4:56 AM

Meeting Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Masha'Allah I had the chance to meet this amazing Sheikh last week and my mind has been constantly turning since.
I was invited with a select few to meet him and his wife in their way home from USA. Masha'Allah I'm so glad I was able to attend. Of course it was segregated. As I went around the room I didn't even know which one was his wife. As I went one Sister had a beautifully strong grip and it surprised me in a good way. I used to have a grip like that but I softened it over the years for fear of crushing other gentler sister's hands. After a second for the handshake to sink in I abruptly made mine stronger too in appreciation. She asked my name and I responded Aminah, forgetting my name that I usually say is "Brandy, or if you want Aminah". She smiled warmly and I liked her immediately as I stared in her eyes. I wasn't expecting another question because I was concerned with making my greetings around the room and since I didn't know who his wife was I didn't want to accidently offend her by not saying Salam quickly. "Where are you from?" she asked. "Oh, Am-iari-ca." I said stumbling over the words. I gave myself a mental shake. "America." I corrected. She asked another question that I've now forgotten but I begged off answering more because I wanted to make rounds of Salams. I went around the circle making sure I got each and everyone. I sat near my friend who invited me and we made head bobbles. Me nodding 'Which is the Sheikh's wife' her bobble back towards the sister with the firm handshake. Masha'Allah I was hoping so. I sat back while she spoke to others and just studied her as I study all people I meet. SubhanAllah she really reminded me of an older version of myself. Her laid back friendly attitude and gestures were very similar to me. But beyond that I felt a pull in my heart towards her. Her character as she talked to all of the Sisters was beautiful. She would flip back between Arabic and English making sure we all understood everything she was saying. I was able to ask her a question and she answered it in depth and masha'Allah it really affects my hear tot his very moment. In one or two sentences she gives you words to live by. One quote from her I will say is "Sometimes when someone is holding a piece of meat dogs will come crowding around you. You try everything to get them to leave but they wont. You have to get rid of the meat." Then she explained this means in this life we are wrongly holding tight to worldly things that may keep bad things coming to us and sometimes the simplest things that is right to do is to throw it away just like the meat.
Deep eh?
In between rescuing my son from climbing the perilous stairs I was able to hear parts of other questions and answers. One such moment I managed to jump back to my spot (next to her YAY!) to hear among other words that I've forgotten( and don't want to misquote... ".....we all have this fear.......not doing well we all come here with this fear in our hearts. To gather to better ourselves towards Allah. This brings great baraka to our gatherings together. The angels...... making blessings (or some similar word) all the way up."
SubhanAllah I got all teary. I have never gotten teary in a group just from a few sentences. She described exactly how I felt coming to meet her and the other Sisters. I wanted just even once word to help raise me higher in my deen. I was not disappointed. After we finished talking formally we kind of broke into smaller groups to chat and I spoke with another Sister who is a writer. She too was extremely sweet. After we went upstairs then the men came in from their walk. Part of attending this, I wore niqab, to make everyone more comfortable, so since I was veiled there was no harm in my lurking on the steps with the writer Sister so she could point out the Sheikh to me as he passed by to sit where we had just sat. Masha'Allah I could only see the side profile of his face. He had a calm expression though like one who is at peace internally. This was all I had a chance to study then I flitted upstairs to sit with the women. To make a long evening short, I again got to speak privately with her just before she prayed Isha' and subhanAllah the more time I spent in her presence the more ingrained in my heart she became. I hugged her warmly goodbye, flipped my niqab on, and went downstairs to catch up with my friend.
Sheikh Nuh was sitting in an arm chair with two brothers, and I asked my friend if I could just say Salam to him. She and another sister were unsure if it was appropriate but finally I just took a gulp and walked over half a rooms' length. My wonderful friend spoke up for me saying the first Salam. I felt the hesitation in her voice and I didn't want it to seem like it was her idea in case the Sheikh was bothered so I spoke up quickly. "Assalamu ALikum, my name is Aminah (again Brandy had left for the evening, never to be seen), I just wanted to meet you and say Salam ....." and so on. He watched me with his calm eyes never wavering or wandering as some eyes are prone to. I made it as short as I could. It wasn't the words that mattered anyway. His words were on many tapes if I wished for words. I wanted to SEE his character. And see it I did. Humble, Calm, Unhurried, Peaceful, Understanding, Inner Depth, Wise. Were what I took in, in less than a minute. I turned and went to get my kids' shoes on and since I have two kids it took time. I was four steps below the main floor level and the Sheikh was heading upstairs so he paused to talk near where I stood cramming little feet into little shoes. I ignored my kids focusing solely on seeing if anything in his demeanor changes when not talked directly to, and found nothing but re-enforcement to what I read above. As he walked off I finished the shoe problem outside not to disturb anyone further.
I was busy thinking hard and analyzing my evening and searching for my missing car key and feeling sheepish that the brother driving was waiting all this time for my key and I had lost it in my bag and keeping my kids in line. Rushing always brings out the un-smart in me. I found my key at last unlocked the doors and since we had to be first to load I mentally began planning the entry, hmm I should get in the back first and then someone hand me my son and then get my daughter to climb in but she's in everyone's way so let her stand in the middle section for now and I'll squeeze in past her...BAM! I banged my head against the top of the minivan.
I was so surprised to have not even seen it coming. I was then even more shocked when I fell from the blow. I laid there on the pavement in absolute shock and prayed no one would raise the alarm and have me sent back into the house to further disturb the Sheikh and his wife. Alhamdulliah one of the brothers travelling in our group is a doctor and advised me to take it easy. He advised me to check for bleeding and that proved frustrating because I wasn't used to niqab and couldn't figure out a way to feel under three layers to my head. I touched my head as best I could and figured it was ok. The doctor went on a bit about symptoms of concussions and honestly I wasn't all that much focusing though I tried to tell myself to repeat everything he says. Once I got carefully INSIDE the minivan and got my kids figured out then I lifted my niqab to check better if I was bleeding. Nope. Alhamdulliah. I tried to take care of my kids' dinner but my head was aching bad. Finally my son went to sleep and my daughter amused herself eating and playing. I was feeling worse but alhamdulliah we went back to Al-Ain (from Dubai) and I was taken to An-Noor Hospital ER for a check up and x-ray but it was all ok. I was given Ibuprofen and that's all. Alhamdulliah.
I had lots of time to reflect upon my evening. It was something that I didn't expect to be memorable but it was deeply so. I felt much different than when I met Hamza Yusuf. I felt on a threshold of something better to come.

