The Guided Hearts Program is a uniquely designed program that was initiated in 2009 under MAPS which will serve the educational and social needs of the new Muslims and converts community in and around the Puget Sound area, inshaAllah. This program is designed to equip new Muslims and converts with a solid Islamic education and foundation in order to start the journey towards becoming a moderate practicing Muslim.
In addition to education, the program will contain socialization and support. The socialization and support will serve to strengthen ties of community membership, encourage masjid attendance and participation and provide a healthy outlet to voice and express their unique concerns, share their experiences and seek advice from other individuals that are currently on the same path.
Finally, this program serves as a means to help our new Muslims and converts integrate and remain a productive and valuable part of the Muslim community. The program will be lead and directed by the program director. The program itself will need one trained Arabic and Quran teacher, and one brother to lead the men’s activities. This program should ideally be run by converts or those that understand the unique needs of this community. If that is not possible, the volunteers should be trained by the program director.
Our program had a successful class with Why Islam called Compass which is a starter class that teaches the basics of prayer, ablution, seerah and Arabic 101. In addition, our social and support group meetings have brought a great deal of converts to the masjid and even encouraged a few to become volunteers; thus, helping to integrate them into the Muslim community.
The Guided Hearts program has three main goals, inshaAllah:
- Level One: Quest for Knowledge
- Level Two: Heart Illumination
- Level Three: Ramadan Preparation Workshop
- Level Four: Muslim Manners
- Level Five: The Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
- Level Six: Spiritual Advancement Classes
- Level Seven: Quranic Arabic Language Program( Fus’ha)
Socialization and Support
- Monthly Socialization and Support Social group meetings to discuss the challenges of being a convert in a casual atmosphere.
- Yearly Social function or dinner/ brunch inviting the converts’ non-Muslim families to our center.
- Encourage volunteerism and community participation
- Identifying how new Muslims can be useful and utilize their skills
- Helping to provide a smooth transitional entry into the Muslim community
- Help converts to remain an important part of the community and most importantly remain in the community
- Help new Muslims to be a useful tool in the community
- Help them to preserve their culture and use their knowledge and understanding of the American culture for outreach and interfaith activities
- Encourage converts to be part of the masjid and its functions and board of directors
- Help them to establish an Islam that sits comfortably in their hearts, minds and that is compatible with their surroundings
- Shahada Ceremonies
- Clean Slate Parties: A party for new Muslims in which we celebrate and welcome
them to the community
- Convert Outreach Project: Reach out to other mosques and educate leaders about the issues facing converts. For example, many immigrants seeking out converts for green cards or community members embarrassing converts if they are not dressed properly or praying correctly.
- Cultural Awareness: Helping converts and new Muslims understand the various cultural groups within the vast Muslim world. Educate immigrant community members on American convert culture so as to promote harmony and understanding.
- Sponsor a new Muslim Project: This is a community outreach program that carefully selects sponsors to help sponsor a new Muslim. The sponsor will be asked to help nurture the new Muslim, introduce them to the community, and teach them and answer questions about Islam. This sponsor will be a support system that the convert may call when in need of advice.
- Hijab/Abaya Bank: This bank will provide Islamic clothing to sisters or brothers that are in need of a new Islamic wardrobe. It will house gently used or new Islamic clothing.
- New Muslim Starter Kits: This is a kit provided to each new Muslim including important starter items.
- Guided Hearts Newsletter: A newsletter by and for American Muslim converts.
Convert Conference (future project inshAllah)
This conference would focus on challenges facing new Muslims and converts and directed and catered to their needs. In addition it would be helpful for masjid leaders to attend to learn and inquire about ways to help this unique and fast-growing community. The speakers could be famous converts such as Hamza Yusuf, Suhaib Webb, and so on. Invitations could be extended to masjids nationwide and even as far as Canada, inshAllah.
Volunteers needed in the following areas:
- Arabic/ Quran Teacher
- Advertising /Flyers
- Hosting monthly support groups meetings
- Brother to organize male classes and activities
- Create and run website and link
- New Muslim Starter Kit Project Lead
- Organize a Hijab Bank in the new facility
- Begin a new Muslim Sponsorship Project
- Teach weekly halaqa
- Teach spiritual advancement classes
- Volunteers to help with Ramadan workshops and monthly events
- Outreach projects
- Shahada ceremonies
For questions or how to join IOC, please send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
“O Mankind! Surely, We have created you all from a single male and female, and made you peoples and tribes so that you may get to know one another. Indeed, the most honored of you in the sight of God is the most mindful of Him. God is All-Knowing and All-Aware.” Al-Hujurat 49:13