Not so long ago I was in a (so called) Muslim country. I met a person who was from the upper class citizens- I actually got to spend a lot of time with him. After my time with him my heart was left in tears and I was left shocked and shaken; not because of his lack of hospitality or because of him harming me physically. In actual fact his hospitality was remarkable. His kindness and generosity knew no bounds. But it was due to another reason because of which I felt obliged to write a few words for Muslim parents:
This person I met had misinterpreted and misunderstood Islam. He had weird ideologies regarding Islam. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that he took Islam out of its context. To put it in a nutshell, his way of understanding the true religion of Islam was corrupt. I was totally shocked at this. Imagine one of our Muslim brothers or sisters doing something wrong or understanding something wrong, what would you do? You would try your best to tell him/her what’s right in a respectable manner. That’s exactly what I tried to do, but unfortunately I couldn’t get my message across to him. I tried to explain to him in many ways. The surprising thing was that he was explaining his understanding of Islam and at the same time he gave me open respite to refute his views.
Just to mention one of his fundamental beliefs; he believed that Islam is a religion that just looks at the heart; a person does not need to perform Salah etc. If a person’s heart is clean that is enough.
Now, the questions arise, what made him have these corrupt beliefs? Why didn’t he understand what I was trying to say to him? Why wouldn’t he accept my advice?
Before answering the above questions, I’ll give you a bit of background information about this person. This person had studied secular education all his life; he had also given preference to secular education. He had not paid much attention and never gave preference to knowledge regarding his own religion. This is exactly how his parents have been.
Coming back to the questions that arose earlier on, “what made him have these corrupt beliefs? Why didn’t he understand what I was trying to say him? Why wouldn’t he accept my advice?” The simple answer to these questions is his lack of learning Islam. From a young age he was never given proper education or adequate training regarding his own religion, Islam. He gave )or was made to give) preference to secular education all his life (there is nothing wrong with secular education, but it was the environment that he was in whilst giving preference to secular education and thinking that to be sufficient); until he went to university in that state. Furthermore, he learnt all what he wanted to learn in university in that state. The outcome was that his beliefs had become distorted to such an extent that to even explain to him the right from the wrong with wisdom and in a respectable manner was and has become extremely difficult. His understanding of Islamic is how he percepts it to be. But who’s to blame? Himself? His environment? His parents?
THE STATE OF THE MUSLIM NATION IN NON-MUSLIM COUNTRIES
The above is a case in a (so called) Muslim country. Just imagine the state of our Muslims in non-Muslim countries. When talking to competent scholars (who were and are aware of the state of the Muslim nation around the globe) with regards to this subject in non-Muslim countries, the answer was, “the state of our Muslims in non-Muslim countries is the same (as mentioned above) if not worse.”
The above is no exaggeration. The number of Muslim youngsters regarding whom I have heard about, know and seen in front of my own eyes moving in to shelter homes without their parents consenting and leaving their parents heart-broken is shocking. But this is the reality. This is what’s happening.
IT’S LIKE ENGRAVING ON A STONE
My dear brothers and sisters! When a child is born, whatever he/she is taught whether it be a word or letter, whether it be good or bad, whether it be a language or music, whether it be games or sports, it is like inscribing or engraving on their hearts just like inscribing or engraving on a stone.
THE IMPORTANCE OF UPBRINGING CHILDREN
Oh Muslim parents, WAKE UP! Don’t be unmindful of the importance of upbringing your child/children. Islam has given a lot of importance to the upbringing of children. Allah, the Almighty mentions in the Quran:
ُ”O those who believe, save yourselves and your families from a fire, the fuel of which is human beings and stones.”(at-Tahrim:6)
Mufti Shafi (Allah be pleased with him) mentions in his magnificent exegesis “Ma’ariful Quran” under the commentary of the above verse:
“This verse addresses the general body of Muslims and enjoins upon them to safeguard themselves and their families from a fire of Hell whose fuel is people and stones. Then the verse goes on to describe the intensity and horror of the Hell-fire.”
FURTHER ON HE MENTIONS:
“The word أهليكم (your families) comprehends wife and children………when this verse was revealed, Umar (Allah be pleased with him) inquired: “O Messenger of Allah, we understand how to save ourselves from Hell, that is we guard ourselves against sins and carry out the Divine injunctions, but how do we safeguard our families from Hell?” The Messenger of Allah replied: “instruct them to refrain from deeds that Allah has prohibited, and ask them to carry out deeds that Allah has enjoined. This will rescue them from the Hell-fire.” (Ma’ariful Quran with reference from Ruh-ul-Ma’ani)”
The jurists have stated that according to the verse mentioned above (at-Tahrim: 6), it is the duty and responsibility of each and every Muslim to educate his wife and children in matters of Sharia related obligations. Moreover, he should clarify and explain to them matters of Halal(lawful) and Haram(unlawful). Furthermore, a Muslim should train his wife and children to act upon Sharia related obligations and that what is Halal (lawful), and to stay away from Haram (unlawful) (Ma’ariful Quran).