17 intelligent thoughts:

The Extravagate said...

"Sometimes when someone is holding a piece of meat dogs will come crowding around you. You try everything to get them to leave but they wont. You have to get rid of the meat." I cant remember the last time I read something this deep and moving mashalla shes soo wise

I enjoyed reading ur post am sure I’ll be visiting ur blog daily to check if there is any updates :)

Hanifah said...

Masha'Allah sounds very rewarding. An experience to remember alhamdulellah.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Dear:

Lol; only you! Insha Allah your head is OK! I'm glad you had a great evening.

libero anima said...

aaaawh i hope ur okay !!

"Sometimes when someone is holding a piece of meat dogs will come crowding around you. You try everything to get them to leave but they wont. You have to get rid of the meat." < very very well said !

Anonymous said...


I am so thrilled to hear you had a wonderfulm time. MashaAllah

ps......on another note.....delete the post before this one (smile)


Anonymous said...

I don’t wish to rain on your parade, I can see how excited you are by your experience. I remember how excited I first was when I met Sheikh Nuh a long long time ago. I’ve been a murid of Sheikh Nuh for a good number of years before I left him. *One* of the reasons why “old timer murids” like myself left Sheikh Nuh was Umm Sahl herself.
Don’t get too excited over what she has to say. She’s been repeating these “deep insights” for years, and sadly enough people assume she’s all that simply because she’s the Sheikh’s wife. She doesn’t glitter all that much once you know what’s up, but even if she does glitter, it isn’t gold.
I don’t wish to bum you out or flatten out your experience. I do wish you’d tread carefully and be smart about it. Don’t put these people on a pedestal they shouldn’t be on, it’ll only blur your vision. ...and watch out for cult mentality.

