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faithandpeace
12-02-2013, 10:34 AM
Assalamu alaikum.

I am concerned about a possible fitna going on in my local Muslim community called "Landmark Education" or "Landmark Forum." A number of months ago I started going to a weekly halaqa geared towards new sisters in Islam. There are two sisters who take turns leading it. Awhile back one of the sisters who actually reverted long ago I believe started promoting this Landmark thing which is a series of weekend seminars apparently designed to improve one's life, take more control of themselves, self-help, etc. This sister encouraged everyone to sign up and several people did including one of the leaders. Since then, that leader has repeatedly cancelled the sessions in which she is to lead the halaqa and when it is the other leader hardly anyone is there and then I found out many were absent due to Landmark. Both leaders seem very knowledgable about Islam and I love them dearly for the sake of Allah (swt). I feel there is some fitna going on as everyone I have met who has gone to this Landmark talks more passionately about this program than Islam. The leader who went to it has been gone for awhile and out of contact and the leader who didn't seem to join it doesn't know what is going on. Back during Ramadan at a different masjid people were going on about Landmark but I didn't understand. Back before that I knew some Iranian Shias who were obsessed with Landmark and promoted it more than Islam when they knew I reverted. They abandoned me when they realized I was going the Sunni path and that I loved Islam too much not to abadon it for this Landmark program which some of them wanted me to join instead of Islam! Please I am not backbiting. Nobody here knows my city and I am not giving any identifiable information.

This Landmark sounds like a cult and it may be kufr especially if it is replacing Islamic education with its own kaffir-led program that appears to be brainwashing people and taking them away from masjid unless they are there to recruit for it. Has anybody dealt with this group or heard of it? It supposedly is a well known worldwide program? How can I approach the situation? It is breaking my heart because I love these halaqas and don't know of any better ones in my area and this program seems to be damaging the community. I feel like the other leader who is apparently not involved with Landmark is being hurt by having practically nobody show up to her halaqas anymore and education in the deen is important! Please share your thoughts insha'Allah.
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Signor
12-02-2013, 10:50 AM
Waalikum Assalaam

Originally Posted by faithandpeace
Landmark thing which is a series of weekend seminars apparently designed to improve one's life, take more control of themselves, self-help, etc.
Are they preaching those values on expense of Islam using modern methods(meditation,yoga,self hypnosis so and so forth) or what the Christians called "New Age Movement"?

Originally Posted by faithandpeace
This Landmark sounds like a cult and it may be kufr especially if it is replacing Islamic education with its own kaffir-led program that appears to be brainwashing people and taking them away from masjid unless they are there to recruit for it.
Originally Posted by faithandpeace
This sister encouraged everyone to sign up and several people did including one of the leaders.
Do you have to pay something to become a member and can you elaborate what is the ideology they are promoting?
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faithandpeace
12-02-2013, 11:15 AM
They say they can't talk much about it as "you have to experience it for yourself." They said it is a few hundred dollars for each course. Apparently people take turns talking about their past to the group and they try to do self-introspection to help them not to dwell on the negative past but to empower themselves to look at the situations in their lives differently.
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faithandpeace
12-02-2013, 11:23 AM
There was a halaqa where the leader seemed to talk more about Landmark than Islam. She has either cancelled every halaqa it was her turn to lead since or has been a "no show" or out of communication. I know that Allah (swt) guides who He wills, but as a Muslim I believe it is also my duty to protect the deen from fitna especially when it involves reverts who could be led astray. Subhanallah!
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greenhill
12-02-2013, 04:28 PM
Originally Posted by faithandpeace
They say they can't talk much about it as "you have to experience it for yourself." They said it is a few hundred dollars for each course.
I have been to trainings with similar 'secrecy' to it. Almost cultish, as you put it. I believe there is good in it, and it is just a 'different' way to "tell a story". At the end of the day, the energy levels for participants will be high because, in that different story they experienced, the underlying message is about self awareness, hence people will feel good about it. In all honesty, the 'feel good' factor is worth a lot more than the price you paid for it, (and they will refer you to that point in some way) :p.

The fact that he talks about the program more is because that is where his trade is.

In life there are people that make things happen, follow what is happening, watch what happens and those who will wonder what the ... happened? You decide.

Peace :shade:
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Muhammad
12-02-2013, 04:30 PM
:wasalamex

Originally Posted by faithandpeace
This Landmark sounds like a cult and it may be kufr especially if it is replacing Islamic education with its own kaffir-led program that appears to be brainwashing people and taking them away from masjid unless they are there to recruit for it.
I haven't heard of this organisation. The main issue from your post seems to be that the regular Halaqas are being affected due to everyone going to this Landmark Forum instead. I agree that its important to be concerned about the Halaqas. However, I am not sure why you used the term 'kufr', possibly referring to the act of attending the Forum. The people who are attending the Forum might have an intention to use what they learn for the betterment of their relationship with Allaah :swt: or for the Islamic community. Even if some sin might be involved, we must be very careful before assuming it is at the level of kufr.

