The HED at Stanmore Madressa held a workshop with Christian scholar Dr Chris Hewer recently and the following was written by a student who attended.
Posted on Tue, 2014-09-23 12:29
“This was a magical experience where I was inspired and lifted spiritually to the next level!”
In past years, my role in the Madinah and Bab Course has been involvement in the administrative side of things prior to the actual trip and this task would typically terminate at the airport where I would hand over the passports, reassure the parents and check the team in. My heart would sink as I waved goodbye and every year I would pray with eyes closed tight, that one day I will accompany the children.
This year Alhamdulillah, my prayers were answered and I was blessed to accompany the Madinah and Bab Course participants for a few days in Qum and this has been the most amazing experience of a lifetime for me. Although I have previously been to Iran, this trip was different....it was magical! There was a total awakening of the soul.
On arrival at Jamia tuz Zahra, I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer beauty and greenery of the courtyard which was a source of coolness to the eyes. The sound of the fountains filled the air and this alone brought solace to the heart. Time had no meaning any more – I wanted to stay here forever.
Bearing in mind that this was only the second day, it was a pleasure to witness the bonding amongst the children and the mentors. With no actual contact with the parents, the children relied on the mentors and each other for nurture and support. I was humbled to be accepted by the children as ‘one of the gang’ and was privileged to share a dorm with them. I stepped into a dream world for a few days and re-lived my childhood. In the dark hours of the night, we snuck into little bags of sweets as we sat on our beds and shared countless hours reflecting on who we are and shared experiences that awakened the soul. I saw these young buds beginning to flourish and bloom with a fragrance that was heavenly. It was a beautiful experience indeed!
The course was structured, yet allowed ample time to socialise and reflect. We were awakened every morning by the chirping of the birds and the recitation of Ziyarat Ashura prior to Salaat ul Layl, followed by Fajr Salaat. It was a wonderful sight to see these little flowers emerge from their cocoons with weary eyes yet eager to say LABAIK every morning.
The regular attendance of the classes after breakfast was such that the hearts were ignited and there was a yearning for more and more learning. The souls were gently being aroused, the hearts were being moulded and softened like vessels being washed and prepared ready to receive goodness.
After visiting the Blessed Haram of Lady Masooma e Qom (as) their innocent faces glowed with the Noor of the Ahlul Bayt (as) as we were told that whoever performs this Ziyarat of Hazrat Masooma, heaven is incumbent upon them.
We realized that we did not need our mobiles, or Ipads or laptops or any other device which is normally taken for granted in the western world....most of all we needed each other and through each other we experienced the love of our Creator. Subhanallah!Most evenings we would share our experiences and these were inspiring moments to be cherished, as each child had a different story to tell. There were tears, there was laughter, there was a sense of belonging in a safe environment and we would share the secrets of our hearts. We wished that time would stand still, but before we knew it, it would be almost Fajr time and we would scamper like mice into our beds to grab a few hours of sleep!
What made me reflect was that if I witnessed this transformation in the children in only the 4 days that I was with them, then the change in the 3 weeks of the course would have been astonishing!
In my humble opinion, this course is a beacon for The World Federation and its Regions and should be attended by all the children of our community. For many, it will be spiritually uplifting, very inspiring and will bring about a life transforming experience which will have a direct impact on how they will continue to live their lives now and into the future.
For me, this was a magical experience where I was inspired and lifted spiritually to the next level. I will hold on tight to the newly form bonds of friendship where I realised that age is no barrier and will pray again next year, with eyes shut tight, as I yearn for my next Iran Course trip.
I can vouch that Shaykh Kumail and his dedicated team of volunteers and mentors have put in countless hours and many, many, sleepless nights to make this magnificent course a success. I pray that Allah (swt) grants each and every one of them the health and the Tawfiq to continue running this course for many years to come, in conjunction with the regions and that they are rewarded amply now and the hereafter. Ameen
Sister Zeenat Rattansey is the CoEJ Office Manager who blessed us this year with her presence for the first time in the 2014 Madinah al-Bab course.
Updated 20 August 2013
Keeping up with modern times, most Madaris in India are upgrading themselves to teach in English Language, use modern teaching techniques and follow a systematic academic year procedure just like schools do.
One such madrasah is Panjetani Development Trust in Mumbai. This madrasah is situated opposite Khoja Masjid at H. Abbas (as) street and is very close to The World Federation India Office. The madrasah is run by the youth under the guidance of prominent Ulema.
The Madrasah Centre of Excellence (MCE) and the Council of European Jamaats (CoEJ) piloted the recently developed Teaching Skills Programme for Madrasah teachers for 2 days in Milton Keynes, UK. The programme was attended by 24 participants from madaris in South London, Peterborough, Leicester, Milton Keynes and Stanmore.