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Secular education vs Islamic education

A maktab or place where deeni knowledge is sought is so vital to build an upright Islamic community. Yet with the increase of these madaaris and makaatib we still find disinterest in deen or rather there is a feeling of complacency that children ARE learning some form of deen, so there is no desire to increase or further Islamic education or to adopt Islamic ethos.
Necessary Islamic studies include learning to read the Qur’aan which here usually takes approximately three to four years for a child to read fluently, sometimes longer depending on how much the child practices his Qur’aan reading. Aqaa’id (Islamic beliefs), Akhlaaq and Aadaab (etiquettes and morals), Taareekh (history of the Prophets), and Seerah (life of the Prophet Muhammad Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). Then there is memorising surahs from Juz ‘Amma and daily du’as. All these are necessary for a child to grow up and have an identity as a Muslim. It is these makaatib along with life at home that makes us the type of Muslims we are.

Today in South Africa we are blessed to have many makaatib and madaaris with dedicated Mu’allims and Mu’allimahs imparting this priceless knowledge. This knowledge that will shape the Muslim Ummah, the ONLY knowledge that will avail one in the qabr and aakhirah.
Although many parents feel that Islamic education (and by Islamic education here, I am referring to Islamic education at elementary level) is important, one can distinctly see that secular education is given preference over Islamic education. I’ll give you an example… A parent knows that her child is weak in Qur’aan and almost every other necessary subject. Yet should an extra mural activity come up, the Islamic lesson will be missed. Yes that particular lesson may be redone, but the sacrifice of learning the deen of Allah is lost. Another example, parents will make appointments for extra secular tuition or dentist appointments and the like during madrasah/maktab hours, but it will NEVER be done during school hours. School fees will be paid on the first of the month, yet Islamic education fees somehow slips their minds.

I have seen Muslim children go to catholic schools with a condescending attitude and no regard for the importance of deen ul Islam. I have had parents come to me asking me to not teach Seerah as they felt it is “not an important subject”. With tears in my eyes I asked “Is learning about the Prophet’s (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) suffering too much for you? ” Is hearing how he (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) kept wiping the blood off his mubaarak face in effort not to let a single drop touch the ground too much for you? What difficulty are you going through? Studying a seerah book is too hard? What have WE sacrificed for this beautiful deen to come to us? An extra hour, more petrol in your car for an extra madrasah trip, a few rands more? Could it ever compare to the sacrifices of our Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and those after him?!

The point I’m trying to make is that as human beings who have to live in this world albeit temporary, we have to learn secular education but give preference to the knowledge that is everlasting. Most parents are content with their children just knowing basics of Islam. Would you be content if your child knew only how to add and subtract or how to read elementary school books for the rest of his/her life? Of course not! You would encourage your child to continue his/her studies as well as keep a check on him/her at home. Why do we not have this same desire for our children to further their Islamic education? Some will become doctors, lawyers, business men/women, artisans, etc. But how many will shoulder the heavy responsibilty of imparting sacred and priceless knowledge of deen to the ignorant masses? How many will become huffaaz or ‘ulamaa?

Again I’m not saying that we should have no doctors or business people. We can have doctors but doctors with taqwa who put the need of the sick before money, who marvel at the greatness of Allah every time he/she looks at the human body. Let us have business people with ethics and scruples who have good mu’aamulaat with others and know their laws of buyoo’ (Islamic masaa’il on trading). Let us educate ourselves with what will benefit us when neither wealth nor people with influence will avail us.
Let us ask ourselves how much preference is really shown to this deen of Allah?

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  1. What an interesting article,the shekh exactly displayed the current trend in muslim societies,i always hate to hear preference given to secular education

  2. A complete diregard for western education is not welcoming but the habit shown by muslims as with regards to education is painful too.the preference of secular education over islamic is total disrespect for our value system,it shows or depicts the extent to which we substitueted dunya for aqhra.muslim generally prioritise worldy material in his agenda on earth, secular education is a system of education imposed on us by western powers so as to keep us a way from the practice of our religion and absorb us into practices of infidels thereby straining relation between us and our lord,by that i dont mean complete disregard for it since we need it to cope with the need of 21st century but in the process of acquiring it, we should not detract ourself from the study of our religion which is by far the best as compared to any education system. briefly let me explain situation in my home country kenya:to start with kenya is a country dominated by christian with few muslim minorities who make up close to 20%,the education in place is secular and almost all muslims in kenya neglect their religion in favour of secular education. we must join in hand to fight for the course of Allah, indeed we are far much behind but still not too late to correct our mistake. according to my understanding the cause of all social vice in our community is primarily caused by abandoning of our norms and standered thereby corrupting the system of our din, we must at all cost understand that only paying attention to secularised world with no or little attention to our education is desasterous,we must sit back and think on many possible questions like as to why we are created,our role in life,protection of religion and so on,so my advice to muslim at large is to study both system of education but with caution,offcourse the preference must be for our religion.in most cases two options are availlable,a muslim person should combine the two system or do away with secular for his religion,in summary we must know that kufr presented a great challenge but we must be bright enough hence the need to redesign their system inorder for it to be compatible with our system,that is to say that we should avoid the mistake of accepting their system as it is, therefore the responsibilities of reforms is with every male and female muslim,fitna has engulfed the whole world, let us stand up in defence of our religion. Assalam alleykum, oh Allah forgive us.

  3. As Salaamu Alaykum

    Wise words there brother Mohamed!
    May Allah grant us all hidaayah to practice our religion better!

  4. salamulahi aleykum

  5. man salaka driqan yaltabisu bihi ilman sahalalahu dariqan ilal janah

    • As Salaamu Alaykum

      من سلك طريقاً يلتمس فيه علماً سهّل الله له به طريقاً إلى الجنة – مسلم
      Whoever treads a path in search of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him the path to Jannah.

      So true!

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