Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Lemons into Lemonade

عجبا لأمر المؤمن إن أمره كله خير ، وليس ذاك لأحد إلا للمؤمن ؛ إن أصابته سرّاء شكر ؛ فكان خيراً له ، وإن أصابته ضرّاء صبر ؛ فكان خيراً له . رواه مسلم 

Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said, "The affair of the believer of most amazing. His affair is good in its entirety, and that is for none but a believer. When happiness comes to him, he is grateful and that is good for him. When harm strikes him he is patient and that is good for him." [Muslim]

It is amongst the miracles of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam that his words were concise, yet are a deep ocean from which more and more pearls can be extracted from ever deeper levels. Besides the obvious injunction of inculcating the qualities of gratitude and patience and adopting them as per occasion, the Hadith also implies that situations are not always good or bad for an individual in themselves, but become good or bad depending on our attitude. This theme is found in other Ahadith as well. For example, when Mu'aaz bin Jabal radiyallahu 'anhu bids his final tearful farewell, Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam clarifies that however geographically far he may be, he is in fact close to Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam as long as he adopts Taqwa. In contradistinction, one who has no Taqwa is far from him however physically close he may be.

Death is the decree of Allah. Those who misbehave and break the laws of Allah, such as inheritance and Hijaab, make the situation into a bad one for their Aakhirah. Those who are patient and uphold Allah's Laws, despite their personal grief, make the same situation into a benefit for their Aakhirah.

At the end of the year many Muslims are going to graduate from various institutions with various qualifications. This is not an accomplishment in itself. Some will use their achievements for personal aggrandisement  and accumulation of wealth. They will become armchair generals in their old age and berate everyone besides themselves for the state of the Ummah. see Othello & the mental dichotomy of muslim intelligentsia. There will be others who will earn a Halaal income and use their every resource in service of Allah. They are successful.

A personal defect I have to work on, is my penchant for focussing on negatives. I should be grateful that Allah has given me Tawfeeq to overcome this in one matter and turn a negative into a positive.

A certain school catering for "special needs" primary school students in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg is said to be possibly the best in the country for this purpose. Wednesdays first period is religion period. Other students would go to their religious teachers, but up until now the Muslim students had not been catered for. An Egyptian mother had her own mini Tahreer Square and arranged for me come in on Wednesdays. 

However, the principal stipulated that she wants a written report of whatever I teach. Besides my laziness for report writing in general, I somehow got the impression that the other religions were exempt from this requirement. (Did I mention that the school administration is Jewish dominated?) I put up a weak defence that I would not formally teach for the first 2 weeks, so would not report in the beginning, but it then occurred to me to use the advantages of what is supposed to be an incumbrance. In effect, Islam can be explained to a Kaafir in the same way I would teach special needs youngsters. These people would never be interested in learning about Islam in an authentic manner, but by me presenting my reports in a certain manner, they would be forced to hear the words of Allah and His Rasul  sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, like it or not! Lemons into lemonade....

Here is a copy of my first report:

_____________ School: Islamic Classes Report
Lesson 1: Islamic Greeting
Date: 12th October 2011

·         Had intended the first two meetings at least should be informal introductory meetings.
·         Spent 10-15 minutes in informal chat, getting to know and understand the students.
·         Concern that students would be aloof at initial stage unfounded. Students exhibited desire to express themselves.
·         Students insisted on learning something.
·         Commenced lesson on Islamic greeting, a basic emphasised in Islam.
·         Elicit response from students, “How did you greet me when I entered?” Correct group response.
·         Meaning of, “Salaam” not known. Played hangman game where answer, “PEACE” was achieved.
·         Muslim character, well-wishing, peace unto all.
·         Origin of Salaam – creation story of Adam peace be upon him.
·         Muslims manners require mentioning alayhis salaam (peace be upon him) after all prophets.
·         Exercise – recite name of prophet – Adam, Moses, Jesus…..  to elicit Islamic response.
·         Role play – each student to act as Adam (عليه السلام) and greet the “angels” who must reply.
·         Importance of Adam  (عليه السلام) in Quraan as father of ALL humanity. Hence Islam emphasises brotherhood irrespective of race, age, creed etc.
·         In first speeches when Prophet Muhammad  (peace and blessings be upon him) entered city of Madinah he said, “O people! Spread the greeting of peace amongst you.”
·         Every lesson to be permeated with Islamic creed directly or indirectly – monotheism of God and example and pure character of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).   
·         Role play – student to choose example with partner of greeting situation and enact.

سليمان الكندي
Sulayman al-Kindi

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