forget anything else”; we have been on the brink of turning what was to be a path of liberation, into a religion; and we need to understand that, to carry on with our lives, with most of our children in the State schools, and the little ones in the kindergarten, while the grown-ups are dedicated to earning a living or ‘pursuing their dreams’, would be a disaster… Integration, contrary to the idea of assimilation, and in a worst-case scenario, a pure case of ‘assimilism’ (as we observed during part I of the module last May), means to assume the active, dynamic position of creation and growth, leadership and transformation of a truly Muslim identity.

How often Shaykh Abdalqadir has called us to this understanding! And how often he has called us to establishing the authentic Islamic mil-la, which means to soak up, like a garment emerging from dyed water, completely saturated with the practice, the interrelationships and transactions (mu’amalat), the behaviour (‘amal), of the Deen of Islam!

It is necessary that we watch ourselves constantly; asking ourselves whether we are establishing a society, which allows a real transformation of its individuals, or if, on the contrary, we are conforming, accepting limitations, deceiving ourselves with superficially convenient social relationships, rather than real coexistence. It is, in short, a choice between truly ‘islamising’ ourselves, or playing games instead… The position of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi lies in the ayah in the Generous Book of Allah: “Say, Allah! And leave them to their games.” 

What we must understand is that reliance on Allah “is not –in his own words- an intellectual belief; this is something that is transmitted and it is also an educational process.” How important it is to grasp this! It is connected to upbringing, to the early years, to the family; it is also connected to the school, and encompassing these two spaces, the community, which strongly defines both.

This is the reason why Shaykh Abdalqadir has always placed great importance on upbringing, our care for the complete development of the child. In his talk Iman and Education, given in Klöntal, Switzerland, in 1990, Shaykh Abdalqadir said: I am proposing a view of transformation of yourself that involves the responsibility of the transformation of your children. Or, to use a Goethean expression; to allow your children to emerge, (…).

Twenty-five years later, these words still resonate in our homes, but it is plain to see that in the following generation, the key generation; there are young adults with small children, where problems are arising, situations that were suffered by their parents are being repeated, situations against which we had fought for decades. And, as usual, this ends up being reflected in the children, in their development and in their conduct, the consequences of the conflict between men and women. We have been a community with too many divorces. And we have been witness to how Shaykh Abdalqadir suffered because of this. When he still lived with us, one afternoon after the recitation of the Wird, having heard about a recent divorce involving people he really loved, he said, clearly distressed: “It is not character, it is not character! Those who divorce after living together for years, it’s not an incompatibility in their characters! It’s an economic matter!”

In April 2006, in Cape Town, after a night of dhikr, Shaykh Abdalqadir gave a dars, a remainder for the communities of Granada and Cape Town (The Responsibility of the Fuqara), which I would have liked to read in full, because it is well worth it, but don’t worry, I will limit myself to a few excerpts: 

(...) the politics of the Muslim community is not run by the ‘ulama or fuqahâ, it is run by Leadership. But, (...) everything that is done must be founded on ‘Ilm, on the knowledge of these rightly guided ‘alims who protect the Book of Allah and the Sunna of Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

(…) Inside the household the finance must be according to the Shari’at. The use of the money and the spending of the money and the responsibilities to wives and children must be correct not what suits people but what they are ordered to do by Rasul, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Then they must see that the children are educated properly. They must see that the children are taken from this culture of the streets and protected from the streets.

 (…) What has happened to the children? What are they doing? What are they wearing? What company are they keeping? (…) You must be concerned for your children, and concerned for their education and you must also understand what Shaykh Muhammad Al-Kassbi said in his khutba (at the opening of the mosque in Cape Town), which is that if you are with the jamaat you are safe (…) You cannot shut yourself up in your house. You cannot shut yourself up out of the way of the community. You must take your responsibility. Your responsibility is to see that the Deen is taught.

When La Maestranza de Granada school started in 1990, Shaykh Abdalqadir gave three words of advice to the families, and we understand that these were associated with, and complemented the teaching work:

Husband and wife must not argue in front of the children or in a place where they can be heard by them.

Man and woman must have separate bedrooms.

To perform the salat together and to be led by the head of the house; the man is the imam and he must perform all the salats in the central area of the house.

