New Horizon School, Irvine’s fifth – eighth grade students participated in the eleventh annual Hassan Hathout Legacy Foundation’s essay contest. The Hassan Hathout Foundation is an educational nonprofit organization whose mission is to spread the message of ‘Love in God’ through the work and legacy of Hassan Hathout. This year, students were asked to submit an essay titled “How to Grow a Loving Heart” in which they describe how this topic relates to a personal activity or experience, historic event, or current world event. The contest expanded on the national level to include numerous distant states, and of all years this year had the most entries submitted. We are pleased to announce that 6 students from our fifth – eighth grades were selected as winners!
We’d like to congratulate Alina, Maryam, Rima, Senna, Omar and Jude for their hard work and truly inspirational writing. The following are excerpts from the students’ essays:
Another way to have a loving heart is to be grateful. “He has not thanked Allah who has not thanked people.” (Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), Ṣaḥīḥ Dawud 4811) To thank is to understand and acknowledge something in your life that you are grateful for. Sometimes we forget to be grateful and we only focus on the things in our life that are bad. That can lead us to be ungrateful. Or we can be busy trying to get more in life and forget what we have. We are encouraged to thank people so that our thankfulness to Allah is accepted. Once again, Allah shows us that the way we treat others is an indication on how we will be treated in our Judgment
Our relationship with our family members is the most important relation to God’s creation since this relationship is tested every day. In the last 9 months, since the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to stay isolated from others, this relationship has been tested more than ever. The Prophet (SAW) said, “ The best of you is he who is the best to his family.” So it is important to be kind, caring, and loving to our family members. The pandemic has made me even more grateful for having a family that cares for me and loves spending time with me. Since I have been spending more time with my siblings I realized how blessed I am to have them in my life. Without them, I would feel Isolated and lonely.
One important relationship we have as humans is our relationship with our families. Allah shows us how important our parents are in the Quran. When the Prophet (PBUH) was asked “O Messenger of Allah, who among the people is most deserving of my good company?” The Prophet responded, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” The Prophet responded, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” The Prophet responded, “Your mother.” The man asked, “Then who?” The Prophet responded, “Your father”. This shows how much Allah and the Prophet (PBUH) value our parents, especially our mothers. Our families raised us to be who we are. We should always be kind to them, even when we are bothered by them. Allah always wants us to forgive them. In the Quran, he said, “And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small.” This shows that Allah wants you to forgive your parents and ask Allah to forgive them because they raised you and made you the person you are. Even when they bother you, you have to be grateful for them and pray for them to be forgiven. You should interact in a good manner with family, friends, nature, and even people you don’t know well or dislike to always treat them with kindness.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Wondrous is the affair of a believer, as there is good for him in every matter; this is not the case for anyone but a believer. If he experiences pleasure, he thanks Allah and it is good for him. If he experiences harm, he shows patience and it is good for him.” This hadith teaches us that sincere believers trust that Allah will provide whatever is good for them, and they express gratitude when Allah gives them a blessing, and they practice patience when Allah tests them because the tests deepen their faith and bring them closer to Allah. To elaborate more on that topic, Allah says in surah Baqarah, “…Perhaps you dislike something which is good for you and like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know.” (2:216) When you make dua for something so sincerely and Allah does not fulfill it, trust that He knows that it might not be good for you.
Hardships are placed by Allah to put us to trial in order to turn them back to Him when we forget and to bring out the best in us. In other words, these are opportunities to grow closer to our faith and to gather good deeds along the way. We are also reminded that the Quran (94: 5-6) illustrates the concept of patience in another way, “With hardship comes and surely with that hardship comes more ease.” Such powerful verses that Allah repeats it twice to say that no matter what hardship we will be tested with, if we repent and turn back to Him, we will be rewarded with something better, truly He is the Most Beneficial and Most Merciful.
A tinge of gratitude rushes through my veins. Imperfection is not befitting of Him. He who designed the universe in such a glorious fashion. I sit down on the wet sand and reflect: God is Beautiful. The Artist of all that is around me. The One who created it all to perfection. A canvas like no other. Then I wonder, Why are we drawn to nature? Sunrises? Animals? Creation? I realize in this moment: I can seek closeness to Allah through admiring the beauty around me. The Beauty He created.
We hope these students will continue to inspire us all to “grow a loving heart” and make the world a better place for our children. A special event will be held for the top contestants where each will receive a monetary award.