2021 October 3 — SS — male age 15 — Week 4
Hello everyone! Today is my 4th week at the Green Stairs Academy Program. I walked in the classroom and when I entered, there were only two students.
We went inside the masjid together and prayed 2 rakats of prayer for the masjid. After we finished, we were supposed to close our eyes and meditate by clearing our thoughts and saying La Ilaha Illallah.
Afterwards, Teacher I came and told us about Shaitan and how he creates these random thoughts to stop us from thinking about Allah. We then went back inside. Some new students were waiting for us to come and we sat down. Teacher I chose a student to stand up and lead us in saying the pledge of allegiance, faith and knowledge.
We were unable as a class to say the pledges together. Teacher I said that we have to learn how to say these and that we would have to memorize them until next class.
He then said that we should have memorized our homework by the time we come to class.
He had the new students stand up and introduce themselves by talking for 3 minutes nonstop. Everyone tried their best and I learned something new about them. Teacher I then wanted everyone to line up and get tested by him or by one of our other teachers.
I went ahead and got tested by Teacher O. He tested me on my duas and my salaat. I told him 3 duas in Arabic and English. I kept making a mistake but I corrected myself and continued on. The 3 duas were Thanaa, Rab-bij-alni, Wali-daya. I did my homework pretty well but Teacher I asked me if I was ready. He said that I have to be because otherwise, if I make a mistake, Teacher O would be kicked out for being an ineffective instructor. I decided to recheck myself one more time so I would pass.
Teacher I then told us that Teacher O had to teach both me and student H. We then prayed two rakats of practice prayer so he can see how are we doing. He asked me to spot his mistakes and fix them and vice versa. After practicing inside the classroom, we entered the masjid and practiced our duas and salaat.
I would say a verse in Arabic and then I would say the same verse in English. We took turns praying and pointing out each other’s mistakes. Teacher O said that I must be self-confident so that I don’t panic and forget anything. This way, I wouldn’t make a mistake. Teacher I tested us.
I said my homework decently but I still need to practice a bit more.
We went inside and relaxed during a 5-minute pizza break. We had a nice conversation going on and Teacher O told us that an important thing to do is to open ourselves up to other people.
By opening up, we can communicate more clearly and we can make ourselves understood. Good speech is part of being a good leader and that is why it’s a valuable skill. Teacher S told us of his experience and what we could learn by doing so. Teacher O told me to walk up in front of everyone and show everyone how they should pray salaat properly. I demonstrated and then, he congratulated me for doing so.
Teacher O then told us that he was giving us some intriguing homework. We had to research Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) sons. We would learn their names, date of birth and their date of death. He was giving us this homework so we would research about Islam’s prophet.
Teacher I drew a dartboard on the whiteboard. He asks us where would we aim if we have 5 dart throws each? All of us said that we would aim for the bullseye because it would give us more points. However, Teacher I proved to us that he has a higher chance of hitting the dartboard than us hitting the bullseye.
We should be the same during salaat. We can’t be perfect but we can try to be our best and Allah will accept that. Teacher I talked about how there is one God and that is Allah. He said the all partners, different aspects, or more gods are all fake and false inventions.
He compared religion to a tree, where the belief in only one God is the trunk of the tree and all the other branches are false inventions.
He also talked about perspective and how we need to pay attention.
Teacher I used an example and it went like this. There are 2 students; one is good at math and the other student is bad at it. An “A” earned by the smart student is different from the “A” earned by the bad student. The smart student easily earns it while the bad student works hard. This is a matter of perspective. Teacher I said how he used to pluck feathers from a chicken the old way when he learned that using hot water would make the feathers fall off. He said we should think vertically, so to speak because it would help us. Teacher I then told us about situational awareness so we can understand what is happening around us. We should be aware of the situation before walking into it.
He used the example of a pool. If we are jumping in the pool, we should check if there’s water or if you are on the shallow side of the pool or if something is in the water. This way, you know what you should expect. He then asks some of the new students what are our responsibilities as Khalifah of Allah. Teacher I told us that we could not look at it because he was showing us a real-life example of situational awareness.
We should know it because as we came in the room, we looked around and see what was there. After that question, class ended and I left