These Qur’an-Based Character Building Workshops are a series of workshops that I have tried to develop on moral values and personality development. They are interactive and experiential in nature and meant to engage and involve mature participants of all ages to discover their inner potential and polish their innate moral values and personality traits. There is an Instructor’s Guide for each workshop published separately.

The average time of each workshop comprising 20 participants is 2 hours. The time can vary with the number of participants.

There are generally four broad segments of each workshop:

 

I. Individual Activity Segment

II. Group Activity Segment

III. Evaluation Segment

IV. Follow-Up Segment  

 

I. Individual Activity Segment

In this segment a relevant text of the Qur’an is presented and the participants are made to go through an experiential translation of that text. The activities that are designed in this segment are meant to use our faculties of reading, writing, memorization and intellect to create a deeper relatationship and understanding with the texts under scrutinity.

The methodology of this experiential translation is as follows:

1. Participants will copy out the meaning of individual words in the boxes provided for the text which has been broken in smaller sections.

2. They will try to make sense of the scrambled sentence which comes into being as a result.

3. They will use their common sense to construct a meaningful sentence from this scrambled sentence and write it out in the last line of each table.

4. Once this process is complete for each of the tables, the participants will write out the complete translation of the text by linking the last sentence of each table in the form of a paragraph.

5. A standard translation is given in the handout with which they will compare their own translation.

6. The participants will be asked to mark themselves out of ten by comparing their translation with the standard one. (Marks should not be cut for a differently worded translation if the sense is the same)

7. The participants will then be asked to do go through the following activities:

i. Random checking of translation by the instructor.

ii. Writing out the Arabic text.

iii. Reading aloud the Arabic test by a participant.

iv. A volunteer who has scored the highest marks should be asked to read out his / her translation.

v. A volunteer who scored less than 6 marks should be asked to read out his / her translation.

After this, the instructor will very briefly explain the basic message of the verse. He can study various Qur’an commentaries of this verse for this purpose. Some of the recommended commentaries include Tadabbur-i Qur’an (www.tadabbur-i-quran.org) and Tafhim al-Qur’an (www.tafheemulquran.org / www.tafheem.net/tafheem.html)

 

II. Group Activity Segment

In this segment, participants will be made to undergo a group activity in the following manner.

i. The participants will be divided into equal groups of four or five.

ii. Each group will be given a question to discuss among themselves for five / ten minutes.

iii. After the time expires each of the groups will present their findings / outputs and then the instructor will moderate the discussion while at the same time adding his own input.

iv. After this, the next discussion question shall be floated and the same procedure shall be adopted.

v. Once all the discussion questions have been debated, the instructor will summarize the findings in the form of bullets and at times a resolution and recommendation can be drafted.

 

III. Evaluation Segment

The participants will be made to attempt an Multiple Choice Quiz marked out of 100. Once a quiz has been attempted, the instructor will announce a scheme of marking (given in the Instructor’s Guide). Marks should not generally be made public as it might cause undue pressure and unhealthy competition. However, the instructor should exercise discretion and in some cases may disclose marks if it is felt that disclosing them might be encouraging for the achiever and motivational for other participants. The instructor should inform the participants of the general rating given below:

90-100 = excellent

80-90 = very good

70-80 =good

60-70 = fair

below 60 = poor

 

Needless to say that the participants should be very honest in answering the quiz questions if they want to benefit from this exercise.

It may be noted that this marking scheme is an approximate indication of a participants’s conduct. It is not claimed that it gives an absolutely true reflection of his or her personality. Nonetheless, this assessment will point to some areas that need improvement.

It may alo be kept in mind that in some of the quiz questions, the participants will have to imagine that they are in the situation described in the question.

 

IV. Follow-Up Segment

This segment suggests some activities that participants are advised to continue with invidually or in a group in their homes after completion of a workshop. The purpose of this segment merits special attention of the participants. A two hour workshop is just sufficient to provide food for thought. However, if we are really serious in improving ourselves, a sustained and continuous effort is needed. This segement provides the participants with some options towards achieving this end.

 

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I have conducted each of these workshops several times. Hence the material that you see here has undergone considerable revision and improvement through practical feedback that I obtained from various sessions. I do sincerely hope and pray that these workshops are able to produce the results they were designed for. They may prove particulary useful at the high school level if they are conducted systematically.

 

 

Dr Shehzad Saleem

Al-Mawrid, Lahore

February 2016