During our lives as teachers and more specifically as teachers at an Islamic School in Canada, we often wonder whether all of our relentless efforts of teaching, training, and enablement of the next generation of Western Muslims are sufficient enough to see us through this ephemeral world? While Allah SWT only wants us to genuinely strive in His path, it is but human to think about the results of our efforts. Seeing all the un-Islamic exposure our students have to unintentionally go through everyday living in the West, we are sometimes reminded of the times of the early days of the Muslims, who were just a handful in number, struggling to hold on to their leader and companion, Prophet Muhammed ﷺ. They faced countless hardships and struggles just to proclaim the oneness of Allah SWT and were persecuted in endless ways, but miraculously ended up conquering the hearts and minds of the people of the Arabian Peninsula at the time, within a short span of 20 odd years, with the will of Allah SWT.
Fast forward 1400 years; as Islamic school teachers striving to bring in and retain our students within the folds of Islam, we sense that we are living in similar conditions of exceptional trials and tribulations, albeit being blessed to be able to live here in Canada in relative luxury and ease, without any apparent persecution. So naturally the question arises as to how the early Muslims achieved exponential success both in this world and the hereafter? And how do we find ourselves living in a constant identity crisis in this Western world with damning uncertainty of our future in the hereafter? Pondering upon these questions makes us think about how we could learn a thing or two from our pious predecessors and make amends in our lives before it is too late?
While it is true that approximately 1400 years separate us from the early Muslims, there is still one extraordinary element that ties us together and simultaneously withstands the test of time: the Seerah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The Seerah, or the extensive study of the life and the times of the last messenger of Islam, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, is an exceptionally efficient way to get a true glimpse into the religion of Islam and all its practices.
For the Academic Year 2022-23, all of the teaching faculty at Al Manarat Schools agreed that in order to achieve excellence in both this world and the hereafter, our students needed to go back in time and learn from the ultimate teacher of Islam, who was also a source of Allah SWT’s mercy to this world. The realization had dawned upon everyone that without extensively knowing and understanding the Prophet Muhammed ﷺ, it was almost impossible to be a true Muslim or follow the teachings of the Holy Quran, which is a guide for humanity to the path to paradise. Hence it was unanimously decided that every bit of teaching and learning happening in the school should ideally serve to replicate the exemplary characteristics of the beautiful mannerisms, the extensive wisdom, the worry for humanity, the unflinching perseverance, and the sincere dedication of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
In line with this vision, our first annual event of this Academic Year, the Beauty Revolution 2022 was entirely themed on students exhibiting various important learnings from the study of the Seerah of the Prophet ﷺ. As is customary for this annual event, we saw participation from the entire school; all students from Grades 1 through Grades 10 along with their teachers put up highly scholastic and educating exhibitions of the knowledge they had attained from the life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the Chief Administrator of the Muslims at the time. There were a few impressive skits performed by students of higher grades whereas younger students showcased their learning through highly engaging group presentations and thoughtful speeches.
Throughout this competition, each mode of expression whether it be a skit, or a presentation, or a speech, examined the different soft skills of each of the participating students. They were all judged for their originality, preparation, their knowledge retention and application, the accuracy and authenticity of events of the Seerah being presented, their message delivery and public speaking skills, their demeanor and cooperation with fellow teammates, etc. The judges were pleasantly surprised to see some hidden talents of certain students come out during the skits and were also quite happy with the progress of students over the seven weeks of schooling elapsed so far, this Academic Year. Since this is an interclass competition, one winning class was chosen for each grade, and were felicitated by the principal and the judges for their outstanding achievement in the competition.
As with any other competition held during the year at Al Manarat Schools, our intention with the Beauty Revolution competition this year was to foster and inculcate a deep appreciation of the Prophet ﷺ and his mission on earth. We intended for every participating student to virtually walk in the shoes of the Prophet ﷺ and attempt to raise personal accountability in their lives starting with asking themselves the question: ‘What would the Prophet ﷺ do?’ at every crossroads they encounter in their own lives. We deeply wish for our students to strive to achieve the levels of ihsaan (excellence) of those early Muslims, so that they can lead the upcoming Muslim generations on the straight path. Rightly upholding the Seerah of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is a surefire way to succeed. The Seerah is a treasure trove of unending wisdom and knowledge that can enable every Muslim and Muslimah of today to have fulfilling lives worshipping their creator Allah SWT during their time on earth and ensuring their final abode in His Heavens, in the afterlife.