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‘Don’t let Muslim youth talent become latent’

Muslim talent

Cii News | 27 May 2014/27 Rajab 1435

Often talent scouting and development among the youth is associated with sport. Talent scouts are usually out to find the world’s next outstanding young athlete.

But for the elevation of Islam there needs to be a stronger focus on scouting or identifying and developing different talents and skills among the Muslim youth – the future upholders of Deen.

With the Muslim youth growing up in a fast-paced, technologically advanced and highly modernised world they find themselves being placed in boxes of adolescence and adulthood which can hamper the early identification and development of talents among young individuals.

Cii Radio spoke to Maulana Junaid Kharsany who said the phenomena of isolating the youth from adults in our communities has become much more precedent in the last three generations. In fact the Sunnah and the Seerah of Rasulullah SAW and the history of Islam teach something completely opposite to this system.

“This is not from Islam. We have somewhat isolated them [the youth] from the rest of the functioning of the community,” said Maulana Kharsany.

“An opportunity to showcase talent was not reserved amongst the youth themselves. Rather they were put in a greater sphere of society wherein their interaction was an opportunity for them to thrive, not only among a sphere of youth who were their peers… but rather they were put in situations wherein they had to excel against people who were seasoned adults, seasoned inside their particular type of activity.”

More opportunities for the youth and anybody within communities are needed for them to showcase their knowledge, skills and talents, so that it can be correctly identified and further harnessed.

“What we have done and what is an obstacle is that many communities that were once upon a time orthodox, once Eastern-centric, have now unfortunately become Western centric. What has happened is that we have created this phenomenon of a middle syndrome, the adolescence, wherein we feel that at this stage they are not adult but they are not children either.”

Maulana Kharsany said parents have adopted a method of wanting their children to explore and enjoy the “leeways” that children do but at the same time they want their children to become more responsible and mature.

“This is a continuous problem, it is unfortunate that in many communities, that because of this attitude that when a talented individual in a certain field has been discovered and he is 14 or 15, for example an excellent reciter, then our opinions regarding that person are dull and blunted.“

Often parents feel children are too young to hone their talents and skills and in the time spent waiting for a “riper age”, their talent is lost and forgotten.

“They wake up in their twenties and the other responsibilities of life seem to have covered up that talent to such a point that we no longer see that person utilising that skill or talent that Allah SWT gave them. It has now become latent.”

A lack of sustained mentorship programmes for the youth needed to be addressed to better develop not just individual talents but communities as a whole. What is important is not just identifying those skills but nurturing them under an umbrella of supervision so that talents and skills are channelled in the correct direction. Not abused, or used in the disobedience of Almighty Allah SWT.

“There is a lack of mentorship, of people willing to identify a group and work with them until a point where they themselves are then able to relay the service of mentorship as well. And when the Ummah responds to that challenge we will find budding and developing entrepreneurs that will spread their supervision.”

A skill and talent that plays a massive role in the furthering of Deen is the nurture of Quranic talent among our youth. Qari Baheer Patel from the At- Tawheed Islamic centre spoke to Cii Radio about his years as a teacher and identifying new talent.

“This is something very tricky. The main thing here is a student’s attitude toward the Quraan. A teacher will look at how focused the student is, how far away is he from different distractions. And a teacher looking at that will pick up that the student – in any madressah there is no differentiation between students, or categorisation of them – one salient feature or factor is that a student who is more focused does better than those who are not, those hat have a lot of distractions in front of them,” explained the Qari.

But the roles of the parents and the teacher play an important part in the development of the child’s learning. Qari Patels calls it a “tripartite partnership” between the parent, student and teacher.

“If any one falters in their role then the student suffers. A parent’s role is not just picking up and dropping off the student. That’s part of the role. The role of a parent is sitting with the child and personally helping them learn their Quraan. When a parent, especially the mother, it doesn’t free the father from his obligations, but there is always more baraqah in the mother’s teaching because Nabi Muhammad SAW said that the first madressah is the lap of the mother, helps the child prepare for the next day’s lesson.”

Next to this, and a major part of a child reaching his or her maximum potential, is the child’s commitment and attitude to his lessons and to the Quraan. Anyone becoming a Hafiz or Hafiza of the Quraan must have the attitude that the Quraan is number one in their life. This is what helps those who attain the title of Hafiz or Hafiza to live it.

“If you see a strong point in any student appeal to that point, forget the other points which are weak or bad and appeal to that strong point and in sha Allah everything will fall into place.”

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