Shaykh Abdalqadir coined the phrase “the collaborative couple”, “moved –as he said himself- by what Allah says in the Qur’an about the people who will enter the garden: ‘They will enter alone and in couples’”. On one occasion, Shaykh Abdalqadir asked a man: What do you want to do? The man answered. Then he asked his wife: “And you? What do you want to do?” She started saying, “Well… I want to continue studying…” but she stopped herself suddenly, and then continued: “But before anything, to follow my husband.” Shaykh Abdalqadir shouted: Subhanallah! (I seem to remember), he sprang off his chair and said: “That’s it! That’s it! … This is the sickness of Granada: to believe that man and woman can go in different directions”. After a moment of reflection he added: “Man and woman are for each other like a refuge in the storm.”

In Fantasia of the Unconscious, D. H. Lawrence says: “You’ve got to fight to make a woman believe in you as a real man, a pioneer. No man is a man unless to his woman he is a pioneer (…) But no man ever had a wife unless he served a great predominant purpose.” And Shaykh Abdalqadir transmitted to us: “Every man of this community must be a leader of Islam and say, “We are going to do this in our time!” (...) You must say, “This is where we are going. This is what we want to do,” then the woman must help. Without the support of the woman, nothing can be achieved” (The Responsibility of the Fuqara).

 Shaykh Abdalqadir has always called us to abandon the family project and the search for provision, to establish justice, to understand that man in this time has been degraded. In Iman and Education he says: 

(...) we must take the Nietzschean image of reaching the Übermensch as an Islamic duty, an Islamic call. The Da’wa of Islam is to call people to be more than they have been. As Nietzsche indicated, you cannot just suddenly have an Overman, you have to create a bridge to an Overman by saying, “The way we are is not enough, we have been down-graded, so we must consciously transform ourselves. (…) At the moment it is only possible with an elite group of people who have the courage to begin the procedures of your re-education.

And he has always called us to leave the house, to “de-domesticate”, to unite with other men, to sit with them and not to fight them, to lay matters on the table and reach agreements. On more than one occasion he has recalled this ḥadīth of the Prophet Muhammad (s. a w. s.): “The Muslims are like two hands washing”, adding later: “How can two hands wash each other if they don’t come together?”

Shaykh Abdalqadir continues: “People of conscience must educate themselves. And this transformation implies being demonstratively educational towards the new generation”; but “unless you completely transform the process of your life, it will not have an effect.” And this requires a profound understanding of the time we are living in.

Then there is fear, a fear I can perceive in our community, especially among the young, a fear in the face of the responsibility of becoming leaders, because this is the rank of those who take on this task. Wilhelm, in The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister, reflects upon Hamlet: Hamlet knows that in order to have justice, a heroic act is required, and he knows it is possible to achieve this through a heroic act; but he is hesitant concerning whether he will be capable of taking it on, or not.

However, no one should lag behind, because if they do, they will turn their family into their raison d’être, and the first victims of this will be their children. I remember Shaykh Abdalqadir at the old zawiya in the Albaycin: “Make mistakes! Make mistakes!” That is what I would say to our young, over and over: “Don’t be afraid! Make mistakes! Make mistakes!” At times, they seem to be like a modern day Telemachus, searching the horizon for a sign of their fathers… What are they looking for? I ask myself. Is there anything that the fathers haven’t yet given their sons? Were they absent, lost at sea, amidst the storms? The truth is that so long as Telemachus fails to recognize Ulysses, his position, his behaviour  cannot be manly, but rather, passive in the face of the suitors’ abuses.

And they shouldn’t make the mistake of looking back to settle the score, rather, they must look forward to the moment of reconciliation, as Wilhelm did when he finally confronted his father’s legacy (the bourgeois model): to recognize it, to take it on, and take it in, “to discover the sacred duty of serving with nobility.”

They must not be a Telemachus, crouching under the shadow of their fathers and, therefore, incapable of acting like men; nor an Oedipus, wishing to kill the father and, in consequence, waiting for the ideal that never arrives. The idealists, ‘waiting for Godot’. It is necessary that they go beyond this and understand that they must be themselves, because Ulysses had already left his message. He was king of Ithaca! And our young men must become aware of this: the message has been delivered; they have all the necessary elements. We cannot reach old age waiting for the magic formula that will revitalize Islam, when what we must do is revitalize ourselves. We have all the tools! It is like sitting on a coffer that holds an immense treasure, looking around, and wondering, “Where can we find some treasure?”

