We teach a living, breathing Islam. We know the importance of building one’s faith and religion upon good, constructive foundations which come to life in everyday reality. This is why we decided to provide structured courses of learning to the already existing circles of study at the mosque.
The ‘Sisters’ Circle’ had been running for over a decade – maa.shaa.Allah! In recognition of the importance of women and education, the mosque consulted the sisters to see how the circle’s framework could be adapted to offer a structured programme of study to the sisters.
We came up with ‘Foundation Islam’ – a course of study combining flexibility and practicality with progression. Students are offered four-week courses on the essential Islamic sciences: Aqidah (Creed), Fiqh (Jurisprudence), Tafsir (Qur’anic Exegesis), Hadith, Sirah (the Prophetic Biography) at gradual progressive stages. Each course is assessed at the end of the four weeks before a new module is introduced. This enables the students to learn in manageable bite-size chunks as they build on their knowledge of Islam. Although the modules build on one another, breaking them into four-week chunks grants students the flexibility to join and rejoin the programme at any point since there is no ‘long-haul’ study. You get from the overall programme the number of courses you consistently attend!
We have so far covered two courses: the first was the ‘Methodology of Seeking Knowledge’ and the second – which we have just concluded – was ‘Introductory Aqidah’. The sisters sat their assessments this evening and the main picture of this post shows them taking in some calories before the test.
The test is of course not mandatory, but we believe that learning should be assessed for both the student and teacher’s sake. A bit of cake always helps! The next course of study is ‘Living Islam in the West: Challenges & Opportunities’. Since we started the ‘Foundation Islam’ course for women on Tuesdays at 6.30pm, the men requested a similar programme. We responded by offering them the ‘Student of Knowledge’ class on Thursdays at 6.30pm. The course content and design is the same for both.
We want to create a community of knowledge through creating a ‘living breathing’ study programme which can be accessed by anyone from anywhere. In beginning to achieve this, we plan on compiling the notes of study, sharing them online and editing them as we go along. Please stay tuned.
We are pleased to publish our first monthly newsletter. We already have an announcements email list where we send weekly reminders of the week’s activities and events to interested members of the community. The newsletter for this weekly update shall from now forth be called ‘the Mosque Weekly’. If you would like to subscribe to the list, please send an email to email@example.com
Last Sunday, the 20th of November 2016, we opened the doors for children of the community to attend the Mosque School. A total of 47 students aged 5 to 12 years were registered by their parents to attend the school to learn Arabic, Qur’an and Etiquette.
It may be asked: why does a mosque in Scotland teach children Arabic and Qur’an? Our answer is: if we want to raise the next generation of youth confident in belonging where they are, and with their religious identity, we should make sure they have the tools to correctly understand their often misunderstood religion. And it just so happens that the language which this religion originally communicated in is Arabic! It’s a language with 300 million speakers, officially spoken in 22 countries, and has at least 11 words for love. Languages connect humans!
In the first week, all the attending students were assessed to determine their Arabic language levels and abilities. The assessment results enabled the school administration to organise the students into three classes taking into account age in combination with Arabic language competency. Currently, the school has a young beginners’ class, an intermediate level and a relatively advanced class.
The primary goal of the Mosque School is to equip the students with the language skills to be ‘conversant’ with the language of the Qur’an – the Book of their religion: reading, writing, speaking and recitation. The school also has an equally important role to meet the student’s social needs of being in an environment where they can feel comfortable with their Muslim identity, make friends and learn about the diverse cultures of the Muslim world.
Many parents have emphatically made the point that some of their own childhood experiences with Islamic schools (Madrasahs) had been negative. Some outlined being ‘scarred’ by some of the experiences to the point that affected their identities as Muslims relating to Islam. We don’t want this to happen in our school. For this reason, we are teaming up with education practitioners in Scotland to help us design our classes so that they teach Islam in as positive, fun and rewarding a way as possible for our children.
We have currently reached our limit for new enrolments to our school. However, inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.