Knowledge of the religion is precious in prisons. Many prisoners have little access to teachers, chaplains, or even proper books.
That’s why when an individual prisoner gets access to the Tayba curriculum, he often rushes to convey this knowledge to others. And, as one of our students put it, “it spreads like wildfire” amongst the rest of the community.
While Tayba reaches 2,000 students directly, it is able to reach many more through the knowledge that its students convey to the rest.
We’ve taken excerpts from some our students’ surveys about their teaching what they learn. Amazingly, nearly every single survey responder said that he or she teaches other prisoners:
I’ve taken the knowledge that I’ve learned from Tayba and passed it on to others. I’ve even brought one of the books to Taleem service, so that we could discuss it. Knowledge is made to be shared and applied. All responses were well received.
I have taught many inmates Fiqh, Aqidah, and other subjects through Tayba material – I have seen many inmates life transformed through proper Islamic education. There is a ton of ignorance on basic issues of Islamic practice in prisons, I have literally seen whole prisons transformed through Tayba material and students in [state omitted]. In 2012 I was the 1st Tayba student in [state omitted], now I know at least 3 prisons in the state that have Tayba students as Imams, on top of many Tayba students in the prisons here.
I am a Wazir in the community that I’m currently apart of. I teach tahara and salah lessons for the weekly taleem services and occasionally give the khutbah. In fact just this past Jummah I gave a khutbah on the rights of parents, which I learned through Tayba. The communities that I’ve been so fortunate to be a part of are beautiful. I always lend support and help in any way that I can. Mostly trying to teach about the importance and significance of sacred knowledge and true Islamic brotherhood.
What has helped the most in what I’ve learned studying with Tayba are the IMAN series of courses which deal with beliefs. The expositions and commentary given are very clear. So when another Muslim here has questions regarding beliefs, I’m able to provide a clear answer from what I’ve learned.
I sit down with brothers and go over the text. I enjoy sitting down and explaining the courses. The courses I usually do or have done is Akhdari, Hanafi fiqh course 111, Creed of Imam Tahawi, and The Beliefs of the Muslim. The students have benefited, and if I found they were good diligent students I wrote to Tayba to try to get them in as a student.
My general practice is to share what I have learned through the Tayba Foundation with others, Muslims and non-Muslims. To our brothers in the prison I share and teach what I have learned through the Tayba Foundation. Their response most of the times is wanting the Tayba Foundation’s address to write and ask for enrollment. I was one of them.
Our community at this facility is growing once again. We have approximately 30 brothers from various backgrounds. I’m the community representative, which means I handle the day-to-day affairs. Like talking with the administration concerning the needs of the community. I teach and give the khutbah every Friday.
I believe some of the names that have been used to address me in a playful, lovable, and respectful way by Muslims and non-Muslims alike should (will) speak volumes. I’m known as Imam, Teacher, Shaykh, Dalai Lama, Shaykh Transformer, Yoda, etc.
Every day I try to get some of my brothers to go to school for Islamic studies. They come to me with questions about the deen that may be complex to the non-student. Some of the questions are based on what I have learned from Tayba. Their response is that which I inform them about it spreads like wildfire across the compound. So a lot of times brothers will say, ‘Go and ask [the] wazir.’ I inform them that if I have the answer I will give it to you but if I don’t know I will take the time to find out in sha Allah.
I’m constantly using what I’ve learned from Tayba to benefit others. One way I do this is by teaching others what I learned. My character and my actions also have benefit to myself and society in general. Most people I try to reach out to are receptive.
I do try to use what I have learned from Tayba to benefit others. I have taught all but a few of the courses I have taken with Tayba. I have put together classes to teach: tajweed, aqidah, fiqh of salat, and basic Arabic. Their response is very open. I was recently asked to put together a class to instruct brothers in how to prepare for and be eligible to lead Jumu’ah service.
When brothers are interested, I have one-on-one study sessions with them teaching them some of the text I have been through.
I do use what I learned to help people as much as I can by teaching others as well as just by practicing qualities Tayba describes about a good Muslim, kindness, avoiding ghiba, patience, not debating, practicing charity. For the most part I always get positive feedback and al-hamdulillah I always avoid confrontations. It takes a lot of mindfulness and blessings, Inshallah I keep growing and learning.
I’ve witnessed a few of the Muslims ladies not doing Wudu correctly and I shared that information. We did a group on purification and I took my Fiqh 101 with me to use.
From day one when I first got my book and shared with sisters, they were very happy to know about Tayba. Some of them enrolled but some said they can’t due to being very new in their new path in Islam. But, they get to read our books, ask me questions after Jummah prayer or during my Quran classes. They tell me what problem they have with inmates or officers when they don’t know how to react according to Islamic way.
I use Tayba to benefit my family, friends and Muslims. Most of my family is proud and supportive that at least I am getting a college education and trying to become a better human being. Ever since I’ve started these courses, all the Muslims in this institution started doing aqeedah, fiqh, and adab and have assisted the Imam here with what I’ve learned. The Tayba courses have been a major factor in establishing Islam at this institution and uniting the Muslims.
I like trying to get others involved with the Tayba programming. Usually, I’ll begin by exposing them to the materials when answering their questions. Sometimes even leading them to ask a particular question they obviously need to know (e.g.: What do you think about…). Then, I will often loan them one of my Tayba textbooks, and if they seem serious I encourage them to adopt a study schedule, periodically inquire into their progress. By this time its clear rather they would make good Tayba students, and I offer them an application.
If I am unsure of the person’s motivation level, I just give them the address and make dua. In this way, hopefully I have encouraged some quality students to participate.
In the early years I used to just send applications to everyone I knew at other [state omitted] prisons. Once Shaykh Rami mentioned needing more sisters, that caused me to send applications to our two women prisons.