Muhammad Islah Busakorn is a member of IBQS who lives in Chiengmai, Thailand. Here he is holding a braille Quran from Alfitrah Foundation, another member of IBQS.
Islah is a teacher and travels around Thailand to teach Quran. Here is a report of his recent trip. Alhamdu Lillah, this is a little report that I wrote concerning my trip experiences to Hadyai. It was sometime ago when I went to Hadyai to start up a Braille Qur'aan education system for the blind over there and with the help of Allah, the students began learning since then.
Consequently, there arose a need to visit the place and to follow up with the work progress so I setout for Hadyai on the 5th of March 2016 and returned on the 9th. It was a trip coupled with many unforgettable moments So I decided to note down some of them and share with you my learning experience.
The weapon Along The Trip:
My mother always tells me that: "Whenever you arrive at a place, recite A'oozu Bikalimaatil-Laahit-Taammaati Min Shari Maa Khalaq and you will be saved from the calamities of that place as long as you are there.
I started my journey from home in the morning and stopped over at Chiangmai to attend the monthly Jor in Sankamphang Masjid before proceeding to the airport.
This Jor gathers each and every individual from all the Masjids around the area to share ideas and work together so that the Deen may come into every home and so that every single Masjid may be alive with the A'maal of Masjid Nabawi. I sat in the program for about an hour and then I had to move on to the Airport.
Brotherhood Due To The Work of Deen:
During my stay at Chiangmai airport, a brother came to my guide saying, please let me take him, I know him!
I was surprised, he said he is Ilyaas, the brother whom I have been keeping in touch with for a while through the work of Deen.
He is receiving training and working with Thai Lion Air.
Had it not been for the Barakah of Deen, it would be impossible for us to meet in this manner.
Even when I reached Bangkok, I asked the guide to leave me in Namaaz room since the waiting period before the next flight is quite long. They have just shifted the prayer room to a new place which no longer has Wudhoo' facilities in side. Here again, somebody just came and greeted me as though we knew each other from before. Truly so, he is originally from Yala Markaz and his father is an elder worker of Tableegh.
He took me for ablution, prayed with me and we had a very fruitful discussion together.
This sincere brotherhood is undoubtedly achieved through the work of Deen which I have seen through out my travel until I finally reach my destination so much so that, it was almost needless for an airline staff to come and guide me.
Taking care of the guests:
I arrived at hadyai in the evening with the grace of Allah Alhamdu Lillah. It has been a long day indeed and I was overcome by the effects of travelling. So I and my friend went to a restaurant for supper but found that it was already close.
The owner met us with great worry that we couldn't have anything to eat.
She insisted to feed us with something but since the shop was close and the staff members were about to call the day off, we excused ourselves and comforted her saying let's make it for the next time. We then moved on to have our food at another place nearby but she came after us followed by her husband and insisted to pay for our food but here too, the owner of the second place refused and said that he wanted to make our Ikram instead.
They actually competed with one another to feed us.
How touching it is to find such hospitality in this day and age where individualism has become so prevalent in our society.
Tarbiyah For Children:
On the second day, I had the opportunity to visit amazing Maktab children at Bankhanun. I was given a chance to say a few words to them and also listen to their Qur'aan.
It is amazing how such little children could pronounce the letters so clearly.
I noticed this even when they made Salaam to me one by one that the letter Ain of Assalaamu Alaikum was very clear.
Each one of them would say Salaam first without being told or instructed to do so.
The Power Of the Weak:
In the late afternoon of the same day, I visited the School for the blind of Hadyai and met a brother who looks after the blind students there. I sensed soft nature in him and I found that his love and affection for the students has been built up since the time he spent in their company.
When we live a simple life, spend time with the weak and the poor, our hearts become softer and we tend to thank Allah more.
The prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam himself was instructed by Allah to be patient and remain in the company of those who call to Allah despite their poverty and weak status in the eyes of the people.
He also said: "Search for me amongst the weak.
The Work Of Deen Amongst secular students:
After my visit to that school, we proceeded to Kokemao Markaz to attend the students' Jor. About 900 students from around the province of Songkla joined the program. It was really a heart-striking occasion for these youngsters are the future of the Ummah.
This also reminds us the northern people about the urgent need to make Fikr in order to reach out to our students who are currently studying at colleges and universities.
Happiness At Heart:
I met Another brother whom I knew for more than 20 years now.
Although he became blind at a later stage of his life, I never ever saw a sign of worry or stress in him whenever we interacted. On the contrary, he would make those around him happy and smile.
This is what I would experience from him every time that I am in his company.
He has just given me the good news regarding the birth of his 10th child Alhamdu Lillah!
A humorous truthful Story:
After the students Jor , I sat in the company of Ameer Teh (Abdur Rahman Phatalung) where he was giving exclusive advice to the responsible brothers of Songkla. Then we went to sit near him. "How many children you have?" he asked, I said: "3". He said "Me too, I also have 3, but 3 two times!" meaning 33 children.
May Allah grant us many children who are pious and the coolness of our eyes Aameen.
