Maudal tafsir wolof Wa a yatun lahum ann a h amaln a th urriyyatahum fee alfulki almash h oon i Wakhalaqn a ciran min mithlihi cooran a yarkaboon a Sourate Ya Seen Litun th ira qawman m a on th ira a b a ohum fahum gh a filoon a 7. L a a l shshamsu yanbaghee lah a an tudrika alqamara wal a allaylu s a biqu a l nnah a ri wakullun fee falakin yasba h oon a. Q a loo m a antum ill a basharun mithlun a wam a anzala a woloc rra h m a nu min shay-in in antum ill a tak th iboon croan In k a nat ill a s ay h atan w ah idatan fa-i tha hum kh a midoon a Wanufikha fee a l ss oori fa-i tha hum mina al-ajd a thi il a rabbihim yansiloon a L a a l shshamsu yanbaghee lah a an tudrika alqamara wal a allaylu s a biqu a l nnah a ri wakullun fee falakin yasba h oon a Innee i th an lafee d al a lin mubeen in. Sal a mun qawlan min rabbin ra h eem in Wa a lqur- a ni al h akeem i 3. Sal a mun qawlan min rabbin ra h eem in.

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Memorizing the Coran and providing children with a religious education at a Coranic school is a tradition that is common to all Muslims.

It is also believed that when the last judgment comes, parents that have not educated their children in the Coran will have to justify themselves before God. Senegalese parents believe these Coranic schools are the best place for their children to learn the morals of the holy Coran and also to receive an education in life.

The objectives, then, are to provide their children with a good education, to instill in them good behavior, to teach them how to be humble, and how to become a respectable figures in their community.

Each Coranic school, called a daara, is managed by a marabout or religious leader that knows the Coran well and knows how to teach it. His role is to teach children to memorize the holy Coran and to teach them patience, suffering, as well as the capacity to be independent, humble and modest. My father initiated my studies in the holy Coran and my experiences as an student of the Coran began when I was two years old.

I began by learning the Arabic alphabet, then moved on to learning to read it, and finally I learned suras so that I would have something to complete my prayers with. When I arrived home after classes at the French school, I had to recite the few verses that my father had written out for me that morning. My father was originally from Guinea but he had a very different mentality than most immigrants to Senegal.

He believed that it was important both to be educated in the French school and to learn the Coran from front-to-back simultaneously. My education at the French school was always a top priority for both my father and me.

I could not have imagined stopping French school. However when it came time for summer vacations, my father placed me in a daara rather than allowing me to enjoy my free time away from school.

I do not remember this period of my life very clearly, but I do know that begging did not exist in this village, and I remember that I lived with my uncle who took care of us. I learned the Coran, but I also begged daily. Parents often send their children even farther that I was sent — often they are sent km or more. There are many different reasons that parents make such decisions.

Often, they live in extreme poverty and they lack the means to support their children. It is also believed that it is normal and acceptable for children to suffer in life. Of course, there are many other reasons as well, but they cannot all be discussed here. However they only go to the local neighborhood daara during the day and then return home in the afternoon. The reason for this is that traditionally in Africa, girls stay home to learn from their mothers how to clean and cook.

The mother is preparing them for when they move in to the conjugal home of their future husband. These lessons last until 7am when we took our tin cans, the pots, to beg for food and money to give to the marabout.

We would take off the top off the tin can, wash it and then put two holes on the upper edges on opposing sides and put a metal wire through it to hang around our necks.

We returned to the daara around 11am with rice, sugar, candles, small coin change, and the other things that we had collected. We would sell the small items because the marabout expected us to give him cash daily. If we did not hand in a certain sum to the marabout, we were beaten.

Afterwards we had to write more verses from the Coran and memorize the daily assigned verses. More begging came after that, but for this second round, we would beg for food for the mid-day meal. There was a market next to the daara where there were restaurants and we went there to beg for rice. It was hot and delicious, much better than what was prepared at the daara. The dish that she made the most was white rice with a red sauce. She had to cook for a large number of people and it was the most economic choice.

And so, at meal times, you would always hear that she was making ceebu soos rice with sauce. But we called it rendez-vous en bas all the way to the bottom because in reality, the red sauce was just lots of water and barely any tomato sauce or other ingredients.

