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American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism
Founded in 1992, American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism (AMILA) is committed to spiritual enrichment, intellectual freedom, and community service.
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IN THE NAME OF GOD, MOST BENEFICIENT, MOST MERCIFUL

18th Annual AMILA Spiritual Retreat
"Cultivating Faith, Joy, and Patience"
August 29-30, 2009, Point Montara Lighthouse and Hostel


Download the 2009 AMILA Retreat Registration (.pdf file) for more information
AMILA's Eigthteenth Annual Ramadan Spiritual Retreat will, Inshallah, be held the weekend of August 29-30, 2009. The retreat will start on Saturday at 11:00 AM and end on Sunday at 3:00 PM. It will be held at the Point Montara Lighthouse and Hostel off of Highway 1 (7 miles North of Half Moon Bay and 25 miles South of San Francisco). The program will include lectures, discussions, group reflections on the Qur'an and Hadith, iftar, dinner and suhoor, individual meditation, inspirational readings, taraweeh and tahajjud prayers, and outdoor hikes along the coast.

The cost of the retreat is $75 for AMILA members and $90 for non-members. You may pay the 2009 AMILA membership fee of $40.00 ($75 for couples) when you register for the retreat, and receive the AMILA member discount. Payment confirms your place at the retreat as long as space is available, and is non-refundable. Space is limited (approx. 30 people) and the retreat fills up every year so please register early. Registration fee covers meals, overnight lodging, day use of the facilities and other costs. Packets with directions, readings and registration materials will be e-mailed upon receipt of payment. This year only on-line registration is available.

Most sessions will be led by community members and others by group members. Our speakers this year include veteran speakers as well as first time presenters. Specifically, we are very happy to have Imam Faheem Shuaibe, Sr. Ameena Jandali, and Br. Babak Ayazifar presenting. More information about our honored guests will be included in your final registration packet.

REGISTRATION AND COST: The cost of the retreat is $75 for AMILA members and $90 for non-members. You may pay the 2009 AMILA membership fee of $40.00 ($75 for couples) when you register for the retreat, and receive the AMILA member discount. Payment confirms your place at the retreat as long as space is available. Space is limited (approx. 25 people) and the retreat fills up every year so please register early. Registration fee includes meals, overnight lodging, registration and reading materials. Packets with directions, readings and registration materials will be e-mailed upon receipt of payment.

WHAT TO BRING: Blanket or sleeping bag, warm winter clothes, Qur'an & prayer rug, an inspirational reading (of any genre or author) to read aloud, walking shoes, flashlight, pen and notebook, water bottle, plastic bowl, mug, and utemsils. Hostel will provide: Pillow, Pillow Case, Bottom Sheet, Top Sheet, Fleece Blanket.


Reflections on the 11th Ramadan Spiritual Retreat
"Sadaqa - Fullness of Spirit", November 23-24, 2002

Ramadan in the Qur'an

"The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him."[2:185]

AMILA Ramadan Retreat featured in Christian Science Monitor

"Learning, Lifelong Learning:
More look into the 'why' of celebrations"

by Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor, December 22, 1998

San Francisco resident Chloe Chaudhry, who converted to Islam a few years ago, sees Ramadan (this year, Dec. 20-Jan. 19) as a spiritual test. But she and several friends have also organized an educational retreat. For the fourth year in a row, she and about 25 members of American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism will spend a day and a half listening to speakers from the American-Muslim community. Sitting in a circle, the group will listen to and then query both the speaker and each other. They will also take time to be alone with their thoughts in a nearby redwood forest. (More here)
Spiritual and intellectual learning, daily prayers including taraweeh, group dhikr sessions, nature walks, and ocean races.....what do all of these things have in common? Answer = These activities happened at the 11th Annual AMILA Ramadan Spiritual Retreat which took place the weekend of November 23-24, 2002. The theme of the retreat was "Sadaqa - Fullness of Spirit."