Ameer Teh's advice:
It so happened that, just the day before, we had our monthly Jor in Chiangmai so over there, the importance of the work of Deen amongst secular students was highlighted.
After discussing this issue with Him, he said: "In fact, Mawlana Sa'd gives priority to the students in colleges and universities over and above Madrasah students.
The reason is that, Madrasah students are already exposed to Qaalal-Laah Qaalar-Rasool on a daily basis whereas, these secular students are exposed to a different environment.
Every student is talented:
On the second night, I was escorted to my friend's house in Sadao as his well-treated guest until the next morning. I had a Qiraa'aat program in the Masjid and in the house and also had sometime to meet another blind brother inbetween to discuss with him about the Braille Qur'aan.
He seems to find Braille to be extremely challenging but he can memorize well, so I advised him to focus more on memorizing instead.
Sometimes it happens that students may not be talented in one thing but they can do better in another thing, so we - teachers, have homework to extract that special talent that our students have and encourage them to use it in the right way.
Meeting The Braille Qur'aan Teachers:
I was worried as first that we merely had 2 female teachers to attend to more than 30 blind students for almost a year now and I was constantly hoping for more. Alhamdu Lillah, today I was told that recently there have been 2 more male teachers. I was also told that, good Qur'aan teachers are harder to find than gold and precious stones.
I had a fruitful session with the new teachers speaking about Braille and the methods of teaching it to the blind.
We intend to setup a more exhaustive discussion sometime in May, just before the school re-opens In-Sha' Allah.
A few words To Blind Muslims Association Of Hadyai:
In the afternoon, I visited the Muslim Association for the blind and met some members who are undertaking a computer course there.
I was allowed to say a few words so I highlighted some examples where the blind in the Islamic history caused changes to the world like Imam Bukhari, Ibni Ummi Maktoom, Ibni Abbaas etc.
I spoke about how we should realize our value given to us by Allah. Happiness, success, honor doesn't lie in the vision of the eyes but rather the heart that recognizes Allah.
Allah the most truthful says that the eyes do not become blind but rather the hearts in the chests which become blind.
Visiting Another Association Of The Blind In Hadyai:
Next, we paid a visit to another center wherein some of our blind friends are working as massage therapists.
How often have we thought about our blind brothers and sisters who have past their school age. They too need to read the Qur'aan, they too need to be exposed to the Islamic environment.
This was the topic of our discussion there.
It is for this reason that, my Asaatizah have come up with the online classes program to accommodate those students who are not able to attend to the Madrasah for some reasons as an alternative for them to learn the Qur'aan in Braille. They too are the Ummah, they too, have the potential to get close to Allah through His noble words.
Talab The Key To guidance:
Towards the evening on that day, I went to visit the students of the blind school in Hadyai in order to see their progress in learning the Braille Qur'aan. Alhamdu Lillah I found that many of them have almost completed their Quranic Braille primer. One of them has already begun with Braille Qur'aan and he has just 2 more chapters to complete the 30th Juz in its entirety. Astonishingly, this boy is a new Muslim who has just reverted to Islam 3 years ago but his desire for Deen is to such a degree that caused him to exceed many others in learning the Qur'aan.
Talab or desire is the key to success. As Allah says: "O my servants! Each one of you is misguided except the one whom I guide. So seek for my guidance and I will guide you."
O Allah! We seek Your guidance towards the straight path, Aameen.
Importance Of Maktab:
On the third day, I was lead to visit the school children from 3 different towns. Namely: Paalamai, Sadao and Klongtor. There are thousands of children there.
We had Qiraa'aat, Anaasheed and Deeni talks in the program and they were attentive to it well despite their young age. Learning at a young age is a foundation to learning. When good Tarbiyah is given to a child and the Deen is taught correctly, he would hold on to it with steadfastness until the later part of his life.
Visiting old students:
In the afternoon, I visited 2 of my students near Malaysia border one of whom is helping me to proof-read the Maktab Kitaabs which I'm converting into Braille. The other student is a Qur'aan teacher. He is teaching sighted people despite him being blind. He started learning Braille before but couldn't continue for a while now so I'm trying to setup online lessons with him again soon In-Sha' Allah.
In the evening, I also visited another student of mine who is very informative about the blind people from the surrounding areas. He is also religiously conscious and and very cooperative in spreading the Islamic lifestyle amongst the blind community.
The Final Dinner:
On this day, I was invited for supper prepared by a hardworking friend of mine.
It was indeed a simple meal but Allah put such a taste in it that I find it hard to describe. Even in this there is a lesson that, luxury is just a deception and not a criteria of enjoyment.
Co-Operation And Assistance:
I was very fortunate to have very good support during my stay in Songkla. The work would have not been that smooth without the local assistance and cooperation.
Although we drove around Songkla covering the distance of about 500 Kilometers, but there was neither a word of complaint nor a sign of boredom.
This mission demands time, wealth and energy to be sacrificed from one's own.
Only Allah knows and only through Allah's help can we achieve anything.
May Allah grant us sincerity and acceptance and may Allah reward one and all in full Aameen.
Your brother Muhammad Islah