In terms of the Halaqas, perhaps you can try speaking to the leader who is still running them and discuss what can be done to encourage more people to attend. Maybe they can change the time. Maybe there is something you can do to help out with the Halaqas and promote them. You could try speaking to the people attending the Forum and mention your concerns. And if it's possible to get in touch with the other leader who has stopped attending the Halaqas, it would be good to mention how beneficial you found her involvement and encourage her to return. Just some suggestions.

And Allaah :swt: knows best.
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greenhill
12-02-2013, 05:18 PM
Salaam,

What is a 'halaqas'? :embarrass Maybe it's known by something different where I am?
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Muhammad
12-02-2013, 11:30 PM
:wasalamex

Yes, there are different terms. It's basically a study group or similar kind of gathering for Islamic reminders/knowledge. Not sure if that's the official definition...
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Woodrow
12-03-2013, 12:01 AM
As Salaamu Alaikum,

I see 2 buzz words that cause me concern. Fee and Secrecy

There is nothing wrong with charging a fee and there is nothing wrong with secrecy. But when I hear the 2 together I find it to be cause for concern.

Be wise and seek more information and do not open your wallet or sign any checks until you have verified all things. Keep in mind that sometimes a person can fall into error even when they have the best of intentions. We are all human.

A third point of concern; it does not seem many people know what this "Landmark Education" is.
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Scimitar
12-03-2013, 02:13 AM
I've heard of this organisation before, and believe me, it's hiding some very sinister things...

Take for example, this personal statement from one person wh9o was considering it:

Students were said to lose all sense of themselves and take to phoning loved ones late at night to bring up long-forgotten arguments while excoriating themselves for real and imagined character flaws.
A quick look on the internet revealed even more dramatic claims. Since its creation in 1991, Landmark Education has been described variously as a cult, an exercise in brainwashing and a marketing trick cooked up by a conman to sap the vulnerable of their savings.
Landmark rebuts such claims. Not satisfied with simply transforming the lives of its students, it promises to deliver the secret of what it means to be human and guarantees them futures greater than they could imagine.
For £275 and 39 hours of my time, it seemed like an offer worth considering. In my head, however, I had already begun to draft an article about a society so needy that even its educated elite were mugs enough to pay through the nose for such vague, preposterous promises.

Be aware - you don't need no landmark BS education..., GUIDANCE COMES FROM ALLAH.

Recognize
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Scimitar
12-03-2013, 02:18 AM
I can't believe your halaqa class fell for this new age hippy scientology type BS lol.... y'all need to GET THE HECK OUT OF THERE.

And here's why:

MY (SCARY, DESTRUCTIVE) BRUSH WITH SCIENTOLOGY LIGHT


So. Is it a cult? Technically, no. But, if it walks like cult, talks like a cult, and preys on people like a cult, it just might be Landmark.

