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Islamizing the taleem ….. – 18 (Ladders on the wrong wall)

2 Nov

(The writing that follows is my dialogue through email with a group on the Topic: Islamizing the Taleem and Tarbiyah of our children. I am maintaining the email format for ease of understanding as well as for maintaining originality of this dialogue.)

(From a sister)
I’m glad that I was able to contribute a little piece in this very beneficial discussion that you’ve started. May Allah reward you for this.

As advised by you, if I gather my experience with respect to the education of my children, I would say that reason for revelation and historical background make the verses extremely interesting to the child; it becomes just like a story. And interest in Quran is what I’ve striven to achieve in the early stages of their education. It captures the young and old minds alike and adds so much perspective, also helping in quick memorization of both text and meaning. For example, I found them very helpful in effectively explaining Surahs like Lahab, Feel, Alaq, Abasa, Fatah and many others. We must use the true, insightful and interesting stories of the Quran to invoke the interest of our children in the Quran. Of course, the Glory of Quran is such that the verses can be understood in general as well as specific meaning and if Allah wills, one may get some new message and learning point from the same verses and surahs on repeated pondering. I feel that learning the background or explanation of surahs is usually a one time job and with repeated recitation, we have to ponder constantly on the direct word of Allah as you have highlighted.

Secondly, I feel that in the formative years, quality of Quranic reading is more important than the quantity. I didn’t fix a minimum amount to be read in the beginning but did target a fixed amount of time to be spent on reading and discussion. Frankly, my fear was the common observation in our society where children are coerced into reading Quran (WITHOUT MEANING) in early age so much that they actually run away from it and start taking it as a burden. This was one thing I did not want to see in my children. I remember cutting down the time or leaving the subject for the day as soon as they started showing signs of stress, loss of interest or fatigue. I continue to adopt the same attitude to some extent thought they’re 8 and 9 year old now and their stamina, interest, understanding and sense of duty has increased considerably and they mostly achieve their daily targets. Alhamdulillah.

To encourage reading Quran with meaning, we frequently discussed the misfortune of those who read the greatest book on earth with empty minds, not understanding it. I used the example of some of their favourite books at that time and asked how would they feel towards a friend who could ‘read’ the book cover to cover but not get a hint of the wonderful story it was narrating. I think I repeated such discussions to the point that my children started feeling pity for these unfortunate people and thus didn’t want to belong to such a group. This feeling (or perception should I say?) helped us greatly to read Quran with enthusiasm and to work on different aspects like Arabic learning.

I hope that it helps some readers. I’ll in sha Allah try to compile further points. May Allah keep our intentions pure and accept our efforts.

-Umm Aymun

(My response)
JazakiAllah sister for a very beneficial guidance regarding motivating children for reading Qur’an. You are very right we should not push children for the quantity, but quality in reading Qur’an. I feel we should make reciting Qur’an a very regular practice/habit for them. Also as a sister had mentioned earlier in her e-mail that parents have to play role-models. Whatever little that I learnt of child psychology, expecting mothers reciting Qur’an can make their un-born children more prone to Qur’anic listening and reading. Likewise any other thing frequently listened too will tend to influence the child accordingly, especially if it is with rhythmic beats. Beats attract children a lot. So we have to be careful regarding that.

Just an interesting little observation to share with my audience. It was my youngest son who had not listened to active music earlier. He was around 2 yrs once when I took him for a haircut. He heard one of the heavy on beat Urdu song, ‘ko ko korina’. he was fascinated, stood very still and gave a very impish smile, as if telling me, ‘Ok it is this you kept me away from’. Alhamdolillah he is nineteen now and I do not see him inclined towards music, though he is quite outspoken and good at reciting nasheeds. I feel at a tender age it is much easy to develop habits and inclinations, provided you approach the children with logic and patience.

Have not received any feed back on my last message, but as assured by few sisters and a brother in the past that some people do read. I hope I could make my audience see, as I can see very clearly where we are deviating and, as I strongly feel, committing blunder in education of your children. With the present trend I do not see any respite in the present conditions from the Islamic perspective. Surprisingly a hundred years back, intellectuals like Iqbal and Allama Asad had very vehemently warned us of the western education system and cultural attack, but we fell prey to same and are very fervently following same. Unless we think like Muslims and act like Muslims, and all our educational processes are based on developing Islamic perception we can at best produce very effective and polished slaves for the west, knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally. And with western perception we can never develop Islamic hearts.

A piece of advice to my home-schooling audience: please make sure your ladders are on the right walls, for if it is not, your exhaustive efforts and sacrifices will hardly make you achieve your targets. No nation has ever progressed without establishing research. Can any one of you see any substantial research being established by those who claim to be yearning for Islamic education system? The other day I asked a few activists belonging to Islamic groups whether they have defined how they are going to bring Islamic Revolution without having any detailed plan or system developed in black and white. Their answer was ‘Insha’Allah we will start working on that as soon as we come in the government’. I reminded them that once you are given the government to run, the people will want you to deliver your promises and not wait for you to develop systems. And the first step towards any change is the education system, which we have none. We cannot see any leaders coming up in Ummah, do we?

Respected audience it is you and me, whom Allah has given some realization, who has to initiate this change. Believe me it is not as difficult as Shetan is making us feel. We will be asked for what we did in this earthly sojourn on the Day of Judgment, and not what others did.

I may not be able to communicate for the next few days as I am leaving for joining ship. I will Insha’Allah be resuming this dialogue shortly once I am settled on-board.

Br. Abid