Join us as we explore models of communal living and deepen our engagement with permaculture and regenerative agriculture (filaha). We will discover ways to create skilled, self-sufficient, and ethically sound land-based communities that embody the prophetic worldview.
Faith is hope; it is by its very nature optimistic. It enables us to believe in but also experience the essential sacredness and interconnectedness of all of God’s creation. Faith gives us courage and empowers us to strive assiduously for the utmost good. When it is enacted, it bestows on us a spiritual, social, and ecological resilience.
In this second year of our exploration of ‘Tending the Earth: the Art of Living with God’s Creation’, we hope to examine ways in which we may recreate oases of virtue and beauty through collaborative land-based initiatives within urban and extra-urban settings; the challenge before us being whether we may still develop oases that are sanctuaries of repose and dignified labor in the midst of the challenges and opportunities that surround and affect us.
Tending the earth is meant to ground us in our home- this earth and motherland of ours- and heal us from our sense of alienation. Ethical and intelligent engagement with God’s world is the grand portal that makes the cultivation of virtues possible. It is necessary for our completion and self-perfection. The goal of this retreat is to elevate us to a richer and “realer” life transaction. In doing so, we strive for two things. First, we strive to maximize spiritual opportunities, receptivity and gain. Second, we strive to create independent, dynamic and skilled communities that might be better placed as a model to reflect universally beneficial human and spiritual values.
An integrated society is one in which religion, nature and necessity are not separated into disconnected spheres but rather are bound together by qualitative application of the Prophetic exemplar. Quality, the binding force, is above all a spiritual grace that descends on the well-ordered, the well-thought and the well-made. We believe and aspire therefore to the renewal of qualitative urbanism, once a signature of all Muslim towns and cities. Tending the earth, and each other, is integral to that.
We ask that God grant us success. Amin.
In the course of nine days, we will embark upon a wide range of discourse and practical training that enables us to mobilize around the following:
Cultivation of Land: We posit that the spiritual revival of culture must work in tandem with the revival of the arts of cultivation. The human condition is most at home and most empowered when it is in contact with the earth. Not only are all the virtues like nobility, generosity, compassion and skill learnt from the soil, but also, self-sufficiency and dignity are gained from it. Once we separate ourselves from the land, we set ourselves up for failure and become mercilessly dependent upon systems that commodify food and place economic barriers between us and the arts of living; barriers that God has not imposed on us. Through learning some of the techniques of permaculture, biodynamics, and filaha (traditional husbandry), we will empower ourselves to take purposeful steps in this critical act of engaging with the land and growing food.
Collaborative Action: We live our busy lives, and come together from time to time in shared spaces, the value of which is not to be undermined. But what makes us a community, as distinct from a conglomeration of people or an isolated commune? Further still, what makes community viable? What makes it thrive? How do we come together in ways that facilitate well- being and happiness for us individually and as a whole? Together, we hope to explore different models of communities and the collaborative actions that forge vibrant and healthy communities, that nurture their interconnectedness, honor their sacred surrounding and embody deep social, economic and ecological integrity.
Skills and Trades: Prior to modernity, the engagement in some type of skill and craftsmanship was the universal norm. Most of us, however, find ourselves today in disembodied, cerebral states. We affirm that a certain dignity is accessed through craftsmanship because it reintegrates intelligence with responsibility, just as it reintegrates the mind with the body. When Gandhi read John Ruskin’s, Unto This Last, he became convinced of the value of skill and crafts, whether it was building, weaving, growing food or cooking. It is only through the cultivation of skills in our midst that we can escape from a conditioned apathy that binds us to the dictates of systems that determine us to remain consumers rather than producers of something more beautiful and beneficial that what it offers. The measure of the work of skill is the abundance of beauty that it furnishes, because skill is not in the mastery of technique, or else all that a machine produces would be beautiful. We know this not to be true. Skill, rather, resides in the mastery of the worker, a mastery of the soul in the service of God. In the first year, we spent leisure time on basic activities like preserving fruits and vegetables, cheese making, soap making, horse care, pruning etc. During the course of this retreat, we hope to go further and deeper in tasting the sweetness of working with our hearts, minds, and hands, and find ways to make that a practice that we take home.
A Nurturing Environment
Program Dates: July 1 — July 9, 2018
Over the course of 9 days, we will attempt to acquire practical, life changing lessons from Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah and other scholars, and benefit from the company of Shaykh Sherif Muhammad Haydara al-Jilani. A typical day consists of roughly 6 hours of instruction, with ample time for relaxation and activities at the Rosales Campus.
- Tuition for all classes
- All meals, drinks and snacks
- Transportation to and from the airport [designated departure and arrival dates and times from Madrid Airport (MAD)].