~As a hifdh teacher prepares to temporarily relocate, she reminiscences about a special time in her teaching career~

Verily time belongs to He who created it. The hours, minutes and seconds that were woven into the tapestry of our lives. Such  an  integral part, such an essential element of our lives. For, what would life be without it, we’d often contemplate?

 

The time has come. “Finally”, some say. I’ve come to dislike that word – such a sense of  finality, termination, or perhaps closure?

 

Over the last decade, this is one of the most challenging articles I’ve had to pen. Previously, I’ve had no difficulty in drafting and preparing articles, yet  I am now at a loss for words! I’ve sat for hours, staring at my computer screen, not sure of where and how to begin. Because words cannot quantify the  immeasurable loss and emptiness.

 

Painful, for it tugs at the heartstrings; but necessary, for this magical story needs to be told so our readers can be inspired by the Qur’an!

 

 

All praise to Allah, for the last five years, a garage measuring 3 x 7 metres, has served as a madrasah center in a busy, residential area in South Africa.

 

Ranging in age from 3 until 85 years old, hundreds of students gathered to learn the recitation of the Qur’an, memorise the Qur’an, understand the Qur’an and IMPLEMENT the Qur’an.

 

As every teacher would maintain, each class is a favourite, endearing in its own way, with its own reasons, making coming to class an absolute pleasure!

 

There is one class in particular, the memories of which I will always cherish. Trust me, it’s an open secret! So, no favouritism issue here!

 

Let’s call them: “The Secret Garden”.

 

DQ Girls, you know who you are: This article is dedicated to you…

 

For the many fajrs, snacks, tears, laughs, scowls, teasing, smiles, stories, iftaars, Qadhaa fasts, nasheeds, adventures, dreams, achievements, victories and Du’aas we shared!

 

For the times we tried to revive the Blessed Sunnah of eating, drinking, socializing, miswaak, walking, talking, smiling…living!

 

For your spirit of perseverance, dedication, effort and love, towards the Qur’an!

 

For the “tabaarakati” events, your delightful suprises and poignant,beautiful memories!

 

For five spiritually exhilarating years of Qur’an, Qur’an, and more Qur’an!

 

Allow me to introduce you to a group of 25 students, ranging in age from 4 until 25 years. Students, teachers, wives, mothers they are-

 

Whilst some are in preschool, others are in matric writing trials ; some at tertiary institutes completing their degrees, yet others are expectant mothers or madrasah teachers coming to class after a full day of teaching little ones.

 

They come to class before the sun rises and again in the afternoons. Weekends and holidays.  Sometimes, in the evenings, too. During exams, trials, prelims and finals. During chaotic wedding preparations or  in the last trimester of pregnancy.

 

They come with one purpose: To memorise the Noble Qur’an, INSHALLAH.

 

Each day, a new verse to learn – each day, a step closer to achieving their dream of memorizing the Qur’an.

 

Over the past five years, we’ve gathered in our classroom (to our students it was offensive to call it a garage, and rightly so) learning with and from  each other, as we traveled on life’s journey, seeking to earn the ultimate pleasure of Allah Ta’ala.

 

We began with an empty “garage”, the base of which was a concrete floor, surrounded by white walls, complete with a noisy shutter. This was OUR space. The decision was taken, that to create an environment of learning and spiritual ambition, we needed to  literally created a classroom: complete with stationery, calendars, duty rosters, exam dates,

 

inspiring wall charts, qur’an stands and notice boards. Uniforms, books, excursions, events, visiting guests, circulars, timetables, assessments, projects and graduations.

 

Alhamdulillah, this was the start of “The House of The Qur’an”.

 

Carpets , blankets and cushions were added. The most trying time was summer – The humidity didn’t help! But then along came the pedestal fans, Alhamdulillah!

 

For 4 years, our students read beneath a 60 watt light bulb that was positioned 4 metres high. Then came a fluorescent tube that instantly lit up our classroom, making it much easier for us.

 

Reading this, you may ask why none of this was sorted out much earlier, being well aware of the spirit of concern in the muslim community? Please remember that this was a residential area, in a complex building that was governed by body corporate rules, and so respecting this, we needed to tread very carefully.

 

And for our students – though youth – what really mattered to them was their lessons. I would always remind them, and I do that now, too. How absolutely amazing is the powerful Destiny of Allah Ta’ala – that long before we were even born, Allah Ta’ala had chosen a car garage to be the venue for our memorizing the Qur’an. And so while other garages, had cars parked in them, ours “housed” the words of the Qur’an. And as more offers and callings came for the relocation of our madrasah, our students became more attached to their “special” classroom. None of us wanted to move. We loved our madrasah just as it was.

 

In the last few weeks, as we slowly took apart our madrasah, and returned it to being a garage, I think we learnt one of life’s greatest lessons. And I am eternally grateful to Allah Ta’ala for that : Life is not about the deceptive glitter, rather, it is about the small, valuable things that help make us better people. What was of  “value” in our humble madrasah? Charts, articles, wall posters … How do you put a “price” to inspiring verses of the Qur’an or the motivational, life-transforming words of our Beloved Rasoolullah (saw)? You just can’t! And when I saw youth tear at parting with these wall charts, I knew, now, more than ever, that there IS hope for youth leading the next generation forward, to the path of Allah! For, I pray,  if they can value and attach themselves to their Islamic Principles more than this deceptive world, then truly, they have found the key to CONTENTMENT OF THE HEART.

 

And how many times our carpet was left damp for days on end, after the summer rains, so we would sit close by, making space for the other students ; or the weekends we would read, whispering, so as not to disturb the sleeping neighbour ; or the time our “toddler” student potty-trained on the carpet and our students had to practically implement the ruling on “purification of an impure area” ; or the “load-shedding” moments when we chose to learn in the shadow of the afternoon sun ; or the cat who gave birth to a litter of kittens beneath our Qur’an stand ; or the sister who was visiting family in the complex, and on hearing the rhythmic recitation of Qur’an, came to see what was happening and Allah invited her into the family of Qur’an Readers ; or the young souls that were illuminated with the beauty of the Qur’an; or those students for whom the Qur’an presented the ultimate purpose of living ; or those students for whom reciting the Qur’an gave the greatest feeling of spiritual exhiliration ; or the students that felt their baby’ first movement whilst reading Qur’an to their teacher ; or for those students for whom their “secret garden” was an escape from the clamouring thoughts and trials of the world ; or the times when we decorated our classroom to acknowledge another year spent in learning the Qur’an ; or the awe-inspiring moments when we realized that the caravan of goodness was traveling to a Paradise that is as wide as the heavens and the earth – and we WANTED to be in that caravan; or the times we secretly planned surprises for a graduating student ; Or those moments when we cried and pledged to create a revolution to free Al-Aqsa …

 

A day after closing our House of the Qur’an, I was inundated with many special messages. But, one message in particular, summed up what each of us were experiencing on that day:

“Dearest Apa … The day is dragging. 3 0’ clock came with nowhere to go … I am sure that the walls of our haven, our beloved madrasah, weep with us, deprived of listening to the beautiful kalaam, waiting for the day we will reunite, InshAllah!

~This aricle was first published in The Muslim Woman Magazine, South Africa.~


 

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