November 2014: Muslim Foundations
Week #3: Piousness
Teacher’s Notes: This week we continue our exploration of Muslim Traditions with stories of Pious individuals, people who are devout, i.e. devoted to God. We will use stories from the Sahih al-Bukari which have been shared with children for generations. . This collection is one of the six major ‘hadiths’, the stories denoting the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad in Sunni Islam. The hadith is generally accepted by Muslims as a secondary source of Islamic law after the Qur’an. Remember these sacred stories are important in the Islam religion and should be treated with dignity. To acknowledge their importance, the Muslims say “Peace Be Unto Him”. “Him” is the prophet Muhammad or Allah (God). Since God is one, it is also a blessing unto ourselves. Share the Arabic greeting “Salaam alleikum” which means ‘Peace be upon you’.
Main Message: November’s theme is Muslim Foundations: Prayer, Truthfulness, Piousness and Generosity. Piousness means showing love for God, displaying great loyalty to God. For us, it means to live from a place of knowing our truth, that God is Good and we are one with God. When always living from this place, our thoughts, deeds and actions come from this place. Everything starts from our thoughts. When you change your thinking, you change your life.
- Showing and having love for God/Spirit/Self shows in your outer actions and appearance
- you use bad language, you are just making obvious to everybody how far away you really are from Allah/God/Spirit, since your words are in reality a reflection of your own inner self.
- Your words and actions reflect your inner thoughts.
Readings: “…To each of you We have given a law and a way and a pattern of life. If God had pleased he could surely have made you one people (professing one faith). But he wished to try and test you by that which he gave you. So try to excel in good deeds. To Him will you all return in the end…” – Qur’an 5:48
SOM Reading: 434:7: When we constructively praise and creatively bless, life abounds with love, peace and joy. Let goodness shine forth. Let us learn to see that everyone is an evolving Christ. Let us so live and think that we may retire at night in peace, knowing that no harm can come to the soul; that we may rise in the morning renewed in body and in mind, with a brighter outlook, a happier expectation and a clearer joy, looking upon all with love, condemning none and blessing even those who seek to injure us. Let us learn to be perfect, even as that Divine Being, residing in the heart of all and overshadowing eternity, must also be perfect.
The words reflect one's inner self
Mahmud was a very pious man, but he was not very attractive looking. One day, he was walking along the road, minding his own business, when a lady came up to him, and started calling him names and abusing him. This lady kept saying all kinds of nasty things, and Mahmud just listened to her patiently. Finally, when she was finished calling him names and abusing him, Mahmud just greeted her, smiled, and said
"and a nice day to you," and continued on his way.
Why did Mahmud, the pious man, behave this way?
It is because he knew that everything she said was just a reflection of her own inner self.
If you use bad language, you are just making obvious to everybody how far away you really are from Allah, since your words are in reality a reflection of your own inner self.
Q1. Why would the woman shout at the Mahmud?
A1. She was feeling badly within herself (fear, shame, anguish).
Q2. How do you know if your inner thoughts are not in line with your truth?
A2. Your feelings and emotions are not joyous and happy
Q3. Why would being yelled at in the street bother one person but not the next person?
A3. The first person may think it is true or a reflection of him. The second person knows it has nothing to do with him.
Advanced Material for 4th & 5th grade:
Share this additional story of how our thoughts affect our world.
Did You Thank Allah for Your Eyesight?
A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?"
The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way."
What he had written was: "Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it."
Do you think the first sign and the second sign were saying the same thing?
Of course both signs told people the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?
"It is He, Who has created for you (the sense of) hearing (ears), sight (eyes), and hearts (understanding). Little thanks you give."
Discussion: Why do you believe the second sign was more effective?
Tween & Teen Activity: (The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook)
Muslims have many ways they show piousness and their devotion to their faith. Muslim teenagers are not allowed to Date, Drink, Dance or do Drugs. This is Islamic Law. They also fast during sacred times on the calendar and do not eat pork or gamble.
Drinking, drugs and gambling are harmful habits that can ruin lives, are self destructive and exposing yourself to many dangers. The Qur’an specifically mentions alcohol is an intoxicant and anything that clouds your mind and draws you away from the remembrance of God is prohibited in Islam.
But, what about dating and dancing? This is the guidance provided by “The American Muslim teenager’s handbook”.
Dancing in all-male or all-female environments is definitely okay. But dancing with members of the opposite sex is frowned upon if it leads to physical contact or suggestive moves.
For dating, men and women are equal in the eyes of God, and they should respect one another. Marriage is the desire of most families and arranged marriages are not uncommon. Dating is only viewed as a preliminary step to marriage. If you are not ready for marriage, then don’t date. Go out with your friends in a group to avoid getting emotionally bogged down with a lot of feelings that you’re not ready for as a teen. Concentrate on your academics, sports, and volunteer activities while some of your friends are getting sidetracked with boyfriends and girlfriends. You’ll be ahead in the long run.
Discussion: Islam states anything that is considered harmful or interferes with rational thought is forbidden. Do you think this is good or bad for society?
Muslims believe alcohol, drugs and gambling can all contribute to the breakdown of the family unit, the dissolution of strong communities and the downfall of many strong characters who somehow thought addiction could never happen to them. What do you think?
A survey of Muslim teenagers was conducted: 100% said they would avoid drugs, 100% said they would avoid drinking, 80% said that dating as teens is dumb. What do you think it would be like to a an American Muslim Teenager?
Affirmation: "My life is divinely guided and protected"