Sarah FazeliAug 27, 2012 at 1:00pm | 266 comments


Everyone told me not to go.
"It's a cult, Sarah. Don't get sucked in!"
“The Landmark Forum? It’s like 'Scientology Light.' Run the opposite direction!”
I'd just begun a trial separation from my husband. I was heartbroken, confused and vulnerable. That’s when my good friend, Ed, a fantastically positive, well-put-together human being, told me emphatically that The Landmark Forum had changed his life and invited me to a free seminar.
Eager, I went online to check it out, and began to worry.
On the net, opinions and experiences ran the gamut. There were warnings against Landmark, video testimonials about how-Landmark-saved-my-life, letters of both support and condemnation from psychologists, priests and university scholars.
I had other friends who all but begged me not to go, citing it as destructive and dangerous. Now, I was intrigued. Such a range of reactions and emotions! I had to find out for myself.
Still, something didn’t feel right. On the day of the free seminar, I had a sinking feeling deep in my gut. Don’t go. But I'd told Ed I would see him there and felt bad bowing out. I explained my conflicted feelings to another friend who advised me to “Go, just don’t part with any money.”
Huh. Why would I part with any money?
I left late (subconsciously on purpose? Hoping it would be half over when I arrived?) and drove with trepidation to the location, a crappy hotel by the airport.
There, I was greeted by what seemed like an endless supply of grinning volunteers. Each name-tagged little helper gushed how happy they were to see me. After tacking a nametag across my chest, they ushered me into a dank, depressing ballroom. Heavy draperies kept out the light of a gorgeous California day.
On stage, people stood in line to give witness to how Landmark changed their lives. I thought it would be over -- I was almost an hour late -- but it was nowhere near over, and would go on another two hours.
Somehow, despite my skepticism, halfway through I ended up sobbing my marital sadness to the two Landmark women with whom I was put into a small group. And by the end of the afternoon, I had written a check for $300 (merely a deposit) and registered for the course.
I know.
By the time I got back on the highway, I regretted it. What the hell was that? I asked myself aloud. I called to get a refund.
At first, the Landmark rep on the phone acted as if a refund was no problem. Great, I thought. That was easy. But when she smoothly launched into a series of circular questions, I didn’t have a chance.
“Mmm, this refund, let’s talk about this. Why do you feel this way? What could you be resisting in your life? What if 'I want my money back' is just a story you are telling yourself?”
Hm. Gosh. Never thought if it that way.
And she seemed so nice. So caring. I said I’d think about it and hung up.
Every single day for the next month, I was barraged with phone calls and messages from Landmark. It was like having a collection agent who also needed to buy crack from you. I had been willing to consider doing the course, but now I was pissed.
The phone rang yet again. I saw the Landmark name (I had labeled it on my phone as a warning to screen the call) and picked up. This time I would give them a piece of my mind!
Of course, the Landmark rep, “Paul,” wasn’t having any of it.
“Sarah, can you honestly say you are where you want to be in your life?"
Uh, well.
“What is really going on here? What are you resisting?”
Apparently, “resisting,” as they labeled my decision to get my money back, was proof of how much I needed their help. You know, the help I needed to stop resisting THEM. Get it?
“I just want a refund,” I stumbled, somehow getting roped back into another big ass, circular conversation. They’re really good at that.
After almost 20 minutes on the phone it was clear I wasn't getting my deposit back. Paul “reframed” it for me: essentially I could lose the $300 or pony up the additional $200 and just see what the fuss was all about.
Even then, as I was agreeing to pay the balance, I could feel my heart pounding, stuffing down a little voice that said, This isn’t right. Don’t go.
“All righty!” Paul interrupted my inner monologue. "So the total on your Visa will be…” he slowed down. “Oooh, Sarah,” I could hear him inhale through his teeth, “It looks like since you registered last summer, but didn’t complete the forum, we can’t honor your deposit.”
What?
“And, it looks like the price of the course has gone up since you registered.”
"Seriously?" I balked.
“I hear you, Sarah, but I want you to be open to the possibilities that lay ahead for you.”
I didn’t feel open to new possibilities. I felt taken advantage of, swindled, even a little bullied. But bullied in a really nice way.
As the seminar weekend approached, the feeling in the pit of my stomach returned. But I had spent the money. I was going. The schedule was as follows: Friday 10am-Midnight, Saturday 10am-Midnight, Sunday 10am-Midnight.
The leader, a stern, non-nonsense woman I’ll call Chris, explained the contract we must all agree to: no use of alcohol, drugs. No problem. I agree.
They went on to reject the use of coffee, caffeine, painkillers like Advil, and snacks. Coffee? Snacks? Tylenol?
Also, there would be very limited breaks. As in one meal break for the 13-hour day. I didn’t think this was a big deal until I’d been sitting for four hours in a hot room in a stiff row of people in a very uncomfortable chair. One person got up after about an hour, presumably for the bathroom, and Chris made quick work of explaining all the reasons this was not okay. The tone was set: You followed the schedule; you did not veer from the group.
Later, after spotting a few travel mugs of coffee in the audience and more unofficial bathroom breaks, Chris exploded.
“You can’t control yourselves? Geez, you’re like babies here whining about going to the bathroom and having your snacks.” She mocked us in a high-pitched voice. Then, she got very serious.
“You get up and take a break? Don’t blame me if come Sunday everyone else 'gets it' and you don’t. I can’t guarantee the transformation that will happen Sunday at 5pm unless you are here and present every second.”
Within the first hour of the seminar we were pressured to take the $800 “advanced course.” To push us along, the drones in the back of the room came up and gave testimonials like “I was like you once! Skeptical, unsure.”
I look around the room. Does anyone else see what’s going on here? A few do -- we make eye contact and quickly look away before the drones can see us connecting and possibly staging a rebellion.
Nametags: They were very strict about them. I mean hardcore. You had to have your nametag on and in view at all times. They were collected anytime you left the room. Presumably to keep tabs on who had returned (or were late returning) and who had not. It was weird.
Also within the first few hours, we were “challenged” to “powerfully enroll our friends and family in the possibilities Landmark is giving you!” This would mean using the few and far between breaks we did have to call our friends and “get complete” with them. Then we were supposed to bring them Sunday night to our own “completion” where they could hear about our transformative weekend (and pay their own $300 deposit).
One woman raised her hand.
She was handed a microphone, and was thus allowed to speak. “I’m sorry,” she started, her voice wobbling in preliminary apology, “but do we have to tell them about Landmark? All of this feels like a big commercial for Landmark.”
By the time Chris was done with her, this young woman had shrunk about two inches and said, “I guess I wasn’t seeing the possibilities,” she smiled hopefully, “Thank you.”
Cheers and applause broke out. “Yes! Look at that, people! She just grew tenfold!”
But, not everyone was buying it. A man raised his hand. I'd noticed this man before because it seemed whenever I was sighing or looking askance he was doing the same thing.
