2017 Dear “Anisa: or “Ziyad” – I want you to join me at GISLA – letters from students explaining program to “strangers” – (actual note(s) from student(s))

(actual note(s) from student(s))

H Grade 9th 3/12/17 Dear Saeed, I joined a class in Shirley Gate and I would recommend that you would join too. I would recommend this class because you gain confidence, you learn about life and you learn about Islam. This program will encourage you to do good in life and in school. You learn how to pray, you learn the definition of Salah and you learn other things you need to know about Islam. In order to be in this class you need to get good grades. If you don’t get good grades then you might not be able to join this class. You must show the teacher how to pray and you need to know the definition while praying. If someone asks you the definition of the prayer then you would probably know.

3/12/2017 M Grade 11 Dear Hajera, There is a program at the Shirley Gate mosque that I believe you’d be interested in. It is a leadership program called Green Stairs. In this program, future leaders are taught what it means and what it takes to be in charge. What it is to be a mindless sheep, following the person in front of them to who knows where, versus a leading goat that controls the fate of the sheep, whether that be a good or bad thing. Things are taught in this class that aren’t generally taught anywhere else. We are taught how to use our brain. How to use common sense, context and accountability in any and all situations and although that may seem easy and simple, it really isn’t.

L Age: 16 03-12-2017 Grade:11 Dear Manahil, I’m taking this class from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. I suggest you take this class too, because it will teach you a lot of things from Quran, and also translate the prayer and Surahs. Today was my first day here, and I already learned the translations of Prayer and Surahs. And I know in the future I will learn more from this class. For now, these are the reasons why I want you to attend this class. Also, since you are taking journalism, it will help you improve in your writing and reading skills. On the other hand, here are some things that’s I should warn you about: you must have your homework done before you come into class, if you don’t memorize the things that you were supposed to memorize, you will either do push-ups or practice on a piece of paper. The rules here are very strict, so you must obey them. This class is good for you because it helps you understand the meaning of Quran.

W 3-12-2017 Grade: 11 Dear Manahil, I am writing you from my Sunday Class. The reason I joined this class is because I want to learn more about this world and our purpose in this world. So far I’ve learned about our job on this Earth, which is to be nice to people around us to succeed in life and the afterlife. I think you should join this class because it teaches you a lot about life. Also, It’s nice to memorize the prayer in English so the next time we pray we would know what we are saying to God. I know you would love this class because we learn about things that we wouldn’t in our daily life. The teacher is a little tough but I think you’ll get used to it as times passes. I hope you consider coming to this class after reading this letter.Sincerely, Wajiha

H March 12, 2017 Grade 9 Dear Hana, The Green Stairs Leadership Academy is a class that takes place every Sunday. It is an Islamic class, but we learn many things also not related to Islam. It is different from other classes where you just learn the Arabic alphabet and Islamic history. We learn more important things like the English meaning of the prayer and the Quran. I think you would do well in this class because you are more religious than most. Also, you speak Arabic so it would be easier for you to memorize the English translations. However, all of that is only during the first half of class. During the second half, we do more different things, like debates, conversations and go on field trips. We learn about other religions and cultures. We do things to make us stronger leaders. We have an analogy that leaders are Goats and the followers are Sheeps, because in a slaughterhouse Sheeps getting killed but the Goats have the sense to leave. Also, our teacher is very different from regular teachers. He has very unique point of view on life and Religion and has a lot to teach. The program only takes six weeks, if you do well. Our teacher has different methods of helping us learn. For example, Push-ups plays a large role in our memorization, which you will have no problem with anyway.

Dear Anisa, You should seriously join this class. It’s really fun sometimes. Other time when TeechJi isn’t in a good mood, it’s kind of scary. The good thing about that; it builds your confidence you learn a lot of Islamic stuff in this class and actually learn how to understand it. It’s very pressuring but you can learn a lot. I love how he punishes people, but not really. I still think this class really benefits people because they will learn how to be a great leader in the future. TeechJi is funny, but sometimes he gets really serious and that’s kind of annoying, but I still like him. TeechJi gives really good life lectures and you can learn a lot of stuff. So yeah, you should really consider joining this class. Z – 15

Dear Anisa, You should join this program because it is a wonderful way to learn new things. This class is very different from other Islamic programs. Our teacher  is crazy and his craziness might drive you out of the class. However, it is up to you to stay. Every week we learn something different and expand your knowledge. I’d hope that you would stay because it is a very interactive class and you get other peoples perspectives on certain topics as well as making you think outside of the box, with worldly issues. I hope you consider to remain in this class. It will be a struggle, however it’s worth it in the end. We hope to see you, so you could share your knowledge.

