Words Amatullah Sh A. Z.
Photograph Lamiyah A.
Light is the connection between us and the universe. Through light, we could experience distant stars and look back at the beginning of existence itself. In a nutshell, light is the smallest quantity of energy that can be transported – a photon. For now, it will just be visible light, which is the light that we are most accustomed to knowing.
Standing in front of a lit up bulb, staring at its filament, you can’t see much of your surroundings. The filament shines too bright for you to even perceive your environment and even if you close your eyes and walk back, you will be left temporarily blind.
Step back and wait for your pupils to adjust.
The light has spread further, or so it seems. You can see at least a radius of a metre around the light bulb clearly, while also being able to vaguely see what else is around the room. You can take a step back further and further, seeing more around you but the light will still shine the brightest no matter how many things it reflects off. Some things will reflect brightly, like a compact mirror lying on the dressing table, and some will not shine at all, but will be visible because of its lack of shine like a pitch black backpack lying next to your bed.
Let’s say you were the proud owner of a rocket as well, one that could go all the way beyond the Earth’s atmosphere; and since you are the paranoid scientist, you also lived quite away from civilization. Orbiting about the stratosphere, you’d still be able to see your candles flickering in your bedroom from up to forty eight kilometres away. Go further all the way to the exosphere and you would still be able to see your anti-burglary spotlight amidst all the light emitted by big cities. (You can see such pictures taken from the International Space Station by Thomas Pesquet on his Instagram account)
Step closer and closer and the light blinds you, but step away and you see what a change it makes to an otherwise dark place. The light seemingly chases away the black while opening up so much more for you to see and experience.
That is how I felt about Jamea.
Starting right at the filament, we have Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, who shines so bright that when you stand in his presence, you perceive nothing around you – it seems as if nothing occupies that space except you and him. That one little filament burns brighter than the sun in its hottest flares, but it only brings you closer without any fear of burning up.
Now step back, and you see his raza as he teaches and then instructs a single ustadh to teach someone else; like when you stepped back once from the light and saw the room in clarity. This ustadh is then instructed by Maula TUS to teach twenty or so little children from all across the world, and he passionately does that because the raza of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS guides him through. Now take a step back, and these twenty children are interacting with three hundred different individuals residing in the Masakin or Rabwat where Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS gives them home.
These three hundred individuals are from one residence alone, there are between eight hundred to one thousand people from one Jamea (Asateza not included). With four Jameas, we have approximately 4000 individuals. When they return home for two months, on the assumption that they are holidaying, they are in fact spreading photons absorbed by the raza of the filament, our Maula, to the people that they interact with without losing any photons of their own. During Ramadhan alone, these people would have individually interacted with twenty to two thousand mumineen and muminaat, spreading the photons ever further.
Now let’s move to the exosphere of society. Person meets person, one by one until if only a single person met another person six times, whose friends he didn’t know, they would have spread these photons throughout the world. That is eleven billion people in the world.
Exosphere, Mumineen, Jamea, Asateza and then Maula TUS. This simple raza, an abstract notion that changes the world (Note – abstract doesn’t mean non existent, it is something existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence; like love).
Every student in Jamea is also uniquely different from the other. You might meet the artist, or you might just end up meeting the philosopher. These unique differences are what raza exponentially multiplies and brings out the beauty of, thus bringing out the beauty of the individual themselves; while also letting these unique people blend into even more unique individuals (You should never be surprised if you found an artist amongst them that lives on science, or an engineer that happens to like literature).
In this same way, they go into every field after they leave Jamea; some become extraordinary graphic designers and some tackle mind bending physics principles – but the main thing that they do is that they spread the bounties they attained from the filament and spread it all over the world. Like the light that brightens up the room and makes everything else visible, Maula’s raza does the same at an even larger scale. Physicists say that nothing is faster than the speed of light, but Maula’s raza and nazar are faster without increasing in mass either. They change, they manipulate and they create all together – and Al-Jamea-Tus-Saifiyah gets the most exposure to it.
Today, hundreds of people from all over the world are coming to Al-Jamea-Tus-Saifiyah – Ifriqiya to do khidmat, to help and to create. Again, the barakat of these photons is such that we don’t even realise that we are the ones being created and helped; that we are not keeping anything in but rather, absorbing much more. Like the rocket which went all the way to the exosphere and saw the light even though he couldn’t see the objects that were lit up by the lights; many years later we will remember the photons we gathered even if we don’t remember anything else. The photons would have shaped us into who we are then, of this I have no doubt.
Less than a month remains before Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS blesses Nairobi with his radiant presence. The clock seems to be ticking so much faster as the days keep slipping by. Day is followed by days until an entire week goes by and even though we feel that we haven’t done anything, we look at the buildings and see changes that we would have sworn a week ago would have taken months and here it is completed in a single week. Like the light that speeds past planets to end up looking like a star to you, glistening in the night; the work speeds past until that which was merely limestone turns into a building with the most intricate designs, shining bright under the sun.
The speed of light is considered the fastest speed that can ever be achieved, but I dare you to say that while you stare agape at the speed of construction going on in Al-Jamea-Tus-Saifiyah – Ifriqiya. These photons are being absorbed by every pore of Jamea, and the pores of every mumin who comes in it to attain Maula’s khushi even if just by sweeping a little dust off the freshly placed tiles. We are turning into the loftiest substance known to mankind with every piece of rubble we move from the way, from every brick we place, and every swash of paint we brush onto the walls. Once it is all over and done, it is these people who will return home and spread the photons through the world – who will have changed the world by that simple action of moving your hand up and down with a little brush in your hand that will house hundreds of toloba (students) to come, or by lifting a little brick to place on the roads that will be used by hundreds of mumineen and by Maula TUS himself. Small actions, but a single beam of light can reach the moon after all.
May Allah TA give us the strength to absorb the most photons that we can in Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS’s khidmat.
May Allah TA grant our Maula TUS a life of a billion photons until the day of Qiyamat! Ameen!
Amate Syedna TUS
Muntaseba and Astrophysicist
Quick question: What’s the path of going into Astrophysics after 7/11 years of Jamea? Does one have to be self-taught as I don’t think they might be accepting admissions to the course without much of a science background?
Astrophysics is a gruelling course taking from four to six years to complete. I,personally, had a keen interest in science while in Jamea but I did need to further my studies in all three sciences after Jamea through self study. From a general POV, any student of Jamea is more than capable to take up any field, especially since Jamea demands the best of us. When we take up anything, anywhere, it’s Maula’s dua that drives us towards excellence and it is that knowledge we attained in those hallowed walls that keeps us firm on our faith and soaring in our fields of knowledge.
Three months after Jamea was when I gave my admission examinations (July 2015). I had my final viva on January 16th 2016 and given the honor of being Valedictorian of my class that same week when my theses and results were published smashing all previous records.
Wow. That’s amazing. Glad to hear about it. One more quick question, if I may, does the knowledge of Jamea help understand the concept of Astrophysics much better (through the ilm of haqiqat etc)?
Pardon my ignorance, my only exposure to astrophysics is Interstellar (haha) and a few noob space-related classes.
Its an interesting question that I dont have an answer to yet. Being a rabea farigh, I finished my astrophysics course before I even began taweel and haqiqat. Although, even the general knowledge (the simpler stuff found in awwala ila rabea) certainly helped me, like the SPDF and Schrodingers cat.