In a very reasonable, professional manner, he raised his hand and said, “Excuse me. I’ve been here for a little over three hours now. And the only thing I’ve heard is how I should sign up and pay for more Landmark classes.”
A small wave of nods rippled across the room.
In a roller coaster two minutes, Chris lauded the man for his honesty, encouraging others who felt this way to show themselves. Then she went in for the kill, spinning it around so anyone who questioned the program or its tactics was “resisting.”
The second day, the man expressed the same feeling. This time, the mic was ripped out of his hand, campaign manager style, “We are not discussing that right now!” Chris snapped
On the third day he was “asked” to leave.
All of those things were freaky, but none truly scared me until we go to this rule:
NO WRITING.
This was when the little hairs on the back of my neck came to attention. Writing, whether it’s journaling, taking notes, even just having a pen in my hand, is how I process the world.
When I expressed my concern over this, I was used as an example of someone who is clearly resisting the work by choosing not to follow the rules. Others around me, who only moments before had echoed my feelings, now clammed up. They wouldn’t even meet my gaze.
So, after we’d all been given our East German Stasi cards -- oops, I mean our nametags -- we were reminded that if someone is doing something they’re not supposed to (taking notes, taking unofficial breaks), you say something. Hold them accountable.
Yes, we were asked to police our neighbors.
About15 minutes after this “reminder,” the woman next to me tapped me hard on my arm. “Yes?” I looked up, assuming she wanted to borrow something or ask for a piece of gum.
“No writing!” she said, and waved her finger back and forth in my face.
I almost stabbed her with my Bic Roller Gel.
I nearly walked out so many times, usually during the abusive interactions between the leader and whatever emotionally wracked person onstage. These were serious emotional breakdowns being handled in five-minute increments by this Landmark leader. Not a well-trained, experienced therapist in a safe environment but an arrogant, would-be dictator who egged on these breakdowns, gave them a quickie “tool” to get over their childhood trauma, and moved right along to the next person.
There were first-time revelations of childhood molestations, my-father-murdered-my-mother divulgements, I-think-I’m-gay moments. The words that best sum up Landmark’s catch-and-release handling of these fragile situations are dangerous and irresponsible.
I’ve done self-help work. I’m an actor! Introspection and being alone on stage is what we do! So I asked questions in response to “the work” and was struck down, humiliated and branded “uncoachable.”
Chris mocked me, "Oh, you have questions? You’re questioning me? How long have you been leading the Forum? Do you think I know a thing or two more than you about it?” I could literally hear cackles from various part of the audience. It was ****ing Animal Farm in there.
It went on like this as I watched others get worked over. It was abusive, demeaning. Yet, people kept coming back for more!
The only reasonable explanation is Stockholm Syndrome. You are trapped like sardines in rows with random people, after hours without food or daylight, put into a high-pressure emotional situation, and told the only way out of the emotional basket-case-ness that they have instigated, is for you to pay for and take more of their seminars. (And to “powerfully enroll others to do the same.”)
Looking back, I can’t believe I stayed as long as I did. I suspect some people stay out of curiosity, a wanting-to-get-your-moneys worth feeling.
I might have stayed even longer but then I heard this: Everything in your life is your fault, including your rape.
They were SUCH **** to me onstage after I'd bared my soul, and talked about everything from being raped to my husband never wanting to have sex with me. The upshot was essentially, Guess what, *****? It's all your fault!
Streams of people came up to me after I got up to do "the work" (translation: get emotionally eviscerated/abused in public).
"The way she talked to you up there made me sick."
"After witnessing that, I don't think I can come back for another day."
"That was unconscionable."
Yet, they all stayed. Why? Like a crowd around a wagon back medicine show, they were desperate to see this "transformation" they had been promised (over and over again) all weekend. ("Don't leave! You are thisclose to "getting" it.)
That was Saturday night. I could have just gone home and not returned for the third day, but something in me woke up. That pit in my stomach? It was on fire. And it wasn’t going to go quietly. I had to make a statement.
As homework the night of Day 2, we were supposed to write a letter to someone we’ve “been inauthentic with.”
I went home and wrote out three pages on a legal pad. I returned bright and early Sunday morning, on time and sitting in my seat (lest I be scolded) like all the other good little sheep.
When it was my turn, I went up to the microphone and began to read:
“Dear, Sarah -- I realize now I have been inauthentic with you." I could feel sympathetic nods up and down from the crowd. I continued.
“When I first heard about Landmark Forum, I had this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. An instinct. A sense of dread. I ignored my inner voice. I let myself look past all the unethical business practices, the high-pressure sales tactics, the abusive, emotional manipulation --"
“-- Turn off her mic! Turn off her mic!” Chris shouted, her arms raised arms up and down like a stiff Henny Penny, and the drones scurried do her bidding.
A Mack truck couldn’t stop me. I didn’t need a microphone, just my own authentic voice. The drones went berserk, buzzing around in the back, bumping into each other over the sound equipment. Someone finally just ripped the cord out of the wall.
Chris raced toward me. She tried to shuffle me offstage -- physically. I calmly (maybe too calmly) told her not to touch me. The audience gasped. Gasped! As if I had done something to HER! Wow, they were goners.
I went on with my letter.
She interrupted, shouting, “What do you want? Do you want a refund?”
I said, "Hell, yes!" and then got the hell off stage.
Three people booed me. Yes, BOOED ME. Another three came to the back of the room to shake my hand, clap me on the back, and tell me that I had just articulated everything they were thinking. Soon enough, though, the drones broke up the conversation.
“I have to ask you to stop this conversation because you are just creating another 'racket,'" which is Landmark-speak for “a persistent complaint with someone or something that leads you into a habitual way of being, thinking, feeling, or acting.”
“See?” I said to the three would-be-defectors. You take issue with something Landmarkian? You are labeled as having a “racket,” “resisting,” or -- my personal favorite -- being “uncoachable.”
So. Is it a cult? Technically, no. But, if it walks like cult, talks like a cult, and preys on people like a cult, it just might be Landmark. If this is what people call “Scientology light,” I’d hate the get anywhere near the real thing.
I have since discovered that a couple of my friends have actually done the basic Landmark Forum. I still don’t understand quite how they couldn’t see through all the mind****ing-disguised-as-enlightenment, deceptive business practices, Stockholm Syndrome-y seminars or the constant, hard-sells to get more involved.
That said, if they got something positive out of it, I am truly glad for them. (And a little in awe.)
One of them asked me, hopefully, “But, Sarah, you must have learned something from it?”
I thought for a moment. “Yes,” I said. “I learned that I should trust my instincts.” Like the time my gut told me, "Sarah, run fast. It’s totally a cult.”

