2021 July 7 – SS – male age 44 – Class Report

Among the many Islamic teachings, humility, perseverance, responsibility, generosity, and simplicity are some Islamic values practiced among a community of believers around the world. Today, our teacher tested the class on the six Islamic belief sets (certification of faith, angels, divine books, the Prophets, Judgment Day, and the Islamic value of accountability). Islam holds us accountable for this set of values. We practice these values every day as Muslims, but it is always good to stop every now and then and say our beliefs out loud.

Warren Buffett gives advice on business matters. One piece of his homespun philosophy is so basic and yet so sharp and to the point is his belief, organizations need to guard against ABC (Arrogance, Bureaucracy, and Complacency). In today’s class, we focused on stories from the Quran to reflect these values and their implementation in daily life even after hundreds of years since the holy book was revealed to humanity.

Practicing Islamic values is extremely important throughout the year. Our teacher-tested us on the five pillars of Islam (Certification of faith, prayer, Zakat, Fasting Ramadan, and Hajj).

Hajj is where Muslims (who have the means to do so) travel to Meka (house of God on earth) to perform a pilgrimage. Walking in the footsteps of Prophet Ibrahim, remembering his sacrifices and commitment to God.
Our teacher explained how Islam, through the Quran, teaches us through the art of storytelling the significance of following examples of great believers making ultimate selfless sacrifices in complete submission and devotion to God. In class, our teacher went into depth when explaining the story of Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his firstborn son Isma’il. When he (Isma’il) was old enough to walk with him (Ibrahim), he said, “O my son! I have seen in a dream that I am sacrificing you, so what do you think?” He (Isma’il)said, “O my father! Do as you are commanded. If Allah wills, you shall find me, patient.” This reflects both father and son’s true belief in God, as both were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of Isma’il’s life. God commanded the prophet Ibrahim to slaughter a goat instead after Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Isma’il passed God’s test in their faith. Muslims remember this story every year when we do Qurbani.

Our teacher also explained to us Qurbani is not just about slaughtering the goat, but the intention behind it. If you are doing Qurbani to get social status, then it shall not be accepted. “Allah only accepts from those who have taqwa” as Habil explained to his brother (sons of Prophet Adam).

After that, we went over the story of Hajarah with our teacher. When Prophet Isma’il was very young with his mother in the desert suffering from thirst, Hajarah prayed to Allah for water for her and her young son. God answered the prayer and broke the ground in the desert where she stood, with a well of ZamZam water for her and her son. This well is still in existence today.

Dhul Hajjah month is a significant month in Islam where we remember the sacrifices of Prophet Ibrahim and his son. In these blessed days, rewards for good deeds are multiplied. It is important to 1. Increase Dhikr (remembrance of Allah), 2 Give extra charity (sadaqah) to those in need, 3 Fast. In the first 10 days of Dhul Hijja it is said to be equivalent to fasting a whole year. The Prophet said, “One fast during these days is equal to the fasting of one complete year, and the worship of one night during this period is equal to the worship in the Lailatul-Qadr” (Tirmidhi).

This is my second week into the program I have found great personal satisfaction and inspiration from people who are not born into the religion hearing their journeys. The Arabic language is not their first language, yet they are vastly knowledgeable and committed to learning from this great religion. It is so inspiring to me.

Throughout the class, our teacher tested me to memorize Ayat al Kursi, which has a significant meaning to us showcasing God’s might over the worlds. Our teacher also tasked me with learning basic prayer in English. This helped me to pause a little and remember the deeper meaning of the words we recite in prayer.

I also had the pleasure to help one of the sisters who was new to the class. She is new to the religion, and I enjoyed listening to her journey. I was very happy the teacher asked me to help her with basic prayer moves. It was such a good feeling to give back by helping others with things that are dear to us. I look forward to the next class to learn more and hopefully be able to contribute.

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