How important this is: identifying with the father, the transmission of masculinity and all its associated values (as we saw yesterday at Hajj Idris Mears’ presentation). It is not an invention that, statistically, there is a relationship between problematic boys and the absence of male models in the family, because they are physically absent, or simply disassociated from their children’s education.

Intergenerational harmony is essential, because the key to cohesion is in avoiding an existential void between one generation and the next. It is necessary to see that the existential necessity of our young to find meaning in their lives is being satisfied. Because it can be particularly difficult for them if, having grown up with a fractured heart, they might feel they are suspended ‘between two cultures’ and they don’t know exactly where they are.

Shaykh Abdalqadir associates “the creation of a community (jamaat)”, the “basis of a post-statist society” with the necessary establishment – in his own words of “a new educational method which preserves the spontaneity of the young for their entire lives” (The Collaborative Couple). Because social and individual change is not possible separately, both transformations must necessarily run together.

This is our challenge: to create spontaneous men and loving and conscious women, as Shaykh Abdalqadir defines them in The Ten Symphonies of Gorka König. 

And I have made reference almost exclusively to the men because they confront the most difficulty. It is true that it’s harder for women to survive in a system mostly built by men: but men have the added difficulty of recovering their masculinity, their manhood, and being in reality. And ‘a man’ is not made. Men are made!

But you have to be aware of this: As Hajj Abdallah Luongo, rahimahu-llahu, says: “Together with this desire (an essential element to take on this heroic task), the other key element is that we must have from when we were in our early childhood been loved.” There is an undeniable link between the yearning for transformation in the young man and the love he received in his first years, a profound attention.

Everything we have dealt with until now refers to the necessary prerequisites for that trust in Allah to be transmitted. And “the wound comes from inside the home.” In his work The Ten Symphonies of Gorka König, Shaykh Abdalqadir notes: “The creation of a new elite is not merely a pedagogic problem; (…), for no school can produce an educated youth unless the infantile and formative pattern of the self has been consciously modelled to break the biological imprinting that produces robotic repetition of the parental crime.”

He himself is an example of the power of the family. At the beginning of his journey, his life’s journey, of what seemed the chaos of his life, the strong family imprint, and his family history, which cannot be separated, produced in him “flashes of meaning” that indicated in the odyssey of his existence “that there was meaning to be found and that illumination – in his own words - would one day emblazon both the road and the landscape.”

On one occasion, at the beginning, when the school was in his zawiya, and I worked upstairs, where his home was, in one of the rooms he had leant to us to be used as a classroom, he knocked on the door and he asked me very kindly to leave (something he did once in a while). He entered and sat with the young ones for a good while. Then, when he came out, he took me to his library (where he usually shared his thoughts or drew this or that to my attention). That evening, after reciting the Wird, he addressed everyone, angrily, because he had found out that the parents didn’t talk to their children at meal times. He said: “Only so-and-so has a good cultural level and has an interest and knows about many things. This is because they talk at the table and his father tells him things.”

Your desire to educate yourself includes the selection of your life partner. In the words of Hajj Ahmad Gross, in reference to Wilhelm Meister: “In Wilhelm’s search for his couple, Goethe illustrates the essence of his personal vision of the world: his education is the process, the path of remembering, of recognizing the reality of his origin. (…) His education is completed, ultimately oriented towards perfection, when he joins with Natalia.”

Shaykh Abdalqadir says in The Collaborative Couple:

The selection of the partner is a prior condition to collaborative freedom. There must be a conscious selection of the partner before this evolved condition can take place.

(…) She will be nurturing her husband, not only her child alone. But she will be nurturing her husband with her higher self. This gives the husband the courage for the higher project which is the establishment of justice, equality and the higher values of life. 

Trust is also educated. And our community in Granada finds itself at the crucial point of being able to understand this, to understand that a cultivated society is a renewed society. The Shaykh has told us over and over that “Islam is not a culture, Islam is a filter for all cultures; a sieve through which the culture passes and leaves behind any unhealthy elements.” A crucible, which separates the essence, the gold, from the impurities. As Shaykh Abdalhaqq Bewley has told us, it is part of our mission to reach “an expression of Islam that will transcend and transform the classical tradition of Greece and the European tradition” (Root Islamic Re-education, Granada, 2014).

