HALAQAH PACKAGE: PART VI
Elements and Dynamics of a Study Circle
Importance and Need of Collective Learning:
Your journey through the Quran requires that you seek and join a community of quest and study. No doubt you will read the Quran individually, but your benefits will multiply, if you join in fellowship with other believers and seekers after the Quran. In collective study, the states of the heart may be intensified, and many minds joined together may understand the meanings better and more correctly. And, only by joining with others can you live fully the lives inspired by the Quran and discharge the mission that reading it enjoins upon you.
The Quranic teachings clearly and forcefully establish the link between its reading and the need for a strong, closely-knit community rooted in that reading.
Four Basic Rules of Collective Study in a Halaqah:
One: You must always make all the preparations necessary to fulfill your responsibility. Do not take your task lightly, do not postpone your preparation till the eleventh hour, do not consider a quick glance enough, never say anything about the Quran without having given it full consideration. It is always better to make note of what you have studied and what you want to say.
Two: Whether you are a novice or you already possess some knowledge, whether you have to give Dars (lecture) or participate in discussion in a circle, do a study on your own of the selected part.
Three: Always keep your intention right, that is, understand and live the Quran in order to seek Allah’s pleasure.
Four: Do not study together merely for pleasure, intellectual curiosity, or argument and discussion. Your studying the Quran together must result in your obeying the Quran together and fulfilling the mission it entrusts to you.
Guidelines to help make the group study effective:
A. Tips on How to Conduct a Study Circle:
One: One participant should, first, make a presentation of the results of his study.
Two: The rest should then join in, further elaborating, correcting, modifying, raising questions, or providing answers.
Three: If all the participants are required to study, then you may either designate beforehand who will do the presentation; this will result in better standards of presentation. Or, call upon anyone present to do the presentation; this will keep everyone alert and working hard.
Four: It will always be useful if at least one member of the circle is more knowledgeable and has access to sources. He or she would, then, during the discussion, overcome any deficiencies and shortcomings in the original presentation.
Five: If one participant who is learned in the Quran participates, he/she should not intervene from the beginning. Rather he/she should let the participants say what they want to say, and only then, gently correct them if they are wrong, or add to their knowledge. His/her method should be suggestive and interrogative rather than discursive.
Six: Towards the end, one member, preferably the leader or teacher should always sum up the broad message of the passage, its main themes, and its call to action.
B. About the Participants:
One: The number of participants should be 3-10; with no great difference in the levels of their knowledge and intelligence.
Anything less will make it a dialogue, anything more may hinder the active participation of everyone.
Two: The stress should always remain on the message, context and lessons to be drawn. Never get entangled in fine points, which have no relevance to real life.
Three: All participants should be fully aware of their aims, limitations and procedures.
Four: All participants should have the necessary commitment and realize that time, attention, and hard work will be required.
Therefore, regular preparation and attendance are observed.
Five: All participants should know how to find their way through the Quran.
Six: The group members should not sit as strangers, but as brothers or sisters in faith in the Quran, committed to understanding and obeying it.
Seven: Try to have these Halaqas/study circles on weekly basis, to maintain the consistency in the application of knowledge gained at these meetings.
Source: “Way to the Quran”, by Ustadh Khurram Murad (Rahimahullah)