I would like to welcome you back to Madressa for the final term of 2010. I pray that we all had a spiritually successful Ramadhan and that we all made most of the opportunity to use this holy month as a vehicle of improving and cleansing ourselves. The children had the benefit that most of the holy month was during school holidays which allowed them to fully participate during the programmes. The summer holiday was timely from a Madressa perspective as it was given the opportunity to manage the Darsa classes in the gent’s section during the holy month. With the alignment of interests of the Hujjat EC and Madressa we could continue with our Quran recitation drive. This facilitated recitation and monitoring of some of the boys over continuous period of 30 days. The icing on the cake was presentation of awards to the participants of these Darsa classes with an award for best recitation and the most improved reciter.
Continuing on the theme of the Quran, the Madressa embarked upon its first ever project of entering some of its students to an external Quran competition that was held at Islamic Centre – Maida Vale on 23 Ramadhan 1431. The objective of such a project was to place the children away from their comfort zone and see how they performed in front of external judges who are experts in the field of Quran recitation. The children performed really well and credit should go to their parents for the hard work and dedication. We pray that they continue to excel and further improve their recitation and be an inspiration to this community of ours.
Prior to the summer holidays we took the boys of class 10 out for a practical akhlaq class where the children had the opportunity to apply what they have learnt in a class environment. It was very rewarding and humbling for the boys to reflect on their own lives and compare it to those of the elderly and frail and homed in the strength of a family unit in our upbringing. It also showed the importance of visiting the “sick” and of the family values and also the value of giving time as charity. The next steps are to develop on this and engage the students in a more structured framework so assist them to be well rounded young muslims.
The final term for 2010 leading to Muharrum is going to be extremely busy with the further assessments taking place in all department and ages during November and ending with presentation of year end awards on 5 December 2010. Please mark your calendars with this important date.
Principal of SIM
Reflections from the Class 10 Akhlaq Boys - The trip to the Nursing Homes in Northwood
In keeping with SIM’s vision of bringing the best of Akhlaq in our students into areas of practical use such as the SIM Cares projects and the Professional Development coaching the Akhlaq department has embarked on a project of taking students to areas where their good teachings can be put to practical use.
The first such visit was by students of Class 10 who visited a nursing home in Northwood on Sunday 27 June this year.
The visit was facilitated through co-operation with M D Homes and SIM is grateful to them for enabling such a rich learning experience. Teachers from the Akhlaq department and senior volunteers accompanied the boys. Due to the large number of boys taking part in the trip, the boys were split into three groups and each one visited a different nursing home.
The boys’ learning was full of messages reinforced by the practical examples learnt from the visit. Teachers ensured that the boys in each group shared their experience so that common lessons were taken by the group. The age of the residents varied from an Asian lady who was 45 years old to a Caucasian lady who was 102. Their mental alertness and physical mobility also varied from being able to go shopping unaided to those who were virtually bedridden and confused.
Certain facets of the visit proved more challenging than the teachers and students had expected. The students often introduced themselves but saw very little response from the residents. Some of them were surprised that total strangers were concerned about their well being. Others were hard of hearing or disorientated. The boys persevered and split up to speak to individuals, they offered them cakes and asked if the residents would like to play board games. Some of the residents then began to open up and were keen to engage with the students.
On reflection the boys had mixed feelings - very happy that they could talk to these elderly people and spend time with them in a way which not many people did - yet sad, because of the way they were living with very little contact with the outside and virtually nothing to look forward to.
For example, Violet (a lady who the boys at one home grew to know very well at our time there) had dementia and kept forgetting us if we left the room. She also believed that each of the boys were her children. This showed how close the boys got to the residents in the short time they were there.
However, by the end the boys felt sad for her because she didn’t even know us or remember us for that short time we spent there.
The students were very positive and kept engaging with them, and were able to adapt from their previous plans - the residents weren't very responsive to the board games, but were keen to talk. Most residents appreciated their presence and didn't want them to leave. For example, one resident was laughing and joking around with us saying that we were all her grandchildren. I believe the way we got used to and interacted with the residents after we spoke to them made us feel more confident and happy to speak to everyone. When they spoke to us with happiness, we felt happy and were eager to exchange words with them.
It was also very rewarding and humbling for the boys to reflect on their own lives and how they would increase their interaction with their elderly relatives and acquaintances in their lives.
Common to all the boys experience was a realisation of how our families are an important pillar and support in our lives. When speaking to the residents at the home, most of them were waiting and hoping that their loved ones would come and visit them. They were sometimes craving for their sons and daughters to visit and talk to them and see their grandchildren and be reconnected with their families. In moments of inactivity, they often longed to be with their spouses and children and somehow felt abandoned by them.
A common theme on reflection was how we felt Islam would have helped the elderly residents at this point in their lives. Would faith in Allah and the Salat, Duas and recitation from the Holy Quran have given them regain a focus on their lives rather than waiting for the inevitable to occur in a state of fear and confusion?
It was felt that if we understood this life to be a temporary abode and the eternal life to be in the hereafter we would prepare for death and look forward to eternal bliss.