http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2003/dec/14/ameliahill.theobserver


The net is littered with accounts about this cult.






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Scimitar
12-03-2013, 02:20 AM
does no one ask Allah for help anymore?

Sister Faith&Peace - -here is what you need to do... you need to collect all the articles on the net regarding this cultish organisation and then present it to your Halaqah class in a presentation... further, you need to tell them that from now on, you don't beleieve the Halaqah class leaders are capable of earning your trust anymore, then you need to take charge and ask the members if they feel they should choose a new halaqah group leader...

...if they do, put your name up for candiacy, as I believe you got what it takes to lead a halaqah, since you do care for the members.

Scimi
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faithandpeace
12-03-2013, 03:23 AM
Jazakallah khair for the responses here. Astaghfirullah if I misled or overstepped a boundary when using the term "kufr." I realize that declaring something kufr or takfeer of an individual is a very serious matter and I believe the Prophet (saw) said that when this is done improperly it can actually mean that the one doing it is put in a state of kufr (maybe someone can insha'Allah quote the Hadith I'm looking for). In any case, I wasn't referring to the state of those in our halaqa or the leader who are attending and promoting Landmark. However, someone in our group had asked if Landmark was an Islamic program and they said it was not but that it works with Islam in a parallel manner in terms of the values it promotes. It is a secular program in which it is not necessarily run by Muslims and people of different religions or no religion attend.

It sounds similar in style to a multi-level marketing program I had been exposed to years ago. I realize as Muslims (especially when in the minority in my country) there are many things valuable from non-Muslims and we must work with non-Muslims on a day-to-day basis. What raises a major red flag to me is when ideas outside of Qur'an and Sunnah are being promoted within a masjid environment in which we are there to learn about Allah (swt), His Messenger (saw), and the deen. If the Landmark principles truly are in line with Islamic principles, then those promoting it should insha'Allah provide evidence from Qur'an and Sunnah. Otherwise there is the risk that these are innovations. At best I see it as a distraction from Islam and at worst could be involving un-Islamic beliefs, values, or practices. I can't assume either way without evidence but the secrecy of this program makes it seem that much more suspect. Perhaps kufr isn't the word to use but more accurately could be a fitna or Shaytan's whispering to confuse the believers.

I am still trying to reach the leader who is promoting Landmark to find out what is going on. Insha'Allah I will also be in touch with the other leader (not apparently involved with Landmark) to see about getting the group back on track. I don't think I'm qualified to lead a halaqa but insha'Allah could help with it in other ways. In any case, we shouldn't take the deen lightly by "settling for less" by casually considering distractions from it, poor organization or communication, or minor fitnas as "not that big of a deal." There are many sisters and brothers around the world being beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and killed just because they wanted a little more Islam. Given that most of us in our group have comfortable homes, cars, and jobs I don't know why we (and I may be partly to blame for any inaction) are not giving this more potential. I can't change others but I need to see what I can do to improve myself and consequently the entire situation. There is a missing link here because apparently lots of people are embracing Islam in my city yet there aren't a lot of programs that I've found to help them/us. I clearly see people getting lost through the cracks somewhere and there is a lot being done unfortunately to lead people astray. There needs to be serious instruction for serious people. Allah (swt) knows best.
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faithandpeace
12-03-2013, 03:58 AM
Scimitar, jazakallah khair for this very helpful information! :) Can you please also do a favor though and edit out the human faces in your post? I don't think there should be unveiled women featured on an Islamic forum if it isn't necessary.
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~Zaria~
12-03-2013, 04:20 AM
Originally Posted by faithandpeace
Assalamu alaikum.

