2020 October 11 – HH – female age 17 – Class Notes

          This week I was supposed to bring Ayat al Kursi memorized in English and Arabic. I didn’t have it memorized line by line by I did memorize all.

          At the start of class, we did two cycles of prayer, either for your Faji or for your nafil when you enter the mosque. After praying, we did some meditations. We used the mantras, “Thank you my Lord, forgive me my Lord, bless us my Lord” or we repeat la illa ha illa Allah. We say bless us instead of just bless me, because the prophet also extended his prayers to everyone, like in At tayyat.       

          After we meditated, we talked about the significant numbers in Islam. Those number are 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6. 1 refers to the one God we worship. The 3 refers to the sunnah of the Prophet that said we should do things in 3s. That’s why we do the motions of wudu (cleaning before prayer) in 3s and many of the phrases in prayer we repeat 3 times. The next number was 4 which refers to two things. One of them is referring to the 4 books and the other for the 4 prominent angels. The 4 books are in order of revelation are the Psalms of David, the Torah, the Bible, and the Quran. The 4 angels are Jibril, the angel who brought down the books, Mikael, the angel that is responsible for the weather and natural disasters, Israfeil is the angel that blow the horn that signals the Day of Judgement, and Israel is the angel that brings people to heaven or hell. Jibril, as my teacher says is retired, he finished his jobs with the last revelation to the Prophet. The number 5 is meant to represent the 5 pillars of Islam. In order they are Shahada (declaration of faith), prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage. It also refers to the 5 prayers of the day; Fajir at sunrise, Duhr at noon, Asr at midday, Maghrib at sunset, and Isha between sunset and midnight. Finally, the 6 refers to the pillars of faith. The ‘story’ my teacher tells with the pillars is: There’s one God, who had millions and millions of angels, angels who brought down the holy books via APS (angel postal service) to the Prophets. The Prophets then conveyed the divine laws, told people about the Day of Judgment. So, in conclusion, the 6 pillars are God, the angels, the books, the Prophets, the divine laws, and the Day of Judgement.

          The next topic was about inventions, entrepreneurship, and charity. Many of the large historical inventions and discoveries were made by Muslims. But as time has gone on, the intelligence center of the world has shifted from the Middle East and slowly dissipated. Now the big creators of the world come form all over. Take for example, the creator of 5-hour energy, who I believe is Muslim After making billions of dollars on his invention, the creator went on to donate almost all his money. In this case, he is fulfilling his requirement for being a caliphate of the Earth, making the world a better place. The difference is that others like Bill Gates, who are making the world a better place, could be doing it with such a larger conviction. The reason we practice the 5 pillars is not only to become closer to God and to fuel our conviction to go ahead and make the world a better place. I feel like this is really important to remember because I feel like people get very caught up in just doing the pillars of Islam, just prayer prayer prayer, or charity, charity, charity that we forget the bigger picture of the world. Prayer and charity is good but we must also take into account how to help those around us and how to make the biggest positive change for the most people. This also connects to the story of Alfred Noble. One day he woke up and saw an obituary that was supposed to be for his brother but was really talking about him. People were saying that he was a mean and horrible person. He had an epiphany and realized that his life had to change. That was the creation of the Nobel Peace Prize. This prize has motivated so many people globally to try to do good in the world in hopes of getting the prize. Despite being mean for a long time, he created this thing that has done worlds of good and has an international impact.

          On the topic of charity, my teacher brought up two good points. One of them was that although giving charity is good and we should all do; we shouldn’t give so much that we don’t have enough for ourselves. This goes back to the point of moderation and how everything we do must be in a balance. We shouldn’t go to one extreme and not give any charity at all, but we also shouldn’t give so much that we don’t have enough to support ourselves. The other point went along with this was to be selfless. Many of us don’t exhibit this trait. It’s something that doesn’t come naturally to anyone but one we must constantly work towards. Being selfless goes hand in hand with being grateful. We must always be greatly even in moments where it seems like we have nothing.

          The next story was about a man who the Prophet said was going to heaven. His followers were wondering why he would go because he lived his life just like everyone else. But what they didn’t know was that every night before he went to bed, he would clear his mind and his ‘score’ with everyone. Every night he went to bed he would tell God that he was ready to die. It was about the importance of always forgiving people and doing what can be done today today, and not leaving it for another day. It taught me that there is absolutely no reason to hold grudges. We never know if we’re going to make it to live past today and we don’t want to go to the grave with things hanging over our head. I think this is important to do because keeping a grudge is not helpful for anyone, it’s easier to just solve the problem and forgive each other.

          The next topic we went over was our formative years. When people normally think of formative, they think of us right now, we’re teenagers and were still going and changing. But really, formative can be any period in your life. For example, very soon, I’ll be going through my formative adult years. My parents are going through their own type of formative years, a transition from one aspect of life to the next. The important thing to remember about formative years is that were there for a reason. It would complete cray of me to try and go to college right now, since I’m not ready for it, or to jump and try to spend all my time studying when that’s not something I do even now. To skip over some of your formative years is damaging to our growth and development.

          For next week, I must bring the English meaning of surah Quraish and sural al Fil as well as the line by line translation of Ayat al Kursi.

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