My choice of action differed from my fellow classmates when deciding what to do after High school. It involved acquisition of a deeper form of knowledge, information that transcends beyond the limitations of the visual spectrum. This was an opportunity to uncover the foundation of various Islamic Sciences. A chance to study something that uses deep thinking and proper understanding to change the heart, not continuous and monotonous rote memorisation.  Abu Hamid al-Ghazali speaks of transmuting the heart from lead to gold. We try to imbue these alchemic traits of happiness by opening the mind. We can do this by becoming spiritual apothecaries who prescribe remedies to re-awaken the divine spark that has been placed within us, divine love being the foundation of this spark. After months of sitting under various scholars with bucket loads of knowledge, I don’t think I could’ve made a better decision for 2014. I was blown away by the lessons due to their depth and symbolism. What blew me away even more was the fact that as I learnt more and more, I discovered how much I actually didn’t and still don’t know. The intellectual leap from High school to Madina institute was momentous. I feel there is a schism between the general understandings of what knowledge one should aspire to acquiring. A modern misconception is that religious sciences do not serve as a way to progress in this life, hence the insinuation on the face of some people who knew about my plans to pursue such a path. This path is one that requires the imbiber to firstly have a degree of manner and respect before walking upon it and taking a sip from the various vials found along the way. On a social level, I’ve met people from all walks of life.  People from Guyana, Malaysia and Sudan, these people have been instrumental and a huge part of my experience at Madina. Getting to understand the cultures and how Islam blends within them is truly amazing. Lifelong friends have been made. What I’ve received intellectually is priceless, especially lessons on the Creed or belief system of Islam. I personally feel this has changed my life. As Muslims we learn it while growing up but as you take it to the next level, my aforementioned statement starts to kick in. This is information that breaks the boundaries of societal and sensory paradigms while making perfect sense to a brain that still is not able to fully intellectualise or even conjure up. This evocation of realisation juxtaposes with superficial systems and is efficacious in feeding the spirituality that one’s heart yearns for. Re-structuring your thoughts on society, one’s self and everyone around you is detrimental to staying on the straight path. Madina Institute is a bastion of light in a world that is emaciated from food for thought. Transferring every bit of pure knowledge is key in the daunting sight of things as we see them today. The youth especially needs encouragement from this perspective. Too many things that plague our society are becoming the norm. Madina talks about these issues and delineates the problems surrounding them. Through this outlining process small problems become evident and are dealt with on a personal level, dealing with these issues on a ubiquitous framework is the point we need to reach. In realising this, the Self starts to undergo resurgence. This process starts with one’s character and the acquisition of knowledge. I feel anyone that wants to gain a holistic background in Islamic sciences should sign up for the Usul-Ud Din course. Receiving lessons from scholars such as Dr. Shaykh Muhammad bin Yahya an Ninowy and Ahmed Sa’ad Al-Azhari is a rejuvenation process in itself. Seekers Hub in Canada has helped us tremendously with their live streaming and frequent visits. Making time in this day and age is strenuous. This is why Seekers Hub is such a blessing as the lectures are accessible via the web. If you find that you have the need to explore a different dichotomy of society then I employ you to do the Madina Institute one year intensive. After a few months or even a few days you will reap the benefits of these scholars. The world is a riptide of politics and argumentative jurisprudence. This course gives you the tools to circumnavigate and tread draconian waters. Dive and acquire the means to survive in the ocean. “Love rests on no foundation. It is an endless ocean from beginning to end…”-Jalaludin Rumi. Peace and blessing of Allah be upon all 🙂   Rashid Hendricks, Cape Town