All the best,
A Former Murid.

Susie of Arabia said...

What a wonderful experience for you to meet the Sheikh and his wife and for them to have such an immediate impact on you like that.
So glad you didn't hurt yourself more seriously - only you!

maryanndipity said...

I always like meeting new sisters that make you feel more closer to Islam.

I like to give firm, warm, and heart-felt handshakes. It makes the recipient feel that you are really interested in meeting them. I hate feather weight handshakes, it makes you feel like an afterthought.

Ouch! What an ending to your evening! I hope that you are feeling better.

albanian muslim said...

Assalamu Alaikum

Do you have any email address of sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller or his wife Umm Sahl?

barakAllah Feek

Anonymous said...

as-salam alaykum,

mashaAllah,this has been the experience of many who have met the Sh Nuh and his wife. Unfortunately, there will always be negative people like 'anonymous' who, because they are negative by nature, will see this in everyone and everything. This same anonymous is popping up all over the internet with their negativity-it's strange, on the one hand they're on this smear campaign but on the other, they're obsessed with the very shaykh they're slandering? May Allah inspire us all to have good opinion of others and remove negativity.

Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaykum. I'm deeply moved by your describing your experience of meeting our Shaykh and Umm Sahl. Alhamdulillah we have to always remember that everyone is on a journey, and people like our Shaykh have a tremendous responsibility, and Allah tests those He loves. Umm Sahl - may Allah reward her in abundance - helped me to come to terms with some VERY difficult issues in my life alHamdulillah.

In this week's Dars Shaykh Nuh mentioned that if one dislikes someone, it can be because of one's own impiety. Thank you for sharing and may Allah increase you with every moment, insha-Allah you will find your path to Him, ameen.

salamat said...

Its interesting that Anonymous would make such a statement about Shaikh Nuh and his wife...I think its telling about their character, and probably the reason they didn't get along with what they were taught by Shaikh Nuh and his wife...i.e. the sin of backbiting and having ill feelings towards one's fellow muslims!

Shah said...

Assalamu alaykum,

Having husn al-thann only applies when there is doubt. But if one is sure of something and knows it is wrong then there is no more room for husn al-dhan. He then should forbid the wrong and warn people (nahy 'an al-munkar). This is not backbiting. I am not saying what "anonymous" is saying is true but we must be aware of this distinction before we accuse people of backbiting.

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wasallam) supplicated:
"Show me the truth as truth and give me the ability to follow it; and show me the falsehood as falsehood and give me the ability to avoid it."


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Rodj (Najm) said...

"The proof of the pudding is in the taste (ie, the experience)," as someone one said, and I actually doubt people who CLAIM to be against the Shaykh after having experienced him. I have zero doubt that he is a friend of Allah, and one should remember that the Quraysh would "warn" pilgrims to avoid Muhammad, who claimed to be a prophet. (SallaLlahu 'alayhi wa sallam). has free dowloads of shaukh nuh talks, especially the 98 Virginia talks. May Allah grant you His Presence, and may He protect us from enmity with His friends. Allahu Akbar!

Rodj (Najm) said...

I asked Umm Sahl's advise (thats the Shaykh's wife) about loosing my temper with my wife, and she advised me that if I want people to like me I have to be nice to them. She also explained that "HILM" (forbarance) is a 5th-form-verb [I think?] which means that it is something acquired through effort, meaning I have to work at putting up with annoyances to get used to it. Simple, undeniably true, and USEFUL advise, I dont care how many times or how many years she's been saying it. It is NOT a proof against the truth of a person that they same the same advice year after year (Does not the Quran stay the same, and is it not repeating certain things?)

Anonymous said...

Salaam Aminah,

The anon post is right, I know a sister who has left the tariqa for the same reasons. Be mindful, and do not follow blindly... Question any sheikh about thier views and that includes the wife. Remember a sheikh is a guide along the path sign posting the way to Allah swt. You do not go through the sheikh to find Allah. Keep your reason, and intuition intact don't surrender your common sense. If something feels wrong it probably is!

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