A THOUGHT-PROVOKING INCIDENT
Let’s ponder and reflect upon a very thought-provoking incident that took place in the blessed time of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) in his presence and how he reacted and what he did. It should be kept in mind that this incident took place with Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) who was from amongst the most beloved and closest of people to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) narrates that she bought a cushion that had pictures (of humans or animals) on it. When the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) saw the pictures, he stood at the door and never entered the room. I (Aisha) (Allah be pleased with her)) then came to know of the detestation on the Prophet’s face. I (Aisha) said,” I repent and ask forgiveness from Allah and his Prophet- what sin have I committed?” The Prophet said, “What is the state of this cushion? (Why did you buy such a cushion?)” I replied,” I bought it so you could sit on it and use it as a pillow”. The Prophet then said, “The makers of these pictures will get punished on the day of judgement and it will be said to them, “give life to what you have created”. Thereafter, the Prophet said, “Angels (of mercy) do not enter a house in which there is a picture (of humans and animals). (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 5616)
It is clear from the above that even though Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) was so close to the prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), the prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) never ignored his duty (i.e. educating in matters of Sharia related obligations, instructing to refrain from deeds that Allah has prohibited, and in explaining and training in matters of Halal and Haram). Most parents tend to turn a blind eye from their child’s wrong doings which then results in fatal consequences in the future.
Every sound parent wishes for their children to be pious, to have brilliant character, to be an embodiment of perfect qualities and that a happy, successful future embraces them. This can only be achieved if a good environment is created and adequate training is given from the very start. It should be borne in mind that the parent’s training, teaching and the environment they bring their children up in plays a vital role in the future of their life. If the surroundings of the home are Islamic then the child will more than likely become religious. However, if the surroundings are not as such, then this will implant the child with bad qualities and practices.
WE WILL BE ASKED REGARDING THE UPBRINGING OF OUR CHILDREN
It is mentioned in one narration that the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
“E”Every one of you is a Shepard and every one of you will be answerable for his flock……and she is a shepherdess over the house of her husband and of his children and she will be answerable regarding them.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 2554)
In the above narration the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) whilst indicating to other responsibilities, also highlights the importance of upbringing children for the parents. Just like a Shepard looks after his sheep he makes sure they don’t wonder off-he makes sure his sheep don’t be led astray-he makes sure his sheep do not become prey to any predator, in the very same manner parents (especially the mother, like explicitly mentioned in the narration above) should give a lot of importance to the upbringing of their children because on the day of judgement just as they will be asked about their various actions etc. they will also be asked regarding the upbringing of their children.
Parents need to ask themselves before expecting their children to be nurtured correctly according to the teachings of Islam, “are we practicing Muslims?”, “Are we setting a good example in front of our children?”, “Are we doing anything that is acting as a barrier for our child/children to become good?
Parents need to think, am I sending my child to the right school? Will the school I send him to have an effect on his religion? Or more seriously, his Imaan? Most parents tend to send their children to mixed schools (a school consisting of both males and females). (sending a child to mixed schools in my opinion is tantamount to irresponsibility, negligence and carelessness, ESPECIALLY AFTER THE AGE OF PUBERTY). Moreover, a lot of parents send their children to government/state schools where the Imaan of such children is left at stake. (This in my opinion is tantamount to suicide).
It is true, every child cannot be sent to a Madrasah/Darul Uloom and nor can any child be deprived from education
It is true, every child cannot be sent to a Darul uloom/Madrasah, but if Muslim parents ponder over the current situation of the world and the present era, where Islam and the Islamic way is being heavily challenged by many opponents both physically and mentally, particularly from external forces bent on trying to destroy Islamic principles and trying to make a mockery of them, then just maybe they will be able to open their eyes widely to see that there are also many Muslim schools that they can send their children to so that they can safeguard and protect their children’s religion.
If we fail to find a Muslim school which is befitting for our children or for our Muslim brothers and sisters we should at least try our best to open one or help and do whatever possible to open one.
ADVICE FROM THE GRAND MUFTI OF PAKISTAN
My honourable teacher, the grand Mufti of Pakistan, Mufti Rafi Usmani (Allah preserve him) mentions:
“The issue is difficult; children cannot be deprived of education, yet sending them to educational establishment’s results in their Imaan suffering, as can be witnessed. That is why I advise my brothers and sisters that there is no choice but to establish Muslim schools. Wherever Muslims reside a Muslim school should be established and it should be of a recognised standard. It should meet government standards and be on par with schools run by other communities.
To my knowledge Jewish communities have established their own schools, and very impressive schools at that. If the Jewish community can establish their own schools in order to safeguard their religion and the religion of their future generations, cannot the Ummah of Rasulullah (Allah bless him and give him peace) do the same? Without a doubt it can.
Alhamdulillah, the Muslims of the west are not so financially impoverished that they cannot afford to do so. The question is one of courage! The day you resolve to establish a Muslim school, the obstacles will vanish and for as long as you do not make a firm intention, you will see nothing but obstacles in your way.
People mention all sorts of difficulties in this regard. The biggest issue is funding; it is feared that if fees are too high, no one be prepared to pay and if they are set too low then costs will not be met. I say that the day you decide to go ahead with the project, all issues will be resolved. Whenever you are faced with a big demand, do you not make arrangements to meet it somehow? In the event of someone having an accident (Allah, the Almighty protect us) and needing hospital treatment, do we not spend thousands of dollars if necessary? If we can spend thousands to save lives, can we not spend to save Imaan? It is all down to will and determination; Insha’Allah. The very day you make a firm resolution, the problem of funding your Muslim school will be resolved.
The educational standards of Muslim schools should be such that our children who study in them do not suffer a sense of inferiority. In addition, physical education facilities should also be good in comparison to other schools; there should be adequate play facilities, playground etc. We should provide the facilities state schools and other community schools provide for their pupils. Undoubtedly, it requires high expenditure, and presents issues and difficulties, but through effort everything is possible. (How should Muslims in Non-Muslim countries live? P16,17)
THINK MUSLIM PARENTS! DO WE REALLY WANT OUR CHILDREN, YOUNG MUSLIM BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO LOOSE THEIR IMAAN?
I pray that Allah, the Almighty save the Imaan of our children, young brothers and sisters and all the Muslims as a whole. (AMEEN)