Ahh, Sunday School.
After reading a blog post on the abuse of children in madrasas, it brought back fond memories of my Sunday school, ironically. I remember in kindergarten when my uncle brought a copy of the arabic alphabet and we went over the book. I proudly said my "Alif, Baa, Taas" and was rewarded by being praised for my intellect. I always had a dream to attend an Islamic school and held onto it until I was in second grade. My earliest recollection of any form of Islamic learning was this nice Jordanian lady who taught us arabic rather than the Qur'an. For 15 bucks each, my older brother and I learned arabic, prayed at noon and ate free food. It was a nice deal. Then, our lessons stopped after tragic news came. Her husband back in Jordan was killed so she went back to the country. I remember a photo of him but forgot both of their names. I should ask my aunt next time I see her. My next memory was the community sunday school held in my neighborhood. There I memorized half of Jus Amma. We had two field trips in that 2 year stay. One was at a multi-cultural festival where I met this muslim lady who helped me make a candle and the other was my first time at Great America. Sadly, that Sunday School was closed after a robbery occurred at the facility that hosted our school. Naturally, the blame fell upon us muslims and I'm still bitter towards that place to this day.
In between our stay at that school, my brother and younger sister attended another school on Saturdays. It was held in my father's work building. For my exceptional skill (-cough cough-), I was put into the boys' group and learned the alphabet again and how to start to read and write in arabic. (But since the Jordanian lady stopped teaching us the basics of arabic, I knew nothing of what was being written or read.) A couple of months later, the teachers had switched me back to the girls' group. They were far behind the boys' and were much older than me. I wondered why I was put back in such a slow-moving group but resigned myself to learn the alphabet over again and stare at the older members of the group with interest. Talking about these experiences with my older brother now, I realize I was put back into that group because I was girl and maybe they felt that even if I was progressing so much, they let my gender hinder my progress. Fast forward a couple of years later and a couple of years not attending, we started ANOTHER community sunday school and I was thrilled to see kids my age and make friends. During snack time, the girls would go to the bathroom but really we held expeditions that explored the rest of the building. We plundered offices, looted candy and told stories about our adventures in the "dark side". -Yea, it was seriously called that- Although we were reprimanded if a teacher caught us, we were never hit or punished like the guys. Boy did we abuse that right. I remember one teacher who would teach us our language, and we gave him the worst time of his life. It's no wonder why he quit, those kids were ruthless. But besides Qur'an we studied the Seerah and I learned how to pray from the first sunday school I ever attended. We got spiffy text books which I still have and dust frequently! At those opportune moments when the teacher went to get the snack from his car, I'd be appointed to watch after the kids and I relished the power. I formed a secret society (Unfortunately called the 'Teletubby Club' one girl suggested it and the rest agreed D:), had battles with other girls, had crushes on the guys we were separated from -don't ask- and formed lasting friendships with some really cool muslimahs.
During the last few years of that sunday school, I could see my progress was far from perfect. I hadn't even completed Jus Amma! The switching of schools held me back from my potential and I could the zero effort I put in learning the Qur'an. When the school switched to a new location, we went along with it. But halfway through the new year, we stopped going. I couldn't handle being one of the oldest ones there and halfway behind the guys. The teachers barely knew what they were teaching and the loud environment can make anyone not able to work. Kids ran around everywhere, girls as well as boys were defiant to teachers, and eating the same snack everyday made me feel as if it were some horrible daycare nightmare.
Current situation: Spends Sundays at home, tries to memorize a new surah for prayer and insha'allah will afford to take arabic classes in the near future. Meaning sometime this year. Maybe my uncle can chip in and pay for his favorite niece :D
May Allah swt lead us all on the right path and forgive me for my errors and not taking my Qur'anic studies seriously.
Amin to that!
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