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Islamizing the taleem ….. – 35 (Effects of literature and media -can we save our children ?)

20 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.)

Questions from a parent:
Since we do not live in isolation, how can one make sure that children’s perception is not affected by the worldview/perception they get from other people they interact with, other lifestyles they see and even the media that they inevitably come across as they go about their lives? Also, till what age should parents exert conscious control over the literature and education system their children are exposed to?

Response from Br. Abid Ali:
Whether we can save our children from the effect of literature and media? I believe we can to a very great extent. Major problem at present is our intentional indulgence in the western literature and overawe of the English language. When it comes to English we seem to forget the negative effect of the western secularism. I feel most of us do not realize how their literature effect negatively on our Islamic faith and Islamic perception. I see this inability as horrifying. Because how we think and judge the activities around is what furqan we have developed for us or our children.

As far as effect of media is concerned, we still can control children’s exposure to larger extent, if we control their TV and Computer habits. A sister- a housewife, wrote that she could do it successfully and her married daughters and son were not exposed to TV. Myself and my wife did the same. Then I always remember a very relieving ayah “la yu kallifAllah u illa wus aa’ha“. “On no soul Allah places a burden which it cannot bear…” (al-Baqarah: 286). So I did not burn myself worrying for what we could not control. When a correct furqan is securely in place in a child’s personality, he is mostly safe, though the child’s probing nature will make him venture into some prohibitive zones, which should be very wisely handled. Remember one important thing, the love for your child should be unconditional if you want your children to follow your guidance. Many parents, especially mothers, exhibit conditional love towards their children. Many relate it to their child’s good performance in school assessments; a very painful condition indeed. It not only make children frustrated and depressed if they cannot achieve the targets, they fall lose on parents persuasive influence.

Till what age these controls have to be in place? It will depend upon how you go about developing the maturity level of your child. I will say it is between the ages of 12 and 15. But a wise advice never goes unheeded at later ages even. Probably taqwa is the strongest tool to keep the children away from harmful activities, and the awe of Allah subhana wa ta’ala is the first step towards developing the required taqwa. This is not happening presently. As the contemporary school education system is either inert in this respect, or creates awe of the western society; especially the British and the American education systems, which focus on western secular curriculum.  Logically it cannot happen otherwise, ‘you will only reap what you sow’.  The Creator’s law of causation will take its effect.

Allah knows the best.