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Maktab-Nurturing The Roots of Islam

Faizel Patel, Radio Islam News – 2013-01-10

Maktab* education is ironically the most important and at the same time most neglected institution of primary education. It serves as the lifeline to the preservation and protection of the Islamic faith. Yet the number of maktab students is dwindling and the question is who or what is too blame?

Maktab gives children the opportunity to master a syllabus that is the best in the world to acquaint themselves with the basic laws pertaining to the obligations that they have to discharge on a day to day basis

There are many possibilities for the decline in maktab rolls. These may include the precedence given to secular education over the maktab, Islamic education; extra tuition during afternoons that leave little time for maktab and the proximity of the distance of expensive private schools that tend to engulf the time it takes to travel which leaves no time for maktab.

In recent time parents remove their children from the maktab at an early age or don’t send them at all under the pretext of homework, extra- curricular activities or that they are now able to read the Quran. Many parents in their quest to ’empower’ their children do so at the cost of their maktab education. This deliberate and neglectful deprivation of Islamic education is an unpardonable breach of parental obligations.

This however does not pertain to Muslims schools which have the Islamic syllabi which
cater for students. However those that are not attending Muslim schools are supposed to be attending maktab but are not going, the question is why? What does this indicate about the priorities of Muslim parents?

The more that students don’t attend maktab or gain the necessary Islamic education, what will be the quality of those Muslims of the new generation? In an attempt to create awareness of the state of the maktab, Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat brought to the fore the seriousness of students not attending maktab.

He said that Islamic education of our children needs serious attention. “We have achieved a lot. In many ways South Africa is the benchmark, South Africa is the leader that leads many other countries as far Islamic education is concerned. The syllabus that the Jamiatul Ulama has designed and LMA (Lenasia Muslim Association) has designed, etc., and other institutions, Jamiatul Ulama Kwa- Zulu Natal. Those syllabi are used in many countries across the world, even Muslim countries! Alhamdulillah that is the high standard we have achieved. The quality of education at Muslim schools in South Africa comparatively is very good.

“But that doesn’t mean that we have reached where we ought to be. A lot has been done, but a lot still needs to be done,” added Moulana Ravat. He reiterated, “We are not saying that your child must only get Islamic education. So called secular education, or you want to call it unrevealed knowledge, has its importance, it has its place. But you cannot, you cannot put your child in a position where they getting secular knowledge, worldly knowledge, whatever you want to call it at the expense of necessary Islamic knowledge. That’s a great, great tragedy!

Moulana Ebrahim Bham, the secretary of the Jamiatul Ulama said, “As the educational year begins, let us motivate, inspire n guide our children to achieve excellence in all spheres and types of education. While deeni knowledge is superior n sometimes Fard, Imam Ghazali states knowledge which is beneficial to humanity is Fardh kifaya upon the Umma.”

*(Institute for primary Islamic studies)

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