Dear Manahil, I am writing this letter to you from my Sunday class called Greenstairs from Shirley gate mosque. This class is called Greenstairs because it’s a representation of stairs which means that every hour that we spend in this class takes us one step closer to success and more knowledge about Islam and the world. My favorite thing about this class is that I get to learn about the basic things such as Universal Values; which is basic human responsibilities, but we learn about these values in more depth.

I learned about my purpose on Earth which is to be God’s Khalifa and to be good, make someone else a better person, and to make this Earth a better place. What I don’t like about this class is testing out because it’s annoying and I can’t seem to remember anything. I wish you were in this class so we could look stupid together. I would like it if you would join this class.

This class is not all about work and memorization, we also get to do fun things such as going on field trips. I think you would like the teacherTeechJi , I mean he’s really strict when it comes to homework but it’s only because he wants us to take something from this class. In my opinion  TeechJi is a very understanding man and he knows what we need to learn and how to make it easier for our generation to learn about our religion Islam. So yeah, you should join this class. Sincerely, W

Mohammad, I want you to join this class because you will get to know the purpose of life/Islam. You will also get to dig deeper into Islam. What I like about this class is that we get to talk to our peers and we don’t get a lot of homework. What I don’t like about this class is that the class can get boring sometimes but it’s all good. What I don’t like about the teacher is that sometimes he talks too much. SH

Dear Abel, You should join the academy because you will learn a lot and have lots of fun. Teechji is insane but there is a method to his craziness. Not only does he make you a smarter Muslim but a better person. I have seen people become smarter and better people. I myself feel like this is one of the most beneficial class for one. I know that I am a better person coming out of this class as compare to when I entered it.-Ma

Dear Ziyad, You should come to this class because Teechji knows a lot, and the way he presents his knowledge of Islam is very interesting. You will learn a lot if you are willing to learn. The environment is very informal and fun. In this class you will learn both; the basics and the complicated things. When you first enter the class Laher will make you start from the basic principles of Islam. Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know anything about Islam. In fact, in this class we expect you to not know anything.  HS

Dear Anisa, I believe that continuing Sunday school is important because you learn many different kinds of things aside from just Arabic things. For example you learn to take leadership, learn to help others, while also understanding religion. This class helped me realize that it doesn’t matter that if you know how to do something, it matters that you know the meaning behind what you are learning. I encourage others to join this program because it has many beneficial things that will help you be a better person and a better Muslim.  MK – 14 Grade 8

Dear Anisa, I think you should stay in this class because if you stick around for long enough you’ll see how much you’ll learn in this class and how much can be applied to your personal life in this day and age. This is a really unique class that you either love or you hate. I think this class is really good for teenagers because it focuses less on separation between men and women and more on the actual knowledge that can be applied to one’s life.  SL

Dear Abel, You should join the Green Stairs Leadership Academy because it teaches you why we are here on Earth past the obvious of being a Muslim, to make the world a better place. You are able to move at your own pace instead of being dragged along with the rest of the class when you may not be at the learning level that others may be at. However, just because you are allowed to go at your own pace doesn’t mean you should slack off. This class isn’t going to be easy however if you commit to learning these things that will make you a better Muslim as well as a better person in moral values.

Dear Anisa, You should join this program because it is really helpful. It may be tough at times but at the end of the day, you know that you have learned something, Another advantage to this program is that you get to meet a lot of other Muslim kids that you can bond with. This program teaches you about Islam and it also teaches you how to present yourself to others. This is definitely a program you should join.

Dear Ziad, Sometimes I have questions about life that I can’t understand. I’m reading and the more I learn the more I want to learn. I’m discovering things on my own now and I found a new path in life. I’m thankful and happy to have found a new meaning in life. If I was shown this path and I wish I could share this with someone else. As I’m learning I would also like to teach.