 “We have everything we need in our own tradition (The Ten Symphonies of Gorka König).”

Our Amir, Malik Abdarrahman, has established a library, at his diwan, to which we all have access. He has a yearning, which you cannot help but admire, to raise his education. He asked for advice from Hajj Abdalbasir Ojembarrena in Cape Town He asked him to provide him with a list of all the works that he recommended he should know. And he set out. Every time you visit his rooms, you find new titles.

I remember the words of Shaykh Abdalqadir many years ago, in the old zawiya: “There is nothing in the libraries… but everything is there.” In that context, those words referred to a rejection of a bookish knowledge, disconnected from life and action. But today, the Amir has understood, and he’s an example for all of us, the necessity to form oneself, to elevate oneself, to achieve a perfect balance – as Goethe shows us in Wilhelm Meister between thought and action. He periodically invites groups of men, from both generations, to his diwan, to hold discussions that stimulate intellectual work and reflection, over what is learnt in relation to our lives, and the situation of the community.

In general, there is a process of paideia/Bildung taking place among us; a yearning for a true education is awakening. A few years ago, during the annual educational seminar (there have been seven) we talked about paideia, about Bildung and other terms, which belong to our Western culture. To many of our people all of this sounded like ‘Double Dutch’: today, alhamdulillah! paideia is a reality among us. Because the decisive factor in every paideia is energy, and that energy is emerging. 

Heidegger translated paideia as Bildung (not forgetting that it was Goethe who introduced the ‘Theory of Bildung’ in a decisive way). Paideia is a Bildung (formation/education) that concerns the very essence of our souls, the foundation of the human condition. And the essence of paideia is not to ‘pour knowledge’ into an ‘unprepared soul’. True paideia captures and transforms the soul to make it apt to the perception of things as they are.

We therefore identify ourselves with paideia, in the sense of a mode of educational activity, which aims for the individual to become virtuous, to reach areté –nobility, futuwwa− and incorporates an ethical dimension in his relations with others; along with an identification of politics with education, in a manner that paideia gives access politeia, which is to know how to co-exist. Paideia has its roots in the community. And educating for the community doesn’t mean to hand down an external will to the young ones, be it from the State or any other form of indoctrination (as is the case with many so-called ‘Islamic’ schools), but rather to awaken a clear understanding of the human relationships they will experience. Paideia brings a live and active spiritual vision and a community of destiny. The Muslim communities as the new polis; the polis which orders and distributes individuals and their functions around the model of the ‘amal of Madinah Al-Munawwara. This is the great qualitative leap that must happen in Europe: from the Muslim associations, which offer ‘assistance’, to communities with amr, which imprint ‘existence’.

And we identify with Bildung in the sense of an integral formation of the individual, according to a model of man that is above the limitations of the power of the State. Bildung represents the opposite of the basic European model of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution: a national, State education. 

But all this is only possible if we establish among us an impeccable adab. And I’m not referring to greeting each other, offering up our seats and all the forms of courtesy among Muslims, which must of course be observed, but rather to be capable of recognizing each other; in the words of Shaykh Abdalqadir, “giving everyone their due and recognising who everybody is” (Shaykh Abdalqadir, Commentaries); that each and every man and woman in this community is able to play their part to their full satisfaction.

A new nomos, a renewed paideia. A new order requires a new educational model. And this model cannot be apart from the feeling and purpose of a community. And as a community we must have a vision and, in consequence, a direction; and I would go further; a mission, in the sense of a common plan.

Our role in Europe today is crucial. We are a bridge. We are as Rais Abu Bakr Rieger once said, referring to the Dallas College the centre-point where various axes meet.” He was referring to our Islamic tradition and our cultural tradition based on Greco-Roman civilization and the European sciences and philosophy. At the meeting in Meknes of Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir As- Sufi with his master, Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Al-Habib (r.a.), as Shaykh Abdalhaqq Bewley recounted to us, a great meeting took place between a Muslim tradition, completely unpolluted by any kind of modernist influence (Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Al-Habib) and someone who had deeply questioned the modernist values in which he had been educated throughout his life. Shaykh Abdalqadir was the ideal person to receive the pure teaching of the Deen, the whole transmission that goes back to our beloved Prophet (saws), and which unifies that which is highest in both traditions, representing Islam and the culmination of Western Civilization.

