Archive for July, 2016

Do Islamic Schools Have Their Priorities Straight?

July 19, 2016 Leave a comment

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

If we look at the majority of issues that Islamic Schools are focusing on or that parents are concerned about, it usually revolves around specific fiqh issues such halal meat, moon sighting, 20 vs 8 rakah and other issues. It is an art to manage the complexities of teaching Islamic Studies while appeasing to the various stakeholders: parents, teachers, belonging to diverse backgrounds in terms of sects, fiqh madhab/positions, liberal/orthodox etc.

To me, it seems like symptoms of a larger issue: the lack of leadership in the Muslim Ummah. If we reflect on the hadith where Rasoolullah (saw) instructed three people who are travelling together to appoint one as an ameer/leader, we see that even such a simple task as travelling requires somebody at the help to dissolve disputes, confusions as they occur. What about the affairs of the Muslims? The sahabas had delayed the funeral of Prophet Muhammad by 3 days just to resolve that issue.

The ummah is in such a state of decline and weakness that we amplify smaller issues and keep quarrelling endlessly on zabihah meat while muslims all over the world are being slaughtered. What about issues like – are we allowed to vote and give somebody authorization on our behalf to legislate laws when Allah has said that Allah is the sole law-giver? What about the issue of paying taxes to a government that actively wages wars against muslims or hijra which is rarely discussed? Why aren’t certain issues that the Quran and ahadith focused on, such as striving in the path of Allah or Al-Walaa wal Baraa, removed from the curriculums or meanings distorted? Don’t we read the ayat condemning the scholars of the past who took part of the book and discarded part of the book?

Yes, it is not easy covering certain topics living in the west, or most other places; but we fail to realize that the threat in the akhira is far greater than the difficulties faced in this duniya for sticking to the truth. We can reflect on a similar situation in our history when the issue of creation of Quran was enforced by those in power and a lot of the ulema gave in although they disagreed with the position. Imam Ibn Hanbal criticized such scholars and told them that if the ulema use the excuse of being compelled, then the truth would be lost. Islamic teachers and schools also share that responsibility to find ways that all aspects of our deen are imparted and not just those that we deem to be politically correct as Allah is the ultimate judge of what is right and wrong.

It is also true that the environment we live in impacts us. Inadvertently, we start embodying values of the larger society we live in without realizing it or questioning the validity of that value with respect to Islam – such as diversity in terms of respecting and recognizing everybody’s right to their opinions, beliefs etc. even if it is in conflict with Islam. For instance, in issues where we know that it is clearly incorrect or unacceptable in Islam, we should have the moral courage to communicate that as an Islamic School or teacher – be it issue of Shia student’s parent’s wanting shia perspective taught or a teacher or student not wearing hijab outside the school. In issues where there is acceptable ijtihad, then ofcourse tolerance and acceptance to the differences should be encouraged.


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