Boys Mentor Training - Day One
Firstly I would like to thank Allah (SWT) for providing this great opportunity to visit the holy places of Qum and InshAllah Mashad. The mentors and participants get to perform Ziyarah of Sayyida Fatima Masuma (as). It hard to put in words when you visit the Haram, we as followers of AhlulBayt have utmost respect for our infallible Imams since childhood, but when one visitor visits the holy shrine of the great personalities he/she seeks for a special connection that takes the spiritual awareness to next level.
Today was the first day of the mentor training program for Madinah and Bab course 2016. It is amazing to see the effort that has been put to organise these sessions. Brother Qasim Gulamhusein led the training sessions and shared with us the experiences from past years. The main purpose of the training if to best prepare the mentors to be able to serve the participants.
Since it is such a diverse group of people from all around the world, it is very important to understand different types of personalities, what motivates people and how best to facilitate different people with diverse backgrounds. We discussed the aims of the program, the expectations of the organisers, and our motivations to join this course etc.
To keep the interest of the participants, different activities were designed. We were shown pictures of different people and asked to guess their professions. The purpose of the activity was to make people realise that we should not be judging people from the appearance. The iceberg model was discussed which shows the apparent looks of people can only tell us very little about the person, we need to actively listen and communicate with others to understand their perspective of the same situation and respect the differences. We were taught the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), which essentially shows the different personality types, and reflected on ourselves and our strengths and weaknesses, how we can make best use of our strengths and seeks assistance in areas we can improve.
We had the opportunity to visit the Haram of Sayyida Masuma for Salatul Maghribain and attend the recitation of Dua Kumail. It was difficult to stop the tears from coming during the supplication. Surely this place has amazing effects on spirit, shows the greatness of Ahlulbayt (as), and is a pure Wasila to connect to the Almighty Allah (SWT). May Allah accept our prayers and give us the opportunity again to visit this holy land with our families.
By Ali Imran Rizvi from Melbourne, Australia
Girls Mentor Training - Day One
SubhanAllah, by the true mercy of Allah (SWT) today marked the first day of the mentor training for this year's Madinah & Bab-ul-Ilm course. It is befitting to begin with a Hadith of Imam Ali Ar-Ridha (as) where he eloquently states, "the highest degree of wisdom is self-cognition". I honestly believe that gaining a deeper understanding of ourselves in these upcoming days will not only equip us with several key skills a mentor should encompass, but also allow us to fully engage with the participants that we are blessed to serve to enhance their spiritual experience.
Prior to arriving in Qum, Br Qasim sent us few questions that we were asked to reflect on and bring to the first session. These questions consisted of our inspirations to make a difference in the community; what we would be looking to gain from this experience through the eyes of a participant; and finally to reflect upon who has been a good mentor to us and the characteristics they emulated. Discussing these vital questions allowed us to collectively peel away the layers and ambiguities that surrounded the 'role of a mentor'. Alhamdulillah as the day progressed our roles as mentors became more clearly defined.
Similarly, whilst it is imperative to know ourselves in this process, it is even more essential to learn more about our fellow mentors - as this, in turn, has a tremendous impact on the way we work effectively within a team. There is no better way to facilitate a training programme, especially a mentor development one without harmonious ice breaker activities!! This came in an array of forms from tower building to sharing three interesting facts about the individual you were seated next to. It was incredibly informative to learn about one another and to explore their talents! With salaat time soon approaching we summarised the morning's events as we awaited our traditional lunch!
The final session of the day and easily the most challenging activity (for myself) included the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test. This allowed each of us mentors to dig deep inside ourselves in an attempt to discover our personality types based on highly prestigious psychological theories. Despite the surprisingly accurate results for most, we each recognised that Allah (SWT) created us all with a specific purpose in life it is our prerogative to determine our specific purpose in this life. Personally, I further recognised that discovering the inner depths of my personality are parallel to my path of self-development as I strive to seek proximity to Allah (SWT) inshAllah.
Our day concluded with Maghribain Salah in the ever-prestigious shrine of Kareematul Ahlulbayt, Sayyida Masuma (as) followed by a beautiful recitation of Dua Kumail which left our faces streaming with tears. There are no words to truly express the feeling of sitting in the magnanimity of this exemplary woman, a mother to all her Zuwaar near or far. Salaam Ya Fatima Al-Masuma!
