Back to School
The buzz word in the month of January is “back to school.” As the first day of school approaches, preparations are underway in full swing. While parents are generally very concerned about “back to school”, they should also be very much more concerned about “back from school” – about what their children are bringing back after their time at school.
Educating one’s children and equipping them with the skills required for day-to-day life is a necessity. We must nevertheless pause and take a deeper look at how we school our children. Long before a student reaches matric, he has not only learnt how to read, write and count, together with studying a host of other subjects, an effort has also been made to shape his mind and train him to think in a particular manner. Some of the values and the culture that are imparted at school, which very often leave a deep impact on the heart and mind of the students, could be at serious odds with the student’s own beliefs and values. If a strong counter-effort is made on him at home to maintain not only his Islamic identity but also his beliefs and the true Islamic mindset, Islam will insha-Allah dominate in his heart and he will remain steadfast upon the word and spirit of his perfect Deen. Otherwise, only Allah Ta‘ala knows what may become of his heart and how much of his Deen will remain.
Culture and Values
The second situation mentioned above is not merely a hypothetical scenario. It is real. It has happened. Many young people who have sought help are a testimony to this. Those who do seek help are perhaps a small fraction compared to those who do not seek any help, but instead wholeheartedly embrace the culture and values imparted at school. A detailed discussion on this topic is beyond the scope of this little newsletter. However, two examples are discussed hereunder:
The Quraan Majeed declares that Allah Ta‘ala created the first human, Nabi Aadam (‘alaihis salaam), from the earth, and from him Allah Ta‘ala created his wife. All human beings are their progeny. Darwin’s theory of evolution opposes this. The essence of his theory is that man descended from an ape. From primary school this theory is introduced as “fact”, and is then taught all the way up to matric. Approximately 20% of the Grade 12 Paper deals with evolution. A student is required to study this well and to answer in a manner that supports this fallacy if he wishes to achieve the allocated marks. What impact does this have on his heart and mind? Due to the constant exposure to this “theory” on the one hand, and due to being deficient in proper Deeni knowledge, many students began to doubt the Quraan Majeed!!! What is then left of their imaan?? Many parents who discovered too late frantically called some ‘Ulama to talk to their child since they just realized that “something is wrong with his beliefs!” Many students themselves have written to ‘Ulama to help clear their doubts. They were constantly bombarded by the whispers of Shaitaan that “there is some merit in Darwin’s theory”! The following is an excerpt from one impassioned plea for help:
“Moulana, I’m worried that I may loose my Deen. I’ve been thinking about what I believe, whether I believe in evolution or Islam. The atheists have created an idea that is so hard to argue with… I feel like I’m turning into an atheist. For this whole year, I feel like a munaafiq when I perform salaah. I can’t leave Islam because I can’t live without meaning. Now I do ‘ibaadah because I’m used to it, and to join my family. As if my Islam is a back up, in case Islam is right.”
The above is just one of many correspondences of this nature. It is an alarm bell that should jolt us into checking what is lurking in the hearts and minds of our children.
One of the subjects in the curriculum is Life Orientation. Among the meanings of “orientation” are: inclination; preference; leaning; adjustment and direction. One of the aspects that Life Orientation directs towards, and makes students incline towards, is the acceptance of all types of sexual orientation. Several asaatizah in makaatib (primary madrasahs) were asked the question by grade 6 and 7 kids: “What is wrong with being gay?” After the Ustaadh’s explanation some children still tried to argue the point that “it is just a lifestyle choice.” Even if they would not adopt this perversion, they were orientated towards accepting such behaviour as OK. This is against the teachings of the Quraan Majeed. When Nabi Loot (‘alaihis salaam) was confronted by his nation who were steeped in their sin and perversion, he clearly proclaimed to them: “I am amongst those who detest your action (of sodomy)” (Surah Shu‘araa v168). The message in this aayah is to every believer, that he too should be amongst those who detest such detestable actions. While refraining from infringing the law, as Mu-mineen we must however remain steadfast on our beliefs, Islamic mindset and way of life. Yet, many Muslim children are no more regarding this as an abomination. They are in fact arguing for it!!! What is then left of their imaan???
