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.
Sunday 22nd July - Saturday 11th August 2018
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The excellent and renowned Madinah and Bab Summer Courses are one of the highlights of the year at The World Federation. The Islamic Education team is committed to ensuring that the courses continue to reach new heights of excellence, through the spiritual, moral, and educational development of the course participants.
We are excited to share with you what our participants are going to learn throughout the 3 weeks. We will be updating this page every day with a personal blog from them!
Day Nineteen - Thursday 9th August
As we reach the last day, everyone woke up with sad faces realizing this amazing camp is now coming to an end. Having to leave Imam Ridha (s) and the holy land of Mashhad is painful to all.
Woken up at 11am for shopping by Mustafa (participant) shouting at me saying, "I'm late for shopping". We left for Imam Reza market to shop for ourselves in groups. As the Adhan was heard most of us started heading back to the haram and hotel for praying. After lunch, many were around the vicinity and some in the hotel playing Monopoly deal.
As the clock hits 4:30 pm one of us starts rushing for the iron not realizing we had to leave already for the closing ceremony (it was funny). The closing ceremony was long with interesting lectures, messages and amazing recitation ( by me ) with a sad end because we may not see each other in a long time, but we did make lifetime friends. We then headed for Salah and dua kumayl then back to the hotel for dinner.
- Sibtein Fazal, 16, AFED, Tanzania
Alhamdulillah, I am thanking Allah (swt) for giving us the opportunity to see this day. Surely it has been a great day. The first thing we did when we woke up in the morning was to go to the haram of Imam Ridha. We could see the golden dome shining so beautifully, instilling in us humility and sincerity to Allah (swt).
Walking on this ground is such a wonderful experience since everyone around me was so humble just after seeing the haram. I could really feel his honour. We all recited Imam Ridha's ziyarat and left the haram, with the sorrows of saying goodbye to him. In the afternoon we went shopping and everyone was able to buy gift for their loved ones. Alhamdulillah in the evening we got another chance to go to the haram as our closing ceremony was in a hall of the haram. Everyone had a sad face when we talk about leaving. Initially, we thought that the days were many and all of us missed home, but thinking about leaving Imam Ridha and Bibi Masuma is unexplainable. In the ceremony, we had talks from Shaykhs, and some participants and mentors. We were given certificates and some memorable gifts from the haram of Imam.
We ended the day with dua kumayl recited by our fellow participant.
There definitely hasn't been and a day that has passed without us learning something. Today in the lecture I learned the importance of being friends with those who take you to Allah, as well as how I must not limit myself to haram and halal but also work on doing the mustahab and leaving the makruh so I can gain a higher status with Allah. I also was able to reflect on how I can apply the aims of his course in my daily life.
- Sabrina Kautipe, Tanzania
Day Eighteen - Wednesday 8th August
After a tiring day in the holy city of Mashhad, we all get ready to sleep to enjoy the next day in the city of Nishapur. At 8:30 sharp, Sheikh Mustafa enters our rooms shouting "boys wake up its time to go". Most of us were still very tired so remained in our beds, until Sheikh screams "waterpark!" In excitement we all wake up, only to realise we went to the waterpark yesterday and it was time to leave for Nishapur.
We reached Nishapur after a long 2-hour drive. Once again the mentors were calling "Boys Wake Up Now!" We all walk along with Sayyid Shabbar to Qadam Gah where the footprints of Imam Ridha a.s. is located. We all then rush to fetch water in our long bottles which lasted at least 30 minutes.
Next, we visited Bibi Shatita where we stay to pray Zohr and Asr. After a delicious chelo kebab for lunch, we all went to visit the holy Shrine of Ibrahim the Grandson of Imam Musa e Kadhim (as) and Imam Zadeh Mahrouq where ended with Majalis and Matam.
- Abutalib Hussain, Coej
Day Seventeen - Tuesday 7th August
This was the 2nd week after half of this amazing course, today was finally the day every one was waiting for- We were going to the Mashhad water park!!!
We arrived by 11 am after a tiring bus journey. Upon arrival, I was baffeled by the quality and quantity of the water slides. I straight away wore my swimming trunks and went for the BLUE TORNADO which appeared the scariest to me. Then there was my favourite slide which was pink and white in colour, we had to sit on an inflated tube for that slide. I really enjoyed the bumps and turns in the slide.
