Between Dusk and Dawn…

Some *scribble* *scribble* by Ameera

“Teens For Deen” – a wonderful experience


Alhamdolillah, summer vacations have finally started ans as I write this, I’ve already spent two weeks. ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’, isn’t that the popular saying? Well, as soon as I got off with my exams, I got involved with “Teens For Deen”, a summer course at Al Huda for girls 13+, that I’d volunteered for. It’s a 3-week course and two weeks have already gone by.

When the course began, I was very, very nervous. Teaching Tajweed, while being a student of Tajweed myself, to teenagers suddenly seemed like a very tough task. Besides that, the fact that I and three other girls around my age were in-charge of the course, with no-one else above us to “protect” us made me wonder if we’d manage to pull it off? Of course, the co-ordinator, Saba Paracha had experience as a staff member previously as well… but she too had not been the “co-ordinator” ever before. Thus, preparing for Tajweed classes was not the only task for me. Together, we needed to work out each day’s schedule, who would be coming in as a gust speaker, who’d arrange for the community service trips, what books and bags to give the girls, etc. I must say Saba baji had experience to rise to the challenges and with her help, Alhamdolillah, we managed to be ready for every situation.

In these past two weeks, the welfare department of Al Huda also arranged for two trips to their fields of work – a government-run children’s hospital, and this Friday, to a poor colony (“Umar colony” in Karachi) inhabited by people who’re below the poverty line. We put together gift bags for the children on both visits – chips, milk, buiscuits, coloring pencils, notebooks and toys. We also visited a madressah/school in Umar colony where cute little faces sat huddled in hot classrooms, eager to study in the limited resources available to them. Visiting these areas where Al Huda is involved in welfare, really made us realize how much we take for granted – how the poor live in haphazard, filthy colonies while we dwell in our luxuries. It’s very easy to be “depressed” and say, “I don’t have that branded shirt!” or “My parents can’t afford to take us abroad every year!” but when you look at those who’re living in such poor conditions as in Umar colony, it humbles you and makes you grateful for what you have. May Allah ease the suffering of those people! (Ameen!)

The “Quran reflection” subject in the summer course is being taught by Saba Baji. She’s just completed Surah Yusuf. MashAllah, being only 24 years old and still in University, the young girls relate to her with ease. She weaves into the discussion, issues such as Muslim identity, optimism, ‘Sabr’ (patience), spending in the Way of Allah, how to deal with mixed school parties, girl-boy relationships, apparel, etc. Bringing everything back to the Quran and Sunnah and leaving it up to the girls to decide for themselves what is right, is a strategy that has left its impact upon the students. I try to sit in whenever I am free, to learn some wisdom myself!

We’ve shown an Iranian movie “Children of Heaven”, directed by Majid Majidi. It was really popular with the girls Alhamdolillah. They even stayed in an extra fifteen minutes just so that they could watch the end! Besides this, the ‘Seerah’ teacher shows clips from “The Message” – that really improves the impact of the lectures MashAllah.

Side-by-side, we’re running group sessions, presided over by us staff members. The purpose of the group sessions is to get the girls started on their group projects – “Teens For Deen” – how can teens/youth serve the Deen of Allah? Our job as staff members is just supervision, the girls have to do everything themselves. Whether they prepare a powerpoint presentation or a role-play skit, it’s up to them. InshAllah, let’s see what they come up with on Thursday.

Besides all this, there are other small classes and lectures. A series of lectures by 21-year old Maryam Mehboob, titled “Muslim Heroes”, was very popular with the girls. There was short quiz held last week, to assess the interest of the girls and to find out if they’d learned anything so far. That also went down very well with the girls, and they received gifts to further motivate them.

I’ve learned a lot about the workings of a an organization like Al Huda, while working as a staff member for the past two weeks. There’s great discipline in everything they do MashAllah. Every penny spent is accounted for – yes, that means that whatever we buy for the course, we must keep the receipts safe, to send to the regional office of Al Huda, to account for our expenditures. Plastic must not be promoted – thus, we handed out the books in cloth bags (the bags themselves were imprinted with “I am not a plastic bag” on the front). The chain of authority is also very distinct in the organization, and so it had to be in our summer course as well – Saba baji is the co-ordinator and I’m the second in-charge, and so on. Every thing that belongs to the branch (where the course is being held) is an ‘Amanah’ (a trust) that belongs either to Al Huda, or the residents of the house (who’ve given away their ground floor in the Way of Allah, for such classes and courses throughout the year). Thus, every article in our use must be accounted for and cared for, rather than carelessly handled. It’s really a lesson in Islamic etiquette, MashAllah, that I’m really grateful for!

