(The following is the text of a speech that was delivered by Shaykh Muhammed Saleem Dhorat in Urdu.)
As the Holy Month of Ramadhaan comes to an end, the minds of all those who have some connection with a Madrasah either as students or tutors, will automatically turn towards their respective institutes. Parents and children will become mentally prepared for the forthcoming terms of education and will be concerned about the possible requirements, whereas the tutors will focus on making their own preparations for the coming year. Furthermore, the staff and principals of these institutions will be engaged in their own consultations and meetings to
plan for the commencement of the new term.
The Purpose and Objective
On this occasion, we too, as parents, should bear in mind certain points in order to ensure that no deficiency remains in the Deeni education, training and upbringing of our children. Firstly, we have to ask ourselves the reasons for and purpose of sending our children to the Madrasah. Is it because it is a practice and tradition of our societies to enrol all children between the ages of 5 and 13 in these Madaaris? Or is it because everyone does this, therefore it must be necessary and important? Or do we have our own objectives? Thus the first thing we, as parents, have to do is to define the purpose and objective when enrolling our children to these establishments. In simple words, it can be explained that the reasons for sending our children to the Madrasah are that the child learns:
• To believe in and know about Allah Ta`ala. A child needs to recognise and accept Allah Ta`ala as his Creator.
• To understand the Deen of Allah Ta`ala. The rulings of the Shariah (masaail) have to be learnt and understood. The child needs to gain the ability to differentiate between halaal and haraam, permissible and impermissible, deeds that are rewarding and deeds that are sinful, etc.
• To believe and accept with his heart that success in this world and the Hereafter lies only in the Pleasure of Allah Ta`ala. After learning about Allah Ta`ala’s Deen, a child has to accept with total conviction that everything in this universe is controlled by Allah Ta`ala and because Allah Ta`ala sees and knows everything, ultimate success in both worlds can only be attained by seeking Allah Ta`ala’s Pleasure. The message of the following verse of the Qur`aan Majeed should be fully inculcated in the child’s mind:
“Say, O Allah! Owner of sovereignty. You give sovereignty to whom You Will, and You withdraw sovereignty from whom You Will. You exalt whom You Will and You abase whom You Will. In Your Hand is the good. Lo! You are able to do all things.”
• To believe that the Pleasure of Allah Ta`ala can only be attained by practising all the things learnt and taught about this Deen in the Madrasah. After believing that success lies in the Pleasure of Allah Ta`ala, the child has to be trained to make it a habit to practice all the things learnt in Madrasah in all aspects of his life.
How to Achieve this Goal?
Having identified the purpose of sending our children to Madrasah, we have to consider whether our children have been successful in this aim and purpose or not. Have they achieved anything within the lengthy periods they have spent in these institutes? Does our child recognise Allah Ta`ala with all His Attributes? Is the child aware of the Aqaa’id (beliefs) and masaail (rulings) regarding Deen? And has our child made the attainment of Allah’s Pleasure the mission of his life? Ask any student of a Madrasah what his object and purpose of life is and check his reply. Does he say that the purpose of my life is to attain the Pleasure of Allah? If he does, then is he able to explain how the Pleasure of Allah Ta`ala can be achieved? All these things form the foundation for the purpose of sending our children to the Madaaris.
And in order to fulfil these objectives, there are certain people who need to make a great deal of effort. It is an institution, wherein, firstly the parents, secondly the principal and staff of the Madrasah and lastly, the tutors, all contribute and make an effort towards fulfilling the objectives and purpose of acquiring Deeni knowledge. If all these forces work diligently, and co-operate with one another to achieve the objective, only then will the child be able to reach the required stages of success. To illustrate, if all these responsibilities were to be equally divided amongst these three groups, then each would be responsible for only 1/3 of these duties. Therefore, if anyone of them fails to fulfil their tasks then the child’s education will remain incomplete by one third. (This example relies on the basis of equal distribution; however, in some cases a greater percentage will need to be placed on any one of these three groups.) From this we can conclude that if, as parents, we fail to accomplish our duties, then to hope that our child will achieve success in the Madrasah is nothing but a fantasy. Without parental contribution, it is totally unrealistic and impossible for our children to achieve 100% success in their Madaaris.
