“My Beautiful Online Learning Qur’an Journey” – Student Testimonial
I am a 21 year old Zahraa Institute graduate hailing from Mauritius. I graduated Year 1 (Qur’an Focus) virtually on the 8th of December 2020.
My journey towards online learning at the institute has a long backstory. Putting it short, at the end of 2019 I decided I needed a spiritual uplift; and my family and I finalised on dedicating the following year at Zahraa Institute. I was almost set to join as from January until there was some delay in visa processing. So, in early January, my mother, my elder brother and I set off for Cape Town for 5 days to attend the Orientation Day on a tourist basis, hence not requiring a visa.
The online setting was not new to me. I had previously taken online courses, which I discontinued because I felt a lack of certain essential elements required when learning – mainly the student-teacher quotient. Choosing to study at Zahraa Institute was primarily for this purpose – so that I could get the classroom experience. But it seems online was written for me; and Alhamdulillah for that. Looking back now, I am grateful that things did not work out in January; and I had been protected from something none of us had remotely anticipated, Alhamdulillah. Truly, Allah is the Best of Planners.
I would still like to say that if anyone has the choice of opting for in-class learning, I would highly recommend that over online. Nonetheless, based on my previous experience studying online, especially at Zahraa Institute, here are some pieces of advice that could be helpful for anyone considering the online system InshaAllah.
Stay Steadfast in your Studies
- Try your best to be steadfast in your studies. However, do not adopt the perfectionist attitude and burn out. Learn to maintain a balance for your personal mental peace.
- Learn to love all your subjects. Sarf and Nahw are subjects dealing with Arabic grammar. Love them and make them your best friends; and you shall enjoy this experience much better. It takes time, but it is worth the effort.
- Do not take the test and homework as a chore; consider them as a fun play where you are just challenging your own intellect to improve its capabilities. Honestly, this will not help anyone but you. This will help you assess yourself and where you are in terms of understanding.
- Try to attend your lectures LIVE. Live classes have a different energy compared to the recorded ones, even if you are not able to interact first-hand.
- Missed lectures? Continue where you are and try to catch up simultaneously. In case you have missed classes, do not wait to catch up all previous work before proceeding. Try to catch up as soon as possible because work will just increase and keep piling up and this can get difficult to manage over time.
- If you have questions, note them down. This is very important. In live classes you will not always be able to interact with your teacher, because of the great number of students. In tutorials, you will be in smaller groups with easier interaction and you will be able to ask any query comfortably. Make sure to ask when you have questions.
Prepare yourself for Success
- Invest in a large Qur’an. This was advised to me by the Muallimāt. Usually, the institute would provide Qur’ans, but given the current circumstances, postal services might not be reliable. And it is a good idea to have a large Qur’an with enough space to write down the translation. The teachers often provide explanations or they give pieces of advice, which might be beneficial to note down.
- Get yourself ready for Qur’an. Over time, you might be swayed at waking up barely a few minutes before class and attending the classes still tucked in warm blankets. By doing this, you are but fooling yourself. Wake up, freshen up, make wudhu, groom yourself and have a healthy breakfast to prepare yourself for yet another day of studying the beautiful verses of the Qur’an.
- Nourish your body to support your learning. From my own experience, break time ended in the blink of an eye and I barely had time to finish my lunch before the next class started. The wise step can be to have something to sustain yourself until classes end; then you can have your lunch peacefully. And remember to stay hydrated.
After the Day’s Class
- Do not obsessively clean up everything. Just neaten the workspace so that it is pleasant to come back to study. Your future self will thank you for this. This applies only if you have the means and you are considering online learning for long-term.
- Use a good device for online learning. Initially, I followed classes on my smartphone, but this got hard on the eyes and offered many distractions. I then switched to our family computer where everything was bigger and clearer.
- Remember to respect the privacy of our teachers, where some are in niqāb. Consider using headphones; and I would usually have sticky notes open on the screen so I could just hover that around on the teacher’s face if required.
- Do not push yourself too hard, as stated in the first point. There will be days where you might feel demotivated, especially in this online setting. Accept and acknowledge it. More importantly, do not blame yourself. Make du’a and give yourself time. The teachers at Zahraa Institute are very kind and supportive; they will guide the students beautifully throughout this journey inshaAllah.
- At the end of the day, remember to be grateful for this blessing. Allah ﷻ has chosen us to study the Qur’an. Even in these terrible times we have still been chosen and we have been granted the opportunity to study online – to study whilst in the comfort of our homes. Alhamdulillah.
وَإِذْ تَأذََّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لأزَِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدAnd then your Lord proclaimed that; “If you are grateful, We certainly give to you more (blessings),if you disbelieve My torment is truly severe”.(Surah Ibrahim 14, Ayah 7)