Heading into the last week of the course, I’m sad that it’ll be ending soon. Spending the past two weeks with the girls has resulted in new friendships and I can’t believe we’ll be saying good-bye so soon! On the other hand, I also want this course to end, so that 2nd August – the day I resume as a “student” at the same venue, under my regular teachers, with the fourth semester of the weekly “Towards the Light” course. In fact, going to the same venue daily, as a teacher, rather than as a student, made me really miss my teachers during the first few days of the summer course. I missed my friends, young and old, from the weekly class so much that I was genuinely sad for a while. Now that the summer course is ending, it’s a time for mixed feelings again.

Nevermind my complex feelings and emotions – Alhamdolillah, it’s been an experience that has taught me so much! It has also strenghtened my resolve, InshAllah, to be actively involved, to the best of my ability, with this organization… especially when I’m done with my basic medical studies. Allah knows best what course I will be taking in the future and what would be best for me. Perhaps, I’d be able to, InshAllah, work as a part-time specialist in a hospital and also teach and learn at Al Huda. I wouldn’t be saying this, probably, if I hadn’t seen people do this already so… Alhamdolillah… whatever Allah deems best!



8 responses to ““Teens For Deen” – a wonderful experience

  1. Farzeen July 22, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Assalaamu’alaykum wa rahmatuLlah sister

    I’m glad to hear that you’re using your summer in a beneficial way. Keep up the good work, masha’Allah! May Allah give you tawfeeq, ameen.

    I’m really glad to read about the two trips that you all made. Often, we think about the hardships that others experience and we respond with sympathy, but the impact is usually quite minimal until we come closer to those who are struggling. And sadly enough, many of them are often right next door. Ameen to your du’a!

    All the best, insha’Allah! 🙂

  2. Ameera July 25, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Walaikumassalam wa rehmatullahi wa barakatohu!!

    It’s so nice to see you here MashAllah! You’re right about seeing first hand the hardships others are facing. Our maid also lives in a similar colony and I was wondering how we could possibly tell her to “clean the washroom better because it’s not spotless” when her own neighborhood is an utter mess!

    Atleast with this course, I was able to visit one poor colony and see for myself the conditions these people are forced to live in! It made me also think that had we Muslims kept to our Deen and been leaders for humanity, NO ONE on earth would have had to live in such revolting conditions… Allah knows best what is the solution.

    Jazakillah for your Dua!!!


  3. tabman July 26, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks similar effort for the male teens are missing in the society ?

  4. Ameera July 27, 2008 at 6:21 am

    Tabman, I agree with you, partly. Axtually, there are *some* programs running for boys too but I think the major reason we don’t really hear about them is that few boys actually join these programs. There’s this program called “Active Saturdays” that’s really good… it has outdoor camping and all as well. However, I don’t know if it’s the influence of parents, but boys don’t generally join such classes. Perhaps people think Quranic classes are more important for girls (?!) or maybe it is because of the fact that girls generally readily accept the idea.

    I wish though that boys would come… it would make ALL the difference. When I hear of boys and young men who’ve turned to Deen, it’s really super MashAllah! That’s because young men generally, as future role-models and heads of family, influence a large circle of people, even women (if they use Hikmah).

  5. tabman July 27, 2008 at 11:35 am

    “if they use Hikmah” 🙂

    one of my friends was asking me why do we have boys in our society who would think independently about religion and try to implement in their life and not caring what family, parents and other people around think but when it comes to woman they would be religious only because their family is religious in other words he was saying there is an imbalance of religious pursuit among male and female

    ummm I think Al-Huda is primarily woman focused and it had has a large effect on Pakistan society. Teen girls joining classes might be due to the fact that boys generally have other options as part of summer activity and girls usually stay home so they chose to lets just check this program out, may be not sure on this though may be Al-Huda needs to be more active in the marketing department, I’m sure all those teens are hooked on facebook and you can perhaps search for school networks and advertise there

    so that is the whole point, even if the girls who attended this program took nothing else then except the idea that “hey there is something out there we need to think about Islam” that would get the ball rolling and as they grow up and face questions and stuff they’ll give it a thought and might be able to relate to the knowledge they got as a teen because frankly I as a teen thought I was pretty messed up 🙂 but then when I see the teens of today they are no where to what I was and they seriously are getting messed up with the general trend of the society and they do require direction

  6. aleena aleeza July 30, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    v liked this experience alot especially the last day…..and the presentations

  7. vindicated October 15, 2008 at 10:06 pm


    Wow! I’d come to almost the same conclusions as ‘tabman’ above, and had the same questions in my mind. How come there are no such programs for young males here in Karachi? I’ve been looking for quite long now, to find atleast SOME people who share my ideology, and (try to) give importance to Islam in their daily lives, but really, I’ve found very few such people.

    The problem with being around people who don’t give it importance is that somewhere along the line, you’re forced to compromise. So it’s better to know people and be involved in activities where you know won’t be put in a situation of compromise.

    And I agree, they do require direction, and a revitalization of the ability to think and decide what the truth is.

  8. Pingback: Bookmarks about Teens

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