2023 SepWeek 6 M 16

September 24,2023 MD/16Year Male 6th Week

Today was my sixth week at Greenstairs Academy Program. However, we woke up early in the morning like every day to pray Fajar, and we got ready for class.

Arriving at the mosque, we headed to class and found LJ sitting and reading a book. Surprisingly, we weren’t surprised because we knew he would be back this weekend, and that he would test us on the prayer sheet.

The teacher just responded to our greeting and said nothing more. Strangely, I thought he let us at our own to see what we were going to do. We prepared the mats for meditation and meditated for like 30 minutes, as we do in every class. However, something surprising this time, the Teacher turned off the Dhikr’s. And he just told us to meditate saying ”thanks God, forgive me God, Bless me God” I didn’t know why but we did it until the end of the meditation.

Surprisingly, today we did not make the pledges as we do regularly. Furthermore, after we finished meditating, they just told us to turn back to him and ordered us to stay in the position we were in. The teacher told us to put our legs crossed for the next 30 minutes, and if anyone moved, he would add 10 minutes. Honestly, I didn’t find this exercise difficult because I sat like this almost every time, so I was already getting used to it. However, for my sisters, it seems very difficult. During these 30 minutes and even more because some student had him increase the time by changing position which was not allowed.

The teacher asked us what we had learned during his absence. We answered that we had learned the pledges and all the metaphors. Therefore, he asked me for the definition of metaphor which I did not know very precisely. He asked student M who was a girl in level 2. However, this girl explained that a metaphor is a word or group of words allowing two completely different terms to be associated together. LJ gave us an example of metaphor which was: an oil Jug. They told us that this metaphor was very important because it speaks of a virtual Jug of oil attached to our butt since baby. Whenever you do a good thing a drop of oil leaves the jug. The objective is to get rid of all the oil meaning to did good things more than bad things. As we know oil is very flammable, so we need to get rid of this substance before being used as a cooking oil.

I think it’s a good metaphor because it makes us understand that we must get rid of all our bad deeds in this world to be able to ascend to heaven without a mark of sin.

The teacher told us about our essays and how bad they were. However, he let us know that our ability of retentiveness was disastrous, that we must have an essay with all we do in class in it, and that we were just talking for nothing. He let us know that our grammatical usage was not good, we did not read enough, and that we did not take notes. He said our test was “CRAP”.

So, we moved on to the presentation that teacher S gave us as an exercise. I presented on football, but I knew that what I was talking about was not very clear. I was not well prepared for this presentation because I was more focused on the prayer sheet. Furthermore, my sister S also gave her presentation on the life of the prophet, but she also stuttered a little. So, in that case, we didn’t focus on presentation again. Suddenly, a new guy entered the room his name was H. The teacher asked him to come introduce himself and chat a little with us.

H who is a young student, who has no longer access to this program. He was from Maryland and was 13 when he started this program. Currently, he is at George Washington University and let us know he has the highest score in his entire biology class. However, he spoke to us about the importance of taking notes, he said that notes were something ideal for forcing us to retain information. It’s the best way to summarize an entire discussion and understand it perfectly. He also told us about his metaphor which was: 9 to 5 and 5 to 9.

9 to 5 to refer to a non-Islamic society (school or work) 5 to 9 to refer to an Islamic society (masjid or home) in other words, this metaphor wants to let us know that, sometimes our behavior varies depending on our environment. He also said that many teenagers don’t know how to act, because they don’t have anyone to help them but in our case this program is an ideal way to develop our leadership qualities and find the ideal balance between school and home. However, as Muslims, we must not show any contrast in our way of living. We also must use our common sense, and universal value.

The teacher came back to metaphors and talked to us about the tree trunk, the purpose of life, and the CCA.

  • For the Tree trunk, he said that all religions are linked by a single God who is the trunk. And the branches are the different types of religion that exist. He also said that in these branches there may be others form like, for example, among the Muslims there are the Suni and the Shia.
  • the purpose of life, which is to make the world a better place.
  • for CCA, which means we are accountable for what we do, unlike other religions. The Teacher told us that God has two types of writing, one with ink and one with pencil. The pencil for bad deeds and the ink for good deeds. However, this time he’s not talking about that, he’s talking about the bad things that humans have done between them. They give for example that imagine student H insults the teacher with all 26 letters of the alphabet because he was not happy about what LJ did to him. (He was funny when he tried to do it.). The following day LJ passed away before the student asked forgiveness. Student S will either do everything possible to be the best of himself and have a real hope of being forgiven or be withdrawn from the good deeds that will be given to LJ on the day of judgment. And without necessarily even between humans, this rule also applies to animals. ‘’Everything has a right to us.’’

However, the teacher looked at us and smiled because he knew we were having trouble with this position. In that case, he talked about how Marines trained in cold water without moving for minutes. Some people give up, others don’t because it is all in their heads. And we understand that the pain is not physical but mental. So, we were trying to get rid of that mental pain.

But it was time to take the tests, we were tested on everything by asking us only one question but unfortunately, we all failed. LJ said he was very disappointed. He believed that when he returned, we would all be ready and we would behave like real leaders but unfortunately, he kicked us out of the class and told us that next week we would not have class. We stayed outside practicing our prayer sheet. it was very embarrassing to be kicked out.

Next, after a long minute of shame, we returned to class. However, LJ let us know that we would retake the test not this Sunday but the weekend after. And this time it will be way harder. He introduced us to H’s mother. She was an extraordinary woman. She is a doctor, teaches many college students at George Washington University, and takes care of old people. However, she talked to us about working hard. She said that working intelligently is good but hard is better. So, we must work hard to pass this test. This advice completely makes sense because we didn’t work that hard for our test. We were trying to make a smarter way to memorize all the sheet.

Lastly, LJ asked me to recite the Surat Al-Asr, which I did perfectly. So, he created a new dua for us by using Al-Asr the dua was ‘’Ya Allah I know that I will be in a state of loss unless I have belief, do good deeds, seek truth, and practice patience. Please Ya Allah helps me with that.’’ He told us to practice that dua every time, so we will be ready for the next upcoming homework which is: all the metaphors and our entire praying sheet ready.

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