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Islamizing the taleem ….. – 23 (Right kind of books for our children?)

8 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.)

(Fram a sister)
JazakAllah Khayr Br Abid.
Can you pls shed some light on the importance of choosing the right kind of books for our children – with specific examples of certain famous books that you feel are inappropriate for Muslim children at a particular age. You’ve been concerned about this topic, i would appreciate if you kindly build on what you’ve last talked about perception/beliefs of authors affecting the perception of young readers.


(My response)
Assalamu Alaikum,
Sister Umm Sofya some books which I have seen schools and elders giving to their children are based on western secular value models. Which has not only insufficient or wrong values, it also distorts the concept of Tawheed in our children’s mind. Remember how we react to a pathetic scenario, as if God does not exist, or doesn’t know how to care for his creation, or is cruel. We conduct as if it is we who are ‘the sufferer’s Rab’. Whereas from Islamic perspective we should by default think any such situation as a test from our Creator, and our action should be as if we are solving a question paper, or trying to win His raza, or approval. Do you agree with me over this?

Now when we read books dealing with secular values we get a clear message that we are all in all, and all responsible to the world alone. We will go totally out of the way to save a puppy, and on the other hand go out of the way to kill human beings, with little remorse. Is it not this that is happening at present from the west. As you can see west and American public is more concerned about the loss of 4000 odd US troops than the 50,000 deaths that incurred due to their erring in implicating Saddam with Al-Qaida, and erring in believing Iraq is developing weapons of mass destruction, which is their self confession and not a rhetoric from my side. Agreed?

If I believe in something it will most definitely depict in my actions and writing. As I have claimed earlier, the sentence structure and words will be arranged accordingly. Have you observed how the words like unlucky and unfortunate are used so commonly? A Muslim can never be unfortunate or unlucky. These are secular words. We are only unfortunate or unlucky when we go away from taqwa or righteousness. Otherwise we are always taken perfect care of by our creator. We can never be out of luck. How can the Creator be cruel towards his creation? Especially who are seeking his raza or approval. Agreed?

Then our concept of life is totally different then the western secular concept of life. For them it is this world only and for us it is the success in A’akhira. Their whole approach to life is from the worldly life’s perspective only. Their value system is from the same perspective. They cannot see beyond this life and from our perspective if we carry this approach we are doomed. A’akhira and Creator’s raza / His approval are our main motivators, for them it is their definition of worldly success which is their motivational factor. Most of the other religions share this concept with the secularism.

Sister please let me know if there is any congruency in ours and in the approach of any other nation or religion. That is why we have been warned in Qur’an time and again not to take other then Muslims as our friends and well wishers. Recollect Surah Kafiroon? (A clarification: this does not mean that we should take them as our enemies; no, not at all. We have the Prophet’s job of playing role models to the other people of the world and taking the words of Islam to each nook and corner of earth. There will be no more prophet and we the Muslims have been bestowed with this noble mission. We have to show our sincere concern towards their deficient understanding about this world and our life over here and present Islam in the best manner and leave the rest on Allah (SWT))

I hope my arguments make some sense to you. You have asked me to name some famous books: Chicken soup for the soul and all the popular and famous English novels and fictions that we give to our children. Every book carries some hidden message, and this hidden message is the belief and value system of the writer or composer. It is mostly implicit and is behind the lines and is very natural as every writing will be from the perception or worldview of the author. But sometimes it is explicit (openly expressive) and intentional to distort the beliefs of the readers.

Insha’Allah we will be discussing in more details during the course of our discussions.

Br. Abid.