And by Allah, we have been the beneficiaries, in the words of Shaykh Abdahaqq, of his “renewed ability to authentically understand it (the Tawhid) opened up by the recent discoveries about the true nature of matter and the human being” (Root Islamic Re-education, Granada, 2014). And, we could add, to understand the language and the form in which we must communicate this in our time and place.

But we also represent a bridge between spirituality and European intellectual thought and its interrupted history (even though there always existed an intellectual current, of free men and women, flowing underneath the surface, to which our Shaykh was connected) for more than two hundred years.

Goethe left his novel, The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister, as if it was a treasure, without fanfare, serenely, while the world was collapsing around him and the great values were debunked, severed (as the heads that fell in the squares of the new Republic), for a people who would come to unearth it in the future. “A find Shaykh Abdalqadir wrote , Wilhelm Meister a radical text” (The Ten Symphonies of Gorka König), ‘radical’ in the sense of ‘essential’, ‘primordial’. 

And it is important to highlight that we are referring to two traditions, but only one teaching. Nietzsche said: “Some people don’t find their hearts until they lose their heads”. And Shaykh Abdalqadir has said: “When we prostrate, our heart is above our head.” Referring to Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Al-Habib (r.a.) and to Schiller, Shaykh Abdalqadir writes: “(...) these two great men both saw that there was an element in the human being which was in itself a faculty, and that this faculty allowed a knowledge which was not ratiocination, which was not a logic operation, not a language operation. It was a perceptive experience.” (Shaykh Abdalqadir, Schiller and the vision of destiny). 

What is necessary is to understand that knowledge will not come back except as will to power. It has been taken from us; you cannot have it if you don’t fight for it. This is our challenge, our opportunity and a very important part of our dawa. To show, by our example, that it is possible to articulate Power and Knowledge, in harmony.

And this has been the history of our school, the history of a struggle, a struggle against the tide of the teaching system in power, and a struggle against our own resistance and scepticism. But Shaykh Abdalqadir defined it clearly: “Do not fall into scepticism! Scepticism is fear!” And he gave us a methodology: two phases; first, the science: to do what is in our hands, rationally; then, knowing that ‘we can’t do it’ and going into the next stage, the moment Allah loves and is expecting: that we turn to Him, subhanahu wa ta’ala, that we ask Him and place ourselves in His hands. Then, Allah gives it to us… Sometimes the thing didn’t work out and, as Shaykh Abdalqadir warned us: “It is because you think you can do it by your own efforts, instead of asking Allah.” And we have witnessed, by Allah, up until today, that this is the case, that miracles exist.

Over twenty-five years our school has had, as its main goal, that which Shaykh Abdalqadir established from the first day: “The first purpose of the school is to protect the hearts of the children, that they don’t break, that there may not be two hearts inside the same chest.”

In a succinct manner, these are the principles that have guided the school:

A return to the traditional view of existence, based on Divine Revelation (Tawhid), in the diverse sciences, activities, and elements that constitute the school. A school where none of its components are in conflict with the others, but rather everything has its place in  proper balance, in its right measure and coherent.

To recover the foundation of traditional education, direct transmission, face to face between teacher and student, establishing a personal relationship of trust, respect and affection (love). As Shaykh Abdalqadir has expressed it: “To sit in front of the teacher, knees touching.”

The shaping of character. From its beginnings until today, the school has had the ḥadīth of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) as its motto: “I have only been sent to perfect good character”, ‘Innamâ bu’iztu li’utammîma makârima-l-‘ajlâq’ (Al-Bujari and Ibn Hanbal); understanding that this mukarim- al Ajlaq of the Rasul (saws), means, in the words of Shaykh Abdalqadir, “that the Muslim becomes someone who, in the life process, improves himself all the time, all the time, all the time (…) It is a striving, a reaching beyond, a self-transformation it is Futuwwa” (Shaykh Abdalqadir, Book of ‘Amal).

The prospect of improvement. That everyone can reach their goals and that, by Allah, you can overcome all the limitations acquired in your childhood and the obstacles that you may encounter. And this is based on the teaching of Shaykh Abdalqadir, as he said: “You may have had a father with kidney problems, a coward, a hysterical mother, both full of faults, and a life burdened with the worst conditions. But know that you can change, that you can reach the top! The heart is the most powerful magnet there is and it attracts everything you place in it.”

