On Thursday April 13, Olive Grove School put on their annual theatrical show in Milton and Mississauga called “The Guiding Gems: One Day, Two Teens, Modern Day Struggles.” I had the honour of attending their show in Mississauga at the Living Arts Centre. This year’s theme was based on the day-to-day life of two siblings and the struggles they encounter as Muslims. The live play captured one day in the life of sister and brother Amal and Hassan. Each of them offered a sneak peek into their daily routines, beginning with early morning prayers (Fajr) before sunrise.
The play highlighted issues like hijab and confidence, parents taking advice from their children, and waking up for early morning prayers (Fajr). With every struggle Amal and Hassan encounter, they seek guidance from their parents or grandmother and are provided with reasons for why such struggles arise as well as what their responses should be. I found this form of teaching very informative for many parents and children in the audience as it assimilated the style of most lectures or halaqahs taught by scholars (or sheikhs) in mosques. It displayed many of the correlations that can be made between struggles endured today and the struggles endured during the time of the Prophet’s (PBUH). The way the companions and the Prophet (PBUH) himself handled most troubling situations can be easily used as a guide for tackling modern day issues, and the fact that students from Olive Grove School were given the opportunity to recognize this in an interactive manner through the play was phenomenal.
Amal and Hassan found it difficult to understand why respecting their parents was so important in Islam and they sought advice from their grandmother. She told them a story from the Prophet’s (PBUH) time about the three men trapped in a cave they used as a shelter from a severe thunderstorm. Each man made a sincere prayer (dua) to Allah (SWT) which was followed up with a good deed they had committed. The men completed their prayers (duas) with a genuine plea for Allah (SWT) to free them from the cave if – and only if – He (SWT) truly accepted their good deeds as done for His (SWT) sake only. With each prayer, the entrance of the cave was slowly cleared of rubble and the men were able to safely leave the cave. The grandmother used this story to show Amal and Adam that the reason Islam asks us to respect our parents is because it makes Allah (SWT) happy.
The lessons Amal and Adam learned were considered their ‘Guiding Gems’ to growing their relationship with Allah (SWT) and helped them recognize how they can make the most of their lives in this world. The play overall was a beautiful success and students of Olive Grove School should be greatly commended for all their hard work and efforts. If you missed this year’s play, be sure to catch it next year!