Quarterly: Issue No 45
Download your FREE copy of the detailed tafseer of Surah Yaseen in PDF format (810Kb) in multi colour with Arabic texts. Other chapters will follow soon, insha Allah.
Islamic society is founded on the principles of belief and righteous
conduct. This connection between values and
practice lies at the very heart of the Islamic way of life. To be a Muslim
requires that one’s faith be reflected in one’s practice and daily moral
conduct with other people. We have the beautiful teachings of the Holy Qur’an
and Prophetic Sunnah, and we have many masaajid,
Islamic schools and organizations. Yet many Muslims today do not live in accord
with the principles and values of their faith. What is the root of the problem?
The problem is that Islamic religious instruction, in recent centuries, has
been taught primarily as a body of information, rather than as a body of experiences. For many Muslim children today, Islam does not inspire, and seems
meaningless and irrelevant to their personal lives and experiences.
The “Islamic values” education curriculum should focus on personality and character
development of children, close attention to the real needs and concerns of
students, and preparation of students with the critical thinking and
problem-solving skills needed to function successfully as Muslims in a
multi-cultural society. If we hope to succeed in our goal to raise our children
Islamically, Muslim educators and parents must start to develop a better
understanding of how children grow and learn; we must understand the processes of moral
development and the methods of effective teaching and learning. Our children
will not become moral individuals simply because we want or tell them to do so.
They will become moral individuals by cultivating their minds and hearts, and by having opportunities to actually see and apply Islamic values in practice. The pervasive influence of secular
materialism and its value system seriously challenges religious-minded
individuals and communities. To a large extent, the future will depend on how
well we educate our children today and to what extent we are successful in
transferring to them the sacred vision of life we have as Muslims. What is at
stake is nothing less than the moral and spiritual survival of our children and
our communities as Muslims. Without a proper understanding of the Islamic value
system, there is little hope that the true goals (maqaasid) of Islamic education can be achieved.
Islamic schools have a crucial role to play in providing concrete solutions and
programs that will foster this understanding among students and in promoting
the role and responsibility of the family in the process of Islamic upbringing (tarbiyyah).
Fortunately, a sense of renewal is in the air today
and enlightened Muslims are eager to find real solutions to the problems and
challenges facing the Muslim, including re-examination of both how and what we teach our children about Islam. Muslim educators must restructure the
Islamic Studies curriculum - both what is taught and how it is taught - if our children are to develop the spiritual survival skills needed to
survive as Muslims in the twenty-first century. Let us examine some outlines of
a new vision of Islamic education which will be capable of producing Muslim
youth with a level of understanding, commitment and social responsibility that
will both motivate and enable them to serve Islam and humanity effectively, insha Allah. Islamic
education must be able to produce Muslim youth that are able to identify,
understand and then work cooperatively to solve the problems that face their
community and the world in which they live and for which they are responsible.
To us, this should be the most effective form of Islamic da’wah.
This vision is not a "new vision" but rather
a "renewed vision" of Islamic education. It is a call for the return
to the classical - though not traditional or conventional - vision of Islamic
education. In the lifetime of our beloved Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam)
Islamic education was both practical and very relevant. The Prophetic model of
Islamic education drew its substance from the everyday experiences and
day-today problems of the early Muslim community. Although Islamic education
will undoubtedly draw much of its content from the foundational disciplines of
Islamic Studies (such as Aqeedah, Tafseer, Fiqh, etc.), it must be done in a way that links this content to the natural
concerns of students as well as the larger issues facing the world in which
they live. This is the challenge of
modern-day Islamic education.
This vision of Islamic education makes a fundamental
distinction between teaching about "Islam"
and teaching about "being Muslim". As mentioned
educators, for the most part, have been content to teach "facts about
Islam," since this is an easier and less demanding approach. We have not
met the challenge of developing a systematic program to teach our children
about "being Muslim" - which requires a more subtle and profound
understanding of both the nature of children and Islam itself. The goal of
Islamic education is not to fill our children’s minds with information about
Islam, but rather to teach them about being Muslims.
Islamic education, first and foremost, must focus on
teaching values and emphasize issues of identity and self-esteem. It must
address the real concerns of students and emphasize and provide for training in
leadership. Also very important in the achievement of the goals of Islamic
education, it is essential to gain the active involvement of parents. In developing our approach, we should not be
shy to benefit from recent educational research worldwide. This research
suggests that several factors are essential for effective teaching and learning
to occur. These factors are summarized in the statement that teaching and
learning are effective when they are meaningful,
integrative, value-based, challenging and active. These factors should also apply to Islamic education as well and Muslim
educators must become better aware of the important role these factors play in effective learning. It
is suggested that future programs in Islamic education must be evaluated in
light of these basic factors. These factors are briefly discussed below.
Effective Islamic teaching and learning must be meaningful. Students should feel that the content of their curriculum is worth
learning, because it is meaningful and relevant to their lives. When
learning is meaningful and relevant, students are intrinsically motivated to
learn. Furthermore, students must be led to discover the larger connections
between the knowledge and skills they are learning - rather than memorizing
isolated bits of information. Especially as Muslims, our children must be
trained always to keep their eye on the whole picture, or a macro-view,
whenever studying. This, in part, is the meaning of tawheed. Islamic teaching and learning must therefore focus on examining major
themes and important topics, rather than superficial coverage of many different
topics. This approach advocates that the Islamic Studies curriculum be
structured coherently around the concept of powerful ideas.