After around 3 hours of this indescribable experience, we got a call from Shaikh Mustafa for lunch at 4 pm. We were served with some really tempting Kentucky Fried chicken pieces with a hand full of chips and a freshly baked ham (halal chicken)pizza. At 5pm we departed for the hotel. We showered and prayed namaaz and at 9pm some of us went out for shopping and that was the end of one of the best days of this amazing summer course.
- Muhammad Aishan Mawji, 13, AFED, Mombasa, Kenya
It was fajr time and we were sitting in the haram of Imam Ridha(as) right opposite the dome. What a lovely and peaceful way to start the day. At around 10am, we were all rushing to get ready for an amazing day ahead. We had got 2 options to choose from, either to go to the water park or to the shopping mall. Most went to the park and had an amazing time there while a few of us went to the mall. After shopping, we had one of the best pizzas ever. We later went for a haunted house tour where we screamed our lungs out. We ended our day with the beautiful Dua e tawasul in the haram.
A day well lived..Alhamdulillah.
- Madihah Enayat, Dar es Salaam
Day Sixteen - Monday 6th August
On our second day in Mashad we were woken up by the mentors for salaahtul fajr and we all had to pray on our own. We were in a hotel so it was difficult for us to pray jamaat namaaz as opposed to Qum. After prayers, we had time to rest so we all went back to sleep again as we were tired from the flight last night. However, we have woken up again for breakfast but because most of us were still tired and so couldn't wake up. However, before zuhrayn we went for ziyarat of Imam Ridha (as)
In the afternoon, we prayed ate lunch, rested for an hour and went to the haram for a tour of the other graves in the haram and of the museum. We visited the graves of Sheikh Baha'i, Sheikh Hurr Amili, and Sheikh Nakhudaki Isfahani. After the beautiful tour of the haram, we prayed magribayn. After salaah, we were honoured to eat dinner at the sufra of Imam Ridha(as). After dinner we went back to the hotel, then we were given the opportunity to sleep in the hotel or spend the night in the haram. Some stayed back and some grabbed the opportunity to relish the spirituality of the Haram. On our second day in mashad we were woken up by the mentors for salaahtul fajr and we all had to pray on our own. We were in a hotel so it was difficult for us to pray jamaat namaaz as opposed to Qum. After prayers, we had time to rest so we all went back to sleep again as we were tired from the flight last night. However, we have woken up again for breakfast but because most of us were still tired and so couldn't wake up. However, before zuhrayn we went for ziyarat of Imam Ridha (as)
In the afternoon, we prayed ate lunch, rested for an hour and went to the haram for a tour of the other graves in the haram and of the museum. We visited the graves of Sheikh Baha'i, Sheikh Hurr Amili and Sheikh Nakhudaki Isfahani. After the beautiful tour of the haram we prayed magribayn. After salaah, we were honored to eat dinner at the sufra of Imam Ridha(as). After dinner we went back to the hotel, then we were given the opportunity to sleep in the hotel or spend the night in the haram. Some stayed back and some grabbed the opportunity to relish the spirituality of the Haram.
- Zulfikar Mohammedali, 15, AFED, Mombasa.
Day Fifteen - Sunday 5th August
Our first full day in the holy city of Mashad began with breakfast and rest until noon. The rest period was greeted with appreciative sleepy faces that went back to sleep after a tiring flight to Mashad the previous night.
After a traditional Persian lunch of chicken and rice, we went for our first ziyarat of Imam Ridha (a.s), following a thought-provoking introduction to the philosophy of ziyarat by Shaykh Ismail. The magnitude and intricate architecture of the shrine, coupled with a beautiful ziyarat recited by Mentor Mohamed Hussein provided a memorable ziyarat for our group. The opportunity to have some time alone to reflect and pray added to the spiritual essence of the visitation.
The evening held some recreation with a trip to 'Stone Mountain Park'. Despite the fact that we were unable to climb the mountain and were only partially fruitful in attempts to play volleyball on the pathway without being noticed by security, the trip provided the much needed time to blow off some steam. For dinner, we enjoyed fried chicken, chips and pizza in the park, before returning back to the hotel.
- Kaamil Kaba, 16, COEJ, South London
We have finally arrived at our last destination, the holy city of Mashad. We were blessed to do our first ziyarah. The atmosphere was so different; we felt at peace even though it was so crowded. It's just an amazing feeling you get as you approach the zarih of Imam Ridha (as). I was not able to get close to the zarih initially, but by the help of Imam, I was able to kiss the holy shrine. It felt so good Alhamdulillah. In the evening we went to a park and had lots of fun. We played games, ate dinner, prayed namaz and chilled through the night. Alhamdulillah it was a good day for us. We hope that inshallah we get the chance to get closer to Imam in the following days as much as possible.
- Faeza Zahir & Samana Haji Djivan, Madagascar
Day Fourteen - Saturday 4th August
After a hectic late night of packing, we woke up for Fajr (although most stayed awake) and left Dar Al-Zahra for the last time, embarking on a two hour coach journey to Tehran. We began the excursion by visiting the shrine of Ayatullah Khomeini (ra). Our next visitation was performing the Ziyarat of Shah Abdul Azeem (ra), a descendant of Imam Hasan (as), who's Ziyarat is equivalent to the Ziyarat of Imam Hussain (as) in Karbala! Many other Imamzadeh (descendants of A'immah) are buried in this vicinity.
Behishte Zahra, a cemetery dedicated to Shohada, was next on our list. The cemetery has different areas allocated towards Shohada of different causes, for example, the Iraq-Iran war, the Iranian Revolution etc. In one specific place, 72 graves of members of parliament lay, who was bombed in the parliament itself.
At the Iraq-Iran war museum, we had lunch: Chelo kebab (yet again), after Zuhrain prayers and then marched through the halls which explained in depth as to why, when, and how the Iraq-Iran war took place. We got a ffirst-handinsight to life for soldiers and civilians during the war with 4D images and rooms.
Now quiet exhausted, we headed to the airport, but our exhaustion was overshadowed by the excitement to meet our Imam Ridha (as) in Mashhad.
- Syed Reza Hussain, COEJ, South London
Day Thirteen - Friday 3rd August
As the Adhan chimed, a familiar voice called out “Azzizam,” waking me up for the Fajr prayer. When 5am hit, it was time to set off for our ‘mountain’ hike.
As we reached the top of Mount Khidr the sun began to rise. The mix of colours, oranges, reds and the fading away of the dark night's sky made me appreciate the creations of Allah SWT and His infinite qualities. Unfortunately, the mosque at the top was closed, but we were lucky enough to sit outside and recite Dua Nudba alongside others. We sat under the sky, remembering our Imam (ajfs) and praying for his reappearance.
Sitting up on the mountain with Bibi Masumah’s (as) shrine on our left and Masjid Jamkarran on the right had us contemplating how we need to ascend to detach from the material world.
Later in the day, we went to the Shrine for the last time. It was an emotional visit. Before spending the 10 days in Qom I hadn’t felt a connection to Bibi Masuma (as) but I know feel like I have found my female role model. I pray that I am called back again.
- Sayyeda Datoo, AFED
Day Twelve - Thursday 2nd August
After a tasty breakfast we headed to World Federation Main office for the last day of classes where we had a special workshop which was about understanding our world. This was also the first day of shopping which started from an interesting English bookshop with a vast selection of books. The busy day ended with a heart touching dua kumail in the Holy Haram of Lady Fatima Masooma (s.a)
- Zamin Mawjee, 14, COEJ, South London
I started the day with my mentor waking me up for the packed day that was awaiting me. I became ready and went to the last day of my classes, classes and teachers I’m going to miss very dearly and that has had a great impact on me.
I’m going to miss all classes but especially Shaykh Mohammad Ali Ismail’s classes that I feel have had a great impact on my life. Because of his topic that was modern challenges, something all us teenagers go through. What I found beautiful was that he connected it to Islam and connected it to past prophets.
After lunch and resting time our busy, funny and knowledgeable afternoon began! We first headed to Ansariyan bookshop, which for me that is a bookworm, was like I had entered paradise! After that, we headed towards the library of Ayatollah Marashi Najafi, which due to summer holidays was closed. But nevertheless, we got to know that great personality more.