Dear New guy, This place is going to suck. You are not going to enjoy it. Oh cool you get a Pizza but that’s about it. You have so much to memorize and so much to learn. But you do learn a lot. You’re going to hate it though.  Every Sunday at 9:45 AM! Although it sucks it’s very beneficial. You actually learn about the religion and understand it rather than have a guy with a long beard lecturing you about how music is haram. It will change your life as it has changed mine. So I do recommend it.  BA 16

Dear Anisa, The Greenstair is a wonderful leadership program for young Islamic children. I myself have recently joined the program and I’ve been enjoying every Sunday that I’m here. Although the GSP (Green Stairs Program) Challenges you. It’s a way to test out how much you know and it helps you learn more. No one is ever too old or too young to learn and GSP encourages that. As always says everyone is at their own level and has their own pace. The way he challenges you is so you reach success. The GSP has done so much for me. I’ve learned a lot about both the Quran and Islam. When I first joined this program I thought it was intense. However, as the weeks went by I got the hang of the daily schedule. I also have made amazing friends who I look up to for help. I strongly suggest Anisa that you join this program. I promise you without a doubt you will not regret it. GSP is a challenge but in the end it’s worth it.

Dear Ziyad, I am glad you have joined the class. This class teaches you how to be a better person Muslim and a better person overall. I have vastly improved ever since I joined this class. My paper has improved and now I judge my decisions based on what Prophet would do and If Allah would approve it. From, Y

Dear Anisa, ASA You may have gone to a dozen Sunday school already, but I can Guarantee you this class is unlike all the others. It is not for everyone, but if you think you are up for the challenge, we welcome you.

This class is not going to attempt to teach you everything about Islam, but it will, if done right, give you a strong foundation in Islam. You will hopefully grow an interest in Islam or that you will take initiative and learn for yourself. Still, no one will guarantee success in this class except for you. In order to gain the full benefit form this class, you should give your full effort. This class is a frame for you to be able to express yourself, your concerns, and to find answers ( at least, get a little base for your answers) to your questions.

You will gain a new, fresh perspective in Islamic (and non-Islamic) issues, and you will learn how it distinguish yourself as a Goat from the flock of Sheep. Hope to see you soon Inshallah! TAi

Dear Zaid, First of all let me tell you when you walk into this class it’s like falling into a pot of boiling with an insane wizard brewing a spell for success, TeechJiG. Like a boiling pot this class will start grilling you from the beginning but like people you have different ingredients. Meaning you get to decide what you want to take out of this class.

You can be a doofus like 99.9% of us or you could follow this class and be a Hafiz of the Quran. Do not be intimidated by this class. We are all being cooked in the same pot we are just at different stages from each other and you start from where ever you are. Note! I’m probably the biggest doofus in this class so you’ll be fine. When I take this class seriously I can actually accomplish things, so give it commitment  you believe it deserves and you’ll be a load of BS! AAR Age 17

Dear Anisa, I am  a junior and a student at the Green Stairs Leadership Academy, and although my attendance is sporadic, I’m really glad I joined GSA. Growing up, I attended Islamic School, but this one has been different to say the least. The teacher, TeechJi, runs the class geared towards his students. The first portion of this class is dedicated to memorization. I started with the basics, all of the prayer + the English translation.

The focus on Understanding is a really important part of the class, which, personally, set the class apart from others. You are allowed to ask questions and expect answers, and if there’s something you need to talk about,  TeechJi makes himself available. As a teenager having this kind of resource has been Indispensable for me, of course, as TeechJi often eterates there is no higher source of religious authority than the Quran.

This class is organized with both boys and girls, which is different than a lot of other Islamic Schools, but I think it provides helpful experience, since most schools and workplaces are not separated by genders. For example, every morning, when greeting the other gender, the class has given me the idea of fist bump, which helps me out in other potentially awkward situations. The pace is personalized, not to say that TeechJi will not push you (because he will), but a student can go as fast or as slow as they need to, the teacher is also very understanding if you provide him with common courtesy (ask III that is useful anywhere),  which has made it easier and less stressful for me to attend.

On top of religious lessons, the class provides important life skills, some of which I have already mentioned already. Small talk, presentation skills, socializing and other interpersonal skills are always a part of lessons. I’ve found all of my classmates to be agreeable and there is a pretty large age range: from middle school to college. In short, the class is challenging, but rewarding. TeechJi expects a lot out of his students, but one can’t expect to be a effective leader with mediocre kills. The class is refreshingly in tune with our ‘modern’ daily environment, and I’m really glad I decided to join.  3/17/2013 Hope to see you soon.





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