Our Road to Learning Islam Pt 1

For a prologue, read my post entitled “Relationships and Religions” which talks about our relationship evolving faith in religion, a brief background about us in terms of faith and how it is an issue.

In sharing our journey, I hope I am able to share, help and enlighten fellow couples in similar situations or merely non-Muslims who have intentions to learn more on Islam in Singapore. Sometimes to attend classes head on, not knowing what to expect can be scary. When I was researching, I wish there are personal experiences shared on this but could not find any.

Anyways, after much deliberation and Jhon’s light studying on Islam, we decided it is time and we were ready to take the big and official step to proceed to religious classes. I went to Darul-Aqram’s website (http://www.darul-arqam.org.sg) and looked up for classes and available time slots. For your info, all courses are free. =)

On 3rd March 2013, Sunday, we went to Darul-Aqram at Geylang and attended their introductory class, Knowing Islam Session (1 day only). It was at 10:00am to 11:30am and a walk-in. By the time we reached there, the small room was half filled with some couples, a family, fellow Muslims who have intentions to revive their knowledge and of course, non-Muslim individuals.

There were late comers and the lecturer that day, Brother Anis tried his very best to squeeze as many people in. He considered upgrading the class but all other rooms were booked because of the ‘Maulid’ (Celebration of our prophet Muhammad PUBH birthday)

There are no written terms of proper attire, but out of respect, and assuming everyone had some knowledge of Muslim attire, please wear appropriately. You don’t have to wear a scarf or Hijab but it is not encouraged to wear clothes that are body hugging, short skirts, sleeveless and revealing outfits. As for men, shirt and jeans/pants will do. They will not shoo you away if you disregard but out of respect, please do. It is a religious class after all.

Knowing Islam Session was basically an introduction, general view of Islam and how it affects our lives. It is a good kick start for attendees who are considering pursuing further. Brother Anis welcomes questions and at the end of the session, course time-table sheets and 4 books were given. The books were: Prophethood, Muslim Beliefs, What Every Christians should know about Islam and The Splendours of Islam.

Jhon and I found the session satisfying and comfortable. Since we had studied Islam at our own time, we had already known what he shared most of the time even so, we found it needful. The four books given were informative and straight to the point.

10th March 2013, Sunday, we attended our first class of Beginners’ Course on Islam 1 (10 classes). There were weekday slots too but we purposefully chose Sunday at 1:30pm to 3:00pm. We had to register and book at http://www.darul-arqam.org.sg and it was very easy.

That day was also the day I wore a Hijab for the first time. Again, it is not a must, but personally, I felt it was more appropriate to do so. I will be wearing it whenever I attend the courses and will I ever wear it permanently? I can’t foretell the future but with God’s will, who knows? I will probably blog on my experience on that separately. You know how much I can blab. =P

Beginners’ Course on Islam 1 was placed in a small auditorium. We saw some familiar faces from the last Knowing Islam Session we attended and new ones, most probably who attended that session in the morning.

Our lecturer was Brother Bani Mohamed. We marked our attendance and were given a book, Essence of Islam which will last us the 10 classes from the course. Just for your info, notebooks were not needed, just bring pen/pencil because the book provided notes section on every page and extra pages after every chapter.

Our first class was pretty alright. It was easy to point out who was dragged to attend and who were eager to learn. Mr Bani was clear and he was long winded for the first 35mins (perhaps we were getting used to his steady pace) but the rest of the class was informative and smooth. 1.5 hours seems short but when we were in the class, in lieu to the subject matter, it was just right.

Our subsequent classes went smoothly and time does pass by quickly as we get used to the lecturer’s pace. Questions were welcomed in very class and I find it nice to see the gradual increase of ladies wearing Hijabs or scarves.

After 2 classes, I can feel the subtle empowering spiritual glow growing within me as for Jhon; his exact words were “I find Islam awesome” Those simple words immediately made me smile.

There was 1 time that our class was cancelled due to some function and the info was SMS-ed to us. So it is important to write down your contact number when you first mark your attendance so you won’t waste time and energy heading to a class that was cancelled. You can also follow Darul-Aqram’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/darularqam.sg) for updates.

There are no tests and exams; just a teacher sharing his knowledge to students. How the students accept the knowledge is between him/her and Allah. But I noticed there are teachers who give quizzes.

What we like about Brother Bani was that he has many wonderful, well fitted stories and examples. That is why Jhon and I were sad when his class was replaced by another ‘Uztad’ for a day. Frankly speaking, we dislike him but apparently everyone was drawn to him. I am going to be blunt here. I find the replacement ‘Uztad’s’ jokes narcissistic, he was rude (suppose to be funny) to a lost and confused grandma and his attempt to be friends or at the same level as us was weak. We can’t take him seriously although he did make some good points during class.

That is just our opinion.

19th May 2013 was our last class for BCS1 and I was very sad. I simply adored Brother Bani’s way of teaching and didn’t want to end. Unfortunately, he does not teach for BCS2 so we can’t continue with him. But he does teach other classes like History of Islam on Monday nights.

Here’s the clincher, the next BCS2 was handled by the ‘Uztad’ that we didn’t like! We were torn between a smooth schedule and 8 weeks of rolling my eyes because of his personality. So we decided to take the later date for BCS2 with Brother Anis, our instructor during Knowing Islam Session.

Our experiences for Beginner’s Class in Islam 2 onwards shall be shared in due course and in a next blog post.

Click here for Our Road to Learning Islam Pt 2


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