By: Aliyah Bhimani from Peterborough, UK
Boys Mentor Training - Day Two
On the second day of the Madina and Bab course, the sessions got better and better than before.It was full of fun, creativity from the mentors especially during the presentation of various role plays and yes - educative role plays for that matter.I can't forget one of the sisters dramatizing with two water bottles posing them as participants. Personally, I couldn't imagine she could pull that off bearing the fact that she seemed shy on the first day. At that point I realized we are discovering ourselves, every one of us got an impact from the previous session. It was a good change, a positive change I call it.
It felt so good enjoying and absorbing new information and ideas all at once,that is something I don't get so often out there.I loved the part of Articulate play,at first, I really felt like I was letting my team down because I couldn't figure out most words quickly and we were on a ticking clock, however,one of the mentors from my team assured me it was all well. It really felt nice and encouraging and there I was re-energized.
I actually realized everybody has something different to present to the society and if we could be shooting a movie, it could really sell!!!It was my best day ever.
By: Mohammed Were from Bilal Muslim Mission of Kenya
Girls Mentor Training - Day Two
Insight. Reflection. Feedback.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
We began our morning session at Dar-ul-Zahra with these thought provoking words. As we sat in a reflective circle,we reflected on the previous day and what insights we gained about ourselves. Each of us presented our thoughts which were further developed by Brother Qasim either by asking us to write our strengths and weaknesses or focusing on an action plan for the coming weeks.
There are several benefits of returning back on this course as a mentor aside from entering the holy city of Qum 4 days before the participants. These training sessions provide the mentors with time to bond and recognise each of their qualities; in particular where we can assist one another if we see them struggling with a given task.
Furthermore, to enhance our teamwork skills we engaged in Islamic articulate and role-plays. The role-plays were specific to real-life scenarios that mentors in previous years had come across, some of which repeat themselves yearly and as a result it was beneficial to discuss.
Being in this holy city for this course strongly reminds me of why I decided to return to Iran as a mentor. After hardships come ease and alhamdulillah I have been blessed with the opportunity to have overcome many trials and tribulations within my life, and I am truly thankful for the opportunity to be a servant for Lady Masuma (sa) and Imam Rids (as).
By: Sayyeda Adeela Zahra Shah from Peterborough, UK
Boys Mentor Training - Day Three
Spiritual awakening continues
We entered the last day of mentor training program today. I would like to sincerely thank all the organisers involved for this years Madinah and Bab course. The quality of training and the commitment of all involved is way more than expectation. Sr Jerrmein shared her invaluable experiences from past years of the course, and Br Qasim facilitated reflection sessions to solidify our learning of past two days.
The highlight of the day was a presentation by Sheikh Khalfan, he eloquently explained the role of mentoring in the light of Quran and Hadith. The two basic components of mentoring in a spiritual setting is support and encouragement. His words were very motivational and energised us to offer the best we can for the rest of the course.
Sheikh Nadir Jaffer took us through the schedules and timetable for the three-week program, it is amazing to know the attention to detail given for each day of the program. He said "you folks are here because there was a call for you from Imam (as)" it was heartwarming feeling. I pray that Mawla accepts our Ziyarat and hope we become a better follower of our great deen.
I am looking forward to moving to accommodation beside Masjid Jamkaran today, there is a lot more to come and experience hence the spiritual journey continues.
Written by Ali Imran Rizvi from Melbourne-Australia
Girls Mentor Training - Day Three
An Eye- Opening Journey
Today marked the third and final day of our mentor development program. During these three days, we learnt a lot about ourselves and our duties as mentors. Today’s session was exceptionally inspiring. We had the honour of being addressed by Sheikh Muhammad Khalfan who shed some more light on the characteristics of an effective mentor. He also provided us with strategies and action plans of mentoring. What made it different from what we had done on the other days is that each point was based on hadith.
The roleplays and recap activities didn’t only make the session interesting and interactive but also gave us great insight into what we may expect in the days to come and empowered us to tackle any situation. We now feel much more confident in our roles as mentors and these three days have equipped us with those tools.
We are really grateful to our facilitators, especially Br. Qasim Gulamhusein for conducting these useful and practical sessions.
By: Sukaina Khatau from Kenya and Aaliya Yusufali, Tanzania