Islamic Education at Family Level
Dr. Naiyer Habib M.D;FACP;FCCP; FRCPC; FACC. Abbotsford.
to a friend
There is sincere desire and effort by family to give Islamic education to the children. Parents face many hurdles. Some are fortunate to live near full-fledged Islamic school or weekend school. Some travel far distance for the desired and needed Islamic education of their children. Some are too busy to make their ends meet economically. If parents wait for the opportunity such as a plan to move or others is available may be too late. Children grow up without Islamic education and well into the western society.
It becomes difficult to attract them towards add on education. Islamic education begins and should begin when the call to prayer is said on the birth of the infant. It is easier to bend a green stick to mold it than when it is mature. Forcing Islamic education at mature age brings family violence to the extent of unwanted and un Islamic honor killing because of the tussle that begins between the grown up children and parents who woke up too late.
Islamic education at family level and by the family is an asset for those who cannot avail the opportunity to their children or face hurdles. It is also a supplementary education to those who avail this opportunity elsewhere. It should be made a lifelong learning enjoyment for the family. If conducted sincerely and seriously, it could be superior to some schooling. This method of education has been proven to be a success in the majority of the cases of the family of the senior members of the community who are in their 60s and 70s. I t was a time that there was almost nonexistent and non-biased Islamic literature not to speak off the Internet and availability of Islamic education material today. Those who paid attention to the family while met the needs of the community praying and gathering at home or in churches or in community hall were able to raise their children with enriched Islamic knowledge and culture by the grace of Allah (SWT). These can be seen today in the form of their children what they do and are able to do Islamically. It is unfortunate that they have not been incorporated in the main stream of the community to provide or participate in the leadership. There seems to be some effort in that regard.
Islamic family education is the involvement of all members of the family to educate themselves with Islam and culture based on Islamic way of life. Each member of the family including children, no matter of what age, is to take active part according to their age and ability with parents.
The parent is to play the role of supervisor. Grownup children who have participated in the family education can take up that responsibility in due course. Let it even be coordinated and chaired by the children. The distributed responsibility may be that of scheduling, collecting or sorting out educational material, collecting of finance for charity within the family even it is a meagre sum. This approach prepares them for community involvement and leadership.
The family needs to understand, which I believe they do that it is mandatory for them to have Islamic education for their family. This needs to be scheduled at a time and day when this can be regularly performed. It must not be taken casually. Children must be convinced to pay as much attention to such education as they do for their regular school. In case of failure of scheduled event due to unavoidable circumstances, it ought to be scheduled at alternate time in advance or after the event, which led to the rescheduling.
The educational material should be planned and collected for the next event a head of the scheduled time by the in charge of education of the family. It ought to be an ongoing effort without fail. In order to emphasise, I will not avoid quoting about a friend’s family who used to shut everything including phone call every Saturday morning while they had their session of Islamic education at home. This family may not be the exception. Ultimate outcome of this was that his son took up the presidency of the association according to the constitution and not by inheritance in the fourth decade. The daughter started to wear hijab when she finished high school. I felt that although they were very sincere in family education, the parent did not force the daughter to put on hijab with the understanding that the time will do that and it did.
In such education, some points have always to be kept in mind. Children are intelligent and close observers. They observe and learn what parents do. Parents have to be the model for them. If they cannot do what they are required to and what they should for valid reason, they ought to explain to the children the very valid and convincing reason behind their failure. If this is not done, they will look to be double faced in the eyes of their children. The children will be resentful and fall into confusion.
The other point of importance is that the Islamic education must be open. Children ought to be given opportunity to ask questions to whatever come in their minds and what they face outside home. A legitimate explanation should be given by knowledge or seeking knowledge from other sources. We all live in the western society so our children. They cannot be isolated. However, they need to be explained good and bad of the society without bias. When the children happen to visit the old country they see many contradictory things to what they learnt Islamically. They need to be explained these and told to judge Muslims by Islam and not Islam by the acts of Muslim.
The family is to decide and select material keeping in their mind the intellect and age of the children. The Islamic education materials are available in abundance on web sites and in print-forms. Islamic educators are also in abundance. In my own way of thinking, I offer some suggestion that follow.
Our fundamental of faith require that we are convinced that there is only one God, Quran is from Him and Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him) is the last prophet. Children need to be convinced with proof to the extent that they can defend these facts if challenged by others. The knowledge of Quran, Hadith, Shariah and history are essential.
Mere reading of Quran in Arabic is not enough. For non-Arabic speaking student or for all, they should be taught English translation in simple English such as “the noble Quran- the Arabic text and English translation by Dr. Thomas B. Irving (Al-Hajj Talim Ali) or any other chosen by parents. They should recite Arabic followed by translation as they start reading of Quranic. For advance study or to seek explanation one could refer to Tafseer by Ibn Kathir on line (Tafseer Ibn Kathir: A compilation of the Abridged Tafseer Ibn Kathir Volumes 1-10 In The English Language with Arabic Verses. ibnkathir.atspace.com/ibnkathir) or Tafheemul Quran on line. (http://www.tafheem.net/main800.html) and both in print. I also suggest emphatically for
children to read collection of Ayahs according to subject matter from the Quran.They are, “ Commandments by God in the Quran compiled by Nazar Mohammed” available from ICNA book store and another book with similar theme, “Modern Day Quranic Guidance ,collection by
Ehsanul Kareem”. Lesson learning and interesting Stories from the Quran is in two volumes by Maulana Hifz-ur-Rahman Sevharvi. These are useful books to keep and may be used for reference.
I suggest downloading 500 Hadith collection of MSA These are simple, but have some difficult English words, which require translation by parents from dictionary for the understanding of their small children. (http://www.iium.edu.my/deed/hadith/other/hadith_500.html). Of course for more elaborate study, Hadith such as Bukhari is online and in print. It is also searchable online. The authentic book on Shariah Fiqh-Us-Sunnah by As Sayyid Sabiq. is available online (www.muslimaccess.com/sunnah/fiqh/Default.htm) and in print in five volumes. A look at these books by parents may appear that they are voluminous. However, they are very simple and have material from Purification to Umrah, a must knowledge for us. Having offered the suggestions for the fundamental need of our faith to educate the children, I shall take you to two web sites. They are www.islamicity.com and www.shareislam.com. A look at these web sites and their review will show you the richness of materials in them. Parents could be selective in demonstrating them and using them for the children and even assignment of task. Islamicity has all material that one needs including the history, translations and audio memorization of Quran as well as search for topics in Quran. Share Islam is full of Islamic knowledge in the form of video including for children, lectures, and articles. These resources should suffice although websites are full of resources being careful to avoid misrepresented websites to mislead Muslims. I do not believe that there will be need for more material to confuse the family.
A session of two hours a week should suffice for such studies. The subjects could be alternated week by week choosing some subjects for one week and other subjects the next. I feel that just one family for itself should have these sessions. However, if it is desirable, two or three families in the neighbourhood may join together for the event. Multiple family session become an imposition on families and may become cumbersome in due course to schedule and reschedule and even to get together to come to one another’s house. Some times it becomes more a social event than educational for the children. It may fail.
Such educational sessions have been and are being practiced with success. Even now there is trend for home schooling particularly in USA. May I help? firstname.lastname@example.org