Even after she poured the sauce over the rice, you could not even tell it was there, and we would be looking for the sauce all the way to the bottom of the bowl. All we could do to diminish our suffering and hunger was to laugh while we ate. Before picking back up with our Coranic studies from 3 to 5pm, we would drink the famous Senegalese tea, called ataaya.

After this, we would reheat many different plates of rice we had begged for earlier in the day as a snack. They were all mixed together and many in colors. We quickly learned that we could always count on a couple of houses that we called the plans, or our routes.

We knew they would give us charity every day. When I came to one of these houses on my plan, I only had to ring the bell, and the cleaning woman would open the door and give me either rice or sugar, and sometimes even money.

We were free until 7pm, when we had to get ready to beg for dinner. After dinner, we all met up again in the little mosque to pray and then go over the few verses of the Coran we had been assigned for the day. We did a few final verses to memorize them well, but it was a very relaxed time in the day. We would exchange little jokes and laugh in the back of the mosque. It was a true pleasure for us all, and we would quickly let the Coran, our lessons, and the restrictions of the daara slip from our thoughts.

We lay down to rest for the night at 11pm to rest before starting the same difficult routine the next day. For example, even though my aunt only rarely changed the dish for the mid-day meal, she always prepared us lunch.

Even at midnight you see little boys begging on the street in front of bars or restaurants. The Role of the Marabout in a Daara The main role of the marabout is to teach the holy Coran and to assure that it will be memorized by the children that are in his charge.

The child must also learn from the marabout how to live. He must also be able to apply this knowledge to every part of his life. The child learns the Coran, it is true, but he also learns about life. This is all good and well, except that the child does not gain a craft or practical skill because his day is consumed by his duties to the marabout. One of the only opportunities that is left to him is to become a marabout himself.

However the only reason they had the opportunity to enter these trades later in life was because they managed to deceive their marabout. Our marabout came in the mornings and in the afternoons he was often not there too looks over us and we took advantage of this to escape.

You never look the marabout in his eyes when you address him and you must always keep your head lowered in front of him. The marabout is not seen as a father figure, but as someone to fear and respect. To obtain money, however possible, only to pass it on to the marabout is far more challenging. You have to walk for hours in the sun and go from house to house, which is often humiliating.

Some people give you nothing and call you all kinds of bad things. During the cold season it is the same, with the only difference being that the weather becomes an additional burden because you do not have the proper clothes to go around in the waves of cold weather. Eating means begging, but what you find in terms of food is not always edible. Often we were given only the scraps of what is left from the meal.

And consequently, illness and disease are a close companions. Even when it rains, you must beg in the streets. The same tattered shirts and shorts that we wore in the dry season must see us through the rains as well. Often, we wore the same clothes for days and days. Because we slept on the ground, it was always a problem when it comes time to go to bed.

I, for example, slept on a dismantled card board box. I felt like a homeless person. When it rains, the water comes in, and you have to try to fall asleep soaking wet. Often, we could not sleep and we were forced to stay awake until the rain stopped. Sometimes my mother would come to visit me and gave me new clothes. Also, our daara was very different from the others because we did not wander around the streets at night when there is a lot of crime. They stand in front of restaurants at all hours and you see them stop people to ask for money.

My daara was an exception in many ways. We were spared many trials, even though we certainly had plenty. Currently though, there is no longer this same guarantee of a certain standard of life at my daara. The hygiene is poor, the food is often rotten, the children fall ill and no one brings them to get medical care. This is the situation for most daaras across the country. Out of all of those years that I was in the daara, I only had to beg for three summers. In many ways, I benefited from these experiences.

For example, I conquered my timidity. I was a very quiet and shy person, but because I was forced to learn how to beg, I overcame my inhibitions. I learned to overcome suffering and to look life straight on. I gained the experience necessary to take control of the hardships in my life and to learn to be satisfied and content with what I had. Living through experiences that are not shared by most of my peers at the French school, I felt that something was missing for them.

The French school seemed to me, a much more of a simple building and an easy way of life. For example, when a professor punished us, unlike the other students, I was never bothered by these punishments.

This was because at the Coranic school, I received beatings that were much more severe and painful. Thanks to these experiences, I learned to overcome and succeed in any situation. If I am in a complicated situation from which there seems to be no escape, I am determined to get out. I truly believe that it is bad.





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