The education of a new generation that not only confirms the irreplaceable identity of each individual, but also forges groups of young people, united by strong ties of affection, mutual help and a sharing of high expectations and aspirations; a group that is responsible and conscious of their belonging to a privileged generation, which is of enormous significance at this historical juncture.

The pride of being Muslim. The proper satisfaction that is born out of lending value to everything that is related to Islam and the Muslims. The wish to be acceptable to and to belong to the camp of the believers.

An integral experience of the Deen at school, based on learning, without compulsion, the basic pillars, according to age and circumstances (Islam); the trust and non-conflictual acceptance of authority (Iman); and excellence in the making and internalization of  futuwwa, of the basic norms of chivalry (Ihsan). The coherence between the teaching of Qur’an and the various subjects that are studied at the school must be absolute.

The assumption of our European cultural tradition and the capacity, through this tradition and its language, to understand the meaning of Islam because Islam is, without a doubt, its culmination . 

The object of the school is Truth. And the teacher-student relationship is a transaction, a transfer of energy and knowledge. We both walk the same vital path, in company and mutual encouragement. We live and learn together. And the connection of what has been learned by the teacher, through his own history, and the learning of the student through his own life experiences, is essential; the value of imitation as the medium of transmission par excellence.

Before I continue, I would like to point out that, throughout all these years, we have tried to reach the best equilibrium between the two aspects that constitute education, and that are usually found to be incompatible within the system, separated by a false dialectic between the traditional school, educare, ‘what comes from the teacher, from the guide’, and the new or modern school, educere, ‘what must emerge from the pupil’. What we have experienced is that these two processes are in fact unified and that they reinforce each other.

This is the same process that occurs between Shaykh Abdalqadir and us, his fuqarâ. We define our teaching as a ‘master’s teaching’, but what happens is that there is a meeting point, between that which we are called to, by our guide, and that which wants to emerge from us, as it is well reflected in the famous sentence of Lao-Tse: “Educating is not about filling a void, but rather lighting a latent fire.”

And the main characteristics of its methodology are:

A holistic education, and with this I mean to say, the orchestrated home-school-community work, to encourage complete growth; but also following Shaykh Abdalqadir’s indication that each person must advance in five aspects every day: the intellectual (starting by protecting the intellect from rubbish), the physical (physical health and vigour), the spiritual (ibada), behaviour (adab) and courage (bravery).

A personalized education, attending to each child, in his or her vital development. The great importance of tutorship, on the teaching level as well as the personal and familiar levels.

For life. Teaching must be education and education cannot become obsolete.

Flexibility of groups. Small groups encompassing diverse ages, and the possibility of establishing all kinds of necessary groupings depending on common interest, levels, etc.

Active school. Working from centres of interest (based on Decroly) that run for as long as they hold the children’s interest. Fields of interest (and projects) that encompass all (Primary) schoolwork and which emanate from lived experience and direct contact with nature.

The importance given to the development of language in all its forms. The use of an integral system of literacy.

The school as a place of expression (in all fields: artistic, dramatic, literary, etc.)

The recovery of the natural rhythms of growth, without pressure.

The value given to a good time-space orientation.

Stimulation of the interests and curiosity of the child.

The satisfaction of the needs and aspirations of the children, who learn through enjoyment.

The protection of one’s talents; encouraging and collaborating with the families to support them.

The children enjoy great freedom in the working methods and the diversity of possibilities they are offered. 

Not to base the work on textbooks, rather the students make their own books, based on their own experiences and discoveries, taking elements from a great variety of resources.

The imprint of this school has been fundamental for a whole generation who are mostly married adults today and, gradually, by age group, it has continued on to their younger siblings and their children, until today. Its influence has been important, even on those children in the community who never attended the school. A few days ago I received a heart-warming email from a young woman who was thanking me for that ‘something’ (that’s how she put it) that her generation had received. And she was never part of the school. In truth, they all speak of that ‘something’ that we perceive intuitively, but do not know exactly what it is.

What I do know is that we have always tried to take ownership, as far as we are able, of a quality we recognize and admire in Shaykh Abdalqadir. It is reflected in this fragment of Wilhelm Meister in which Teresa talks to Wilhelm about one of the qualities of Natalia, his future wife: “Yes, she has, like you, the noble searching and striving for what is better, whereby we of ourselves produce the good which we imagine we find. (…) When we take people merely as they are, we make them worse; when we treat them as if they were what they should be, we improve them as far as they can be improved.”