Awhile back one of the sisters who actually reverted long ago I believe started promoting this Landmark thing which is a series of weekend seminars apparently designed to improve one's life, take more control of themselves, self-help, etc.....

:salam:

Thanks for sharing your experience and making us aware of these types of groups.

We are so fortunate as muslims, to have the answers to lifes challenges within our own deen. SubhanAllah.
Unfortunately, this is not recognized by many - and so, they turn to 'alternative' avenues in seeking ways to 'improve their lives', 'overcome depression', etc.
This group is an extreme example for this.....but it can be seen on smaller scales as well - by means of Motivational Courses, Self-Help Books, etc

While there may be some benefit in all these avenues, there is even greater benefit to be found within the Quraan and the Sunnah of the most beloved to Allah, Muhammed (sallalahu alaihi wasalam).
In almost all cases, these alternative means of self-discovery/ self-help are sought long before turning to the wisdom that Allah and His messenger has revealed to us.

Islam has the answers for our sicknesses of the heart, and much more.
If we believe in this with conviction and if we have the desire to live a life according to our prophet (sallalahu alaihi wasalam) -and make him our ultimate role model - then we will find the most satisfaction in this manner of living, in shaa Allah.

Perhaps, try to convey this message to your group. They are already on the path of seeking knowledge in Islam, mashaAllah - sometimes, its possible to get distracted, or lose our way, and all that is needed is a gentle push in the right direction.

With regards to halaqas themselves:
Alhamdulillah, these groups are often a great way of bonding within our sisters (or brothers) and to share deeni knowledge.
Its not always possible, but a strong halaqa is one that is led by a knowledgeable sister/ teacher (aalimah), so that the discussions can be led in a correct manner, as well as being a chance to sit in the company of those who may be at a higher level of taqwa than ourselves.

However, I think that its important to recognize that the foundations of our islamic knowledge should come from the learned and respected scholars within our communities, and that any other gatherings are 'adjuncts' to this. This may not be always possible (depending on your location), but if we look into the history of many scholars of the past, we will notice that they were willing to travel great distances and live in separation from their family members for long periods of time - just to ensure that they were sitting at the feet of other great scholars of the time.
Alhamdulillah today, it is much easier to obtain knowledge in our own districts, and so this may not be necessary - but it highlights that we should seek out the ulema from within our communities - i.e. we look for the best when it comes to our islam.
^ Consider that we do this subconsciously for all other aspects in life - e.g. when seeking a degree, we apply to the most reputable/ recognized universities/ colleges (as is possible). So, to the best of our abilities, we should also make an effort in obtaining deeni knowledge from strong and respected sources in shaa Allah.

If not, it is very easy to be led astray nowadays.
(In the last year, I attended 2 halaqa sessions and chose not to return - as the one did not have any leader (which meant that the 'blind where leading the blind' - and some interesting interpretations to topics in fiqh were being uncovered), and the other was a 'family' halaqa (which meant that brothers and sisters were inter-mingling beyond their limits)....


In this case, alhamdulillah, you have been protected from this group, and may Allah make you the means of directing others away from any evil doings and towards His goodness at all times.
Ameen.

(On a lighter note sister, your life is certainly filled with very interesting experiences.....my life is sounding very boring in comparison :) )


BarakAllahu feekum

:wa:
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faithandpeace
12-03-2013, 06:26 AM
Wa'alaikum salam, Zaria. Yes, I guess you could say my life has been "interesting" lately. It seems like I keep getting tested often by all these various trials. I don't even think I'm a very good Muslim. I know there are some problems with my nefs that I am struggling to overcome. Yet Islam is the greatest gift Allah (swt) has given me since He created me. Alhamdulillah. So it pains me when I feel someone or something is trying to separate my focus from worshipping Allah (swt), obeying Him, His Messenger (saw), and the deen. And it does seem like from the moment I reverted there have been constant forces from every direction to limit my progress, confuse, or distract me from implementing Islam in my life. Just when I think things are really coming together, I realize I did a sin that I should have known better not to do. I want to help others (such as in this halaqa) and am able to recognize the problems most of the time but it seems like I'm too weak or slow to do enough to improve the situation. Insha'Allah I will become a strong Muslimah someday. :)
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Muhammad
12-03-2013, 03:16 PM
:salamext:

further, you need to tell them that from now on, you don't beleieve the Halaqah class leaders are capable of earning your trust anymore, then you need to take charge and ask the members if they feel they should choose a new halaqah group leader...