We also headed towards one of the things the girls had been waiting for some time; shopping! After shopping, we went to the haram of Bibi Masooma and that’s how our day ended, with our last beautiful recitation of Dua Kumayl. As I was reciting Dua I slowly realised that this sadly was my last Dua in the haram of Bibi. But I prayed to her that she inshallah invited me again to recite Dua in her beautiful haram.
- Zeinab Houssenaly AFED
Day Eleven - Wednesday 1st August
After a good night sleep, we were all ready for a long and exciting day. It started with our amazing and knowledgeable classes by Shaykh Mohammed Ali Ismail where we learned about the past prophets and modern challenges. In his lesson he taught us about Prophet Musa and how we can control our anger. Our second lesson was with sister Razia Najafi where we learnt about the different Hadith’s narrated by the prophet. Our last lesson of the day was with sister Hannah Daya.
After our classes, we went to Dar ul hadith to pray our Zuhr and Asr prayers and meet a famous scholar called Ayatollah Rayshahri where he gave a short lecture and answered some of the participants questions. Furthermore, we got a tour of the library and also got a chance to buy some books. Afterwards, we had some delicious Chinese for lunch and got ready to do our daily ziyraat to the haram of Bibi Masooma Qom (as).
Once completing our ziyarat we headed to the cinema for the highlight of the day which was a very thrilling movie about the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with English subtitles. The movie gave us a insight on how Prophet Muhammad brought many changes to the people’s life and as our role model made the people of that time start to believe in the miracles of Allah (swt) and it showed us the great sacrifice of our beloved prophet made for our religion.
After the movie, we went to a fancy restaurant where we had a variety of Iranian traditional and fast food.
Lastly, we returned back to Jamiat-e-Zahra and that was the end to an amazing and great day.
- Sabrina Khimji KSIMC Birmingham + Nargis Manji KSIMC Dubai
Day Ten - Tuesday 31st July
This was the 2nd week of our trip to Iran where we had a class in the morning and after Zuhr prayer and lunch we visited Bayt al Nur, the house in which lady Masuma spent few days of her life. We spent some time there and offered 2 rakaat prayer and Ziyarah of lady Maasuma.
After that we went to Masjid Jamkaran, as narrated, the mosque was built by the command of our holy Imam, Imam al Mahdi (a.s) where we offered the 2 rakaat prayer of Holy Mosque and 2 rakaat prayer of Authority of the age (Wali al - Asr (atfs))
We ended the day with dua Tawassul at Jamkaran Mosque.
May God reward all those who contributed to this amazing journey of Madinah and Bab Summer course.
Dr. Kassim Bahsan M.D, AFed, Dar es Salaam , TZ
Day Nine - Monday 30th July
"Allah is infinite. He has no physical form and so can create anything from nothing."
Who is this Entity ? How vast is His mercy and greatness? How is this even possible. My insignificant mind was pondering these questions in class as Sheikh Ali Hemani proved and brought elevation to my faith as he spoke about the infinite essence of Allah (s.w.t). Subhanallah.
After classes, we immediately headed to the bus to meet up with Ayatullah Hadaavi Tehrani. My mind was erupting with questions. Ready to just sit there with him all day and ask questions. Upon reaching the destination we waited until we prayed afternoon prayers behind Ayatullah. I felt at peace. His speech mesmorized me. I knew I had to record this. Took out my camera and recorded Ayatullah until I ran out of space. Was worth it. He gave advice to youths on steadfastness in the non-muslim countries. Alhamdullilah.
At 5pm we headed off for a cool dip in the swimming pool called "Darya". The refreshing cold water eliminated all traces of the scorching heat of Qum. Swimming and playing with my colleagues was lively. Though the lifeguard didnt like how we played in the pool. There was the sauna room in which you could relax. Sadly, at 7pm it was bye bye "pool" hello "heat" again. But to be honest I enjoyed this day. Wish I had brought my camera to the pool.
- Zeeshanali Bandali, 17, AFED- Mombasa.