We currently have a programme of seminars and regular training meetings for teachers, as well as those in the Granada community who have an interest in educational matters. This last year we have been working on The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister, by Goethe, and we will continue after the summer. We have been forced, by circumstances beyond our control, to postpone a seminar which was planned for the beginning of September (last year we had one in August) and that will have to take place later on. In it we will continue to work on the essential aspects of the Muslim educator’s training in our time, and in our school; both the small school that is currently functioning, and the future project of a major school. And, gradually, we will also delve into the teaching methods that we think can be useful: we are starting with Montessori and we will continue with Waldorf and others.

I regret that, within this presentation, I cannot go into the work we have developed on Montessori and, I am also sorry not to have the time to talk about teacher training, which in itself would require a complete presentation of its own. But we will be delighted to keep up communication on this and other matters that you may wish to discuss. 

We will conclude with a brief reference to the school project we are working on, which we have provisionally named The School of the Shaykh, and for which we have already found wonderful grounds, on the shores of an artificial lake near the city of Granada, donated by His Majesty Muhammad VI of Morocco.

The basis of this school is essentially what I have explained so far. Up until today, our method has been changing, quite naturally improving as we acquire more knowledge. Concerning this experience there was a crucial meeting in Cape Town, in Autumn 2012, between Shaykh Abdalqadir and the school team, led by Amir Malik, in which the Shaykh gave us a number of directives “if we wanted to make it ‘his’ school.” We took these indications eagerly, as our greatest wish was to make ‘his school’, a school that is worthy of the elevated teaching he has transmitted to us. We also remain in direct communication with him, at all times, presenting him with our plans, progress and activity reports. And it is obvious that this connection has lent a renewed strength and dynamism to the whole team.

In the three years since that meeting, we have been developing these elements (which would again require a whole presentation) from different perspectives: from the curriculum and teaching (goals, plans of study, methodology, school organization, etc.) to its architectural form, as well as the tremendous fundraising work undertaken over these years.

Please allow me to conclude with an account of the last time I saw Shaykh Abdalqadir in person, which revived all those other moments in which I have been blessed with his teaching… He dismissed all of the ground plans we had drawn up (more than three years work!). Nothing was ambitious enough for him; the library, the sports fields, it was all too small… By Allah, three years later, we had a wonderful piece of land, much more fitting than the one we presented to him at that meeting! And it was all by our following of his indications… This is teaching! This is the educational thought of Shaykh Abdalqadir as-Sufi! Aspiring to the best… for the Muslims.

That morning he also talked to us about the prefects of Ancient Rome and how we must take inspiration from the British System of Public Schools. “In a society there are people who watch out for each other. Ten houses, ten prefects, and one of them, is the head prefect. The boys choose their prefects in an organic manner, the best loved”, he told us. Then he observed: “The critique is that this is too hierarchical. That is how they have eliminated authority among the students.” And then he pronounced that, “The traditional school is a threat to capitalism.”

A moment later he said: “The kafir system of boys and girls together is the first step toward the destruction of the human being. The Aspen model in the US is a kafir model.” “The world of the girls is in the house within a school organized and led by women, separated from the boys’ school.” And he emphasized that this is not the men’s business, but the women’s business.

Another time he turned to me and told me: “The two tasks of the educator are: forming the character and fixing what is broken… after a second, he added, lowering his voice – “at home.” And after a brief pause: “The teacher must learn from his own history. We must learn from the mistakes of the past, to make the mistakes of the present.”

 “The Amir must be rich and have lots of time, so that he can attend to people, who are not fearful of him as if he were a Caesar. The teacher must be poor and keep very busy”, he declared.

 A school which is not “Islamic” at all in the modern sense of the term, but rather one that “is in the world”, he said later. “You mustn’t teach Arabic. The kids will learn it like everyone else, at home, in the mosque…” And he told us how Imam Al-Ghazzali, even back then, considered it a tragedy that when he visited a village, he would find ten ‘ulama and only one doctor. “What you must detect at the school however is who among them aspires to be ‘ulama and then send them to Morocco, Meknes or Fez…, to centres of learning where they can train.”

