Islamic Schools: Who's
By Muhammad Al Shareef
What do you give to your son on his wedding night as a gift? A Mitsubishi
Lancer, a Honda Accord, or do you give him the ever useful toaster?
When Ibn Al-Qayyima son was getting married, he found himself in this gift
dilemma. He thought and thought and decided upon a gift that would not only
benefit his son, but all the Muslims. He lit a candle, dipped his pen in the
ink, and began writing. The gift, you ask? A book dedicated to his son and daughter-in-law
about marriage and the rights of children. He named the book, Tuhfatul Wadood,
bi Ahkaam al-Mowlood. The value of the gift? Priceless.
Many times we hear about the respect due to parents is because it is often the
parents who are speaking. Yet, how often do we hear about the rights of
children? Indeed, they have many rights that go farther back than 9 months
before their creation. For example, they have the God given right that their
future mother or father choose a spouse that will teach them about Allah and be
an excellent example for them In his book, in Chapter 25, Ibn Al-Qayyim
discusses the obligation of teaching the children, disciplining them, and being
just between them. Additionally, one of the rights of children is the right to
an Islamic education.
Allah Ta'aala commands us:
O you who believe, protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel
is people and stones (At-Tahreem 66/6)
We are commanded by Allah Ta'aala to save ourselves from Hellfire. But it does
not end there. The commandment extends to our family; we must save them also.
Using all our resources we must save them from Hellfire, and the biggest weapon
we have to protect them is knowledge of what Allah and His Messenger require
from them. For verily, a human is enemy to that which he does not understand.
In another verse, we see the example of Luqman with his son:
But if they endeavor to make you worship others with Me that of which you have
no knowledge, then do not obey, yet accompany them in (this) world with
appropriate kindness (Luqmaan 31/15).
Notice how Allah Ta'aala mentions the shirk that the child is being called to
as something which he has no knowledge of. Meaning, no knowledge of its
divinity, for there can be no knowledge about something which is non-existent
And yet in another situation, Allah Ta'aala describes the exchange between Nuh
and his son:
And Nuh called to his son who was apart (from them), "O my son, come
aboard with us and be not with the disbelievers." / (But) He said, "I
shall take refuge on a mountain to protect me from the water." (Nuh) said,
"There is no protector today from the decree of Allah except for whom He
gives mercy." And the waves came between them, and he was among the
drowned (Hud 11/42-43).
It has been said that about 90% of everything a child learns, he learns it
within the first 5 years of his or her life. If that is not enough cause for
concern, the children at that fragile age are ever so keen to please the adults
in their lives, especially the ones they see day after day. Subhan Allah, it is
a survival skill that Allah Ta'aala created in humans. For had they not had
this desire to please the 'teacher', they most likely would not develop
If you went to public school, imagine back to your public school kindergarten
class or grade 1 class and how you used to act with the teacher. Did you try to
please him or her every chance you got? Would you do things just to win her
pleasure? I know for me, when our school play for the Christmas Concert was
coming up, the teacher chose me to play one of the lead roles because of how
good an actor I was. Mind you, I disliked the part and when a boy offered me a
handful of corn puffs to switch parts with me, I readily accepted. I took him
to Mrs. Mitchell and proudly announced that Jason would be taking my part. She
was disappointed and said how much she wanted me to do the part. I could not
bear to see her disappointment, so I continued with the part. At the time, I
was in kindergarten.
The horror story begins when the child is entrusted to a non-Muslim" to
someone who knows nothing about our obligation to Allah and His Messenger sal
Allahu alayhi wa sallam, someone who our Muslim children are so eager to
There once was a little girl in a public school in a Muslim country whose
teacher was not practicing Islam. The little girl, following the blessed
example of her mother, would go to school with her hijab on. The hijab,
however, was something displeasing to her teacher, so she told the girl to take
it off and not dare come back to school with it on the next day or she would
suffer the consequences.
Home this girl went and told her mother of how the teacher did not want her to
wear hijab in school and how she did not want to upset her teacher.
Her mother calmly said, "Who do you want to please then, your teacher or
Allah?" The little girl looked her mother in the eye and said,
The next day, the little girl returned with her hijab on, defiant.
When the teacher saw her, she exploded in chastisement, "How dare you
The painful words kept coming and coming until the little girl lowered her
Then she shouted back, "I don't understand who I am supposed to please you
"Whose Him?" asked the teacher.
Her eyes widened and a chill ran through her. The teacher stopped talking. From
behind her tears, the little girl said, "No, I shall please Allah and
That day the teacher sent a letter home to the little girl's mother with the
words, "Today your child taught me who I was and truly who is Allah. Thank
you for raising such a blessed daughter.
Television sets and public schools are spreading a subtle devastating poison
through the bloodstream of our youth. Take a random class of Muslim high school
students from public school and reflect on their habits and their knowledge of
Islam. If a parent has chosen public school for his son, in the final year when
he looks over the school yearbook and sees a picture of his son standing hand
in hand dancing with a kafir woman, at that time it will be too late to
question his upbringing. Now is the time to question it, now, before it's too
Al-Hasan ibn Ali radi Allahu anhu used to say, "Educate yourselves today,
for today you are the youth of the community but tomorrow you shall be the
Alhamdulillah, there are many exceptionally smart adults out there. When you
are in their company, you cannot help marveling at their intellect.
However, a question comes to mind: "What could this person have done for
Islam and the Muslim community if his parents had educated him about the
There is a child, in grade 3, who has memorized almost 7 juz of the Qurân . He
is 8 years old. This child, more than likely, knows more Quran than most
adults. There are other children just as smart as him thrown to public school,
their intelligence squandered on the Incas and the pyramids, while they cannot
recite the very letters of their mother tongue.
Yahya ibn Humayd said, "We went to Imam Hammad ibn Salamah once and found
him sitting with children narrating hadith to them. When he completed and the
children left, we approached him and said, 'O Abu Salamah, we are the seniors
of your tribe. We have come to you to learn.
Why do you leave us and turn instead to these children?'"
"He replied, 'I once saw in a dream that I was sitting on the banks of a
river, bending over with a bucket to get water to drink. After drinking, I
turned around and saw these children standing there, and so I gave them the
bucket of water after me'" (Ibn Abee Ad-Dunya, Kitaab al-Ayaal).
A poet once said:
Young trees, if you raise them firm, they will grow straight,
They will not slouch if kept firm with a stick.
Perhaps discipline for young ones brings benefit
But that same discipline will no longer bring results in a senior. __._,_.___