I woke up today in my comfy bed with the calming air surrounding the Jamiah - a place that had so quickly become home. Hamadan was loads of fun but it felt good to go back to classes and be inspired by our amazing teachers, especially Naajiya aunty whose passion flows in her words. She grabs my attention with everything she says and leaves me wanting more. Our classes were all about Mahdawiyah and how we can get closer to Allah through Imam Mahdi. In order to get closer to them, we need to know ourselves first. One of the things that really blew my mind was how easily I let myself be- the fact that I so readily accepted that humans are social animals is worrying because in reality, it is the intellect that is our distinctive characteristic. Therefore how can I call myself a social animal when there is so much more to being human than just socialising? It was a path of self realisation and an awakening to start thinking outside the box about myself, in order to know my living Imam better and be able to make a personal connection.
We also visited Ayatullah Hadavi Tehrani, the one thing that was emphasised was that when you have knowledge do not waste it, share it with others. However, he also mentioned that to teach we need to make sure our sources are reliable. This touched me the most because it is a reminder for me when I become a teacher InshaAllah.
- Faleeha Rashid, KSMIC of Dubai
Day Eight - Sunday 29th July
In the morning, after breakfast, we went to the Ali Sadr's cave, which is the largest cave in the world which has a large amount of water inside... up to a depth of 14m! Once in the cave we got on to kayaks. As we floated through the caves I felt nervous and excited. There were stones made of rich minerals such as calcium and iron. We also saw different rock formations which grow 2mm every century. We also had a chance to see something magical; Allah's name in Arabic on the stones, which was like His signature on His beautiful piece of art.
We had a very friendly tour guide that explained everything very well. After the caves he took us to a fancy restaurant where we had a dish called 'aab gosht', which was served in traditional clay pots known as 'dizi'. This brought our time in Hamadan to an end, and we went back to Qum, thankful for a wonderful trip.
- Saadiya Khimji Birmingham, UK
Day Seven - Saturday 28th July
Today we came to Hamadan. After a very early start at 4 am, we prayed Fajr and began our 4-hour coach journey!! Luckily we got some much-needed rest on the way so we were ready for a very packed day of sightseeing.
First, we visited the Museum of Natural History in Hamadan. It was full of specimens of different creatures that had been collected over many years, including an array of insects, taxidermy animals, rocks, and gemstones. It was fascinating to see all the different species of animals in their real sizes and admire all the creations of Allah (swt).
The next night we arrived at was the museum of Avicenna (Ibn Sina). Avicenna was a famous philosopher, medic, astronomer, and psychologist. Here we received a really inspiring talk where we learned that Avicenna became an expert in his fields at a very early age and began writing books at just 21! We spoke about the importance of not wasting one's life and that the most important thing is not how long we live but what impact we can make...we all left with a lot to think about!
Next, we got to see some more of how beautiful Hamadan is. We went up in cable cars so we could see the city below. The view was truly breathtaking and even returning in the cable cars we were stunned by the view of the mountains and the city below.
Our final adventure before we returned to our accommodation was to see a waterfall. It was already past Maghrib and the water was lit up in the dark with rainbow lighting all the way down. We spent a while admiring the view and snapping some photos before we left for a much needed night's sleep!!
- Participant, Stanmore, UK
Day Six - Friday 27th July
Najma wake up! You need to pray and be ready by 5:30 because we have to go for Dua Nudba". We went for a beautiful recitation Dua Nudba in the Haram of Bibi Masuma. After Dua, we went to touch the zarih.
In the afternoon we went for Jumuah Salah. We prayed and listened to the khutbah and were back by 2pm. We had lunch and then it was resting time. Then Aunty Aini came to the Jamiah and we could buy anything we needed. She came with many different types of Scarves, Namaaz chadors and Maqnahs... in a whole variety of designs and colours and styles. I enjoyed looking through and I'm really looking forward to wearing the bright colours I bought, when I get home.
In the evening, the girls came together for a Poetry session, and I performed a poem entitled 'Friends' which I had written earlier in the day. I enjoyed performing this for the girls as it was actually the best poem I had ever written and I was so proud of myself! Everyone really liked my poem and I was so happy that I was able to make them smile. We had an early night as we were leaving for our Hamadan trip early the next morning and l was excited to see all the amazing places our mentors had described.