...if they do, put your name up for candiacy, as I believe you got what it takes to lead a halaqah, since you do care for the members.
In my humble view and limited understanding of this situation, I think this approach may lead to more problems as it could cause disunity and ill-feeling... I think it would be better to discuss the issue with the leaders and regarding the one who left, encourage her to return. We do not know for sure why she has stopped coming to the Halaqas. Also, the issue extends to others who are not attending the Halaqas so the leaders are not really the cause of the problem. And Allaah :swt: knows best. Remember to make du'a for your community, sister.
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faithandpeace
12-03-2013, 04:06 PM
While I have learned enough about Islam now to put many Islamic tools into my life to become a better Muslim insha'Allah, I think it would be arrogant and foolish to think I am qualified to be a leader of others when I've only been Muslim eight months. If, however, in a random group of Muslims it did turn out that I was the most qualified, then it would say less about me and more about a problem with the local ummah. I have picked up on aspects of Islam quickly such as Arabic religious terminology, wudu/salat, some Qur'an memorization, and the general basics of beliefs and practices. That is just bare basics. We must be educated in the deen and these halaqa sessions are great but just the beginning as I feel learning Arabic (not just a bunch of transliterated words but the language itself) is very important for understanding our deen. It should be taken seriously as it is the language of Allah's (swt) Final Revelation! So these halaqas are important but as even they are just the beginning it is that much more important they don't fall apart.

I feel there may be a bit too much of a focus on dunya-related matters being promoted in the local community. I'm referring to hearing the promotions of finding a professional career, going to university for a career, or meeting a husband more than educating oneself in deen matters. Doing these things for Allah's (swt) sake would be following deen but the way so much of it is presented feels more like "cultural Islam" than Islam. Astaghfirullah for getting off track. That's why I started attending these halaqas to learn real Islam and get away from the previous environment that was more cultural than religious in so many ways. Subhanallah, if these halaqas fall apart and there is nothing else, then insha'Allah I must look into hijra--if not to a Muslim land, then at least to another city that has a more active Islamic community. In any case, I need to think positively, keep my niyyas pure, make dua for our local ummah, and leave it to Allah (swt) to do the rest if He wills it.
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Scimitar
12-03-2013, 04:47 PM
Originally Posted by faithandpeace
Scimitar, jazakallah khair for this very helpful information! :) Can you please also do a favor though and edit out the human faces in your post? I don't think there should be unveiled women featured on an Islamic forum if it isn't necessary.
here's the funny thing sister, the photo was a reflection of a real person - and not an artisitic impression to be admired... she put her face to the article becuase she believes people should not hide behind a veil of anonymity...

ofcourse, on this forum, displaying photos of any person is against the rules and I temporarily forgot that...

Anyway, talking about the lesser fitna in light of the larger one is a bit of a hiccup on this thread...

as you were ladies and gents :)

Scimi
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Scimitar
12-03-2013, 04:50 PM
Originally Posted by Muhammad
:salamext:

In my humble view and limited understanding of this situation, I think this approach may lead to more problems as it could cause disunity and ill-feeling... I think it would be better to discuss the issue with the leaders and regarding the one who left, encourage her to return. We do not know for sure why she has stopped coming to the Halaqas. Also, the issue extends to others who are not attending the Halaqas so the leaders are not really the cause of the problem. And Allaah :swt: knows best. Remember to make du'a for your community, sister.
I see your point.... so what do you suggest? that they carry on and let this happen again?

Look, I aint gonna pretend to know the people in her halaqah class, but i've been to plenty myself and understand that when the SHTF, it's time to re-evaluate the situation, and if that means a re-think on who should be leading them, it must be DONE.

Otherwise, those current leaders will only lead them straight into bida acts such as this stupid cult and therefore, into hellfire. its a sitting duck situation lol... just waiting for the next craze to enter their halaqah class :D uber fail.

And bro Muhammad, the leaders ARE the cause of the problem if they've recommended this cult to their members and the members therefore feel like they've been taken advantage of, especially financially...

Am I the only one who can see this very real possiblilty? no wonder no one is attending lol



Scimi
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Muhaba
12-03-2013, 05:03 PM
I you see some wrong happening it's not only necessary that you say something but it's an Islamic obligation. I read in a hadith something to the effect that if you keep your mouth closed when you should say something then you're a sinner. Don't remember the exact words.

So if you doubt something is going on that might either mislead the people or put them in danger - as cults are known to do - then it's important to voice your thoughts. You can talk about it in a wise manner, even in a questioning manner so that it doesn't seem you're preaching. Like, you might ask the sisters why they aren't attending the Islamic class, is something keeping them busy, etc. If they don't talk about the landmark forum, you can bring the subject to it yourself, like say, so have you heard about this landmark forum, etc. and then turn the topic to the dangers and using your research as supporting evidence.

Finally, you can suggest that the sister do istikhara prayer to get guidance regarding this issue.
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Muhammad
12-03-2013, 05:52 PM
Originally Posted by Scimitar
I see your point.... so what do you suggest? that they carry on and let this happen again?
Not at all. I've mentioned some suggestions earlier and others have given some great suggestions too, in terms of approaching the people who are attending the Landmark Forum, or otherwise conveying important advice to others. This can be done without calling for a change in leadership of the Halaqas.