Having understood the purpose of sending the children to the Madaaris, we have to realise that this goal can only be achieved if the child’s Deeni education is complete and correct. If the child is successful in his education, then in addition to his success, the parents too can expect honour in this world and the next. And should the child be unsuccessful, then the parents will suffer disgrace in both worlds and the child will become a perpetual source of displeasure for them. The gravity of the situation should be considered by every individual.
Our Duties as Parents
We, as parents, should try and fulfil our responsibilities and duties. The above-mentioned objectives should be kept in mind constantly if we wish to see the betterment of our children. Also, from time to time, we should check the condition and progress of our children. If the child has been attending the Madrasah for some time, he should have developed, to a certain extent, the Ma’rifah (Recognition) of Allah Ta`ala, His Deen and its requirements, accepted that success of both worlds lies in the Pleasure of Allah Ta`ala and the practising of His Deen. Furthermore, the child should be convinced that Islam is the only remaining religion and system of life that has been created by Allah Ta`ala and the rest are all man-made. And that Islam is the only religion that has been designed for the success of mankind.
As soon as the child starts the Madrasah we tend to become lax and unconcerned. We never question our children about their work and progress. We never enquire what the teacher has explained on that particular day and whether they have understood it or not. Besides the above, we should also, from time to time, explain to the children aspects about their work and relate some tales or personal experiences to enable the children to increase in their knowledge and understanding of it.
We have to take out time to study the children’s work, thereby checking on the progress as well as demonstrating the importance of the Islamic education.
Parental contribution plays an important role in the early learning phase of a child. In order to better understand this, we have to acknowledge that a child does not spend as much time in the Madrasah as he does at home. Whilst a child is in Madrasah, he is surrounded by a Deeni atmosphere. He is educated on Deeni masaail (rulings), such as the method of Salaah, Wudhu, Zakaah etc. He learns Islamic etiquettes and manners, the method of reciting the Qur`aan Majeed correctly and many other Islamic subjects. Thus the Madrasah is merely the centre of acquiring knowledge and not a place where it is actually put into practice. For example, if the teacher has taught the child the method of Wudhu and Salaah, to see whether the child practices it or not, is not the responsibility of the teacher. Similarly, if the child has been taught to always speak the truth and never to lie, the teacher or the management of the Madrasah shall not be liable if the child fails to implement it in his life. The place where the child has to be trained to apply the teachings of the Madrasah is his home.
Parents should carefully monitor their child’s progress in the Madrasah. This can be done by ensuring, firstly, whether the child understands the subjects taught in the Madrasah or not, and secondly, whether he manages to retain them in his memory or not. The third point to ensure is whether the child is practising the teachings or not. For instance, if a child comes home and mentions that he has learnt the method of going to the lavatory, it is incumbent upon parents to ensure that the child adopts the method when visiting the lavatory. After a few reminders, the habit will automatically be ingrained within the child. Similarly, if the teacher has taught the child to give and receive things with the right hand, then by constantly reminding the child each time he uses the left hand,
the child will gradually learn the right method and be accustomed to it forever. It should be clear from the above that it is the home and not the Madrasah that is the place here the child needs to be supervised and trained. By failing to understand the above-mentioned point, nowadays, many parents accuse the teachers for the negligence and immorality found in the children.They have surely fulfilled their duties by teaching the masaail of Deen, and
should certainly not be held responsible for ensuring the implementation of those teachings, as they are not in a position to do so, for they do not remain with the children besides the Madrasah hours.
(Riyaadul Jannah, Vol. 9, No. 5)