- Nazmabanu Muslim Ali, 14, AFed - Mombasa
Day Five - Thursday 26th July
This afternoon, I really enjoyed our mubahitha (revising and teaching one another the morning's lesson content - in order to help it stick in our heads) session. It revolved largely around the profound Hadith, “ whoever knows himself knows his Lord.” It was a deep and interesting discussion.
We next headed to the salon, which we now know is not actually a hairdresser's but a meeting room to have a fascinating talk on Islamic health and medicine. It involves a more holistic approach to the human body and healthy living. We discussed that microwaves, rather than the apocalypse will be the downfall of mankind!
The day ended on a beautifully peaceful note. Reciting Dua Kumayl together is as a truly lovely experience, and the beauty of the glittering lights of the Haram of Lady Masuma (as), and the majestic full moon in the night's sky made it that much more enlightening.
- Sumayya Hemraj, CoEJ
Day Four - Wednesday 25th July
Today was the birthday of our Holy Imam, Imam Redha (as). On this auspicious day, we began with some special Iranian breakfast followed by inspirational lessons by Sister Naajiya, Sister Salma Khalfan & Sister Zahra. In sister Naajiya’s class, we learned the importance of a role model, and how they affect our lives. In our tafseer lesson, we explored the deeper meaning of Surah Al Hamd, which we were able to implement in our salah. This allowed us to connect with the beauty of salah further. Last but not least, in Aqaeed with sister Zahra, we were enlightened about the very beautiful qualities of a true Muntadhir of Imam Zaman.
After Jamaat Salah, we had mouthwatering chelo kebab; one of their staple foods.
In the evening we visited the Holy Shrine of Bibi Masuma. The lights that shimmered upon the shrine spread a blanket of tranquility in our hearts. We then headed towards Dar Al-Zahra where we celebrated the birthday of our 8th holy Imam and were lectured by Sheikh Mohamed Ali Ismail about the significance about taqleed.
But the highlight of the day was when we collectively gathered under the full moon in the dorms of Jamiat al-Zahra and beautifully recited Manqabat in five different languages. The feeling was incredible. This increased our love for the Imam and Bibi Masuma.
- Mahek Nanji Jaffrey islamic centre (JIC) Nairobi,Kenya and Zainab Kermali Jaffari community center (JCC) Toronto, Canada
Day Three - Tuesday 24th July
Returning to Qum, the city of my childhood, after 10 years has been such a sweet experience, and I am very fortunate to have made many friends to share this with.
In the morning, we made our way to our first lesson with Brother Zahir Davdani on the topic: Importance of knowing God. This was followed by Najiya Bai, who shared some of her personal experiences in the most relatable and charismatic manner! Finally, we began the commentary of Surah al Fatiha with sister Salma Khalfan. I am very passionate about learning tafseer of the Qur'an and usually watch lectures on YouTube, but having a scholar to directly ask and discuss with us made it all the more effective and memorable.
In the evening, we visited Bayt-al-Nur and Chehl Akhtaran. As we visited the offspring of our Imams, the atmosphere of harmony humbled me. I am sure the holy personalities will not let their zawaar leave the city empty-handed.
Personally, the highlight of the day has been our visit to Masjid-e-Jamkaran. We received a lecture by Sheikh Mohammed Ali Ismail and a talk by sister Sajida Daya. But it was a special night as this sanctuary of peace had become a spiritual rendéz-vous for crowds of people. It was the eve of the wiladat of Imam Reza (as) and was being celebrated in the Masjid constructed as directed by Imam Zamana (as).
The elaborate mosaic inscriptions on the domes were decorated by lights, and dhikr rose in the humid air as we recited Dua-e-Tawassul. It was such a heartfelt moment as I yearned to rekindle my relationship with our Imam. I really look forward to our visit here again next week inshaallah.
- Zahra Ismail, Stanmore, UK
Day Two - Monday 23rd July
"Wake up Zoha ! It's 8:30 !" Said my mentor in a polite tone as she woke me up for breakfast; preparing me for the fun filled day that awaited me. After the very nutritious breakfast, we headed towards the hall upstairs for the gathering we anxiouslessly looked forward to. There we collectively introduced ourselves through the "icebreaker session".
