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National Qur’an Literacy Camp in the Caribbean: Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It!

DR.PASHA | July 12, 2008 | Section: Articles | 1390 reads


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Teachers at the Camp: Those Specially Blessed by Allah

These are brave and dedicated men, women and children who first taught themselves the Qur’an and have now devoted their lives to teach the Qur’an to those who know less than them.

Teachers in this camp are people who have all individually and collectively turned their homes and families into classrooms and instant experts to learn and teach Qur’an all at the same time.

Some of them have struggled for decades to be on the right side of the Qur’an as it were. Some other individuals Allah has placed in a class all by themselves. It is through their dedication and single-mindedness that Qur’an has made the kind of progress that it has made in the Caribbean.

There are at least three families I want to single out in which both parents as well as all children are involved as teachers and counselors in this camp. The term that they all use for themselves, out of their great sense of modesty and humility, is facilitators.

In one family of teachers – or facilitators – at the camp, the father is a charted accountant, one of the first to be trained in England from the West Indies and associated with Islamic work in this part of the world for the better part of the last four decades, ever since his early youth.

The wife dedicated herself to teach children at every opportunity she would get. She is the veteran of a monumental personal struggle to teach herself to read Surah Yaseen when it was one of the hardest things for her to do. And their brilliant teenage son who is on his way to university is a computer expert among other things.

The father is also a man with perhaps the largest number of Hajj to his credit from this part of the world: no less than 23 and counting. May Allah accept his multiple Hajj trips and grant him and his family and all of us and our families their blessings. His efforts and sacrifices in working for Allah are legendary.

In another family, the father is an engineer with a Ph.D. and a leading developer of housing and other national- and regional-level construction projects. Allah has blessed him, along with others mentioned here, with a level of dedication and unreserved readiness to work for Islam that can only be described as a degree of Siddeeqiyyat in our times.

Whenever an avenue or opportunity to work for Allah comes up, he always says yes and jumps at it.

The wife who is a professional teacher and math expert is a high government official in the Ministry of Education. Her struggle to learn to read the Qur’an is an example for all men and women who are in a similar situation. Their two boys and a girl are brilliant students, the oldest approaching high school graduation and the youngest barely past 10. At every step, the children were learning and teaching the Qur’an all at the same time, leaving their own teacher in awe at how well they did it.

A third family turned teachers has a father who is a university professor and a math and computer expert. When it was explained during a Qur’an program that what people take out of the Qur’an depends on the container they bring to the Qur’an, he announced: In that case I will drive my own tanker to the Qur’an.

The mother runs and manages her own training school for university-bound teenagers. Her pioneering role in persuading and pressuring her own teacher to help her to finish reading and learning Surah Yaseen is a great example for everyone with any love for the Qur’an and with any desire to learn to read it. The older daughter is a university student who literally grew up with the Qur’an; the other daughter is about to graduate from high school. And the son is barely touching early teens.

These are entire families whom Allah has blessed and turned into cadres of trained Qur’an readers and teachers – some of them no older than 10 or 12 years of age. For generations with their mother tongue as English, and without knowing a single word of Arabic, they learned to read the Qur’an correctly and well and now, with the help and blessing of Allah, they have devoted themselves, among many others like them, to share Allah’s blessings with others by helping them to learn to read the Qur’an.

May Allah bless, guide, help and protect them all and open their hearts and minds even more to his glorious book.

The camp operates on the basis of the simple principle of Each One, Teach One. That means whoever learns whatever part of the Reader or the Qur’an then turns around and helps out and teaches those who are below them or who know less than them.

This dynamic model of a self-sustaining and perpetual upward learning-teaching spiral is drawn from a most beautiful Hadith in Bukhari Sharif which says: Khairukum man ta’allamal Qur’ana wa ‘allamahu.

Here is a quick paraphrase of the noble Hadith: “The best people among you are those who learn the Qur’an and then turn around and teach it to others.”

Thus, every student in turn becomes a teacher. The thinking behind this model is to prepare, train and enable as many people as possible, regardless of age, gender or educational level, to take the Qur’an to every home and heart that needs it – in the Caribbean; in the West as a whole; and throughout the world.

Human Heart: Where All the Action Is

In Islam, the first thing – as well as the last thing – you worry about is the condition of your heart. The Qur’an seems to caution and admonish us repeatedly, saying: your heart, your heart, your heart. Because that is what Allah looks at: the human heart.

So the teachers at the camp, young as well as old, male as well as female, have all been trained to worry about the condition of their hearts. Even as they strive to make their actions the best that they can, they worry about what is going on inside their hearts. For, they know that Allah can change the condition of the human hearts with amazing rapidity.

The Hadith makes it clear that when the heart works right, everything else works right, and when the heart begins to go bad, everything else falls apart. Thus in Islam, the human heart is where all the action is.

The rot that sets in the human heart begins to manifest itself over time in the form of all kinds of flawed actions, problem attitudes and questionable behavior patterns and speech habits, among which are the following: laziness; meaningless and repetitive excuses; quickness to anger and frustration; chronic hopelessness and pessimism; pervasive fatalism; and vengefulness.

