The Power of the Youth Weekend School Model of Masjid Muhammad, DC – The Nation’s Mosque
WASHINGTON, D.C. – “A bright spot in the Masjid” is how one observer described the Youth Weekend School (YWS) of Masjid Muhammad, DC. YWS is truly something special.
As parents, students and visitors enter the weekend school, based in the masjid’s musallah and social hall, they are greeted by warm and friendly smiles, hugs and genuine care and concern for one another.
One crucial factor in the success of YWS is the bond students establish with each other. Knowing one another and working together is a foundation for establishing a healthy community life!
An Islamic weekend school holds an important place in the continuum of education, as it is sometimes the first exposure a child has to a structured Islamic environment.
Therefore, it is imperative for us to establish productive Islamic learning environments for our children.
“It is He Who has made you (His) agent, inheritors of the earth: He has raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He has given you: for your Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’an, Surah the Heights: Ayah 165)
As a long-standing, Islamic-based weekend school established by Sis. Farah Shakour-Bridges and Sis. Katara Aleem and now coordinated by Sis. Inshirah Aleem and Sis. Haneefah Abdul-Lateef, YWS provides a creation-based curriculum and a social environment that engenders a love of Allah (swa) and humanity while bringing out each child’s natural gifts, talents, and interests.
This is done, first and foremost, for the pleasure of Allah (swa) to foster useful knowledge of self, the creation, and the environment.
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Whoever takes a path upon which to obtain knowledge, Allah (swa) makes the path to Paradise easy for him’.” (Hadith: At-Tirmidhi 2646)
A typical YWS day begins with parents signing students into the school and all joining together for the Unity Circle – a time to bond, be grateful and create a shared purpose for the day.
Eager students recite the Student Slogan in unison, “I am an intelligent human being. I am striving to be morally conscientious and upright. I am preparing to lead, contribute and compete on a global level, guided by ALLAH (swa) through His creation, the Holy Qur’an, and the life example of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).”
In the Unity Circle and throughout the day, students collaborate in an Islamic environment as they discuss challenges and resolutions to issues they encounter in society. This enables them to build strength and confidence within themselves and allows for long and lasting friendships.
Students can join experiential, engaging lessons facilitated by volunteer teachers, some of whom graduated from the weekend school.
In addition to the core subjects of Islamic Studies, Leadership Training, and Arabic, over the years, YWS has offered Oration, African American History, Cooking, Photography, International Studies, Drama, Art, Gardening and Environment, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).
The day rounds out with a unity circle, salat and well-wishes until next time.
The newly established “Ummi and Abi” parent group, led by Sis. Ajeenah Abdul-Haqq uses the time to plan joint family activities and field trips throughout the year.
In addition to following the Qur’an, the life example of Prophet Muhammed and the direction of Imam W.D. Mohammed, Allah (swa) has blessed the YWS with staff who have sincere intentions and the ability to establish a well-organized and sustainable model for the Youth Weekend School for the pleasure of Allah (swa).
There is an African Proverb that states – “It takes a village to raise a child”.
The administrators of YWS took this statement literally and established professional alliances with community members and parents.
As a result, YWS has a cadre of qualified professionals, who volunteer and commit to teaching and preparing our children Islamically, mentally, spiritually, and physically to remake the world.
“Like democracy in American, our religion focuses on the individual as the best safeguard. If we build up the individual, give him proper understanding of his religion, make it possible for him to get a correct Islamic understanding or get correct information, then that’s the best way of establishing or propagating or representing a religion.” (Imam Warith Deen Mohammed)
Alhamdulillah, Allah (swa) blessed YWS with a successful first semester with the new semester beginning on January 5, 2020, enrolled to capacity.
Several of this year’s talented students were selected as performers in Judge Hassan El Amin’s “The Amazing 99” based on the 99 Attributes of Allah (swt) that was recently featured at Muslim Journal’s “A Time to Be Grateful” annual conference in Los Angeles, where students were honored with the Generation Next Award.
The award highlights the promise of the next generation to continue a legacy of righteousness and service.
Allah (swa) says: “And whoever does righteous deeds, whether male or female while being a believer- those will enter Paradise and will not be wronged, (even as much as) the speck on a date seed.” (Qur’an Surah 4 An Nisa, Ayah 124)
Insha’Allah, we pray that Allah (swa) continues to bestow His Mercy and success upon the YWS.
For more information regarding the YWS, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.