For a long time we were set on the idea that the school must have ‘everything’ (in an attempt to integrate everything that in our current situation seemed disintegrated); but this indication from Shaykh Abdalqadir made us reflect and realize that the best possible holistic education, is that each element of society fulfils its function within the overall unity, and follows a common model and goal.

He exhorted us not to pay attention to the political system… “Neither Spain nor the United States – he exclaimed -, only correct relations between Muslims.”

 “In Pakistan there are still men”, he said later. And he continued: The language of the Muslims is Urdu. 40% of the students must be from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and they must communicate in English. English is the dominant language at the school.”

He also emphasized sports, to which we must give great importance within the school. “They must have their minds occupied with the practice of rugby and cricket, abandoning soccer.” And he added: “Spain is enslaved by soccer.”

“The goal is to form people who can run a country.” “Our work is to make men. It is the group in the cave, who can then go out into the city and change it… with silver money.” And finally: “If all of this happens, I will go to Granada.” –which for us means achieving the highest goal -.

Hajj Abdallah Luongo, rahimahu-llahu, wrote: “It is then a way of being that embodies a way of looking at the world that Shaykh Abdalqadir is able to open for us. Importantly, the Shaykh is not a door or passage but a guide who indicates a way that we can take, as much as we are ready to take it, to reach for our highest possibility.”

I have quoted different people during this talk because, what I have learnt from Shaykh Abdalqadir has often reached me through the men and women who have followed him. On the Saturday night Dhikr of the Moussem of Shaykh Abdalqadir, Shaykh Abdalhaqq in his discourse said: 

The fruits of the teaching of Shaykh Abdalqadir are manifest in many forms and throughout numerous places on Earth (…) but the most real and evident results are the men and women of noble futuwwa and coherence, of fecundity in their discourse and their example. This was the legacy of the Messenger of Allah; it wasn’t palaces or artefacts, it was men and women who illuminated the world. (Hajj Abdalhasib Castiñeira, Pearls of the Moussem of Sheikh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi, Cape Town, October 2013)

One afternoon, when the school was in full swing in Granada, shortly after it began, and we were all involved in a thousand matters that had to be resolved, and the first frustrations were being felt, I was sitting in the musalla of the zawiya, involved in one of the problems that had emerged, explaining things and tolerating bad manners, Shaykh Abdalqadir was observing from the garden outside. And he said to someone who is very close to me: “Why does he stand for all this?” What is important here is that he was aware of the person. It is as if he wanted me to see that there are no schools without educators, and that people are above the project. And throughout time, mostly through other people, he would send me messages that contained a liberating lesson: always exhorting me to reach for balance; to expand my breast and not be inhibited; to free myself from the Christian burden I carried; to lean towards a Dionysian mode and leave my Apollonian nature, and not to become ‘Nietzsche’s donkey’, carrying a burden that didn’t belong to me, to “fill my jug” so that I could then pour into others, doing what I liked most and felt most passionate about, even if no one understood; to kick out modesty and throw it down the stairs…, literally using many of his words.

 “The only Islamic matter is my life, our life –he said in a discourse- (…) we must find the way to deal with life, with freedom, this quality of fitra which is not being constrained inside” (Shaykh Abdalqadir, Muhajir, Ansar, Nomads).

His life reminds me of the Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.), because he was young in his youth and he is young in his old age; he hasn’t lost his strength, his passion, his joie de vivre! This is one of his most important lessons, his continuous example: his being in constant change and openness to the world, to life.

At the beginning of Book Eight of The Apprenticeship of Wilhelm Meister, his newly found son, Felix, plays in the garden, where Wilhelm follows him with joy. “The delights of nature were a new spectacle for Felix and his father didn’t much know the things that the child was incessantly asking about (…) On that day, the happiest of his life, it seemed to him that his learning had begun because, on being required to teach, he felt the need to learn.”

Thank you very much for your patience, assalamu alaikum.


We beseech Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, for the Prophet Muhammad (saws).

And we implore Him for the quick recovery of Shaykh Abdalqadir and that He gives him health and a long life fisabilillah.

May Allah expand in their graves the breasts of Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Al Habib and Shaykh Al Fayturi.

I entreat Him for my community of Granada, for the community in Norwich and for all the communities of Shaykh Abdalqadir.

We pray for our hosts; may Allah give them illumination.

We pray for all the Muslim communities of Europe; may Allah give them a clear understanding of the paramount role they must aspire to play in the regeneration of our continent.