notes from class of 3/10/19

by KL age 15 This week in class, the topic of discussion was death; the process of it, and what happens before, during, and after you die.

First, we began with reviewing that there are certain things written in pencil in your life (all the possible paths in life), but the choices you make from those given options, is the road you choose to follow and the other options get “erased” (they are no longer a path you can take in life).

After this, we began discussing death and what happens at each stage of it. When your body dies, your soul hovers above it, and your body remains on earth. The body gets taken and washed, and in Islam, coffins aren’t used— the cheapest available cloth is used to wrap the person up and take them away. In the United States, the body gets put in a freezer at the morgue, but in Islamic practices, they are put in the family’s home and have Quran read around them. Normally, in Islam, the people of the community pick up the body and give the body to the immediate family of the deceased to put it in the grave and have the body face the Qibla. In the United States, when someone dies, there is a wake, a funeral, and many services which Muslims don’t have, so American funerals tend to be more expensive. This connects to funeral etiquette: when someone passes, you should show your respects and leave at a funeral. You shouldn’t expect to be fed by the family; you should become part of the kitchen and help them out, as they are grieving. And because some funerals are more expensive then others, you should give money to the grieving family as well, so they can pay for a funeral or donate it to the funeral fund to help others pay for funerals.

While your body stays on earth throughout this portion, your soul leaves and is asked three questions, which only your soul can answer. Your fate is decided after your soul has answered these questions, but there are exceptions to how “comfortable” one will be in the afterlife: if the deceased gave education to others which lives on after their death, they have increased the amount of good deeds that will weigh against the bad when their fate is being decided. All the good and bad things in your life are weighed and your fate is determined based on which outweighs which. However, if you do something bad to someone, the only one who can forgive you and “remove” that bad deed (and in turn, change your fate) is them.

After the discussion of death, we analyzed Surah Ikhlas— we talked about the meaning and background of the surah. Essentially, the surah is about the Prophet telling the Jewish and Christian people of his time that there is only one God, God has existed forever, no one can impersonate God, and God has no family and is no one’s family. After analyzing the surah, we discussed how despite the clarity of the Quran, it can be interpreted differently by many different people, but regardless it’s a source of guidance. Everyone has to use their own common sense and accountability to take over from there in order to understand what God tells us through the Quran.

by AS age 13 This past Sunday we walked into class ready to test out and discuss the lesson or concept we were going to do that day.  We were surprised by the news that the someone had recently died.  After we had all arrived, Laheji told us that the founder of the masjid had died. Later that day they were having a prayer for them at the masjid. We proceeded to talk about have muslims handle funerals and the passing of a loved one. Muslims don’t usually use coffins which drives the cost down of funeral cost with coffins usually costing a few thousand dollars.  It usually cost 3000 dollars for a muslim to be buried while the average for other people is 9000 dollars. Muslims also do not have the viewings and the other sociably acceptable ceremonies. During the process of preparing a person for burying when the body is washed only a women can wash another women and vice versa for a man. The usual time before a person is buried is around 3 to 5 days. This is because a body decays and keeping the body as preserved as possible is the very important.  Now compared to African funerals they try to extend the process and have a lot of ceremonies ot commerate the loved one. The disadvantage of this is that it usually cost 3 generations of debt in the family which is a problem for the people who are still living and that will be born.

When people die they usally have close friends and family to the house of the family so they can greive together and enjoy some food or a meal together.  The usually way it happens is that people come over to the house and the family has to cook for everyone. Although not intentional the guest have somewhat made the grieving process and the ability to enjoy the life they got to spend with the loved one hader trying to please the guest. The guest should rather bring food and provide the various thing to feed and the other guest so that there is less burden put on the family. Instead of avoiding talking about the person that has passed you should engage in conversation about them. Talking about the loved one that has passed will allow the other person to grieve together instead of having to handle the heavy emotion by themselves.

