2021 October 31 — BA — male age 16 — Week 8

In my 7th week in GISLA, my was homework was to bring surah Nas, surah falaq, and surah Ihklas along with my weekly essay. This week was my last week in terms of preparing for the essay and learning new content. After this week I should be ready for the exam. I arrived to class at 9:30. Before class started I had a chat with a couple of teachers on my essay. I think the main point there was to always inform your teacher of anything that comes up causing a late essay. During class time today, we had some very interesting topics including essay requirements and instructions, Halloween and Diwali as well as introducing ourselves to the new students.

As I was gone for a portion of the beginning of the class. I joined back in when it was time to test out. I tested Teacherji on the 3 surahs I had for homework. Then he told me to the tashahud meaning because he knew I forgot it. He assigned me to one of the parent helpers and told me to first pass to them then come do the same to him. While in our testing period we had some late students show up as well as 2 new students. The 2 new students were my cousins and I told them previously to join the academy. We discussed our first topic which was essay requirements and an example of a good essay. This was primarily a review but it was an expectation for everyone in the class including the new students. Teacherji said to include name, gender, age, as well as word count. He then read some examples of a good and a bad essay. We also had student J who majors in writing said to use some grammar websites to help prevent grammatical mistakes. TeacherJi gave us another tip: to use other students’ essay’s to use as a guideline but not to copy.

We then had student H come up and talk about class expectations. He said that the program is much different from any masjid school. The goal is to use leadership qualities with Islamic ideas to convey its message. He then discussed the 5-9 and 9-5. Saying in the US Muslims act much differently and have different personalities outside our homes than inside. This is very true because I act much differently when I’m at my house than when I’m with my friends. After teacherji did the overused joke to the new students about bs. He asked them if there full of bs and they respond with the answer no as anybody would. Teacherji responds with Why would I be asking BS in a masjid? He tells them bs stands for belief and sincerity. Thus connecting it to common sense and context. We then talked about goats and sheep again as brought up in week 3. Goats meaning leaders basically and sheep are followers who don’t necessarily think.

We then entered the Halloween topic which was very climactic. Teacherji said he keeps candy outside his house for kids who celebrate Halloween. As everybody was in shock that he does that. He told us that these kids knocking on Muslim people’s doors and not giving candy will make them not liking people our type. Teacherji then said that technically every mainstream pizza place is haram. Because them using the same equipment with pepperoni pizzas but yet we still eat it knowing that. He also said chasing perfection at a young age is a bad thing. At our age, we should be learning how to do the right things. Teacherji said his father was very strict and he chased perfection at a certain age. We then talked about the Hindu celebration named Diwali. He said some Hindus celebrate eid and some Muslims celebrate Diwali. We celebrate them without judging one’s beliefs or religion. After wrapping up the lesson we went back to testing. I tested out to teacherji the tashahud that he asked me to do. He told me to learn the dua at the end. By then the pizza arrived. As we were eating we had a controversial topic on who goes to hell. We had a helper who was Muslim but his sister was a Christian and he asked us if she would go to hell or heaven. Most people said sadly she’s is going to hell. Then we feuded over how and why that will happen. The students said she’s obviously going to hell for not being Muslim. The teachers said that should be our business as well as we have no right to say who goes to heaven or hell.

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