2023 Oct Week 1 F 17

SB F 15 Oct 23

Today, I attended my first Sunday school class. It was a completely new experience for me since I had never attended one before. Although my mother had taught me all the basics, I was still nervous because I felt it might not be enough. Everyone else seemed to be well-prepared and knowledgeable, answering every question thrown at them. On the other hand, I was overthinking all my responses. It took me some time to get used to this new environment, and I felt my face getting hot every now and then. Despite it being my first class, I learned a lot from all the teachers. During the class, we discussed eight different topics; Green stairs, CCA, the four pledges, good, the third eye, oil jug, tree trunk, and QHA. Greenstair was a very interesting topic. Growing up, every Muslim kid was taught the five pillars of Islam: shahadah, salah, zakat, hajj, and fasting. Before this class, I was also taught that these five pillars were the duty of every Muslim to earn their place in Jannah, with no exceptions. I was taught that if one of these pillars was unfulfilled, then your place in Jannah would be affected. The first time I entered this class, I only stayed for half an hour. However, during that brief period, I learned a valuable lesson that I still remember to this day. One of the teachers posed a question to the students: “Could a Christian go to Jannah?” We were all silent, as I believed that non-Muslims could not enter Jannah because they hadn’t completed the five pillars of Islam. However, the teacher offered a new perspective that I had never considered before. Anyone can go to Jannah. Allah can forgive us for our sins, but he cannot forgive us for the harm we cause to others. In other words, we need forgiveness not only from Allah, but also from those whom we have wronged. That is how anyone can go to Jannah. One of the teachers pointed out a poster on the wall that explained what the Greenstair was. The poster read: “Our responses as Khalifas of Allah: make ourselves good, help others become good, and make the physical world good.” This made me realize that many people falsely believe that Islam is a strict and challenging religion to practice. However, we often make it harder for ourselves to become better Muslims. Although the five pillars of Islam are mandatory and crucial for Muslims, we must not forget that none of that matters if we do not strive to be good human beings. This brings us to our next topic, the third eye. The third eye is referred to as the soul, which is considered the essence of the body and is believed to be one of the most significant creations of Allah. As one of the teachers said, “The soul is what remains after our body is laid to rest in the graves.” In the Quran, Surah Al-Mulk states that Allah has created life and death to test which of us is good in deeds. During our discussion, one of the teachers brought up an interesting topic regarding the Black Stone. The stone has turned darker over the years, and one of the theories behind this is that the stone absorbs sins as more people touch it. This highlights the importance of a Muslim’s role in this world, which is not only to complete the five pillars of Islam but also to do good deeds. The discussion also touched upon the three questions that a person will be asked after death. Even if someone studies these questions their whole life, it will not be easy to answer them if their soul is weighed down by more bad deeds than good. However, if a Muslim’s good deeds are greater than the bad, and they have missed a few salahs or have not completed the five pillars of Islam, then the good deeds will help the soul answer those three important questions. Another example that was discussed was the concept of the oil jug. It was explained that every baby is born with a jug of oil attached to them. When someone performs a good deed, a drop of oil leaves the container, but when they commit a bad deed, a drop of oil is added to the container. The goal of each individual is to perform more good deeds than bad ones in life so that during the Day of Judgment, they do not have any oil in their jug, which would lead to being punished by the fire. If the jug is empty, then they are provided with shade and safety from the fire. The question of what is good can be a difficult one to answer. However, every word spoken in the Quran or by God is considered good. Essentially, you can spell God as “good.” The Quran contains guidance that is meant to help us live our lives in a way that fills our souls with good deeds. Unfortunately, some people tend to confuse interpretations of Quranic verses and hadiths, which makes it difficult to prioritize good deeds. This is where QHA comes in handy. It stands for Quran, Hadith, and Accountability. The Quran is always more important and should come first before the hadith. Self-accountability is a blessing from Allah that helps us become aware of our choices and the consequences of our actions. For example, we use introspection to make better decisions, learn from our mistakes, and use our common sense to distinguish right from wrong. The concept of spelling God as “good” isn’t just limited to Muslims. Every religion is a branch of a tree trunk, and being good is an essential part of every branch that springs from that trunk, metamorphically the trunk stands for God. During our discussions, we focused extensively on the topic of CCA, which stands for common sense, context, and accountability. I intentionally chose to cover this topic towards the end of our conversation since the preceding topics helped me to develop a better understanding of what CCA entails. Common sense is a unique skill that enables us to form judgments or opinions based on a simple perception of our situation. The context refers to the basic knowledge we have in a particular circumstance and situation. Lastly, accountability pertains to the actions we take and the responsibility we assume for our actions. One of the teachers provided an excellent example to illustrate CCA – looking both ways before crossing a road. In this case, common sense tells us that there’s a risk of getting hit by a car when crossing the road, the context is the information we have about the road or the reason behind our common sense, and accountability refers to the action we take to ensure our safety, which is to look both ways before crossing the road. At the end of the class, we recited four pledges – one for the United States, one for the Qibla, another one where we recited Surah Fatiha, and the final one was for the teachers who taught us. However, I haven’t learned the pledges for the Qibla and the teachers, but I will do that once I submit this essay. It’s amazing how much you can learn in just a few hours. The teacher’s words about being the goat instead of the sheep kept circling in my head. It amazes me how creatively he compared two completely different things and interpreted them together. Thank you to all the teachers who taught us today.

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