We then shifted the conversation towards what lessons we should learn from the quran. We should always accept the message of the Quran, learn from history, and look at the scientific reason and outside of the brain to believe in god. We have discussed how the Quran is a source of guidance to help one structure how they should live their life. One should not use the Quran as an instruction manual and followed it to the letter because you have to apply common knowledge and your circumstance to the way you interpret the words of the Quran.  

By SL age 17 This past Sunday we walked into class ready to test out and discuss the lesson or concept we were going to do that day.  We were surprised by the news that the someone had recently died.  After we had all arrived, Laheji told us that the founder of the masjid had died. Later that day they were having a prayer for them at the masjid. We proceeded to talk about have muslims handle funerals and the passing of a loved one. Muslims don’t usually use coffins which drives the cost down of funeral cost with coffins usually costing a few thousand dollars.  It usually cost 3000 dollars for a muslim to be buried while the average for other people is 9000 dollars. Muslims also do not have the viewings and the other sociably acceptable ceremonies. During the process of preparing a person for burying when the body is washed only a women can wash another women and vice versa for a man. The usual time before a person is buried is around 3 to 5 days. This is because a body decays and keeping the body as preserved as possible is the very important.  Now compared to African funerals they try to extend the process and have a lot of ceremonies ot commerate the loved one. The disadvantage of this is that it usually cost 3 generations of debt in the family which is a problem for the people who are still living and that will be born.

When people die they usally have close friends and family to the house of the family so they can greive together and enjoy some food or a meal together.  The usually way it happens is that people come over to the house and the family has to cook for everyone. Although not intentional the guest have somewhat made the grieving process and the ability to enjoy the life they got to spend with the loved one hader trying to please the guest. The guest should rather bring food and provide the various thing to feed and the other guest so that there is less burden put on the family. Instead of avoiding talking about the person that has passed you should engage in conversation about them. Talking about the loved one that has passed will allow the other person to grieve together instead of having to handle the heavy emotion by themselves.

We then shifted the conversation towards what lessons we should learn from the quran. We should always accept the message of the Quran, learn from history, and look at the scientific reason and outside of the brain to believe in god. We have discussed how the Quran is a source of guidance to help one structure how they should live their life. One should not use the Quran as an instruction manual and followed it to the letter because you have to apply common knowledge and your circumstance to the way you interpret the words of the Quran.  

by HH age 15 This week, the founder of the mosque had passed away. I had never met her or even really known who she was. During the first half of class, we talked about the Islamic funeral process. When a Muslim first dies, you start by washing the body. This process is similar to an wudu, but it is done with their auras covered, for women is from their chest to their ankles and for men their hips to their knees. For females this process is usually done by another female and for men, another men washes their bodies. After they’re clean, they are covered with a cloth and usually put into a freezer so they don’t smell. That is also the reason that it’s said to wash the body and bury it as soon as possible. But in the Middle East, after the body is washed, they bring it out into a large space, most likely in the persons house and they read Quran around them. After they are washed, they are then buried. It’s really common in Islam for women not to go to the gravesite. Personally, I don’t see the problem with it, for example, recently, a close friend of my fathers died and my mom told me how the jinaza ( burial, in Dair) was on Friday. She said oh I can’t go to that but I will try and make it to the fatya ( a funeral service kind of thing, also in Dair). I was really puzzled by this because this didn’t make sense to me. Our teacher indirectly addressed my confusion when he told us how it is not Islam that doesn’t give women rights and freedoms. It is more often our culture that limits the rights and freedoms of women and many people together and say oh Islam doesn’t give women rights when in facts from the beginning Islam had been among the first religions to prioritize the importance of womens rights and leadership. But we can’t blame the lack of rights for women all on culture, we must also for ourselves stand up and advocate for those rights. In this part of class, we also talked about some of the major angels who are Israfiel and Jabraiel. Israfeil is the angel of death, who in a metaphor our teacher used, fished for souls and reels them in during their time. Jabraiel is the APS, which stands for the Angel Postal Service which refers to the process that brought the different parts of the Quran to Prophet Muhmmed. After the first part of class, we talked about surah Iklaas. It is the 112th surah and was a Meccan surah which means it was brought down in the early stages of Islam. It was used to describe the oneness of God to a group of Jewish people who asked Prophet about Islam to compare it to Judaism. This surah was significant because at that time period, Islam was one of the only monotheistic religions in a time when people worshipped things like fire and idols. For me, today’s class was really interesting, especially the part where we analyzed the surah and really talked about it. I hope that we can do something like it again.

