Nestled in the beautiful mountains of Mentone, California, the retreat grounds were blanketed with soft, low cloud-cover and fog—the perfect setting for a retreat entitled Awaken, the theme for al-Hujjah’s 10th annual retreat. The agenda was of 3 full days of groundwork to launch into life well-equipped for further holistic development. Foundationally, the participants were placed into “Sahaba” groups, peers that you would work with, eat with, and bond with throughout the retreat; this created bonds of friendship from the beginning, putting everyone in a comfortable, relaxed state. Intellectually, a number of speakers and ʿulamāʾ provided insights on contemporary social tensions, relevant points of Islamic law, holistic takes on decision-making, and spiritual best-practices for taking on spiritual slumber and heedlessness. Attendees also engaged in competitive activities that tested their intellectual and ethical aptitudes. Spiritually, the retreat sprinkled duʿāʾ sessions through the days and offered a number of activities intended to guide participants through periods of reflection, more self-accounting, and a simulation of the soul’s journey after death overtakes the body. This robust schedule was broken up with ample opportunity to develop relationships with other participants, speakers, and ʿulamāʾ while breaking bread, over coffee, during hikes in the mountains, and in front an ambient fireplace setting.
Al-Hujjah’s program seeks to create deeper levels of spiritual growth through the mentorship program. Attendees who were interested signed up for the program and will be in contact with their assigned mentor. They will have weekly calls discussing their spiritual growth and ups and downs with the mentor. There will be assignments and homework given to the mentee. If the mentee continues the relationship they will be invited to attend the second tier Al-Hujjah happening next year. Eventually after the 3rd retreat the group of mentees will go on a ziyarat trip with their mentor to further solidify the relationship but also as a reward.