The retreat was held in the beautiful backroads of Sausalito at the Marin Headlands Youth Hostel. The location was surrounded by woods and forests. The magnificent Pacific Ocean with its crashing and thunderous waves was only a 15 minute walk away.

There were many longtime attendees at this retreat, but there were also some new faces that had never even attended an AMILA gathering that also came to participate in the retreat.

Saturday morning, the first day of the retreat, began off with cloudy, overcast skys, but the attendees were sheltered and kept toastee warm by the heat of a fire provided by a woodburning stove and the generous forethought of some retreat participants of bringing in extra wood from home.

The attendees were privileged to have three accomplished speakers to share their ideas and vision on our theme. We had one veteran guest speaker and two "freshman" speakers. The veteran AMILA Spiritual Retreat speaker was Br. Hakim Archuletta. Our incoming newbies were Dr. Nazeer Ahmed and Sr. Hina Azam. Based on the feedback received, all three speakers were very much appreciated and well received. The thoughts and knowledge that they each shared with the attendees were to be used as the foundation for Sadaqa. Sadaqa is a concept that does not only mean sharing of monetary wealth, but also of one's love, time, efforts, thoughts and even a simple smile. Sadaqa as explained in the Quran embraces all levels of giving as long as it done with sincerity. Sadaqa is just one of the many ways that we can all show our worship and love for Allah (swt).

Interspersed throughout the retreat were group dhikrs, time for personal reflections, group reflections and sharing of personal inspirational stories and readings. This added that personal touch to an event such as this.

At maghrib time, the attendees were privileged to have a wonderful, homemade meal provided to them. The coordination and dedication of the retreat volunteers really came through in the piping hot meal that was provided. Again the food was both well thought out of and a true joy and pleasure to eat thanks to the tireless efforts of dedicated volunteers who shall go nameless ;-).

The retreat program officially concluded for the evening at around 9 p.m. on Saturday. However the energy and opportunity to spend such personal, intimate time with fellow Muslim Brothers and Sisters was too good to pass up for some. There were talks and discussions that occurred late into the evening.

Early the next morning, the brothers had agreed to help prepare Suhoor and the sisters had agreed to perform the cleanup afterwards. The brother arose at 4:30 a.m. in order to get everything prepared for Suhoor. A warm breakfast was made for all and was enjoyed by everyone.

The contrast of weather from Saturday and Sunday was very much appreciated. The cloudy, overcast day that occurred on Saturday cleared way to the Sun coming out on Sunday. This fit in perfectly to the planned nature hike from the Hostel to the Pacific Ocean (A blessing from above perhaps?). Although all were fasting, this gave way for an opportunity for everyone to get closer with and to experience Allah's (swt) creations up close and personal. The hikers headed to and enjoyed the ocean, which at the time had massive, thunderous waves crashing upon the shore. This is where some pure fun was had at the retreat. Br. Hakim had suggested a combination ocean race and contest. He as pleasantly surprised with 5-6 of the retreat participants took him up on the offer. Although the objective was to stay dry, a lot of fun and wet jeans were had as well. The retreat participants also came across a large see-saw. After a few minutes of coordination, we managed to get almost all the retreat participants on the see-saw at the same time.

The retreat concluded with all brothers rising and hugging all their fellow brothers and the sisters rising and hugging all their fellow sisters. This was a truly, warm and heartfelt way to show the true family that we all must have with our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters.

I would like to Thank all the attendees of this year's retreat and Insh'Allah hope to see you at future AMILA gatherings and events.

I would like to say a special Thank You to ALL members of the AMILA Retreat Planning Subcommittee coming forth and volunteering your time and efforts to help pull this retreat off in the time and manner that we did. There were many small details that needed to be addressed and Mash'Allah each and everyone of you came forth to help handle them.

Insh'Allah, next year's retreat will be taking place on the weekend of November 1-2, 2003 at a new location, Pigeon Point Lighthouse and Hostel so mark your calendar now!

As always there is room for improvement and I hope that I adequately captured some of the thoughts and emotions that were experienced by others at the Retreat.

Thank you,
Atif Qureshi
Retreat Planning Committee