Effective Islamic teaching and learning
must also be integrated. It must encompass and engage the whole
child, spiritually, emotionally, socially, intellectually and physically. In
addition, Islamic teaching and learning should be integrative across a broad
range of topics and in its treatment of these topics. It should be integrative
across time and place as well as being integrative across the curriculum. It
must integrate knowledge, beliefs and values with action and application. These
integrative aspects have the far-reaching potential of enhancing the power of
Islamic studies teaching and learning.
Most important of all, effective Islamic
teaching and learning must be value-based. By focusing on values and by considering
the ethical dimensions of topics, Islamic education becomes a powerful vehicle
for character and moral development, thus achieving its real purpose. Educators
must realize that every aspect of the teaching-learning experience conveys
values to students and provides opportunities for them to learn about values.
From the selection of content, materials and activities, to the arrangement of
the classroom, to class rules and management style, students are exposed to and
learn values. Teachers must therefore develop a better awareness of their own
values and how those values influence their behaviour as role-models and what
students ultimately learn from these experiences about themselves, about others
and about Islam.
Effective Islamic teaching and learning
must also be challenging. Students must be challenged to thoughtfully
examine the topics they are studying, to participate assertively in group
discussions, to work productively in cooperative learning activities, and to
come to grips with controversial issues. Such activities and experiences will
help foster the skills needed to produce competent Muslims who are capable of
presenting and defending their beliefs and principles effectively.
Finally, effective Islamic teaching and
learning must be active. Islamic studies should demand a great
deal from both the teacher and students. The teacher must be actively and
genuinely engaged in the teaching process - making plans, choices and
curriculum adjustments as needed. The effective teacher of Islamic education
must be prepared to continuously update his or her knowledge base, adjust goals
and content to students’ needs, take advantage of unfolding events and
teachable moments, and to develop examples that relate directly to students.
Moreover, learning must be active by emphasizing hands-on and minds-on activities that call for students
to react to what they are learning and to use it in their lives in some
above are key factors for effective Islamic
teaching and learning. This vision of effective Islamic teaching and learning
is based on a dynamic rather than static view of Islam and Islamic education. This view is
rooted in the belief that the mission of Islam is to positively affect and
transform the world, and that the purpose of Islamic education is to prepare
young men and women who are capable of carrying out this mission—emotionally,
morally, and intellectually.
May Allah grant us all the
realization of a greater aims and objectives of Islamic education! Ameen!
LET US LIVE OUR
LIVES BY THE NOBLE QUR’AN
Some of the lessons learnt
from the Noble Quran that we as “Believers” must apply to our general
1. Respect and
honour all human beings irrespective of their religion, colour, race, sex,
language, status, property, birth, profession, job and so on. [17/70] i.e. [Chapter 17/ Verse70]
2. Talk straight to the point, without any ambiguity or deception. [33/70]
3. Choose best words to speak and say them in the best possible way. [17/53, 2/83]
4. Do not shout and talk. Speak politely
keeping your voice low. [31/19]
5. Always speak the truth. Shun words that are deceitful and ostentatious. [22/30]
6. Do not mix truth with falsehood. [2/42]
7. Say with your mouth what is in your heart. [3/167]
8. When you voice an opinion be just, even if it is against a near relative. [6/152]
9. Do not talk, listen or do anything vain. [23/3, 28/55]
10. Do not verge upon any immodesty or lewdness (shameful sins) whether openly or secretly. [6/151].
11. Do not be contemptuous or arrogant with people. [31/18]
12. Do not walk proudly or with conceit. [17/37, 31/18]
13. Keep your gazes lowered from looking at forbidden things. [24/30-31, 40/19].
14. If you do not have complete knowledge about anything, better keep quiet. You might think that speaking about something without full knowledge is a trivial matter. But it might have grave consequences. [24/15-16]
15. When you hear something malicious about someone, keep a favourable view about him/her until you attain full knowledge about the matter. Consider others innocent until they are proven guilty with solid and truthful evidence. [24/12-13]
16. Ascertain the truth of any news, lest you smite someone in ignorance and afterwards repent of what you did. [49/6]
17. Do not follow blindly any information of which you have no direct knowledge. (Using your faculties of perception and conception) you must verify it for yourself. In the Court of your Lord, you will be held accountable for your hearing, sight, and the faculty of reasoning. [17/36].
18. Never think that you have reached the final stage of knowledge and nobody knows more than yourself. Remember! Above everyone endowed with knowledge is another endowed with more knowledge. [12/76]. Even the Prophet (SAW) was asked to keep praying, "O My Lord! Advance me in knowledge." [20:114]
19. The believers are but a single Brotherhood. Live like members of one family, brothers and sisters unto one another. [49/10]
20. Do not make mockery of others or ridicule others. [49/11]
21. Do not defame others. [49/11]
22. Do not insult others by nicknames. [49/11]
23. Avoid suspicion and guesswork. Suspicion and guesswork might deplete your communal energy. [49/12]
24. Spy not upon one another. [49/12]
25. Do not backbite one another. [49/12]
26. Do not be jealous of those who are blessed. [4/54]
27. Fulfil your promises and commitments.
28. Do no try
to impress people on account of self-proclaimed virtues. [53/32]
29. You should enjoin right conduct on others but mend your own ways first. Actions speak louder than words. You must first practice good deeds yourself, then preach. [2/44]
30. Sit not in the company of those who ridicule Divine Law unless they engage in some other conversation. [4/140]
31. Do not follow up what you have given to others to
afflict them with reminders of your generosity [2/262]
Eat and drink (what is lawful) in moderation [7/31]
I request your humble du'aas.