Out of all the Islamic courses I have done, I saw an unparalleled effect upon myself by the alkauthar course, 'Purification of the Soul' delivered by Surkheel Sharif. Its a pity he does not take too many courses. I only found a handful of his speeches or articles online. Then again, since I had the opportunity of taking the knowledge from him, face to face, hand in hand, I do not feel satisfied with just his voice or typed up words. Taking knowledge from a teacher through direct interaction is really very different from learning from books or listening to a pre-recorded audio. A teacher passes down his knowledge through his entire personality, every single gesture. I liked Surkheel Sharif's honesty, humbleness, constant self review, confidence, all in all his overall personality, as much as I saw. He sounded very respectful and caring towards everyone. When a charity organisation came up at the end of his speech, he declared, 'Now this is what I consider real work'. However we would like to deny it, the embarrassing truth is, many Muslim men do not know how to respect a woman as a human. But, I am sure every woman in that room felt very honoured and found nothing offensive (that they had to reason with in their head in order to keep respecting the speaker) in anything Surkheel Sharif said.
I remember him shyly admitting he is not a very social person, yet when he spoke he sounded like he enjoys being a teacher and speaking about his passion. I remember him frankly admitting, being a teacher and refraining from ostentation and pride is very difficult. He tried his best, nevertheless, found it hard. Few of us asked him a question in the break, the way he spoke did not make us feel uncomfortable like many scholars do, though he was extremely polite and proper.
When one feels so awed by another person's personality then taking learning becomes easy. Only someone who is very honest with himself will not be afraid of being exposed to people of random backgrounds and being close to them. When I think of Prophet Muhammad (PhuH), this stands out to me. He fearlessly mixed with people, gave them a chance to be close to him, come near him and observe him. And then, the inevitable happened, they loved him and embraced his teachings.
I wish we had someone like him down here in Sydney. Just being in his company has it's effect. Makes one feel very much compelled to purify her entire self, inside out.