Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Madrasah Musings


  • Madrasah.


Y'all don't understand (or maybe you do!). My family has spent a long, looong, looooong time doing it - literally since I was a child. I got conscripted as a teacher at the age of 15, tasked with helping kids learn the Arabic alphabet and their first surahs in Juz 'Ammah (except I'm awful at teaching little kids, and got bumped up to teach the intermediate class with slightly older kids who didn't cry as much when I was in Scary Teacher Mode).

When I first left home, I was actually relieved that I wouldn't have to teach anymore... until I realized how much I missed it. In Kuwait, I found myself leaping at the opportunity to teach again, and when I moved back to Canada, I jumped back into it. Now, my parents and I teach again on a weekly basis, and with it has returned All The Feels.

It's not just about showing up and teaching kids for an hour or so and then packing up and going home.

It's spending hours every week with children at different levels and different paces of learning; exulting in their progress, groaning at setbacks, pouring our blood, sweat, and tears into every day and every child.

It's drinking a stiff cup of coffee before every class, wondering why we put ourselves through this agony every week, and sighing with exhaustion at the end of every class, comparing notes on who got ahead and who fell behind and who is still struggling with their current lessons.

It's getting excited planning a graduation ceremony for the kids we've managed to get through the qaa'idah and who have begun reading from the mus'haf itself and who have memorized their first Juz.

It's finding ourselves sitting at the dinner table or driving to do groceries and somehow we end up talking about "our kids" again - both past and present students.

It's stalking our old students online to see what they're up to and what paths they've taken in life and whether they ever remember what they learned with us.

It's wondering aloud about our current students and hoping that they make better life choices than some of their predecessors and desperately praying that they continue to read and recite the Qur'an throughout their lives... and selfishly hoping that we continue to receive ajr for every letter of the Qur'an that they utter.

In the end, that's what it is really about: dedicating ourselves to the inglorious, grueling, painful, exhilarating, and deeply emotional cause of teaching Muslim children the very basics of their faith, solely for the Sake of Allah. (We sure as heck aren't making much of a career out of it!)

We know that we have an obligation to this Ummah, and we have no choice but to fulfill it. We only pray that Allah accepts our work, and blesses it, and makes the fruits of our labour last long after we pass away.

{Say: "Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.} (Qur'an 6:162)

The Messenger of Allah said: "Whoever teaches some knowledge will have the reward of the one who acts upon it, without that detracting from his reward in the slightest." [ibn Majah]