by Dj age 17 Last Sunday on March 10th, I went to the Green Stairs Leadership Academy in my local Masjid. The first thing we did in class was that our teacher gave a lecture about funerals and what Islam says about them. Things that I learned during this lecture was that Islam generally does not permit a coffin to be used when a person dies and instead they must be buried in a white cloth. I also learned that the body must be usually buried within 24 hours and must be washed and cleaned before it is buried. The opposite gender is not allowed to wash the body and it must be done by the same gender depending if it’s a male or female. We also talked about how funeral practices differ throughout different religions and we also talked about some poor and unfortunate people cannot afford funerals. I also learned that funeral costs for Muslim’s in the U.S are cheaper then Christians because Muslims do not generally use coffins and coffins cost a lot of money. Lastly I learned that is not good in Islam to fly the dead body of a deceased relative overseas or back home because Islam requires the body be buried around 24 hours. Unfortunately Muslims continue to transport their relative’s dead bodies overseas because most of them are not aware of this ruling. After this lecture/discussion, we had our testing session which lasted for about 10 minutes. I did not test but I will test next week. I have so far half of the Islamic prayer memorized in both Arabic and English, I just need to finish memorizing the full prayer so I can move on to the next level. After our testing session, our teacher gave us another lecture about Islam and history in general and some advice that can be applied in your life. Things that I learned were that Islam encourages women to seek leadership roles as opposed to what the west thinks of women in Islam. Women should be encouraged take more active roles in their Mosques and in their communities. I also learned that 99% of what the prophet did was common sense and you should follow his sayings because they contain much wisdom. I also learned that if you don’t stand up for your rights, they will taken from you. This is important to follow as a Muslim because all throughout the world Muslims are being repressed and killed, even in the west there is a rise of hate crimes against Muslims. You have to stand up and fight racism and bigotry against Muslims and immigrants if it is to occur. After our discussion/lecture, we had a Quran session where we got into groups and studied the translation of the Quran. We studied Al-fatihah and its translation and we also studied another when the Prophet received his revelations from Angel Jibreel. This session was fun and interesting and I enjoyed it. It was interesting to read the translation of the Quran, which I have never done and I discovered a lot of new things. After our Quran session, class ended and we all went home. In conclusion, I had an enjoyable and interesting class and I learned a lot of new things about Islam and life in general. I was also allowed to keep the translation of the Quran which was very cool and interesting and I hope to learn more from It In order to understand Islam better.  

BY JR age 13           At the beginning of class we were talking about funerals and how they clean the bodies. For the women only women can wash the bodies and for the men wash men can clean the bodies. After they bury the body two angles come and ask you three questions and if you have a good soul you will answer all the questions right and if you have a bad soul you would stutter or not answer the questions right and the answers are all God and if you get them wrong you would get a freezing or burning temperature and if you get them right you get a perfect temperature We also talked about how if you don’t bury the body the next day or longer after the death of the person the body would decay and smell really bad, also if you want to ship the body over seas they take out all the blood, organs and intestines from the body and also they might have shipped the wrong body on accident, the only people that can but you in the grave is the people you cant marry like you dad, mom, grandpa, grandma ,brother and sister but sometimes women aren’t at the funeral.

After that we got the Qur’an and trying to find what is the surah about, when it was revealed and what is the context. I was the first one to go up and I answered, “The surah is about a group of Jews that went to prophet Mohammad’s house and asked what his perspective of God was so that the Jews could compare his belief with there belief; Some of the surah was about some other Christians believe that God has a son named Jesus and that Zoroastrians believed that there was a god for every elements like earth, wind and fire.”

           

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