On whose shoulders do we stand?
That was the question posed at our ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’ event that took place on Thursday 29th October, during the half-term holiday. This event forms part of our ‘Born Leaders Award’ that takes those under 25 on a journey of thought and discovery to help them emerge as the leaders of tomorrow.
67 young Muslims participated online in this interactive one-day event. The morning session was delivered by Hamza Andras Tzortzis and helped shape how we critically think, and discuss issues. In light of recent events, the participants split into groups to challenge the following assertion:
“We must allow freedom to insult and degrade the Prophet ﷺ because it is about preserving freedom of speech. Without the freedom to insult and degrade we will not be able to acquire truth, take power to account and have progress.”
Each group rose to the challenge giving well thought out, nuanced challenges to this assertion.
In the afternoon we were treated to an amazing exploration of history by Dr Osman Lateef who brought the real Giants of our past who have shaped our understanding of the world and Islam to life. For their creative development, participants split off into their groups and were given a short time summarise a chapter from Dr Osman’s new book ‘On Being Human’.
The chapter explored how the Prophet ﷺ engaged those who were on the considered on the fringe of society. People who suffered from mental illness were handicapped or those considered social outcasts.
The creativity shown by the participants was astounding!
Some rehearsed and delivered a short play/skit via zoom or role-played scenarios that explored topics presented in the chapter. Others wrote and performed spoken word pieces.
In reference to the companion, Julaybīb, one group wrote and performed the following poem:
Poem On Julaybeeb and the Life Lessons
Julaybeeb was not tall,
Rather he was quite small.
By society, he was condemned,
Despite this, he prevailed.
Although he was perceived physically,
The Prophet loved him quite dearly.
He wanted to get married,
But was considered unattractive.
Finally, he got married
But for battle he was rapid.
During the battle, he took a fall,
This proved that in actions he wasn’t so small!
From this, we learn that Julaybīb,
Wasn’t so small as everyone perceived.
They then found him by the side of seven,
And then that took him to heaven,
And by the Prophet, he was buried.
Another group examined the chapter and explored it from a different angle:
I come from…
I come from wealth,
I come from Lamborghinis, BMWs and Ferraris,
I come from the latest gadgets,
I come from Kensington mansions,
I come from private schools and privileged parents.
I come from a life of poverty,
I come from rationed food,
I come from charity shop clothing,
I come from Council houses in Hackney,
I come from shoes with holes.
I come from black, green, red yellow clay
I come from a creator who made me perfect
I come from humanity
We will all return to the same dirt we were created from,
So spread a little kindness everywhere you go.
We also used this workshop as an opportunity to launch our 2020 Youth Engagement Survey with the participants sharing their candid thoughts about what life is like for people under 30 in the 21st Century.
Our sincere thanks to all the participants and to our presenters from the Sapience Institute for such an inspiring event.