Madrasah Legacy 1

Madrasah- A Legacy

Our children attend madrasahs every evening, yet  we  as  their  parents  do  not  attach  much significance to them, regarding them merely as places that look after the ummah’s infants. We hold them on a par with nurseries, as places of elementary learning. We should realise though, that as long as we fail to attach importance to them, we will remain ignorant of our children’s development and progress.

The Madrasah’s Legacy

The madrasah is not an insignificant institute. The flame of Īmān (faith) is first kindled in the madrasah. The light of Īmān first permeates the heart of a Muslim child in this environment. It teaches our young children moral values.

It is in the madrasah where we learned that to lie is a very great evil and that we should always speak the truth. It warned us against the use of bad  language  and  that  stealing,  cheating  and oppressing  people  are  wrong.  The  madrasah taught  us  not  to  be  a  thorn  in  the  side  of  our parents and to care for the elderly, orphans and widows. It was in the madrasah that we learned that  we  should  be  kind  to  our  neighbours,  be they Muslim or non-Muslim.

The madrasah even taught us things that we do as adults without paying attention to them, like the simple yet rewarding act of removing an obstacle from a path. The good morals and character  we  take  credit  for  as  adults  were acquired through the madrasah.All the teachings we are familiar with and today practice in our lives spring from there. By taking stock of every good  deed  we  are  performing  and  every  evil that we detest and avoid, we will be witnessing the legacy of the period of our lives between the age of four or five up to thirteen or fourteen: the years spent in the madrasah.

Madāris Benefit the Nation

The  madrasah  not  only  brings  our  children benefits   in   relation   to   the   hereafter,   it   also provides them goodness in this world. Parents too, receive worldly gain: a child that spent its time well at madrasah will become a means of comfort and joy for its parents. The madrasah is  a  boon  for  the  country  as  well  because  it produces good citizens, regardless of whether it operates in an Islamic country or a secular state. At  madrasah,  children  are  taught  to  respect the rights of all people and are warned against involvement in drugs, alcohol, theft, vandalism and   all   types   of   antisocial   behaviour.   It contributes towards a socially cohesive society and is a great blessing for humanity as a whole.

Prophet  Muḥammad  s came into this world as  a  mercy  and  all  his  teachings  are  full  of mercy. What is taught in the madrasah is what the Prophet Muḥammad s taught. His life, his character, his dealings – they all form the basis of  what  our  children  learn.  Every  child  who attends a madrasah becomes familiar with these Prophetic teachings and is equipped to go on to embody them and serve humanity and work for its betterment.

Parents’ Responsibilities Towards their Children

In order for a child to get the most out of his/ her madrasah education, parents need to work in partnership with the madrasah. Parents should not  hand  over  their  children  to  the  madrasah and  feel  that  they  have  fulfilled  their  share  of educational   responsibility.   Some   parents   are content with just enrolling their children in any madrasah, but even those that take the time to find one that offers the best ta‘līm (education) and  tarbiyah  (upbringing)  should  not  feel  that after enrolling their child their duty has ended.

It  is  the  parents  who  will  be  questioned  by Allāh S about their children’s education. If the teachers, principal or the management committee failed in fulfilling their responsibilities, they will also be held accountable for their actions, but the parents  will  be  questioned  and  held  primarily responsible for any negligence regarding their children Allāh  S  will  demand  the  answers  to  two questions  from  every  parent  concerning  their child:  what  ‘ilm  (sacred  knowledge)  did  they give  him  and  what  ādāb  (good  manners/social etiquettes) did they teach him? Each mother and father will have to answer for each one of their children. And at that moment, no parent will be able to blame the child’s teacher or madrasah chairman.

It is the parents’ duty to give the correct ta‘līm and  tarbiyah  to  their  children. They  cannot exonerate  themselves  from  it.  In  light  of  this, the parents have to keep a close watch on the performance  of  their  children.  In  the  case  of a  madrasah  not  fulfilling  its  responsibility  of educating and nurturing their children, parents should voice their concerns. And if the parents’ concerns are not addressed adequately then they should remove their child and enrol him or her in another madrasah. It is just like when a child becomes sick and we take him to a doctor; we check the progress of the child and if we feel he is not receiving adequate treatment, we talk to the doctor. If, after a couple of such discussions, the  condition  persists  and  it  seems  pointless talking to the doctor any further, we look for a better doctor. Just as the parents are responsible for their child’s physical treatment,  they must shoulder  the  responsibility  of  their  religious upbringing and education too.

Partnership    Between    Parents    And    The Madrasah

Parents should also cooperate with the madrasah and try to understand its aims and objectives. If a madrasah emphasises punctuality and regular attendance, with few breaks in between, parents should cooperate. For instance, if the board of scholars or committee of a particular madrasah consider  it  necessary  to  decrease  holidays  to allow enough hours to complete the curriculum, parents  should  ensure  the  attendance  of  their child.   The people   responsible   are   aware that  if  they  allow  longer  holidays,  the  end result  will  be  academic,  religious  and  social underachievement.  Therefore   parents   should cooperate with the madrasah; a vast amount of time and effort is spent in deciding what is best for our children.

Being  involved  with  both  the  madrasah  and dārul  ‘ulūm  educational  systems,  I  am  of  the opinion  that  it  is  the  madrasah  more  than  the dārul ‘ulūm that is of crucial importance to the Muslim  community,  since  ninety  percent  of Muslim children will pass through it. Not every Muslim child will participate in tablīgh jamā‘ah, associate   himself   to   a   shaykh   for   spiritual guidance,  sit  in  the  company  of  the  ‘ulamā  or pursue studies at a dārul ‘ulūm. However, nearly every child will study at a madrasah. This fact is  enough  for  us  to  understand  the  primary importance of the madrasah system in educating our children to become good Muslims who will serve as role models for our society.

Therefore    we    all    must    work    together: the  principal,  the  teachers  and  the  parents. Cooperation  will  enable  us  to  build  a  secure future for our coming generations, in which the masājid  will  continue  to  be  attended,  the  Dīnī environment  we  take  for  granted  now  will  be maintained and society at large will continue to benefit from good citizens. Our children are the future. May Allāh S assist, bless and guide us in this noble task. Āmīn