2021 June 9 – NT – female age 28 – What Did I Learn at My First Class?

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu (may you be safe from evil and the Mercy of Allah and His Blessings be upon you).

I am a Muslim woman that I reverted to Islam 12 years ago and I have always wanted to improve my knowledge of Islam. I started praying at the Islamic Center of Northern Virginia during Ramadan and I have asked some brothers and sisters if they knew about any classes or programs for the Islamic religion. They told me about the GISLA program.

I joined the GISLA program and I attended my first meeting on Sunday, June 6th. I met sister J and brother C. We all met inside the masjid and we introduced ourselves.

The teacher explained the program to me and then he started explaining a few points about praying.

The first part before the prayer is to make the intention to perform Wudu. Wudu is an Islamic procedure for cleansing parts of the body. Why is it important to perform Wudu? Wudu’s intention is basically making sure you are cleansing your body from inappropriate behaviors.

The first step in Wudu is saying, “Bismillah” (in the name of God).

The second step is to wash the hands 3 times, that will be an example of “God forgive that I wrote something bad.” The third step is to rinse the mouth 3 times, that will be an example of “God forgive if I said anything bad.” The fourth step is to clean the nose 1 time. The fifth step is to wash the face 3 times. The sixth step is to wash each arm 3 times. The seventh step is to wipe from the top of the head all the way back to your neck and wipe the ears. And the last step is to wash each foot 3 times.

After we learned about Wudu, the teacher asked us why do we pray 2 cycles when we enter a masjid? The answer is that you are introducing yourself to God’s house. The teacher asked us to explain or show him how we perform the prayer and he corrected us as we were performing. One of the things that I learned before starting a prayer is to say, “number of cycles, type of prayer for the consent of Allah.”

Another point that I have learned was that at the last cycle at the last Shasta you can say dua after you finish with the Tashahhud part, that’s why it’s longer if you pray with other people at the masjid or jamaan (group).

Another point that I learned is if a prayer started then how do you know that you missed a cycle or not? So, the teacher explained that if the Sheikh said, “Sami Allahou wa limanhamida” as soon as he said Sami, then you missed a cycle. How do you make up that cycle? When the sheikh says Salam Alekoum at the end of the prayer then you get up and you make up the cycles that you missed.

After we learned about Wudu and prayers, we went to a different room, which was the classroom. We asked questions and the teacher gave us 2 small books. One of the books was the proper prayer and how to perform a prayer, and the second book was the 30th Juz’ Amma with translation. He asked us to learn Surah Al- Kawthar and to know the meaning.

I enjoyed the first day of class because I am always open to improve my religion but also it will challenge me to write every week of what I learned and I believe this program has so much potential for young Muslims, converts, but also anyone who wanted to learn more about Islam. Looking forward to next class and to meet more sisters and brothers.

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