Assault on Innocence of Children
To further entrench what is already happening in schools, soon Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) programmes, which have already been introduced overseas, will be rolled out in South African public schools in 2019. At the behest of UNESCO and other UN agencies, South Africa (along with 20 other Eastern and Southern African countries) has made an international commitment to implement CSE. The American College of Pediatricians stated the following about CSE: “Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) goes far beyond sex ed, and is a dangerous assault on the health and innocence of children”. According to one researcher, apart from promoting “high-risk sexual behaviours as healthy and normal” CSE also encourages “acceptance and exploration of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities”.
Seeds of Kufr
While the above are applicable in almost every school, the imaan of many Muslim children in private schools with a Christian ethos are at extreme risk. A parent who had admitted his child in grade 0 in one such school hastily removed her in the first week. She came home and playfully said that “Jesus is Lord”??? She had no idea of what she was saying. She was repeating what she picked up at school. The seeds of kufr were already being planted in her heart.
Another child studying in a similar school sat one evening at suppertime with his palms together in front of his face and his head bowed. When asked what he was doing, he remarked that the teacher told them to say “mass” before meals!!!
Apart from these extremely serious issues which can totally nullify one’s imaan there are many other serious matters. Experienced ‘Ulama should be consulted to understand these aspects and their gravity and impact on one’s imaan.
Every parent and child has to one day return to Allah Ta‘ala. It is only pure imaan and righteous actions that will be of any assistance on that day — the day we will be laid in our graves, and when we are resurrected on the day of Judgement. On that day nobody will be asked about their qualifications and degrees. However if what was brought back from school affected one’s imaan, one could be in serious problems on that day. Therefore, more than the concern for back to school, the concern should be for the protection of the imaan and Islamic mindset of our children.
May Allah Ta‘ala keep us all steadfast on imaan and Islam till our last breath, aameen.
Q&A: Winding up the Estate
Q: My father passed away approximately seven years ago. My brother is the sole executor of the estate. However he refuses to wind up the estate. Over the years since my father’s demise, my brother has continued to run the business and deal in the assets of the estate at his own discretion. Every few months we receive some money which we are told is “the inheritance”, but there is no detail, nor have we seen any financials to date. Everyone is keeping quiet to avoid any problems. Is it permissible for the executor to sell off any asset at his discretion and is it correct for him to refuse to wind up the estate?
A: When a person passes away, the priority will be to settle his funeral expenses and all debts. It is reported in a hadeeth that the deceased’s entry to Jannah is restricted until his debts are discharged. If he had made any bequest, it will then be discharged from a maximum of one third of the estate. The remainder belongs to all the heirs in proportion to their shares of inheritance. They are also entitled to receive it without delay, except in the case of a minor, etc., or if there is any mutual agreement to not immediately distribute the inheritance.
The executors are trustees and administrators only. If any heir is an executor, he owns only his own share of the estate, not the shares of others. Hence, it is totally impermissible for him to dispose any asset of the estate without the mutual agreement of the shareholders. Doing so will be a misappropriation of amaanah.
The executor, being a trustee, has a very weighty responsibility, which he will have to account for on the day of Qiyaamah. It is his duty to ensure that all the heirs receive their shar‘ee right as speedily as possible. To delay the winding up of the estate is wrong and sinful – unless due to circumstances beyond one’s control. In fact, upon the demise of a person, the executors (and if there is no executor then some senior family person) should gather all the heirs as soon as possible – even the next morning. He should fully explain all the details of what the estate comprises of, how it is going to be wound up, the options the heirs can consider, etc. Just as salaah or fasting will not be delayed for a few days because one is grieving, likewise the command of Allah Ta‘ala with regard to distributing the inheritance and discharging this weighty amaanah should not be delayed. It is not unethical to discuss estate matters “so soon” after someone has passed away. The reality is that it is totally unethical — and sinful— to unnecessarily delay the winding up process. While the actual distribution in larger estates can happen as soon as is practically possible, which may require the assistance of experienced ‘Ulama and others, the process of discussion and consultation should commence without delay. If all the heirs mutually agree to keep the estate in a partnership, a clear partnership agreement should be drawn up and all the parties should be given a signed copy for their records. In such a mutual agreement the heirs are not obliged to keep the executors as managers as the partnership. They may mutually appoint whoever they wish.