The list also includes tendencies toward falsehood and double-dealing in thought, speech and behavior; lack of respect for self and others; and lack of respect for time, organization, discipline and leadership.

A problem heart would also result in lack of clear Islamic and work-related focus and in every other conceivable personal, social, moral and “religious” ill you can think of. Its effects will include under-performing Ibaadaat or obsessing with over-performing them and using your Ibaadaat as an excuse for not wanting to take the Qur’an to every home and heart that needs it – and which one does not?

A problem heart will convince you to replace an exaggerated sense of involvement and preoccupation in routine Islamic and other activities as a substitute to systematically and in a concerted and organized manner inviting people to Allah and working for Allah day and night using all your energies and resources.

A diseased heart will make you want to place your own wishes, desires, opinions, views, ideas and interests – the Islamic name for all of the above is Hawaa – above Allah’s book and above the message that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, brought with him.

Maa ji’tu bihee, as the Prophet, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, himself put it.

When your heart is alive and well and when it is not suffering from major spiritual and psychological maladies and ailments, this is how it will work:

(a) First, it will love and fear Allah and love and honor Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam – no questions asked.

(b) Second, it will love and support truth, no matter where it lies; how it turns out; and whom it hurts or benefits.

(c) Third, it will love, honor and respect those who are united with you in the common struggle to take the Qur’an to every home and heart that needs it, as much as you love, honor and respect yourself, your family members and closest friends, if not even more.

Social and Psychological Preparation for Those Working for Allah

Working for Allah is the toughest and noblest job in the world. That is what all the prophets came into this world to do. And that is what our job in this world is as those who have undertaken to embrace and follow the Qur’an and the message of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in our lives.

That means the teachers in this 2nd National Qur’an Literacy Camp, as well as those working at a broader level to take the Qur’an to every home and heart that needs it, need to worry about their thoughts; their priorities; their actual actions; their constancy of purpose as well as effort; their sincerity; and their purity of motives and intentions.

They also need to keep a sharp eye on their ability to be truthful, honest and open among themselves all the time; and to be kind, forgiving and tolerant of one another.

They need to build the closest possible personal relationship among themselves.

They have to ensure the greatest level of respect, love and loyalty to those whom they have elected and put in place to lead, help and guide them, as well as the greatest level of love, kindness and compassion for those who have honored them by asking them to be their leaders.

This is all part of the absolutely essential psychological and social preparation and make up that is required of those who come forward to work for Allah in this world and thus shoulder the enormous challenge of taking the Qur’an to every home and heart that needs it.

In fact, all this is part of Iman, which is required of all of us, which means without these things there is no Iman, and there is no Islam.

And there is no success for any of us either in this world or in the next world.

Part of this psychological training and preparation for all of us in general and for those working for Allah in particular is also something called Sabr, which is the ability to remain patient and calm when things don’t seem to go right and challenges crop up and to persevere with your effort, focus and direction in the face of adversity and difficulties.

The name for the ability to deal with hardships with perseverance and steadfastness is Istiqaamah.

Also needed for those working for Allah and trying to invite people to the Qur’an is the quality of being able to contain your anger and forgive people. Allah loves those who forgive others.

Wal-kaazimeenal ghaida (Dwaad) wal ‘aafeena ‘aninnaas, is what the Qur’an calls them.

What a beautiful book this Qur’an is. There is not one beautiful thing that it ever leaves out.

A Brief Message Summary

Here finally is a brief summary of the message that those working for Allah – those striving to take the Qur’an to every home and heart that needs it – must be able to understand and internalize. They must make this message a part of the core of their identity and being.

At the same time, they should also be able to convey this message clearly, sweetly and in the most wonderful and winsome manner to those they invite to come to Allah and to give Qur’an a chance to enter their life and work for them.

And this message is as simple and straightforward as it can be. Here I summarize it in a few simple propositions:

(a) We are all God Almighty’s representatives on earth. That is why and how he created us. That was the announcement he made to the angels as part of our birthday party.

(b) Allah created us and charged us to take his message to every one of his slaves. That is our job. That is the very purpose of our being and our life on earth.

(c) Allah gave us all that we have in this world – health, wealth, education, family, job, business, home, power, position, status, … , every thing – to enable and help us to carry out our fundamental duty of taking his book and his message to everyone everywhere.

(d) Namaz, Roza and Hajj and everything else of that kind and category, while they are all important Islamic duties and requirements, are also at the same time a part of doing our duty of inviting the whole world to Allah and taking Allah’s word to every home and heart everywhere.

(e) Fundamental to success with regard to every one of these things is the purity of hearts and motives and intentions: doing things purely for Allah and not for personal gain of wealth, power, name, fame, position, recognition, social status, organizational advancement or prestige.

(f) Don’t forget that all you are responsible for is your motives and your efforts. Results of your actions are not in your hand, even though you must at all times carefully think through the consequences of what you say and do, ensuring that your actions are always peaceful and within the legal framework of the land in which you live and the society of which you are a part.. In the final analysis, as they say, Allah will bring about the results he wants, based on what he knows and pleases.

END

© 2008 Syed Husain Pasha

Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional 
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at] 
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.

 

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