Islam in Focus
The MAS Islam in Focus class for women is held every Monday from 6-8 PM at the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge at the lower level.
The class is open for all women desiring to learn the basics of Islam.
History of the class:
The MAS Islam in Focus class for sisters started as a prayer class almost twenty years ago. A need for someone to teach convert women how to pray gave birth to the first class at ISB on Mondays. Sr. Hoda Elsharkawi was asked to lead the prayer class.
It was not long before a need for a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of Islam called for the class to shift from a prayer class to an Islam in Focus class. The instructor, along with other MAS members consulted with national and local scholars to put together a comprehensive curriculum covering the basics of Islamic knowledge.
The class became an eight months long learning period and it covered creed, Seerah, Fiqh, Tafseer, Women and Islam, Islamic ethics and more. The class became a safe space for many women who were looking for a welcoming and non-judgmental place to learn their faith. In many cases, the class offers the same for non-Muslims who are interested to find more about the religion as well as others who are attending the class for research purposes. Many times, these women would continue to attend even after the purpose of their visits end due to the sisterhood they experience. After graduating, women in many cases chose to remain in the class for many years because of the bonds they formed.
Women from all walks of life, all age groups, and all ethnic backgrounds attend class. They experience loving Allah and build strong friendships and support systems. We learn from each other, offer advice to one another, and have good times together, all while learning the tenets of Islam.
Many have graduated from this space and were able to mingle and be part of the larger community, having built their basic knowledge of the religion as well as the people that follow it.
The class enables women to interact with seekers like them who are going through the same journey, and who can understand their struggles. They come together and share their own life story and look for support, advice, as well as providing this to others.
The class is taught by Sr. Hoda Elsharkawi, the current MAS Boston Chaplain.
Hoda has a degree in Journalism, and she studied psychology and counseling at UMass Boston, as well as Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic studies at the American Islamic open university in Virginia. She was the Muslim Chaplain for four years at MIT and is an Islamic studies teacher at Alnoor Academy.
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