Channel: Mirza Yawar Baig
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Solana re Al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen wa salatu salam ala should have been unable mousseline Muhammad Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, the Sullivan cathedral cathedral Mavado.
I will say to them at Bennington College had the
Middlebury language schools, this is something that they do every summer here. Midway language schools is a different entity, they use Bennington College, I suppose.
During the summer break when the students are not here.
And the teacher, in this particular time, they are teaching Arabic, Portuguese, and Italian. So we have students who are learning three languages, we have teachers who are teaching these languages.
For me, this is an experience. Last I was in staying in a college was in 1985. So it's almost 40 years ago.
And when I did my Masters in Business Management, so at the IMF
after that I have not been inside a college as a as a student don't is definitely not living in hostel.
It's an interesting experience for me,
I have my own room, thankfully.
But one shared bathroom between three rooms, and I am not sure if there any other rooms, those are single rooms, or if they are twins. So it's either three people or five people, I haven't met everybody yet. So I'm not sure.
The point I want to make here is I want to record very quickly my initial experience as well as hopefully some words of wisdom.
Because what happens in these cases is really a
slice of life, where you get thrown into a completely new situation. In my case, I didn't get thrown, I threw myself. And incidentally, that is a very good thing to do. It's a very good thing to choose
experiences where you go back to the basic, where, to a great extent, I wouldn't say your past experience doesn't matter. But of course it matters. But you're forced to choose out of that past experience, things that might be useful, but which you may not have done
for, as in my case, decades.
So it's not as if I've never lived in a hospital I have, but not for the last almost 40 years.
So new situations force you to use your brain, which is good to keep as I was away, and you're forced to adapt, you're forced to learn new skills. And of course, I don't want to make this false force sound
oppressive, because it's not. It's also exciting, it's also very interesting.
And that's one of my first reminders for myself, which is
outside environment appears or is going to appear depends on how I wish to see it.
If I want to see it all as forced then it is forced if I want to see it as something that I chose, which is actually the fact
then I will enjoy it much more
that choice is with us. And that choice must necessarily be renewed every morning when you wake up.
Second thing is the is what happens in that in this new situation where you are thrown into an environment where nobody knows you now in my normal environment.
Everyone knows me and I'm did I have relationships with everyone? I have friends I have people who respect me and so on.
And this has been at hamdulillah via the resource manager. This has been my situation for again decades.
Now suddenly, I am traveling to a place where quite literally every single person is a stranger.
Yesterday somebody asked me
one of my friends called me and said is there some partner with you? Did you go with somebody with a with some other friends? Or no, I went alone.
And he was surprised because he certainly made dice and may Allah make it easy for you and I
thanked him and that's that is a reality which is that I chose to come here by myself alone
now therefore, I'm a complete stranger that nobody knows me here.
Thanks to America being America they just use the first name so symbols and that's it. So
all the sense of self worth the sense of,
of significance that I have I almost said past life. And that's all was the way it feels like,
significant that I had in my past life is right now zero.
Because I'm just, you know, another one body with a white beard.
I'm also a white, a warm body with a white beard, which is 72 years old. According to the history calendar, I discovered yesterday, I was fooling around to see what the date is my date of birth in the history calendar, and it is the fourth or Viola Well, Thursday 1375. And that makes me now officially 70 years old, according to the history calendar. So
starting something completely new like this at age 70 is I think something which is not usual, but I've strongly recommended. And I know I don't only recommend it to people in their 60s and 70s, I recommend it to everybody.
