This post probably is for those parents from abroad who have sons studying in Dar al Mustafa.
This photo was taken at the rear of the school, about three hours after fajr – breakfast time. From the Fajr adhan to the beginning of first period is one hour. Then two periods of class takes up two hours.
It’s winter now so Fajr is quite late – 4.50am.
Most students eat in the mess hall where food is free. Some eat in one of the two cafeterias, one of which is on the left of this picture facing the eastern wall (its shadows visible on your right).
On the same section of the building where the cafeterias are, I don’t think there are any classrooms. Classes are mostly in the attached mosque some in the old section of the building and the old mess hall, before the school was expanded.
The boy running in the photo is one of many boys who exercise during this time before food. When I first came here three years ago, exercise was part of the official timetable albeit not compulsory. The grey building directly around the boy’s head, is an apartment block outside of the school compound.
On the boy’s right, is a yellow and brown wall. That’s the backdrop of where the Wednesday night special sessions take place with Habib Omar Bin-Hafidh where we go through Imam al-Ghazali’s magnum opus, Ihya Ulum Uddin.
It is the most spiritual time (of the week) compared to all else that goes on here. Teachers race to get a seat on the front row. People abroad wait to receive recordings. This is where the very fine details of spirituality in Islam is discussed.
To the right is the massive stage where the Monday night public classes take place and Habib Omar teaches tafseer of the Qur’an. These sessions began years ago in homes with other books, and it grew too large so it was moved to the courtyard of the central mosque of Tareem. Then it finally moved here.
Back to food
If you look at the tree on the right under the tree, there’s a boy having his breakfast alone, typically it’s two. One of them is a lawyer with an advance diploma in Syari’ah law and the other has a Masters Degree in Mathematics. Both of them expressed how studying here is far more difficult that whatever they’ve been through.
In the background, is the immense flat top mountains as mentioned in the Qur’an. We are surrounded by it, which tells you that we’re in the valley.
At the bottom of the picture are two empty cooking oil containers, and two more near the stage. It used to be large cement bricks but I assume they got wiser. I hope you don’t think that’s to mimic Safa and Marwa of Mecca.
It’s just a goal post. 🙂