Ghazali Festival Overview
BACKGROUND TO THE AL GHAZALI PROJECT
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf explains “that Islamic Education is understood as both Tarbiyya wa Talim - character building and teaching , moral and intellectual development which naturally lead to spiritual development.” If knowledge is just information learned and not a state of being, it is just so many words. What we want most for our children and ourselves is good character. The Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, said, “I was sent only to perfect good character.” But how is this achieved? Not by simply learning about the vices and virtues but through a systematic curriculum which not only clarifies deeper meanings but provides effective activities and practices which help make the virtues become second nature. Imam al-Ghazali’s Revival of Religious Sciences, now adapted for the young, meets this need.
Regarded in the Muslim world, over the centuries, as the greatest compendium of Islamic spirituality and ethical behavior for everyday life, the Ihya Ulum UdDeen lays down practical teachings and explains how the outer aspects of Islam can, through their inner spiritually transformative meanings, change every situation into one that strengthens the innate human nobility of character.
WORKSHOPS IN PTA, JHB, DBN & CPT
The Ghazali Children’s Project Workshop for school and madressa teachers and parents, will:
- Introduce the project to teachers & parents of all age groups.
- Present the project objectives and demonstrates how these are realized. Imam al-Ghazali’s teachings provide children with a new lens through which they can understand life’s journey, can identify with their own innate dignity and discover a joy as never before experienced, in performing their devotions.
- Show how the books, workbooks, curriculum and interactive website may be most effectively used for each age group.
- Demonstrate how Ghazali’s profound insights and teachings help children to become self-observant, self-correcting and in charge of their own spiritual lives.
- Present results and feedback from participating pilot schools (131 international participants), and the effects these teachings are having on the Muslim Communities.
- Offer parents effective practices to support their children’s spiritual growth.
Imam al-Ghazali’s teachings address the whole person. For example, in his book, on the Mysteries of Fasting, regarding the purification of both the outward and the inward, he wrote that “one should know with certitude that the purification of the Heart comes through ridding the soul of its vices and reforming it with virtue, and that a person who stops at outward purification alone is like someone who wants to invite a king to his home, then busies himself with decorating its front door, while leaving the inside full of rubbish and debris.”
The project’s aim is to establish from the start of the child’s life, reflexive habits such as humility, patience, love, altruism, gentleness, forbearance, and respect for other faiths while providing children with real and effective tools to address such failings as selfishness, backbiting, arguing, laziness, envy, bragging, hypocrisy, greed, wasting time and pride.
For the first time in SA a Book Expo will be held during the conferences for local Muslim writers, authors and publishers. This is an attempt to exhibit books written by our local writers to the Muslim community. Books will also be sold at the exhibitions.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
Aisha Gray-Henry (USA)
Aisha Gray-Henry is the founder and director of the charitable foundation and publishing company Fons Vitae. Fons Vitae is currently engaged in the monumental task of bringing out Ghazali’s Ihya in readable english for parents and teachers as well as adapting it for children with workbooks, school curricula and an instructional DVD. The Book of Knowledge and Book of Creed educational sets are available and in use internationally with Purity and Prayer nearing completion. Included is a children’s interactive website www.GhazaliChildren.org , a pilot school project and prison program. Translations into Urdu, Arabic, and Malay are underway. The Fons Vitae Ghazali Project has been launched with great acclaim in Morocco, Canada, Indonesia, England and the USA so far.
Professor Abu Sway (Palestine)
Professor Abu Sway was appointed as the first holder of the Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Ghazali’s Work at Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa and at Al-Quds University in 2012. He has been Professor of Philosophy and Islamic Studies at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, Palestine since 1996. He taught at the International Islamic University in Malaysia (1993-96) and was a visiting Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at the Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University, as well as a visiting professor of Islamic Studies at Bard College, NY.
Sheikh Hamzah Maqbul (USA)
Sheikh Hamzah was born in Whittier, California. He pursued a program of traditional Islamic studies. His educational tour took him to several countries, including Syria and Egypt, where he studied the Arabic language; Morocco, Mauritania, and UAE, where he studied the ethical and legal school (madhhab) of Imam Malik, grammar, transmissional criticism (usul al-hadith), and the Qur’anic recitation (qira’ah) of Imam Nafi`, according to its two renditions (i.e. those of Imam Warsh and Imam Qalun); and finally, Pakistan, where he had the opportunity to study Qur’anic exegesis (tafsir), tranmissional criticism (usul al-hadith), Prophetic traditions (hadith), narrator criticism (‘ilm al-rijal) and ethics and law (fiqh) according to the Hanafi madhhab.
Sheikh Sharif al-Banna (UK)
Sheikh Sharif MH al-Banna is the founding director of the Islamic Institute for Development & Research (IIDR) and an Advisory Board Member of the Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (Faculty of Islamic Studies, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Foundation). In addition to pursuing his postgraduate research at Al-Azhar University in Islamic Jurisprudence, he is a successful entrepreneur and CEO of a global publishing and media company. Sheikh Sharif MH al-Banna has authored and translated over ten works on Islamic history, law, thought and spirituality. His preliminarily studies of the classical Islamic sciences were with his father Shaykh Muhammad Abdul Qadir, a renowned scholar specialising in Quranic exegesis (tafsir) and later with other scholars. He holds a BA (Hons) in Arabic & Law (SOAS, University of London) and also studied at the Institute Européen des Sciences Humanities (France) and the University of Alexandria (Egypt). He is the principal instructor of the Journey Through Islamic Knowledge Series organised and delivered by IIDR.