You might say, well, if I'm if I'm if I'm not 70, if I'm not, if I'm only 40, you I'm 30
is experienced the same, yes, it is the same because the age doesn't matter. It's except that you're
in physical ways. But otherwise,
when you wait into a completely new situation it is your past is quite literally wiped out, not permanently, but for the people there, it doesn't matter. And you have to then do something to create your own environment to create your own
support base to create your own friendships,
to do something significant and continue to do that. So you build your own reputation in a positive way in the new place. And that stretches you that stretches mean that that's a very very good stretch. So I strongly recommend to everybody do something that you've never done before and and do something of significance and I'm here for eight weeks
which is a long period believe it is a long time
in a new environment. But so therefore what must I do? So first thing I did well, now this is where past experience
you drop on it? Is this the first time that I was absolutely on my own and a strange situation? No, it will not when I went to Ghana, South America
that's exactly what happened to me. I landed in Ghana with a with my with a shirt on my back literally because my the airline managed to lose. I moved countries from India to Ghana with two suitcases and the airline managed to lose boats. So I think they were quite efficient.
They did a they did a thorough job. And so I had I just landed with a shirt on my back. Mercifully, I had my wallet. And my password would never my including my graduation certificates were in the world in my checking baggage because this was my first international trip and I thought that checked in Bury the safe so I put the graduation certificate certificates in the school certificate in the
intersection Biden got lost.
Years later, I had to go back and get them I needed them but I didn't need them again. So anyway, the long and short of it is so this is not the first time so that was the first time was in Ghana when I will let it in Go ye
mining down at the bank of the Berbice River. We'll look it up on the on Google map and see if we can find it. And that is Coco Annie kW aka WA and I quani
Bobby's river Ghana.
So, completely new, I totally knew I was only Muslim in town, which is not the case here.
And everyone was
different race different different religion, different culture, people look walk, talk, eat food, everything different
than when I went to when I returned. And in 1984 83 i This guy and I was in 1979 83 When I got back to India, I joined the tree planting industry there again it was new, completely new.
And all my gain experience. In Ghana I had no experience I went straight from after college but in when I came back to Kobani or to to India.
I had been the city manager in Cocconi I had significance I had this or that I have my Ghana life experience, and so on all of which practically all of which went to zero because the people on Team life was different things were different and so on. I'm saying almost because
A many years later, almost, maybe seven, eight years later in wild planting tea, we were building a tea factory and I got to drive a bulldozer which I knew how to drive in the zip to the absolute astonishment or the bulldozer driver. And that's a different story. And that story is in my book, which is called from India to the Indies, India to the end, so at the moment.
So, again, second year experience, and then they continue, but the point is, this something which I have done consciously and deliberately, and I therefore recommend it to you, as well put yourself in a new situation. So here I am, as of no nothing and nobody, like you know, I'm one roll call number, I'm one name,
I hope that I'm able to do something with changes that and I get to learn Arabic, I'm here to learn Arabic. Second thing I discovered here is that you then discover that you know quite a lot, which is, I discovered that I know, a fair bit of Arabic conversation, which was dominant somewhere. Now when I'm forced to speak it, it comes out
what helps them this is routines. So as soon as I came into my room, I arranged the room the way I wanted it, I of course, I have my lifelong routine from my boarding school days of making my bed as soon as I wake up. Quite literally, as soon as I go even before I go to the bathroom, I make my bed then I go to the bathroom.
And that's a fantastic I will believe me, that's the best thing I can advise. As soon as you get up make your bed
that I yesterday I walked around I've very very beautiful place. So it's, you know, enjoy the scenery. And then I discovered the gym which I was looking for and spent an hour there in the gym. So I have a routine of what I want to do during the day. I want to fit the gym into that which I will
have a routine for the for the room. And then as the course progresses, I will have to put in the routine for
the studies, classes and homework together is expected to take 12 to 13 hours a day. So that's the second part of the story of being new, which is that you're stressed.
Now for me again Hamdulillah I have been working voluntarily doing my own stuff. For me working 14 1314 hours a day is nothing new. I have done this practically all my life. But the difference is that nobody forced me to do that before.
So I did what I wanted to, which is quite a lot of writing but you know almost all of that exclusively is in English. But here it's going to be Arabic language and within quotes, nobody's forcing me here either but I put myself in the situation I don't like to do so I am going to ensure that I
give it my best shot and do my absolute best to ensure that I succeed.
