As-salaam ‘alaykum! 🙂

Came back from IJ a while ago, prayed, had some pizza and now sitting at my desk to write this blog which I have been contemplating for quite a while! During my journey home (one and a half hours), I was thinking about what to write, and how to articulate my experiences over the past few weeks in this blog. It’s going to be a mish-mash of many thoughts and ideas! Here goes! Bismillah.

The past couple of weeks have been quite challenging for me, and I have learnt a lot about myself (and been reminded about how much I have to improve!). I have been quite unlike my usual self at times, but situations change people and I can only pray that whatever I change into is a better version of me, in’sha’Allah. A good friend very recently told me, that we all go through moments where the pressures of life get to us, and we also need people to fall back on for comfort during the difficult times. Even the best of us have our bad days and need support from those who are closest to us.

We had our final lesson with Shaykh Ahmed Saad at IJ on Friday 8th May 2015. Such a blessed experience to study Balagha, Hadith and Tafseer with the Shaykh! All things come to an end, and this wonderful experience was no exception. I pray that we are able to benefit from the Shaykh more in the future in’sha’Allah! We ended the lesson on such a beautiful note. Everyone read a Fatiha and the Shaykh told us the blessing of being able to learn Arabic and then recited a beautiful Du’a. Alhamdulillah! The Shaykh told us that when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born, one of the miracles of his birth (peace be upon him) was that the animals were able to speak in Arabic, and everyone was congratulating each other. This shows that being able to speak Arabic is a huge blessing, as it was an ability which was given at a time of immense joy, the birth of the final Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).

The following week was a much-needed study break from IJ! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to study as much as I had initially hoped! Khayr, Alhamdulillah. I finally got some new skincare products from Hadiya’s Essence, let’s see how they work out iA 🙂 The week after the break, we were going to be starting our poetry module! Alhamdulillah, I had been waiting for this module for a very long time! This was definitely worth the wait, I am enjoying the poetry module very much, as I am familiar with many of the qasaid we are covering, and its great to finally know the meaning behind what you sing and hear in gatherings where these poems are recited! We have recently had a new teacher for poetry, Alhamdulillah over the course we have had so many teachers and it is a great blessing to be able to benefit from as many teachers as possible!

Over the last weekend, I went to buy some box files and sorted out all of my Arabic notes and resources in order. Took ages but in’sha’Allah it will make going over everything easier in the future 🙂 Going through all the work brought back so many memories! We have to do a project/research for next Friday where we will present our 250 words to the class (our last lesson at the IJ Gap Year!). I think I would like to do a summary (poem?!) of my Arabic journey so far…

Speaking of PRESENTING… I’ve been somewhat struggling with my confidence again! Ustadh gave some valuable advice today. Sometimes, all you need is a bit of a pep talk. The countless times people have said to me “I would never have known that you were shy/scared/etc…”… It makes me wonder! Maybe I’m letting my fears take over, when all I need to do is be strong and confident with myself. If others can see a confident Sana, then why can’t I? Ustadh asked me to define what confidence is. I think confidence is when you don’t show your fears to others and are able to do something without the fear of failure, being certain in your abilities. I will only get better with practice, I will only go through that which Allah has planned and has made me capable of going through, and I will only let myself down in the future if I let my fears take over now. It is so easy to say what I need to do, but will take a LOT of practice. Alhamdulillah I have seen myself improving as I have grown up, and in’sha’Allah I will continue to grow as a person. 🙂

This Arabic Gap Year is very quickly coming to an end… The feeling is bittersweet. Sad that the experience is coming to an end, that I won’t be travelling to class and listening to Arabic every day, that I won’t be seeing my friends daily and that I won’t be in such close proximity of all my teachers all the time. However, it is also a very happy moment! Completing the intense Ibn Jabal Gap Year programme in its first year, going through many Arabic texts, reading, listening, speaking and writing in Arabic! In’sha’Allah it is only the beginning of a fantastic Arabic journey, forever improving!

Until next time iA!

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