Throughout the winding up process there should be complete transparency in all matters. Though the executors may have no ill intent, a lack of transparency gives rise to suspicions, which lead to unnecessary quarrels and disputes. This often results in the terrible calamity of broken family relationships. Losing billions is not as disastrous to one’s Deen and dunya as the breaking of family ties is. Therefore, every effort should be made to manage the process in such a manner that while all parties receive their full shar‘ee right, the family bonds are also strengthened in the process. Such an outcome is only possible if everyone’s concern is to do that which Deen requires of one and to earn the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala.
May Allah Ta‘ala guide us to always act in accordance to the Quraan Majeed and noble sunnah and make the attainment of His pleasure our main concern in every aspect of life, aameen.
Nabi ‘Isa (‘alaihis salaam) was once proceeding to a certain place for some task when he passed by a grave. On looking at the grave, Allah Ta‘ala showed him that angels of punishment were torturing the inmate of the grave.
Sometime later, when Nabi ‘Isa (‘alaihis salaam) had completed his task and was returning, he again passed by the grave. However, Allah Ta‘ala now showed him that instead of angels of punishment, there were angels of mercy at the grave, bearing platters of divine radiance!
Nabi ‘Isa (‘alaihis salaam) was surprised at this sudden change in condition. He thus performed salaah and engaged in du‘aa, begging Allah Ta‘ala to reveal to him what had caused the punishment of the inmate to cease and be replaced with His special mercy.
Allah Ta‘ala sent revelation to Nabi ‘Isa (‘alaihis salaam) informing him thus:
O ‘Isa (‘alaihis salaam)! This servant led a life of disobedience and sin, and he has thus been engulfed in punishment from the time he passed away. However, when he passed away, he left a wife who was expecting a child. After the child was born, she raised him and saw to his upbringing until he grew into a young boy. She then made him over to the maktab (elementary madrasah) teachers. After entering the madrasah, the teacher made the child recite “Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem”. I thus felt ashamed to punish my servant with fire within the earth while his son is taking My name above the earth.
(At-Tafseerul Kabeer vol. 1, pg. 143)
Faqeehul Ummah: Refraining from Sin
Respected Mufti Saheb
Assalaamu ‘alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu
(The questioner apparently requested advice with regards to how to protect oneself from committing sins)
Summary of Reply:
Wa ‘alaikumus salaam warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu
Merely recalling one’s sins is not sufficient, since at times this may unknowingly incite us to commit the same sin again. May Allah Ta‘ala protect us all. Instead one should picture oneself on the plains of resurrection, when all one’s deeds will be presented. How embarrassing it will be when this happens in front of everyone.
Every action will be recorded in our book of deeds, and we ourselves will have to read it out. Imagine that the actions which we committed while hiding from mankind, and the exposure of which we considered to be very shameful, will now be read out before our Allah Ta‘ala who is All Knowing and All Seeing. If we wish to protect ourselves from this, then let us concern ourselves with doing righteous actions and erasing the evils from our book of deeds. (Maktoobaat vol. 5, pg. 59)
Safe from Fitnah
“What is the way to gain salvation (from fitnahs)?” This was the very concise question that Sayyiduna ‘Uqbah bin ‘Aamir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) posed to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Subhaanallah! This was the main concern of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) – how to gain salvation from the fitnahs (evil and mischief) of this world as well as the torments of the Hereafter. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave a most concise reply to the concise question. He said: “Guard your tongue, let your house be sufficient for you and cry over your sins”. (Tirmizi #2406). This is an all time remedy for remaining safe from the fitnahs of this world and the next.