Doha Students from a private school in Qatar have had a life-enhancing, six-day Umrah that bolstered their Islamic awareness. The opportunity to complete the important rite of passage for Muslims was presented to the 23 students by Qatar Leadership Academy (QLA), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF). During the first three days, the youths, aged between 11 and 15 years, were accompanied by teachers to Madinah. Together, they visited the Mosque of the Prophet and the Quba Mosque, the first mosque built in Islam. They also visited the Martyrs’ Graveyard, dating from the Battle of Uhud, where many Muslims are buried. The travelling party then journeyed to Makkah, visiting Mount Mercy in Arafat, Muzdalifa, Mina, the Cave of Hira and Mount Thor. As part of QLA’s Department of Religious Counselling’s remit, the trip provided spiritual guidance to the students. Activities and programmes were designed to strengthen participants’ leadership skills, and were led by Shaikh Samir, a religious counsellor for the school. “The aim of this trip was to refine the students’ personal leadership, in terms of faith and the spiritual strength of their connections with God, and to respect the different symbols of God in all of their hearts,” Shaikh Samir said. QLA is a private boarding school for boys where the faculty has an emphasis on lessons taught outside of the classroom, in order to best prepare students for success after graduation. “While organising this trip, we strived to focus on principles that would mould the students into upstanding, well-rounded individuals,” Khaled Kasab, Public Relations Coordinator at Qatar Academy, said. “It was important to address the morals of discipline, honour and knowledge from a religious aspect, which undoubtedly allowed students to benefit from their Umrah to the fullest.” For Ahmad Saleh, a tenth grade pupil at the academy, the Umrah was a rewarding experience. “As a participant and leader on the trip, the most important lesson that I benefited from was how to be patient, especially during the hardships of the journey and the routines of the religious rites. God’s grace certainly helped us throughout the trip,” he said.