Visiting the Rihla 2009 in Maryland – Real Students of Knowledge, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf the Football Player

Alhamdulillah I had the honor of visiting Imam Zaid Shakir with a few brothers from Al-Madina Institute at the 2009 Rihla Deen Intensive program to discuss the United Against Malaria event and other items. I was very impressed at the calmness and collective coolness of everyone present. It was probably around 150 total people that I saw there. The organizers didn’t harass us or check for any name tags. In fact when we entered, no one really questioned us. We asked to pray since we arrived just after they had finished praying Salat-ul-Maghrib. No one else had them on but you still can recognize people who’ve been part of the program for a week and then 4 random brothers walking in looking all around like it was their first time (which it really was). A brother showed us a room. We later found out that he was one of the main organizers.   Respectable adab (character, etc.) is a clear sign of a true student of knowledge. These are hard to come by today. You only find them at programs like this.

The Rihla always amazes me from what people who’ve participated in it have told me personally and from the previous Rihla blogs (‘05,’06). This was my first time being physically on location. I am not attending it but was just there to visit Imam Zaid as I said earlier. It was also a good opportunity to visit my sister who is one of the Rihla students this year. After sitting with Imam Zaid, we joined them to listen to Imam Zaid and Shaykh Yahya Rhodus recite some beautiful poetry along with other brothers. When Imam Zaid went over the translation of the poetry and everyone sat quietly listening and all you heard was Imam Zaid’s voice. It pays off to literally go on a “rihla” and dedicate a few weeks studying the deen away from the dunya. You get a real student-teacher relationship due to the small class size and no one is left out. SubhanAllah, may Allah make it easy for all of us to one day enjoy this feeling.

Lastly, I met Shaykh Faraz Rabbani while leaving and he told me that Shaykh Hamza Yusuf was playing football with the brothers yesterday. When he told me this, I was shocked. I mean really, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf playing football. Apparently, Shaykh Hamza was the QB and threw a touchdown. Now Shaykh Faraz wasn’t sure how it works becuase he doesn’t know much about the game of football (by the way I’m talking about American Footbal – NFL style), so I don’t know how sahih this is but alhamdulillah. Shaykh Faraz has updated me as I made the mistake in this chain of narration.

I was just there for a few hours and I had this experience, imagine the entire program. There is so much barakah with our scholars and their real students.

For those who are in Maryland, the Rihla has weekend passes. You can find out for more information here.

19 Replies to “Visiting the Rihla 2009 in Maryland – Real Students of Knowledge, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf the Football Player”

  1. Subhan’Allah, beautiful post…as for Shaykh Hamza playing football, that’s amazing! For me he is a QB even in every day life since he is true leader for the offensive team (Islam In America)…hehehe May Allah (SWT) preserve our Shayookh and make us amongst those who benefit from their knowledge and light. Ameen…

  2. I remember from RIhla 01 at Zaytuna we were throwing the football around too. Imam Zaid came out and launched the ball from the parking lot to the end of the lot of Zaytuna! we all just stood there dumbfounded.

  3. I remember Sh. Hamza and Imam Zaid throwing around a football after a Minara program a few months ago. I thought it was neat, I guess. Not everyday you see your teachers acting like children.

  4. @Amy – Football is not just for children :-D. In reality it’s really a man’s game 😀 if playing tackle football that is.

  5. I do not see the need for u to mention name tags twice….Institute checks name tags to ensure that all students are paid as it wouldn’t be fair for those who paid when unpaid students walk in.

    Also no one harasses u for name tag, they just ask u to show them nicely…(thats how its done in all professional seminars of any sort, even in non-profit..) so i dont know why that was so impressive to u..

    Anyways, May Allah swt preserve our Shayookhs…oh and I wish somebody took their pics while playing football 😉

  6. @Sincerity! – My bad. Bad editing on my part. Fixed it. It shouldn’t be twice now. I’ve been security for many events and I’ve harassed people. So I was comparing them to myself. I’ve also seen it happen plenty of times being a volunteer for many organizations. There is a different between checking and harassing. As a person who harassed in the pass I know. May Allah forgive me.

  7. I think I recall hearing that Shaykh Hamza played football in his younger days.

    The Rihla sounds amazing masha Allah!! Hopefully I can return one day!

  8. @MR I went to every home football game while in HS, and about 30% of home games while I was in college. My family watches lots of football in the fall so yes, I’ve seen many NFL games on TV, though I would never let anyone drag me to a stadium to watch one live.

    As far as sports go, I think football has to be the lamest one ever played.

  9. @ Sincerity… You’ve pluralized an already plural word. It’s either Sheikhs in English or Shuyookh in Arabic.

    @ MR… This was very interesting. I was heavily considering taking part in the Rihla this year, but something came up (although I cannot remember what, which makes me sad for it is insignificant). I pray that insha Allah we all will have the opportunity to take part in such a “journey.”

    Ma3 Salama…

  10. I had a very very similar experience on my one day visit to Rihla also (well – minus the football)

    but alhamdulillah the organizers and brothers there were very hospitable and welcoming

    may Allah reward them for their efforts in sacrificing their precious time to be on His path

  11. “You only find them at programs like this.”

    NO need to take cheap shots here. Just because you’ve harassed people and behaved rudely doesn’t mean all other programs are like that. It’s your personal problem. Take responsibility and apologize publicly to all the brothers and sisters you have harassed (since you have admitted to harassing individuals).

  12. Asalamualaikum,

    It’s not fair when the Shuyuk play QB. Their dua’s have extra power! 😉

  13. As-salamu alaikum brothers.

    Malaria is VERY EASY to beat! But the real power behind the scene, high ranking freemasons and Jewish devil worshippers does not let the poor use DDT to kill the Malaria virus. They belive we are better of if 90 % of the population dies so they can rule easily and establish the Kingdom of the False Meesias in Jerusalem (Thats why they are digging under Al Aqsa, so they can built his temple there and so Messih ad Dajjal can rule the world from there)

    I tried to post this on youtube but they don’t let me! Maybe you can contact the brothers that work against Malaria and tell them that DDT is the way to go!


    The fact that DDT saves lives might account for part of the hostility toward it. Alexander King, founder of the Malthusian Club of Rome, wrote in a biographical essay in 1990: “My own doubts came when DDT was introduced. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem.” Dr. Charles Wurster, one of the major opponents of DDT, is reported to have said, “People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this (referring to malaria deaths) is as good a way as any.” Spraying a house with small amounts of DDT costs $1.44 per year; alternatives are five to 10 times more, making them unaffordable in poor countries. Rich countries that used DDT themselves threaten reprisals against poor countries if they use DDT. One really wonders about religious groups, the Congressional Black Caucus, government and non-government organizations, politicians and others who profess concern over the plight of poor people around the world while at the same time accepting or promoting DDT bans and the needless suffering and death that follow. Mosquito-borne malaria not only has devastating health effects but stifles economic growth as well.

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