The hadith was also discussed about the sickness in this world being a blessing and how the sins of a sick person are forgiven like "leaves falling from a tree". Again this would help the elderly to take comfort in the expiration of sin looking forward to a greater reward.
Lessons learnt from the boys included following the advice to cherish your youth and try and reap maximum benefit from it as in our old age we may not be able to accomplish a fraction of what we can physically achieve in our youth.
Senior nurses were impressed by the good intentions and moral behaviour of the children. Even though they were not Muslim themselves caring for fellow human beings showed a desire to do good for human beings regardless of their faith.
The life stories of the residents who were able to communicate helped the boys understand the realities of life and how often events totally outside our control can change the course of our lives. The visit also helped reinforce the value of giving time as charity, an often neglected means of giving charity – but as the Class 10 group experienced, not only is the time spent cherished by the recipient, it is also of great benefit to the giver.
The Akhlaq department would like to build on this first visit, Insha’allah in the following manner:
Developing a structured scheme of visits for boys and girls from Class 9 onwards to an interactive meeting relevant to the age group. Visits to mentally challenged children may be considered suitable for older children whereas younger children may be encouraged to go to places of worship for other faiths such as churches, synagogues and temples.
The boys and girls of our community should increase their interaction with the Senior Citizens and try to facilitate learning from their experience. In turn the children can share some of their IT skills and teach computer literacy to the elders. This would foster cohesion between the generations and promote a better understanding of each other.
Qur'an Competition Held at Islamic Centre - Maida Vale - 23rd Ramadhan 1431 - An Experience
S I Madressa embarked upon its first ever project of entering some of its students to an external Quran competition that was held at Islamic Centre – Maida Vale on 23 Ramadhan 1431.
The objective behind entering students for an External Competition was to provide intensive training for a few weeks to the short listed students who have attained certain standard of reciting Holy Quran following the rules of Tajweed. These children were put through an additional selection process to observe their depth of knowledge in the rules and art of reciting our Holy Book with the rhythm and voice.
The 8 selected boys and 4 girls (names listed below) went through further training during the holy month of Ramadhan to prepare them for the competition.
On the day of 23 Ramadhan – 4 September, boys and girls were given different time slot for their audition in front of a panel of judges. The judges on the boy’s side felt that the boys are very young to participate within the all age groups due to their rising talent to maintain the regularity and pattern of their voices and hence split the categories into Under 15 years and Over 15 years.
Our community boys won all 3 positions in the under 15 years category of recitation. The girls’ group was not split like the boys and were therefore included with the senior reciters. They were calculated on their Tajweed, using voice and tune. Winners on the ladies were regular reciters and teachers of higher level of Dar ul Quran (of Islamic Centre).
This competition was an excellent experience to witness the recitation judged by individuals with extensive knowledge in the recitation of the Holy Quran.
We thank Allah (swt) who gave us the opportunity to serve Him in His way and it is our privilege to be part of such a good community where exist such a talent in variety of teachers, students and their parents. We congratulate all the students for their amazing performance.
Insha’allah, in future we intend to prepare more of our community children for various Quran Recitation Competitions and we need support of dedicated parents to enhance this hidden talent.
Name of Participants:
|Mohamed Kazim Kanji (1st Position)||Ammar Merali|
|Murtaza Mamdani (2nd Position)||Haider Virjee|
|Sultanali Rashid (3rd Position)||Sarah Kanji|
|Maisam Merali||Fatema Zahra Rahemani|
|Mohammed Raza Rashid||Zahra Mamdani|
|Mehdi Raza Lilani||Maleeha Merali|
Darsa - Ramadhan 1431
The Madressa was invited by the London EC to conduct the Darsa classes in the gents section during the holy month of Ramadhan 1431. We jumped onto this opportunity as it gave the Madressa an excellent opportunity to continue its Quran recitation drive. What better month to be blessed than the month when Allah revealed the Holy Book, the living miracle of our time.
This proposition naturally fitted in to our bow of services where we could further enhance the recitation of the younger boys with the ability to listen to them over a continuous period of 30 days.
The darsa was divided into two groups based on ability and a third darsa was introduced during weekends and nights of Qadr. At the peak we had approximately 50 reciters of varying age and ability. The darsa was also linked to tajweed classes that were being conducted during week days which allowed a group of boys to practice and improve their tajweed rules and application.
This is a great stepping stone for the students to recite on a daily basis in an environment that is not in their comfort zone giving them confidence to recite in the public limelight.
At the end of the month two students were selected for awards; one based on the most improved reciter during the holy month and the other as the best reciter which took into consideration fluency, makharij and tajweed. Other factors taken into consideration were their akhlaq and regular attendance.
The Madressa is very grateful to the Hujjat EC for granting us the opportunity to serve this community. Appreciation should also go to the dedicated teachers who conducted these classes during the holy month and to the parents who ensured their children attended on a regular and timely basis. There is a lot more we can do in the years to come to make an impact on the recitation level of our community children and we pray to Allah to once again give us an opportunity to be His guest in this month so that we can serve in His cause.
2010 Dates for your Diary
Sunday 5th December 2010 – Madressa Annual Presentation DaySunday 12 December 2010 – Madressa Closed