Academy of Self-Knowledge Conference 2005

Preface:  Gathering of Art in the Heart & the Banquets of love and profundity!

When some day in the future, the historic annals of developments are written of the Academy of Self Knowledge at the Rasooli Centre in Tshwane (Pretoria), the dates 22 to 24 February 2005 will stand out as profoundly memorable milestones.

In this context, youth, mothers and fathers viewed the Allah-given opportunity to care and share, and to bond with each other, at the 6th International Gathering on Voices of Wisdom from Our Past, as a banquet of love and profundity. Reflections and recitals of poetry led one to conclude that the art is in the he-art!

In attendance, from many corners of the globe, was the beloved son of Karbala, Shaykh Fadhalla Haeri; the grandson of the valiant Sudanese Al-Mahdi, Imam Sadiq Al-Mahdi; the hugely popular and astute South African Education Minister Naledi Pandor; and the strong Dr. Maryam Al-Mahdi.

With inspirational clarity Shaykh Fadhalla Haeri defined wisdom:

“Wisdom is sustained goodness and ease…itself is the noble offspring
Brought up by modesty, courage and justice
Foundations for transformation, it can bring
The ecstasy and awesomeness of the present”

A splendid range of presentations were made at this gathering on luminaries such Abdur Rahman Al-Mahdi, ZK Mathews, Abdul Qadir Al-Jazaa`iri, Abdul Qadir Jelani, Rumi, and grand poets. Bold and real evaluations were also made by elders and the youth on what went wrong?

In this respect, many in attendance at this embracing gathering, concluded with modesty and courage:

  1.  “a gigantic death” was been given to inertia,  when it comes to being honest of our predicament, that the effulgent Prophetic heritage cannot be left to those who want to hijack it and, dry up its humanity (tajfifaat).

  2. “an enormous birth, of a mighty moment in timelessness” (Ben Okri), is emerging in many corners of the world, such as the emerging visionary programme of the Academy of Self Knowledge and the rising oasis of fresh thinking and action in Sudan’s Umma Party.

On Friday, excellent discourses were presented by Shaykh Fadhalla Haeri and Imam Sadiq Al-Mahdi, who took on squarely the burning issues of the day, from the obnoxious events of September 11, to the use of the correct language as an effective medium of communication. Here, many recalled when listening to this Friday discourse, the narrative of the respected mother of Jesus, Maryam, when she was asked in the Qur’an to shake up the trunk of the palm-tree in order to receive “fresh ripe dates” (rutabun ganiya, Qur’an, Surah Maryam, verse 25).

During this gathering, many leaders in the Indonesian city of Bandung gathered to chart with Asia, a new beginning to achieve sustainable development of Africa. In Tshwane’s Rasooli Centre, the shape of development wisdom as “sustained goodness and ease” was being internalized in the hearts of participants in “flashes of frozen light”. People’s dignity as carriers of the Ruh of Allah, the principles of equality, non-racialism, and role of women in society, were principles, highlighted in the journey of transformation to the Higher in us (Ruh- Allah).

Indeed, 22-25 April 2005, will be remembered as a challenging and joyful return to the principles of “wisdom as sustained goodness and ease”.

Iqbal Jhazbhay

University of South Africa

Tshwane, 25 April 2005



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