2018/9 Class Notes by OK age 28 – – (actual note(s) from student(s)) updated weekly

(actual note(s) from student(s)) submitted within one week of class

(These notes are mostly unedited and represent a GISLA students understanding of the previous class the attended.) Student attend class on Sunday and submit their essay of what they learnt before the next class. Interestingly, as can be seen below the same class yields different lessons for each student even though the content of the class they hear was the same.)
Students graduate level 1 IF and WHEN they pass the Level one exam (some do it in 6 weeks and some take 3 years and counting…) and students from anywhere in the world can test out to pass and earn the GISLA Level one trophy)

Week 1 for me Week 7 for class October 28   There are a few things that stood out to me and affected me the first lesson at the green stairs academy. The first thing that affected me was how accepting and different the perspective of Islam compared to what I have been raised to believe and think. Understanding that we should use GOD & the Quran as the guide to apply it in our society and not just following verbatim what the Hadeeth says we should do since there has been a lot of changes and evolvement over the years. Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) was extremely intelligent in breaking down these principles and teaching them to people during his life time, However the teacher made a great analogy that unfortunately Muslims worry more about following what the Prophet says and place him before GOD and that’s where we need to shift our ideals. We need to use God & Quran as the blanket principles and adapt with these principles to the times we live in.

I was tested on the spot with texts of the Quran and it’s surprising what I still memorized even after not using it for years. It showed me that the simple reading of the text could keep the texts fresh in your brain to use in variety through prayers. It emphasized to me that reading the Quran shouldn’t be something to do in Ramadan only but year-round, that was my take away for that test.

Understanding that it’s OK to question religion was a mind boggling concept to me, I was taught that if you question Islam then you are not Muslim, but the teacher said that you’re welcome to question, that’s how you learn and grow and that gives my heart peace knowing that it’s OK to have doubts sometimes since we are only human. The other thing that made me very happy was learning that not only Muslims will go to heaven. I was led to believe that only Muslims will go to heaven and everyone that doesn’t believe in Islam will not make it to heaven unfortunately. That always made me very confused and upset because I never understood why people will end up missing on heaven because they were born into different religions/countries/cultures and their environments didn’t allow for questioning, were they just unlucky not to be born in Islam? But some of them were better people than me, they were kinder & more generous, they were positive and never spoke ill of anyone, why would they not make it to heaven? Teacher broke it down very simply, a person born in Islam you will be judged based on their knowledge base and not only your prayers but their good deeds. Teacher said that your Prayers, fasting, Zakat, etc… that’s what determines where you sit in the stadium (Heaven), are you ring side or in the bleachers, However your good deeds, how you treat people, family friends, what type of person you are will determine if you have enough point to make it into the stadium or not. The simple explanation that Islam such as many other religions is making a world a better place and do good, treat people as you like to be treated or better, and help as many people as you can.

It’s very easy to get caught up with things such as the prophet used to do something a certain way, so you must do it the same. I think we forget that the real connection is with GOD. Less criticizing and telling other what’s right or wrong and more connection, not just going through motions of prayers but real connection. Praying 5 times a day is not a chore but a hope and a wish that while you are praying and submitting to GOD you feel his presence. What if he stands in front of you for those 8 seconds? Didn’t you just hit the Jackpot/lottery/Heaven and earth combined? Now what if he was there and you weren’t asking for anything? Did you miss your chance? How is he going to give you your blessing and what you’re asking for? I wish I can be that lucky to have a personal visit while I’m praying and I hope he hears the full prayer ISA

Week 2, Sunday 11/11 This week’s class was very interesting because we started off by a 2-minute prayer and the objective was only to connect with god. It was as simple as just getting lost and trying to speak with god not going through motions of prayer. Then we prepared the chairs in a half circle facing the professor which is a great set up compared to having chairs behind desks in my opinion, it was more intimate and open for conversation than just a classroom setting.

We started off class with a debate about who was for and against the kneeling during the national anthem. I don’t think we made too much headway in the debate but what I found interesting is the teacher was trying to get these young teenagers to argue for and against a topic, even if they don’t agree with the side that they’re on, it was very clear that there was teaching of standing up for yourself/beliefs/point of views or thinking critically to put yourself in someone’s shoes that you don’t agree with how they think, wish I had someone teaching me that when I was that age!

This led us into a little history and background about the Prophets and how there was 4 Rulers after Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) Abu-bakr, Omar, Othman, Ali.
We learned the concept of 4-5-6. 4 rulers, 5 Pillars, 6 steps of how Qur’an was written. There was a discussing of how PPP (Power, Passion, Poverty) was a determining factor to how you judge and assess situations.

I have never heard an Islamic teacher discuss Adultery as anything other than forbidden and against religion (HARAM) however, he asked what if a lady in Afghanistan can’t feed her children and her only option is sleep with someone to be able to feed them? People that out of fear of losing their life did things that are not “HALAL”. Poverty unfortunately can push people out of necessity to do things they would never do otherwise, it’s a desperation that hopefully we would never experience, and I would never wish it on anyone, and on the opposite side of that most people in power crave more power and if they are not secure in their power they abuse the poor, poverty can also be in self-esteem & knowledge/education.

He teaches to not judge people because we are not in their shoes. Islam is not a religion of Black & white I’m starting to realize more and more, there is a lot of grey areas that you must utilize your brain and really think not just is it Halal (permissible) or Haram (forbidden), the religion unfortunately has been watered down through Hadeeth and sayings that people said, they have conflicting messages that confuse followers of the religion and that’s why some choose the ones they like and disregard ones that don’t follow their agenda.

Deferring to the Quran and running the PAPA test will help you filter through what GOD said after prophet Mohamed not before, and do it twice to really be sure, is this GOOD or not and if it’s not then probably this is not what GOD said.
Teacher said that you should always be learning and be creative, use music since it’s not haram but choose what you listen to because it became how you think and who you are, so choose carefully.

He mentioned self-development and growing yourself, we should be always learning and growing not watching TV. Things happen to us for a reason, most of the time it’s to teach others about how to overcome things in life or just simply to be grateful for the little things that you grow accustomed to and forget to thank god for, such as your sight, hearing, smell, etc..

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