2020 September 20 – HL – male age 15 – Class Notes

            This week I woke up at 7:00 A.M on a chilly Sunday morning in mid-September. It was about the third or so day in a row that it had been rather cold outside and due to the fact that the autumn equinox was merely two short days away, it could be assumed that this rather chilly weather would be the new norm for at least the next six months. My homework assignment for that week was to write a thousand-word essay on what I learned in the previous class, review the level one test (the full Islamic prayer in Arabic and English along with five surahs sentence by sentence), memorize Ayat-ul Qursi in English sentence by sentence, and read the second chapter of the book Reading the Qur’an by Ziauddin Sardar for a class discussion consisting of all four level two members along with several of the adult member of the Green Stairs Leadership Academy. The only assignments I completed out of what was assigned to me were the book pages from Reading the Qur’an by Ziauddin Sardar and the essay (albeit I did ask for an essay extension which Teacherji agreed to). This week I have the same assignments to complete except that I have to read through chapter three of Reading the Qur’an this time. 

            After waking up, I immediately went to the bathroom to take a shower and make wudu. I prayed Fajr approximately twenty-five minutes late that morning as I forgot to set an alarm. After praying, I went downstairs to make myself breakfast; two eggs with toast. After finishing my breakfast, I glanced at the clock and noticed that I still had an hour left until I needed to leave for the mosque. I rinsed my plate and put it in the sink, and headed back upstairs to do some light studying while I had the time. That following Thursday I was going to have two quizzes and needed to prepare for them. I had a quiz on ‘Special Right Triangles’ in Precalculus that Tuesday and a quiz on mole, mass, and atomic conversions in Chem on Thursday. I only spent about twenty or so minutes preparing for my Precalculus quiz as I felt as though I had already mastered the concepts so I just went over the material to review a bit. Chemistry on the other hand was brutal; I didn’t understand the notes given in class and had found several practice pages on KhanAcademy.com to practice with. After watching some of the videos on how to solve the problems on the site, I got started with the practice sheets and after completing the second one I felt much more confident with the material. At this point it was already 9:20 AM so I decided to pack everything up, and ask my dad if he could drop me off to the Green Stairs Leadership Academy classroom at the mosque.

            We left the house at 9:25 AM, and arrived at the mosque at 9:37 AM. As I recall, I was quite nervous to walk into the classroom as I was seven minutes late to class which is not acceptable in the Green Stairs Leadership Academy. I rushed up to class and said Salam as I walked in. One of the adult members of the class (C) told me to pray my two cycles of prayer then get settled for class. Subsequently, after finishing my prayer, I picked up a desk and chair from the stack and sat down. Not five minutes after I sat down, Teacherji told all of level two to move to the other side of the classroom so we could all have a discussion on the book pages we were assigned to read over the course of that week.

            During the forty minute discussion we had, we talked about how the author mentioned that the way the Qur’an was formatted may seem illogical to some, (particularly those who are recent reverts or weren’t raised in Islamic tradition) but this is only a factor in discussion when the Qur’an is compared to other holy texts. For example, The Holy Bible was written in chronological order where each chapter begins with “Once upon a time” or a phrase similar to that effect. The Qur’an was not written this way and was instead written in a way that makes the commandments of God clear. Another key point we discussed was the fact that just because a particular section of the Qur’an is longer than another, does not mean that it is more important than another. For example, one of the points Surah Baqarah, which is the longest chapter of the Qur’an, is hygiene and cleaning your nails whereas Surah Ikhlas (one of the shortest chapters in the Qur’an) is all about the oneness of God. Logically, shouldn’t Surah Ikhlas be the longest chapter? No, because this is the way God arranged his holy book and another reason why the Bible is written in chronological order is because it was written by humans, not God. If you take a look at the original Old Testament, it is written in a similar manner as the Holy Qur’an.

            After our book discussion, we started the class lecture. Teacherji’s first point was the fact that one of the most important things in life is discipline. Many people procrastinate and don’t take ownership of their actions and this is why they fail in life. To give a real-life example, just last week the Washington Football team one a game although they were originally down 17-0. This is because of their new coach’s interesting coaching strategy. He doesn’t yell at their players the way most coaches would. Instead, he makes them take ownership of their actions. He tells them “Hey if you’re going to play like that it is fine, just don’t expect to stay on the roster.” This style of coaching works because it allows the players to reflect on their actions. 

            The next topic in the lecture was the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She did a lot of great things in her life, especially with regard to women’s rights. Teacherji even went as far as to say that she was the MLK for women. She is truly an idol for someone who wants to help change the world for the better. God-willing, I hope I can do half the amount of things that she did for humanity as a whole.

            The next thing Teacherji brought up in the class discussion was a statistic; he told us that the average college graduate ends their career earning approximately $160 thousand dollars a year. I quickly raised my hand and said that I didn’t think that statistic made sense at all simply due to the fact that the average salary in the US is $50 thousand dollars a year. He told me to put my hand down a listen to what he was saying before I said anything. While he was talking, I realized that most people didn’t go to college whether it was due to financial reasons or their grades simply weren’t up to par.

            The next concept we discussed was complacency. Teacherji explained to us that people become complacent in life and stop moving forward. In his example, he told us to assume (M) is a mid-level worker at some company and makes $80 thousand a year. (M) is now complacent with his comfortable income and stops moving forward in life when in actuality, his potential is much higher than the work he puts in. Not long ago I realized that this was the attitude I had towards this class and have been trying to be better. I may be somewhat of a hypocrite however because this essay was due on Sunday evening and it is now Wednesday afternoon. 

            Before we ended the class, Teacherji told us all that it was now mandatory for every member of the class to wear their Green Stairs Leadership Academy t-shirts to class every Sunday as it would help us grow the GSLA culture of excellence. In order to grow that culture of excellence, everyone needs to buy into a culture of excellence. 

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