So that is the second thing put yourself in situation where you get stressed. One of the best ways of stretching your mind is to learn a new language and one of the most difficult languages to learn no matter who tells you what is Arabic languages Arabic and Japanese and something called Great for languages which are tough to learn.
What I'm learning here is Modern Standard Arabic. It's not the the classical Arabic of the Quran, but it's very close. So inshallah This is my my Nia and also that I should be able to understand the Quran better understand their Hadees resources and I'm better read them in the original language in which they were spoken and revealed.
And understand them in that language when I guess to lead the reader understand them
therefore be able to practice them and therefore we will talk about them
better and more than I have been able to do.
So that is the
that is the third thing which is you know put yourself in a situation which is new put yourself in situation which we were stressed and then find routines there
which are positive routines which help you
to go ahead in your in your MCSA the new in the in the reason why they're
of course important also to build friendships important also to build relationships. But also very important maybe even more to remember that that is not the reason you came to the place. You came to the place to learn you came to the place to to increase your knowledge and understanding so on so not allow the friendship and relationship part to overtake that
I learned my age that is easier to do than it is for young people. But it's equally important. I mean, if you're young, this may be more difficult but probably even more important. So by all means, make friends. But do not make friends who will distract you from your goal. Make friends who will push you towards a goal make friends who will help you to get to your goal not distract you from the war. So you want to get good grades, you have to study and be with people whose grades are better than yours, who are smarter than you not losers who are you know, spending their time
jiving and on drugs and drinks and whatnot which happens in of course here that's not the environment here but it happens in colleges and universities so I'm saying that
handily yesterday we started the course on a Friday
one of the teachers an Egyptian person he came for I mean, I
had the opportunity to set up all the prayer rugs and so on for the July in the in the the tennis court there covered tennis, court tennis and basketball.
So I did all that and then I was sitting then this
person came and is one of the teachers teach the elementary Arabic class
and he gave the hotbar he asked me can you give it can you give a quote by said yeah.
And that was it. And then he said, Can you call your dad I said yes. So I call the other and after the whole called everything finishes that you are now the official magazine for the time that we are here for all the drama that you hear. And of course we have also made it private be done also here.
So I said 100 Because
the Vamana Hassan COVID amendment died Allah Allah said who's who's called who's whose speech is better than the one who invites towards almost one hotel and that is the Moses Of course it's also anyone who invited anyway but the most it is literally that hair salon for and so I said hamdulillah Allah subhanaw taala addressed me
that I am the official and was in for this very happy about that.
So which also frees me from giving hobas for eight weeks, which also frankly between you and me, I'm quite happy about that. Not because I don't enjoy it or I don't like it but you know, it's it's
it's that ah you know, it is relief, it is relaxation, rest.
I also discovered Hamdi like quite a number of Muslims that score in this course I think there are also some non Muslims today we are going to meet so I will know more.
Um, there are a lot of
many women and all of them mashallah, as far as I could see,
dressed appropriately properly, hijabs and
bios and so on. I don't know who else is there, I'm sure there are others who are but there's no one who's inappropriately dressed. That's that's the wonderful thing.
The so number of Muslim therefore we have Dubai and so on. And one of the things in American universities I find is that says a lot of support for people who want to practice religion, any religion. And of course, Muslims usually are the ones who are most keen to practice their religion. So there is a lot of support. I mean, I am a chaplain in Westfield State University and in, in Springfield College, and huge support wonderful people that the directors of spiritual affairs that position has been we'll call it's called the director of spiritual affairs and David mapan is my good friend and a wonderful man very, very supportive. So this is a beautiful thing about the
practice of religion not only is there no discrimination against students who want to practice alien, but practice really is strongly supported, funded by the university. So same thing applies here. hamdullah so that is where we
seem to have gone over my limit anyway, that mean with this, we make with making a request all of you will make some very sincere and, and powerful dua for me that my brain cells
kicked back into working order and that Allah subhanaw taala makes the Arabic language easy for me that I do well and I distinguish myself in sha Allah as a means of reaching the rule of Allah or some of the Allah will carry while he was around to get me