Back to Reality

Bismi Allah

Camp Nur 2006 is over. Praise be to Allah, it was a wonderful experience. This was the sixth year, I believe, for Camp Nur to have a summer camp for children ranging in ages of around 8 to 17. As usual, it was blessed with the presence of the local shuyukh including Shaykh Ramzy Ajem, Shaykh Zahir Bacchus, and this year Camp Nur also had Shaykh Zahid who recently arrived from Damascus, Syria with his family.

I feel as though I haven't completely collected my thoughts about this experience, but I truly believe that it was fruitful spending five days away from the usual city life of cars, television, news, malls, polluted air, and everything else that city life offers. SubhanAllah, by day two I felt the effects of being surrounded by goodness. I tried to resist the urge to allow my thoughts to consume me while I had a responsibility to be connected with those around me. Eventually, I re-established that connection in my heart, but not without stealing a few moments for my own thoughts.

I cannot pretend to even understand how the children who attended the camp felt. Despite what seemed like a continuous stream of whining about the extended walks to and from the cabins and the need to carry out our chores diligently, I still trust they took away some priceless lessons. Instead, I'll use this reflective snapshot to describe some personal inspirations from camp.

I was responsible for taking care of five sisters aged 12-13. I was optimistic that I would be able to carry out my responsibility at least half decently, but upon meeting these precious young ladies, I couldn't help but feel my incompetency for the task. They seemed responsible, though extremely quiet (barely audible in fact), and disinclined towards expressing much of themselves to me. SubhanAllah I thought. I had bargained on being able to use conversation as a bonding tool only to recognize that my thinking was flawed in that it did not include the aspect of time, which is usually, but certainly not always, crucial in nurturing relationships.

Nevertheless, the day carried on, and I held onto my Camp Nur duotang which so wonderfully detailed the basics of what I needed to know, again impressing me with the organization of Camp Nur itself. The first stop for the sisters was their cabin which we soon found to be somewhere in the middle of the forest. It intimidated me a little that as a counsellor, one who should know what's going on, I had not learnt the route to the cabin after day one. I realized that my many shortcomings as a counsellor were easily disguised by the wealth of fellow counsellor sisters who had so much to offer including their ability to learn the route sooner than me.

The forest itself is truly amazing. We visited the campsite on the Thursday before camp began and immediately upon entering the campsite, I embraced nature's silence and calm. While at camp with all the campers, it was difficult to hear the silence of nature again, but the beauty of the forest was encapsulating. I could not keep my eyes away from the elegance that surrounded me namely that of the sky and the forest. My only regret was that I never went to an open field to feast on the expanse of the stunning black night sky. However, overhead the campfire a few stars were visible, and again served as a great distraction for me as we sang and listened to beautiful qasidahs and stories.

The campfire brought everything together for me. One could not have been present in that gathering without feeling a closeness and love emanating from so many different brothers and sisters. If our ummah could reflect the love that we had in this campfire gathering, I do not doubt that the world would be a very different place.

It must be said though that the shuyukh are the lights in the gatherings. While I truly love many of the sisters and respect many of the brothers there, I was comforted by knowing that those with knowledge were amongst us and leading us via their love for Allah, His Messenger (peace be upon him), and the message of Islam. Shaykh Ramzy explicitly expressed the effects of this during one of our lessons by telling his students that he loved us all. SubhanAllah, I felt the sincerity of his words and reminded the young women who attended his lesson of his love for them and thus the obligation that we have to honour him and the knowledge that he conveys to us.

This reflective moment cannot be complete without mention of my dear sisters. I cannot find the words to express my appreciation for their company. While contemplating on life and my existence, I noticed these sisters and thought of the quality of my existence. If I could have but an ounce of their light, their nur, I would be blessed. But instead I have been blessed with their company, something I need to make full use of.

My words here do not do justice to the entire Camp Nur experience, the depths of which I could not properly convey to anyone. I only hope that I can now utilize the benefits of five awe-inspiring days with the shuyukh, some dear sisters and brothers striving for Allah's sake, and the signs of Allah's greatness that have been illuminated before my eyes. I already sense the weakness of myself, but I remind myself that all I can ever do is try; and regardless of how many times I fall, my success will, God willing, be in my effort to serve my Creator as He intends for me to serve Him.

"The world is not a box. There are no lids, no doors, no cardboard flaps or locks, and everything in nature from the clouds to the rocks is a piece of the puzzle of the purpose of man. It's a piece of a piece of Islam."
-Dawud W. Ali

Thank you Allah!

3 comments:

Faraz said...

Assalamu'alaykum,

Was the Camp held at the Bowmanville Islamic school campus, or elsewhere? I happened to visit there for the first time on Saturday; masha-Allah, they have an excellent campus. I know a few of the teachers (one of them was my local imam a while back in Montreal), and have been very impressed with everything I've seen thus far.

Farzeen said...

Wa 'alaykum assalaam wa rahmatu Allah

No, it wasn't held in Bowmanville, although at one point they were going to have it there. There were some problems securing a site this year, but alhamdu li Allah things worked out well. It was held at Woodland Trails which is a beautiful place..masha'Allah.

The new Dar ul Uloom isn't too far from home for me, but I've yet to check it out. Insha'Allah soon.

Sketched Soul said...

As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu Farzeen,

Your camp Nur trip sounds so wonderfull! I am glad to hear you enjoyed the experience :)

Ma'salaama
Farhana

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]

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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]