We then headed towards the lecture room located in Jamea where Sheikh delivered a lecture regarding the importance of Mahdawiyah. He elaborated on the very beautiful resemblance between our 12th imam and Imam Husain (s). What an enlightening session. I've never felt so proud to call myself a follower of the Mahdi - to know that no matter what, he's watching over me and that he's there, whenever and wherever I need him.
After heading back to the dorms for Salat Jamat and the deliciously jojeh kebab that awaited us. We decided to rest before leaving for the Ziarah of the Beloved Bibi's Haram. For some reason, as soon as our eyes fall upon the Golden Dome of the haram, tears involuntarily stream down reminding us how very lucky we are to be standing in the great personality's presence, a Lady who's Ziarah is equivalent to 70000 Hajj Maqbool. What an honor! Her status resonated deeper in my heart after the informative session we had with Sister Sajeda Daya regarding the honor of Bibi Masuma. Upon returning to the dorms, we dined on scrumptious fast food and hurried for a swim to the Jamia pool. Oh! What a day.
- Zoha Mohammad Hemraj, Dubai
After breakfast, we had a session with the participants and briefed them on the rules and the schedule. At 11 am we went to visit Imam Khomeni hawza, a huge and very beautiful hawza and went through its very complete and extensive library.
We then went back home for salaat and had an Iranian dish for lunch. In the evening we went for a tour of the Haram and visited the graves of some of the great scholars of Islam who are buried near or inside the haram. We returned home in time for prayers and ended the third (second official) day of the course with a tasty dinner of burgers and fries.
- Muhammad Hussein Daya.
Day One - Sunday 22nd July
“Welcome to Qom, CoEJ girls!” - that’s the sign that one of our mentors was holding upon our arrival at the airport. That’s when it really hit home - the countdown to Madinah al- Ilm course was finally over.
After arriving at Jamia al-Zahra (and being awed by its beauty) we met the rest of the participants - the girls will be spending the next 3 weeks with! We were gifted our chadors and headed out for the opening ceremony at Dar al-Zahra.
The ceremony was a lovely introduction to the summer course and the speakers gave us a key piece of advice to make the most of our time here.
Alhamdulillah we have the opportunity to not only perform the Ziyarah of Holy personalities but to also take the first steps towards becoming cities of knowledge ourselves.
Another point that really resonated with me was a reminder of how Bibi Masumah (as) is a symbol of the high status given to women in Islam. Both men and women from all across the globe, all visit the Holy Personality with utmost humility and are always left in awe. Bibi Masuma (as) exudes virtue, patience, strength, and courage. This is what resonated in my mind when we visited the Haram that night - that we, as young Muslim girls, have so much to emulate.
And it all starts here - in the Holy city of Qom.
- Khudayja Datoo, CoEJ
Arrivals: Saturday 22nd July
The boys from AFED and the Bosnian brothers reached Tehran at about 4 am and Brother Zafar brought them from the airport to the accommodation in Qom.
Upon reaching the accommodation we ate breakfast together and then the participants slept till Zohr prayers as they were very tired from the flight.
After the Jama'at prayers, we had lunch and the boys and spent the afternoon talking to each other, playing games and bonding. Some of them played football in the yard.
At 7 pm we set out to do our first unofficial Ziyarat of Bibi Masouma (sa), where the boys were given a short talk on the personality of Bibi Masouma by Syed Shabbar and we ended the Ziyarat with maghribain prayers in the Haram.
After returning and eating dinner we rested for an hour before going to sleep.
The boys had a lot of questions about different Islamic topics especially the way Iranian currency works.
- Mohamed Hussain
So far I have been having a great time in Iran. The mentors and the other camp participants are so friendly and welcoming.
Today was a relaxing day since we were tired after we landed. I felt so great being at the Jamia. It is so big with beautiful buildings which are well designed with all facilities. I didn't realise that the mentors would stay with us in the same rooms. They are so amazing and caring.
In the evening, we went to the haram of Bibi Masuma (sa) and for me, it was an incredible experience since this was my first time. I have never seen anything as beautiful as the haram and it was so emotional. I could feel the attachment with Bibi and some kind of peace that I can't really express.
- Fatuma Mussa Bugu- BMMK
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This is the second book in a series that will cover 180 questions and answers about a vast range of issues covering belief, practices, history and current issues that affect Islam. A must-have for any home!
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.