Back to School

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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:

Evolution

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. 

Life Orientation

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. 

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