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Islamizing the taleem ….. – 19 (Managing secular and Islamic concepts in tarbiyah of children)

4 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.)

Assalamu Alaikum,

Writing from my ship now. I hope I can continue smoothly Insha’Allah. There are a few restriction in ship’s email system as such I have my son as moderator on shore who is going to forward my emails to the group and group emails to the ship. Jazak’Allah Osama.

There were a few questions raised in an enlightening and thought provoking e-mail by sister umm Sofya which remain unanswered by me. One question was: (Reference) Our learning resources, whether we homeschool our children or send them to schools, are contaminated with evolution and big bang theories and many more which we are not even aware of but have done a great deal of damage to our relationship with and understanding of our Creator. How do we deal with this dilemma?
This is certainly a big challenge for us. Finding appropriate literature and syllabus books which are written from the Islamic perspective. Our hooking to Tawheed as the very foundational precept in the education of our children is so important. If on one hand we teach tawheed and from the other we load our children’s mind with secular precepts and concepts we are certainly causing confusion and wrong perceptional development of our children. Their thought structure will be much skewed, and probably towards secularism as the whole environment and media is projecting same. This is the reason why I show such a lot of concern on what we are giving our children to read and watch. I feel the solution is to home-school them and provide them with the reading material which is appropriate from the Islamic perspective. We have to be quite selective in what we give our children to read and watch. Reading is surely a very effective or influencing exercise from the perspective of education. We have been warned by Allah subhana wata’ala not to be influenced by the Christian, Jews and the non-believers. We can see it a clear indication that such influence is extremely harmful for our Islamic perception or worldview development. This will cause our thought structure or amal e idrak to be influenced by their wrong concepts about this life, which will lead to our being more comfortable with their worldview and alien to Islamic worldview. This will result in definite confusion from the Islamic perspective and will most certainly result in wrong actions Islamically. I see this is what is happening at present.

Another question is “How much do we need to know the stages of a child’s mental development to transfer useful information to them about realities of the world? When children start asking questions about this world and the next, it becomes very challenging to decipher how much to tell and what to tell. I usually tell my 4 yr old daughter everything like I would reply to an adult, leaving the outcome to Allah as to what she will decode and retain. Is that a correct approach?”:
Well sister as a matter of fact I am not that good a specialist at this. Some senior mothers must be more experienced and capable to answer this very important question. As you have written you explain all to her as you will do to an adult. Definitely you must be approaching any issue from the child’s perspective and using language and idioms which your child is more conversed with. But yes I was talking to my infant son as I normally talk to adults and that he really enjoyed and derived confidence from. He could feel my confidence in him and that I was taking him seriously. This helped him mature at an early age. He developed confidence in his talking and dealing at an early age. I believe there is one side of children, or even in infants, which is very matured. This is more related to a child’s value system and Ego. A child has a fully developed Ego which it tries to defend. This was observed by Allama Iqbal and John Holt. Probably this is related to the Ruh and carried from Aalam -e-Arwah. This nature of child is very evident.
“Do I introduce her to the concepts of “rooh”, “jism”, “nafs” now (at age 4)?”
It will depend upon what your child wants to know and may be some other circumstances when you feel the need to introduce small children to these concepts. The best time is when the child herself/himself raises questions which may relate to these concepts. I feel there is no need to hurry and pump in these concepts. I will like to hear the ideas of some mothers regarding this. But please do not underestimate a child’s intelligence. As john Holt observes that a new born baby is most intelligent and perfect being. Please refer to the fourth ayah of Surah Teen. The only thing probably a child lacks is how to communicate to the world and the knowledge of this mundane life. This a child learn pretty fast if properly dealt with.

Insha’Allah we will continue with sister Umm Sofya’s last question in our next discussion, otherwise this mail will become too long.

Br. Abid