Achieving the best of both worlds: A balanced education with good grades and moral, spiritual, and social development
Dr Ahdash offers you seven tips. Some parents think that the only thing that matters is scoring high grades at school, college, or university, thus ignoring, or at least side-lining the need for religious education; the basics of ethics; good manners; life-skills; learning and developing our cultural understandings and adopting a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
What do scholars and experts of shari’ah say about how I can give my child religious education?
The purpose of education is to prepare a good Muslim, who worships Allah ﷻ, understands Islam correctly, adapts to life in this world and works towards life in the next world.
The Prophet ﷺ said: “He is not of us who isn’t kind to children, and respectful to the elderly.” [Al-Tirmidhi].
A combination of a good education and religious education is possible.
It is very important that children love Islam as they learn about it. We know our children, so do not expect them to be extraordinary like the Sahaba. Here are seven tips:
- Teach them to have sincere intentions: do things for the sake of Allah ﷻ as a religious duty. Teach them by example not by lecturing because real and true education happens because of what the child sees and not by preaching.
- Teach the Obligatory tenets of Islam.
- The creed, reading, Surah al-Fatiha and short Suras to read in the prayers.
- Tahara (cleanliness), Wudu (ritual ablution), Ghusl (ritual bathing), and prayer.
- What is allowed and forbidden to eat and drink.
- Adab (good manners).
- Learning the basic teachings and practices from the Sirah/life of the Prophet ﷺ.
I believe religious teachers should be native British born. Teachers from abroad can confuse the child and creates a gap between them and the teacher. It is difficult for the child and teacher to develop a rapport or to look at the teacher as a role model or mentor.
A top quality of a good teacher is positive attitude towards the pupil, Anas served the Prophet ﷺ for ten years, and was never reprimanded. Talking about the Beloved Prophet ﷺ, Anas said “He never said “Uff” nor blamed me by saying: “Why did you do so or why didn’t you do so?” Parents have the duty to teach their children and to take care of them but not to compel them to achieve high grades. Having good grades does not mean or guarantee that a child has good character or brilliant future – perhaps just as importantly, neither is it a sign of ‘good parenting’.
Some children may fulfil the demands of their parents and families but over time they may suffer some setbacks which affect them negatively because of the pressure. They may then struggle to deal with it and develop some psychological problems.
Some children reject the pressure and revolt against their families. Other children are pressured but cannot achieve satisfactory results in their study. The two groups may develop many problems including depression, suicidal ideations and even ending their lives. Some children might become vulnerable and reach the point of drug use, extremism and joining gangs. For better or worse, parents endure the responsibility of these ends.
Parents should consider and nurture the different abilities of their children and their wishes.
Allah ﷻ knows the best
Written by Dr. Mohamed Ali Ahdash
Edited by Dr. Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari