Last Sunday during the Junior School class, students were learning about the fourth pillar of Islam - sawm (fasting). The main part of this lesson was to take away one beautiful reason that we are all commanded to fast - that is to attain Taqwa.
For almost all of the students - the word Taqwa was something completely new and foreign. What did the word mean? Why did Allah want us to have Taqwa? And how did fasting make us develop Taqwa?
All the students, even the youngest in the class were quick to understand the concept that Allah is watching us everywhere and that Taqwa is knowing that Allah is always aware of our actions. Even in the dead of night when nobody can see us, we should still be careful of our actions because Allah SWT can see us.
After a cosy storytime and class discussion, all the pupils wrote down stories to explain what Taqwa is. Below is a collection of just a few of them:
The Very Valuable Lesson - By Hasan Rosmeen, Year 5
Once there lived a boy named Adam. He always lied and never did as he was told to. Once he shot spit-balls at his maths teacher, Mr Ali. He was sent to the headmasters’ office by his English teacher, who taught next door. The headmaster thought it was pointless to keep punishing him and soon came up with an idea. “I will let you off, only if you obey what I tell you”. Adam nodded his head in agreement.
“Adam, listen carefully. You must not watch TV for the entire week, do you understand.” Adam was gob-smacked. How was he possibly going stop watching TV for an entire week? His favourite TV program, The Muppet Show was on full time that week. He couldn’t possibly miss it!
There was a long silence until the Headmaster had sent him back to his class. His friend, Bilaal was waiting for Adam to speak or at least utter a single word out, but Adam was speechless. The class were loving the tranquillity of the moment and enjoyed it very happily indeed. Bilaal was fed up with the serenity and kicked Adam on the leg. “Why are you silent so suddenly, don’t you want to shoot a few more spit-balls at Mr Ali with me.” Adam finally replied but with a few pauses in between, “the headmaster…s…says…I can’t w…watch TV for… for the entire… the entire WEEK!” Bilaal was astounded. “What does the headmaster mean, no TV for the entire WEEK!” Bilaal was very cunning indeed and whispered, “Adam, ignore him, what does he know about TV and how would he possibly know you were, if your parents aren’t informed about this. Adam knew Bilaal had a point. His parents weren’t informed about it yet, so what could go wrong? Adam brightened up. Bilaal did too.
As the next 7 days past by, Adam sat beside Bilaal and they both laughed their heads off as they watched The Muppet Show. “Bilaal you’re right, I don’t need to obey his orders he wouldn’t realise a thing”.
As the weekends had finished, Adam returned with a bright smile at the principals’ desk. “Why are you smiling Adam?”, asked the Principal, thinking he was being pranked.
Adam was about to announce his achievement, which he hadn’t achieved at all, when his parents burst into the room. “Adam how could you hide this from us?”. Adam was shocked, were they talking about his TV ban? It turned out that they were. The principal listened as if he had known already. He said, “Asalamu Alaykum,” before Adams parents left and turned to Adam as if he had expected this all to happen.
“Adam,” he said soothingly, “even when you are all alone, Allah (SWT) is always watching you no matter where you are and what you hide. Even in the middle of the universe, Allah is watching you because Allah can see everything. He knows all that happens because he hears and knows everything as well. So, Adam, always remember, Allah knows, hears and sees everything and He has the most wisdom and perception than anyone else. So never listen to the bad that comes to mind and just ignore it. Adam agreed and he had a much better life. Adam was no longer sent to the headmasters’ office again.
Larry the Liar - by Husain Rosmeen, Year 5
There was once a boy named Larry. He always got away from getting in trouble by lying, for example: when he stole his teacher’s strawberry laces, he said he didn’t do it when he did. His teacher didn’t know what to do with him. But one day she finally came up with an idea.
She planned an exciting competition. “The competition will start on April the first”, said Miss Fathima. “You must not eat junk food, sweets and chocolate or drink unhealthy drinks for the entire month”.
Larry’s jaw dropped. How would he possibly get through the entire month without a single unhealthy snack! He panicked. Then a soft whisper came towards his ear and said “You don’t have to eat healthily. Maybe you can hide some snacks under your bed and eat it every now and then. No-one will notice. That way you’ll win the competition”. Larry was a bad boy, which obviously meant he would listen to Shaytan’s whisper. At the end of the day, Miss Fathima said, “Remember Allah is always watching wherever you are”.
He didn’t care what Miss Fathima said. For the rest of the month Larry ate secretly in his room. When the competition was over, he couldn’t wait to win his prize.
When Miss Fathima was going to announce the winner, there was no-one on the list. There was one rule that Miss Fathima didn’t mention was, was that each students parent would have to watch over their child. Every student also ate secretly in their rooms. Miss Fathima said, “This competition was meant to teach you about Taqwa - just how your parents were watching your every move, Allah can see much more than they can. From that day onward Larry, and every other student in the school never lied or cheated again.
Yusuf to the Mosque - by Deen Hussain, Year 3
Once there was a man who need to pray Namaz (Salah). That man was called Yusuf. Yusuf realised that there was no local mosque to pray and the only one was all the way across town. Yusuf walked to the mosque, not talking to anyone or stopping so he didn't get late. He arrived 1 minute late and had enough time to pray before he had to go back to work.
The above story written by one of our youngest children in the school, delivers a very important message about Taqwa - it teaches us that our love and fear of Allah should make us always try to please him and it should stop us from doing evil deeds. In this story, it helped Yusuf to make sure he didn't miss his Salah at the Mosque.