The greatest investment any community can make is to invest in their children. Our children are our future. If we invest in today’s children and develop them into people who are firm in their Imaan, who are upright and respectful and who cherish human value more than material wealth, then such an investment will earn tremendous returns and benefits for us as well as the greater Ummah.
The Maktab/Madrasah has always played a pivotal role in developing the children of the Ummah. It is at the Maktab that our children learn the fundamental principles of Islam that enable them to live and practice as Muslims.
In communities where Maktab education is not provided, children grow up without knowing even the basics of Islam. They are unable to perform wudhu and Salaah and in many cases are not able to recite the Kalimah properly.
Maktab education is essential in the life of every Muslim child and it is our duty as parents and guardians of our children to ensure they receive its instruction. Kindly contact your local Imaam/Muallimah for information on enrolling your child into the Maktab.
Importance of Maktab
In the list of entities to which we attach value, perhaps the greatest value is attached to our children. The love that Allah puts in the heart of the parents for their children has no equivalent in the relationships of our worldly life. As an example, which is becoming an ever increasing reality, is of the marriage of a couple deeply in love with each other. Yet a few years go by and at times a few months go by and the love that they shared, diminishes and sometimes completely evaporates. However this is never the case of the love that a parent has for his child. Seasons may go by, years and even decades go by but still that love remains ever present in the heart. Even when the child has become an adult and is able to fend for himself, yet when the day comes that there is turmoil in the child’s life, the parents spend a restless night.
The natural effect of this love is that we vigorously desire the very best for our children. In fact the parents’ love is such that they desire a better life for their children than they have themselves. In the fulfilment of this desire we aspire to give to our children all the tools, aids and implements which we feel would allow them to live a life of peace, happiness and contentment, and become successful individuals. Thus we educate them in the best school that we can afford, we ensure they attend punctually, we worry about their results, then we send them for higher education, spending tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands so that they may become someone, have a profitable income and thus giving them the keys to a happy life.
When he have done this then we feel mighty proud of ourselves that we have fulfilled our primary obligations to our children and we have been instrumental in enabling them to make something of their lives.
All this is within its place when conducted in the proper manner. However, when we look into the Hadith a different picture emerges as to the tools a parent ought to equip his child with. Allah’s Beloved Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam states:
“No father has given his son a gift better than excellent moral values and conduct.”
This Hadith points out the priorities of the parent in the upbringing of the child. If we value the words of Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, then we ought to realize that raising our children as proper Muslims is the first demand of parenthood.
“Once a man came to Umar ibn Khattab Radhiyallaahu Anhu complaining of his disobedient son. Umar Radhiyallaahu Anhu summoned the son to him and admonished him for his disobedience to his father and the neglect of his rights. The son addressed Umar Radhiyallaahu Anhu by saying “O Commander of the faithful: Does not a child have any rights against his father?” Umar Radhiyallaahu Anhu said “Yes”. The boy said “What are these rights O Commander of the Faithful?” Umar said, “To choose a good mother for him, to give him a good name to him and to teach him the Quran” The boy said: “O Commander of the faithful; my father has not fulfilled any of these rights. As for my mother, she was the black slave of a fire-worshipper; as for my name, he has named me Ju’al (dung beetle); and furthermore he has not taught me even one letter from the Quran”. Then Umar addressed the man and said “You came to me complaining disobedience on the part of your son, whereas you have been undutiful towards him before he was disobedient to you and you have mistreated him before he had mistreated you.”
This incident while emphasizing the duty that the parent owes towards the child also points out the bleak outcome of disobedient and rebellious children that awaits a parent who neglects his duty towards his child.
Decades back, the Ulama of South Africa, many of whom have already left this world, (and may Allah be pleased with all of them) had understood the importance of Islamically educating our children and embarked on a project of Islamic education in this country, a non-Muslim country, that is perhaps unparalleled in the world today. That project we refer to as the Maktab or Madrassah. It ensured that almost every Muslim child that goes to school will devote a few hours of his day under the guidance of an Aalim or an Apa/Muallimah where he will learn at the very least the basics of Islam. He will learn the Kalimah, the Shahadah (the declaration of faith), he will learn who is Allah, who is Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam and how to read the Quran. He will learn how to make Wudhu, how to read Salaah and the conduct expected from a proper Muslim. Today, the system that was established decades ago in this country is only taking root in other countries across the globe. Ulama from South Africa are called from countries across the globe to guide them as to how to establish the Maktab system in their country.
It takes only a trip to another country and some conversation with the youth and even adults who passed through life without the Maktab phase to realize the value of the system we have in our country. When you meet adult Muslims who are advanced in age and are professionals in their fields, yet cannot recite the Kalimah/Shahadah nor read the Arabic text of the Quran, nor even make Wudhu correctly, then tears of gratitude will flow from your eyes in tribute to the instruction of your Ustaaz and Apa in the years of your childhood.
Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has stated:
“When a person dies his deeds come to an end except from three sources: Sadaqa-e-Jaariyah (perpetually recurring Sadaqah), Knowledge (passed on) from which benefit is derived, or a pious child who makes Dua.”
If we wish to have those children who will make Dua for us when we leave this world, then the first step in that direction is to ensure a proper Islamic upbringing for our children and the Maktab is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam has stated:
“Everyone of you is a shepherd/guardian and everyone will be questioned in regards to his flock. The Ameer is a guardian, the Man is a guardian over his family and the Woman is a guardian over the house of her husband. Thus every one of you is a shepherd/guardian and everyone will be questioned in regards to his flock.”
Therefore each of us should realise that on the day of Qiyaamah we will be questioned regarding the Islamic upbringing of our children or the lack thereof. Perhaps if we were unable to fulfil the desired requirement of this duty but we undertook to send our children to the Maktab and actively ensured their dedication towards the guidance they received from it, we may have provided some excuse to draw Allah’s mercy and gain our salvation.
May Allah Ta’ala grant one and all the Tawfiq to practise.
وآخر دعوانا أن احلمد هلل رب العاملني
Published by Jamiatul Ulama KZN
Masjid poster downloadable here.