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Islamizing the taleem ….. – 28 (Education and perception-1)

13 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 revert sister)

Walaikum assalam,

Although homeschooling is a more liberating experience for Muslim children to grow up in, than conventional schools, we’re still in many ways chained by the expectations society puts on us regarding the education of our children. For example, there is always this big cloud hanging over our heads – “but what about certifications/degrees? how are our children going to get them?” The obvious answer is, of course, that home-schoolers still need to take the required examinations, in order to get certifications/degrees, which will prove to the rest of the world that they are worth something.

The comment of br. Muhammad Ibrahim Ali is very much in place here that even reading the literature required for such examinations not always is in line with our Islamic beliefs. Just recently, after a long consideration of this matter, I purchased at online sale full series of Shakespeare along with teaching aids, as at some point my kids may need to look into this for the sake of examinations, even though I would not want them to. I think especially in cases like this we, parents, will have to be the guides of our children regarding the ways to perceive such readings as Shakespeare.


(from a brother)

Wa’alykumus Salaam WRWB,

Yes, education plays the key role in perception/world view development, and that there can be no event/learning activity without having an impact on the person’s personality. So to set the poles right, one has to be extremely careful from the onset of what resources should be used to facilitate learning, i.e. reading materials, audio-visual aids, interactions, etc…

Selection of these learning resources have to be primarily based on the Islamic(Fitrah) filters of Haya(Modesty).

One of the problems is that our choice filters as adults have also been so contaminated by the western perception, that many of the learning resources & experiences we provide to our kids pass through our haya criterion unnoticed. And we end up finding unethical reading and audio visual materials on our home shelves. By unethical, I mean all the material that will disfigure our Islamic perception, be it even in the name of learning literature at schools or otherwise.

(from a sister)

Assalamu Alaikum Br Abid

It is clear to me that perception plays an important part of our personality, who we are, what we believe (our opinions) and what we do. We are a result of the experiences we go through. In fact we sometimes unknowingly think that what we know is the ultimate truth or that our opinion is correct. That’s why we make such sweeping statements such as this country will disintegrate, or that all the people on this group email are biased/critical/crazy or all the mullahs/madrasahs are misleading. Perhaps we just found one or two aspects in favour of our opinion in some unique situation (sometimes we don’t even know the exact event and the reasons but just heard some news or other hearsay) and we generalise this as a rule for the whole. The whole country, all the people, the world and all times in history. All based on one or a few experiences of ours. We see so many times that unimaginable events have occurred in history and in the present; our opinions really don’t have much weight. That’s why we have been given a book which has Allah’s words, and no need of opinions. Allah decides taqdeer and knows what is in a person’s heart. Maybe that’s why we are not to decide in gray area cases if a person is being sinful or an act is against islam, as ultimately we do not have complete knowledge. There are many areas in Islam where we are asked to refrain from trying to understand too much or make sense, like in the huruf al muqatiaat in quran, and when Allah says we should wash our hands in the morning as we don’t know where they’ve been. Well they have been stuck to our body, but if Allah says we don’t know, then He knows Best. We have been asked to not study other religions too deeply (as in the case when Hazrat Umer RA was studying the book of another religion and Prophet Muhammed SA did not like it), perhaps that may change our perception. Our own knowledge is incomplete and weak at best. It is important to condition ourselves to understand this weakness and consciously develop our understanding (or perception) to be as correct as possible, guided by what Allah has made known are facts, and not what the rest of the world may lead us to believe.

I also realise we should develop perception through education right from an early age, when most of our first experiences are being made, and the lens through which we see the world is being shaped.

Wa Salam

Umm Hajrah

(my response)

Assalamu Alaikum,

Waited but have received no response to my last message’s question from my audience, except for just three, Come on sisters and brothers please be responsive and realize your responsibility towards this dialogue. You all are anxious about the state of education. Br. Ammar Karimi says we have to redefine education. That is exactly what I am endeavoring for.

I will repeat the questions: “So far I have been attempting to make my audience realize the importance of perception in human personality and the role of education in the development of perception. I request each reader of this e-mail to please respond whether they can realize the importance of perception development through education. You can just have to write a few words like It is clear, not yet clear, requires further explaining, I differ (with reasons for differing) . This will help me in my navigation towards my next target, which is how this perception is (or can be) developed through education?”

Alhamdolillah, very appropriately put by sister Umm Hajra; “We are a result of the experiences we go through”.  Br. Ibrahim very correctly adds, “there can be no event/learning activity without having an impact on the person’s personality”. Turkish scholar Acikgenc, Covey and ‘March and Simons’ all describe perception as quite fluid and is continuously developing or modifying with each learning experience. Mostly the change is very little but at times it can be very drastic and big. As may be experienced by reverts to Islam. What we call paradigm shift

Respectful sister Bint e Brence points out “we’re still in many ways chained by the expectations society puts on us”. Yes I believe society and culture sometimes becomes ‘Taghoot’. But we can help in bringing change. We have to take initiatives and help those who are vying to bring positive change. Right sister and brothers you agree with me?

Please respond to my question, you are so many there vying for change. Please cooperate in bringing the required change:

I will quote Qur’an here:

And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right. (al-Ankaboot: 69)

The Believers, men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise. (at-Tawba:71)

Allah make us sincere to His cause. If even you don’t reply I will Insha’Allah continue!


Br. Abid.