2023 Oct F 17

Week 2, SB-17 Female, October 23, 2023

Today, I arrived at 10 AM, which was later than I had initially planned. As soon as I walked into the classroom, I could sense that my teachers were disappointed with me for being late. They emphasized the importance of punctuality and warned us that we would not be allowed to enter the class if we were late again. I brought my printed essay and phone for the teacher to check my grades. However, I still need to memorize the English prayers and the last three pledges of allegiance, but I am working on it. In the previous class, the teacher told us we would review and read our essays aloud. I was worried that the teacher might ask me to recite my essay in front of the class, but fortunately, that did not happen.
The teacher first reviewed the mistakes in my prior essay. I had inadvertently confused the poster on the wall regarding the greentairs with the actual class material. The goal of this course is not limited to developing one’s Muslim identity and contributing to society but rather to exploring the depths of ourselves through literature and practical wisdom. By doing so, we can strive towards self-improvement and effect positive change in the world.
We started the class by exploring the concept of the 8-second rule and the obstacles that can hinder our ability to remain present. With distractions from school, home, and future goals, it can be a daunting task to connect with Allah on a spiritual level during prayer. Our teacher noted that achieving spiritual connection is an ongoing journey, and they have yet to master it fully. Nevertheless, we can progress by dedicating ourselves to regular practice and striving to attain a minimum of 8 seconds of focused prayer. In comparison, the teacher used the analogy of a phone call. When we engage in prayer, we are essentially reaching out to Allah via a phone call. However, the quality of that connection is mainly dependent upon us. As one of the teachers quoted, “If your connection is weak, your call to Allah won’t get through.” A better way to think about this is spiritual bucks. The more we have, the more quickly our prayers can be answered. By dedicating ourselves to spiritual prayer and fostering a more robust connection during those moments, our prayers are more likely to be answered than those who do not prioritize. During the lecture, the teacher emphasized the importance of having a stronger connection with Allah by using the B.R. concept, which stands for Belief and Ritual. Using my mother as an example, the teacher explained how she taught my siblings and me the prayers ritually and left us to believe in them spiritually. However, there is a misconception about whether belief or ritual is better. The teacher further clarified that neither is superior to the other. To become a good Muslim and connect strongly with Allah, we must incorporate belief and ritual into our prayers.
We played a game that revolved around the concept of 1, 5, and 6 in Islam. We were all asked to stand up in our chairs and name specific things related to Islam based on our assigned number. While the initial numbers were easy, I found it challenging when given the numbers 4, 6, and 7. However, it was an excellent opportunity to relearn many things I had forgotten, such as the four books, Khalifas, angels, rakats, and imams. We also discussed the six beliefs in Islam, which include Allah, prophets, the books, angels, the day of judgment, and accountability.
Additionally, we talked about the seven stages of hell and heaven and how every Muslim should strive to achieve the highest level possible. This is where the soap vs water came into the conversation. It is common sense that cleaning oneself with soap makes one much cleaner than cleaning oneself with water. An example of this is when Prophet Mohammed used Meswak for dental hygiene. Some may argue that this shows that using Meswak instead of a toothbrush is a sign of being a better Muslim. Nonetheless, it’s essential to keep in mind that the Prophet utilized what was accessible to him to achieve the desired outcome – clean teeth. We should understand the rationale behind his decision, even if using the same Meswak is optional. He chose Meswak over using his finger to clean his teeth. We can use many other examples to relate this concept to Islam. One of the scenarios presented to us was when an individual who had just performed wudu was approached by a friend who wanted him to meet a woman. The individual politely declined, citing his obligation to pray and not wanting to jeopardize the purity of his intentions. This example illustrates the importance of adhering to one’s intentions, even in the face of external distractions.
Another compelling example we discussed was the story of Ahmad Dila, a man who was paralyzed and could only move his eyes. Despite his physical limitations, he still prayed by just using his eyes. This example demonstrated that prayer is possible under any circumstances, but we can not mix emergency and ideal. During our conversation, the topic of socks came up. The teacher shared a story of two young girls who found themselves stranded in a classroom during a severe storm. Both girls had wet shoes and no food or water, leaving them with no choice but to leave the classroom. However, one of the girls, wearing pricey socks, was reluctant to leave, fearing that her socks would be ruined. The other girl, wearing more reasonably priced socks, decided to venture out and seek help. Tragically, she lost a toe to frostbite in her efforts to find assistance, while the girl who stayed behind perished. Overall, the teacher’s message from this story is that we should focus on practical solutions rather than getting hung up on superficial things like expensive clothing or food. Ultimately, common sense should guide our actions, and we should prioritize our health and safety over material possessions.
We also explored the principles of LGA and ILYA, which emphasized the importance of expressing our love for our loved ones and Allah through the phrase ” I love you always.” The teacher shared an anecdote about a girl who prayed fervently to go to the moon but was puzzled when her prayers went unanswered. As many of us already know, the answer lies in that Allah has already predetermined our destiny and knows what is best for us. However, when making our prayers, most of us tend to forget to include specific details and the sentiment, “If it is not good for us, then give me something that it is.” It’s easy to become so consumed by our desires that we forget to trust Allah’s wisdom and know He always has our best interests at heart. He knows what is good for us, and we should incorporate that knowledge into our prayers.

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