When writing these posts, I have thought a lot about the people and events that have helped shape my faith and knowledge. And the one person who I think had the greatest influence on me other than my parents was Nurudeen Lemu. But out of respect we like to call him Nuru the Guru 😀
Nuru is a man who knows many things and is known for many awesome things, one of which has taken him around the world numerous times. That was teaching a course on Islam he developed with a number of people called the Train the Trainers course, also known as the TTC.
The first TTC I attended (as well as being where I met my lovely wife!!) was one of the first major steps I took in understanding my faith in a more comprehensive manner. Despite having gone to a Muslim school for most of my schooling life, I knew very little about my faith outside of the physical acts and the basics of belief, something which I think many Muslims can relate to.
The course challenged my perceptions of what Islam was about and helped to fill in many of the gaps that a school education on Islam gave me. It’s also meticulously referenced and at the end of every section has a long recommended reading list which I devoured what I could find of.
The TTC itself was initially developed out of a need to answer a pressing problem in Nigeria at the time of Nurudeen’s youth. The evangelical churches were very active in trying to convert Muslims through controversial questions that most Muslims did not know how to answer. Questions such as whether the Prophet (pbuh) was a paedophile, why God is a He (masculine) in the Qur’an, why Muslims supposedly fear God rather than love Him, and many others.
Because many Muslims did not know the answer to these questions many converted away or began to have serious and unfounded doubts in their faith. In response Nurudeen and a number of his friends developed the course to train people in how to respond to these questions and provide them with a general knowledge of their faith. Their ambition was for these newly trained people to then go off and train others and so hopefully eventually everyone would have answers to these questions. Hence the name train the trainers.
Although I loved the course itself, I was unsure of the need to be able to answer such attacking questions as the evangelical churches are not as active in Australia. But a few months after I attended the TTC a situation arose where it came in handy, when a friend of mine started asking me all these types of questions which I previously wouldn’t have been able to answer.
The course has evolved greatly over the years, however, in response to the different needs of Muslims in different parts of the world. It currently is concerned mainly with the Maqasid as Shariah, or the higher objectives upon which Islamic laws are made, and Usul al Fiqh, the roots and principles of Islamic law. It aims to give a basic understanding of these concepts and processes to Muslims so that they have the capacity to understand difference of opinion in a more significant way and to help them to appreciate the broad spectrum of said differences. Unity in Diversity as he likes to say. Plus Nurudeen is just a fantastic speaker!
I highly highly recommend the course for people who would like to come to grips with the basics of their faith or anyone interested in learning more of the legal and historical traditions of Islam. It is always enlightening as there are always deeper dimensions to these things to comprehend.
Some of the material that he goes through can be found on Youtube here and elsewhere. In order to make the entire course available to everyone at any time, Nurudeen is currently recording the entire course in Sydney and will be making it available in around 6 months InshaAllah. I will definitely update again when it is available, so happy watching until then!
What people or events have had an influence on you? It can be very meaningful to be mindful of these things and how they have helped shape and continue to shape us and to think of the directions we wish to pursue into the future