2023 Nov -Week 3 – by female 17 yrs

Week 3, SB-17 Female, November 11, 2023

I arrived at class on time today at exactly 9:45 am, with my printed essay in hand, feeling both excited and nervous for what the day had in store. The American flag stood tall in the room, and we began our day by facing it and reciting the four pledges. Our teacher informed us that we would have to arrive earlier for meditation and Fajr prayers, which made me both apprehensive and curious about this new routine.
Our class was full of students who were all practicing for test out, and I was no exception. We usually began our lesson by going over the metaphors listed on the whiteboard, but today was different. Our teacher had a different plan. He wanted us to spend most of our class time reviewing and studying the prayers in English translations. I decided to give it my all and started examining the translations. As the clock ticked away, I felt more and more nervous since the teacher expected us to learn a few translations in less than an hour. Memorizing things has always been a challenge for me, and I usually need to write them over and over again to commit them to memory. However, I knew that I had to give it my best shot, so I kept studying until I felt confident enough to recite the translations. To my surprise, the teacher was less strict with me than he was with other students who had been in Sunday school longer. He asked me to pray in front of him first, and as he watched me, I could feel him judging my every move. Despite my fears, I managed to pass the test, and the teacher looked satisfied, which was a shock to me. Although we didn’t test out, the teacher gave us a few minutes to study three Surahs, and I decided to study the easy ones: Surah Asr, Al-Kawthar, and Al-Ikhlas.
Suddenly, the door opened, and the pizza delivery guy walked in. We all got excited, and the teacher decided to be friendly and give us a five-minute break to enjoy the pizza. Despite the short break, we managed to keep our mouths shut and not get too carried away. Once we finished our pizzas, the teacher resumed his daily routine and started reviewing our essays. He began by pointing out that most students had mixed up the moon with other stories, which was a common mistake. He then gave us a lecture on the importance of submitting assignments on time. The teacher shared a story about a student who had submitted their essay late, which made me realize that I also needed an extension. I had forgotten entirely about my college application deadlines, which were fast approaching.
Fast forward to today. I asked for an extension last class, and I got it, but now it’s Saturday, and I have only just started on my essay. The teacher emphasized how crucial time management is as it helps us make the most of our limited time and resources. He explained that by effectively planning and organizing our tasks, we can prioritize what needs to be done, allocate time appropriately, and ensure that critical deadlines are met. Not only does this boost productivity, but it also reduces stress and fosters a healthier work-life balance. The teacher went on to explain that when we manage our time well, we can focus on the quality of our work, make better decisions, and create opportunities for personal and professional growth. His words made me realize how important it is to manage my time effectively, not just for this essay but for my future endeavors. I feel guilty just writing this. I should have managed my time better and not procrastinated until the last minute. However, I’m grateful for the teacher’s lecture and the reminder that time management is crucial for success in all areas of life.
We later talked in detail about the English translation of the Surah Maun. Surah Al-Ma’un, the 107th chapter of the Quran, teaches us about being kind and helpful to others. It criticizes people who ignore the needs of orphans and don’t help the poor, emphasizing that faith isn’t just about prayers but also about caring for those around us. The Surah reminds us that small acts of kindness matter and that we should be compassionate in our daily lives, not just in religious rituals. In simple terms, it encourages us to be good neighbors, help those in need, and show kindness to everyone. The teacher reviewed the metaphor of making a phone call to Allah. Our teacher said that sincere prayers are needed for a strong bond with Allah. In Islam, praying from the heart is crucial. It’s not just about going through the motions or showing off to others. Instead, it’s about having a genuine and honest connection with Allah.
When we pray sincerely, with valid feelings and a genuine desire to connect with our Creator, it becomes more meaningful. The teacher also taught us the importance of helping those in need through acts of charity. One way Muslims fulfill this duty is by giving a portion of their wealth to charity, known as Zakat. Zakat is usually 2.5% of a person’s total income over a year, meant to purify their wealth and assist the less fortunate. Although there isn’t a specific 20% rule, Muslims are encouraged to go beyond Zakat and engage in voluntary charity, known as “sadaqah.” The amount given in voluntary charity can vary based on individual circumstances. Still, the overall principle is to develop a spirit of generosity and compassion towards others in our community, in other words, in our “zipcode.”
In preparation for our next class, we should focus on two main objectives. Firstly, we should prepare to ensure that we are well-equipped to tackle any questions that our teachers may ask us. Secondly, we aim to learn as many English translations of Surahs as possible, not just to memorize the translations but also to understand the more profound meaning and the story behind each Surah. Understanding the context and background of each Surah can help us gain a deeper appreciation for the holy text and its teachings. This knowledge will also enable us to apply the lessons learned to our daily lives and become better Muslims.

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