And bro Muhammad, the leaders ARE the cause of the problem if they've recommended this cult to their members and the members therefore feel like they've been taken advantage of, especially financially...
It was my understanding that another sister recommended the Forum and that's when one of the leaders as well as others decided to go to it. It does not sound like the Halaqas themselves are recommending it to the attendees.
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Scimitar
12-03-2013, 08:19 PM
oh yes, I recall that from the OP now, my apologies :embarrass

"Hello Imran, you look happy today" remarked Abdullah, "yes, I'm happier than I've ever been," returned Imran with a smile.
"what's changed? I mean, you always used to look stressed out and stuff, and now, you look like you've stepped off a surf board after catching the most amazing wave and owning it - what's the secret?" asked Abdullah. "Ah, well you can thank Landmark for that - their course changed my life" explained Imran...

WHOA... STOP... !!!! Landmark changed your life? You ungrateful idiot.

Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
Qur'an 94:5-6

Allah tells us in the Quran that after every difficulty there is relief, and we forget WHO to thank?

This is one very real problem with people who boast about organisations like Landmark being their saving grace.

Scimi
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greenhill
12-03-2013, 10:45 PM
Originally Posted by Scimitar
Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
Verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
Qur'an 94:5-6

Allah tells us in the Quran that after every difficulty there is relief, and we forget WHO to thank?
Yup, like there is a cure for everything in the quran, it's just we forgot how to use it...(?)

Peace :shade:
Reply

faithandpeace
12-04-2013, 09:01 AM
Originally Posted by Scimitar
here's the funny thing sister, the photo was a reflection of a real person - and not an artisitic impression to be admired... she put her face to the article becuase she believes people should not hide behind a veil of anonymity...

ofcourse, on this forum, displaying photos of any person is against the rules and I temporarily forgot that...

Anyway, talking about the lesser fitna in light of the larger one is a bit of a hiccup on this thread...

as you were ladies and gents :)

Scimi
It is nothing against you. I'm only a beginner Muslim so I don't know all the details about everything. However, it is an obligation if we do know of something deen related that should be improved upon to point that out no matter how small. I encorage (and hope) others would do the same for me. :) Sometimes something cannot necessarily be fitna but has the potential to lead towards it. Even me as a woman have to sometimes lower my gaze from other women the way some of them are dressed to avoid feelings of envy, competition, and too much body-consciousness.

The fitna of this Landmark Forum sounds serious. It is taking sisters' time and money away from the ummah, is likely confusing and alienating the new believers who are not a part of Landmark, and worse may well be leading Muslims astray from the deen due to bidah. In any case if it is just a distraction, then it means it is slowing down our Islamic education.

Insha'Allah I am meeting with the sister leader not apparently involved with Lanmark soon and insha'Allah will voice my concerns directly and discuss how to proceed. The goal is to improve the situation without "burning bridges." And Allah (swt) knows best.
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Scimitar
12-04-2013, 02:39 PM
Considering that the Landmark Forum course costs roughly the same as a weekly wage for 39 hours worth of Landmark which equates to a working week... this organisation is minting money BIGTIME.

If they get a class full of students, say 15 average (I have no idea how many they have per session so I'm being careful with estimates) that's 15 X £250 = £3,750 they earn, and off that, they'll pay a percentage to the course tutor and assistant - lets minus a generous £300 for each, plus another £15 for materials and a further £390 odd pounds for renting a conference room for the period (equated at £10 per hour) and they've profited £2745.00


Thats for a very conservative estimate of 15 students of landmark attending, to my knowledge these classes have more students and so, the profit margin increases,

Consider, this is for one locality only, and multiple classes are currently en vogue all over the world...

...this organisation is a beast.

Scimi
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Abdussamad
08-07-2018, 07:33 AM
Asalam walaikum,

By reading all the comments in thread, I got a better clarity on my concern on landmark.. Jazak Allah for the insights.. I feel It is infact harmful for the Deen as it can make you praise the forum instead of Allah subhana taala.

These are the seven commandments they teach the students at the end
(I have a question related to this)

Secret seven

The Landmark Forum's 'seven commandments' for being an extraordinary person:

· Be Racket-Free: give up being right - even when you know you were.

· Be Powerful: be straight in your communication and take what you get.

· Be Courageous: acknowledge your fear (not necessarily get rid of it) and then act.

· Be Peaceful: give up the interpretation that there's something wrong.

· Be Charismatic: give up trying to get somewhere. Be entirely fulfilled in the present moment.

· Be Enrolling: share your new possibilities in such a way that others are touched, moved and inspired.

· Be Unreasonable: in expectations of yourself and others beyond what you would think they are capable of.


These commandments seems to be impressive but I'm very sure Islam must be teaching these commandments in Quran and hadees. I just don't know how find them.. if someone can guide me in finding these commandments..
Jazak Allah khair
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