Minhaj Sisters hosts first ever Spiritual Retreat ‘Tazkiya 2018’

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Minhaj Sisters UK held its first ever Spiritual Retreat ‘Tazkiya 2018’ on Friday 12th October 2018 – Sunday 14th October 2018 at the Pioneer Centre in the suburb surroundings of Shropshire. Tazkiya 2018 was attended by approximately 140 sisters from across the UK with a handful of sisters who attended as day delegates.

The theme of Tazkiya 2018, as encapsulated in the title itself was spirituality and purification of the soul. The overriding purpose of Tazkiya 2018 was to develop and enhance spirituality, faith and sisterhood within participants through the blessed company of Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri who attended the 3-day Retreat as a special guest.

Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri delivered keynote lectures throughout the 3-day period and also addressed pertinent issues in the Q&A session. Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri graduated with a PhD in 2017 in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Birmingham. Her thesis is entitled 'A Muslim Woman's Right to a Khulʿ in Pakistan: Marital Relief or Marital Pain?'. Throughout the years, Dr Ghazala has been a crucial figure addressing numerous conferences on women's rights in Islam throughout Pakistan, Europe and North America.

Day 1: consisted of sisters registering themselves along with meeting and greeting before the Retreat officially commenced. Tanzila Mehmood conducted the proceedings of the event by detailing the key aims/objectives of the Tazkiya 2018, elucidating on health and safety procedures and also welcomed Ansa Hussain, President of Minhaj Sisters UK onto the stage. Ansa Hussain formally welcomed the attendees and also introduced and welcomed Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri to Tazkiya 2018 and also Dr Ghazala for her time, presence and guidance.

The first lecture of Tazkiya 2018 was entitled ‘The Secrets of the Soul: An Introduction’. The lecture was followed by a spiritual session led by Sister Rubina Din in which the attendees enjoyed various Nasheeds and also sister Rubina’s exceptional Duff performance and ended the evening on a spiritual high.

Day 2: started with a Yoga session led by Rosina Nawaz for the purposes of promoting mindfulness and meditation. The Yoga session was followed by the second keynote lecture of Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri entitled ‘Tazkiya: A Practical Guide to Purification. In this lecture, Dr Ghazala shed light on the vices of the soul and the methods to overcome these vices in order develop and enhance husn-e-akhlaq within ourselves.

The Blitz session took place soon after in which the sisters had the opportunity to participate in fun activities such as abseiling, archery, zip wire and an inflatable challenge. After lunch, the attendees congregated for a speed-dating workshop but it certainly isn’t what you may be thinking! The speed-dating workshop consisted of 4 workshop stations focusing on spiritual, mental, physical and social health. The attendees were required to rotate between the stations after spending 15 minutes at each workshop. In doing so, the attendees learnt about key elements of all aspects of human health and the crucial need to balance all elements in one’s life to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Following the speed-dating workshop, the most anticipated session of Tazkiya 2018, ‘Power to the Sisters’ theatre production took place which didn’t fail to have the audience in hysterics whilst simultaneously fulfilling its purpose of educating the audience of the purpose and functions of Minhaj Sisters. The theatre production certainly was the highlight of Tazkiya 2018 as many left their feedback and mentioned it was their favourite moment of the Retreat!

The theatre production was followed by a session on the newly launched YouTube project led by sister Ayesha Ahmed (Glasgow) explaining the YouTube project to the participants as well as its aims/objectives. A Q&A session took place soon after in which Dr Ghazala took questions from the audience. The topics covered in the questions ranged from issues such as free-mixing, upbringing, pre-martial interaction, marriage, post-marriage issues and questions concerning general issues too. The day was concluded with a spiritual session led by Minhaj al Barakah (Birmingham) who enlightened the hall with their beautifully recited Arabic Nasheeds. This was followed by a Dua by Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri.

Day 3: The attendees had the choice of participating in either the Nature Walk or a session entitled ‘YouTube Project: Lights, Camera, Action’ - detailing future plans of the YouTube committee and recruiting volunteers for the project. The final lecture of Dr Ghazala Hassan Qadri was entitled ‘Essence of the Deen: Generosity of the Heart and Good Manners’ in which Dr Ghazala gave her final naseeha to the attendees.

The final moments of the Retreat consisted of Ansa Hussain thanking the Tazkiya 2018 committee for their tireless efforts and a beautiful Dua led by the Respectable Jamila. Tazkiya 2018 served as a means for gaining the closeness of Almighty Allah and His Beloved Rasool SAW. It allowed attendees to spiritually uplift themselves whilst develop and enhance a beautiful sisterhood.