The Public School Effect On Iman
Pay attention to your child's education from the young age...
- This article explores issues in education from an Islamic perspective, more precisely the negative effect on iman for the children in the public school environment.
- Solutions to educate your child in accordance to Islam are also provided. The solutions are varied to give the parents some choice in regards to their children’s education.
The negative effect on Iman in public schools:
- First of all we should start by mentioning that; it is the fact that Islam is a complete way of life. You cannot be a Muslim in the masjid – and while you leave the masjid or any Islamic environment – suddenly consider yourself out of Islam.
- It is well known that teachers and peers have great influence upon children of all ages, however, the younger the child is, the more influence the teacher has upon him/her. At the younger ages, although children may have some knowledge of Islam (such as between 7-10 years old) – they do not have enough firmness to implement that knowledge. Therefore, they will practice whatever they see it is being practiced in their environment. Also, if they grow in a non-Muslim environment, it is likely that in their youth or adulthood they will follow what they were taught throughout their childhood, and not live their lives according to Islamic values – although by then they may have enough Islamic knowledge to be able to implement it (at least the basics of Islam).
- The environment the child is exposed is a key factor. Now we have to deeply consider the environment our children are exposed to – that is The Public School System. Starting with grade one, they are in school typically from approximately 9 to 3:30, and even later if the mother is working outside (such as close to 6 o’clock in a daycare centre or after-school programs).
- Everybody has some basic understanding of the negative influence the public school has on the children. Parents may notice their child gradually or fast adopting a non-Islamic way of life, depending on how easily the child can be influenced. Assuming that the parents themselves are (somewhat) religious, they are struggling to teach their child that many of the things their kids pick up in school are not good for them, some being straight out haraam, while others makruh, while others – can we even find a category? However, think about the time the child spends with the parents (early morning – eating and changing// and late afternoon or evening) and all the remaining time spent in school with the majority of non- Muslim teachers and peers. Now – think about this: whose values is the child going to adopt? What are the real chances that the child will become a good Muslim, or even consider him/herself as being a Muslim – while practically surrounded by the non-Muslims/ disbelievers/ kufaars?
- This may not sound nice – but even many Christian people go by the same principle: Catholic schools hire only Catholic Teachers? Why – because the child learns from their teacher/peers first, and then from everybody else, including parents, while they reach a certain age.
- Furthermore, you can ask any white, older Canadian/American person about the value of current schools – you may be amazed to find out that most of them will tell you that the schools used to be better before. Kids were taught to respect the parents and teachers, and that teachers and parents used to be “in charge”/have authority. Even they recognize the current failing school system – which teaches kids about ‘Rights WITHOUT responsibilities”. The evil results of this sort of teaching are known by the majority – since the US has amazingly the largest % of prisoners in the world as part of their population, while all the other kinds of corruption (teenage pregnancies, etc. etc.) make the reality of waste-of-time TV shows.
- You do not need to have a PhD in child psychology to know what the kids are being taught in the public school system. The small kids (JK, SK) – taking pictures with Santa Clause – because “it is just cute”? HOW ABOUT EXPLAING SHIRK TO YOUR CHILD – THE ONLY UNFORGIVABLE SIN BY ALLAH (swa). Even my daughter now is able to identify, Alhamdulilah, many stories (‘stones having powers”, “the unlucky number 13s”, “if a black cat crosses your way” ), which are all forms of shirk and she can recognize shirk far from the distance (an eight year old child).
- The sad reality of the current school is that school is a place to “dump your kids”, while the moms are too busy with numerous jobs and paying on their student loans, car or house mortgages, beauty products and the like. Do we not know as Muslims that we will be asked how we make our money – but also how we spend our income? There never was a more wealthy society in the history of mankind compared to the North American society – who represent about 20% of world population and spend 80% of its resources (world known fact). So, then – Alhamdulilah – even when we say we are “poor” – the true reality is that there are many more poor people out there in the world than us – and we should say Alhamdulilah that we have even the luxury of eating three times a day.
- And how can you protect your child from the school values? We Muslims do not keep Christmas, Easter, New Years, Halloween, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentines Day, birthdays, etc., etc. So can you tell your child not to celebrate any of these days, while most of their friends are celebrating these? It is like telling a child: “ok, darling, here’s the cake, but do not eat/touch it/smell it, etc.”
- The indoctrination of public schools is invisible; see, the parents go running around in circles when their child is physically hurt, but when their iman is affected – ‘oh, well – I guess they are too small to understand yet”, “there is no Islamic school nearby”, “they will get in when they grow up”, “the masjid is too far from our house” (could you move maybe?) – and there’s the list of complete set of illusions, or the mirage of lying to your own self and knowing it full well. Sadly some people may not even realize it too until it is too late.
- Of course, by the time they are in high-school, the majority of “Muslim” kids are way out of control with some or the majority of the known evils of “the teen age group”. The parents go on lamenting on how their kids are not listening to them. What can we do? – They desperately ask their imam/religious teacher? What can we do? – It’s the end of the world (for them and sadly it really is for them and the Muslim ummah in this sense). Many kids choose to go into kufr because “it is hard to pray five times a day”, etc. The parents may try to put them now in Islamic schools – which usually do not work because it is too late for the older kids who now have developed their personality by now – although it may straighten some, due to peers’ influence.
- The kids who enter the public school system in the higher grades (11 or 12) and have strong iman are less likely to be as affected by the negative environment, since their personality is fully developed and they are more likely to stick to their religious duties/way of life. However, caution is still necessary. Generally speaking, do not let them get involved in those “after school programs”, which usually are the icing on the cake in terms of wasting time or haram activities.
- On the whole, the high school is even more dangerous that the lower grades “education”, since the kids can easily slip into the worst things and have more independence. University is much better because the MSA provides salah rooms and at that point the kids are on the way of becoming adults and have to become responsible by themselves.
The article says:
By putting your child into a public school:
· You are exposing them to too many things, which are straight out against our religion.
· You are taking a big risk in regards to your child’s iman, so much so that especially after the whole 9-10 years in the public school system, they may go into kufr!
The article does not say:
- That all kids will leave Islam, but that there is no guarantee that your child is going to turn out a Muslim, much less a good Muslim.
Solutions to the problem:
Alhamdulilah, it is not fair to complain without providing some kind of guidelines/solutions for the parents.
· The one good part of the Western civilization is that it is so liberal that it gives much choice to the individual on how to lead his/her life. Thus, one of the parents’ rights is to home-school their children and teaches them in accordance to their values.
· Many mothers are housewives, or it is not too late to become housewives until their children reach maturity; they can take the primary role of educating their children “the proper way”, both academically and spiritually. In fact, many Muslim ladies are highly educated, coming from their home-countries.
· If you feel that your education is not up to standard in one subject (let’s say English) the moms can form a group and take turns, each teaching the subjects they are strongest in. Also, lots of help is available by using manuals, which cover the entire curriculum (English Smart, Math smart, etc.) and can be purchased in any Chapters or other libraries. Also, free lesson plans are available on different web-sites (check our web’ site – withkidsinmind.net, childlinkspage directory).
· At the same time, if you feel that your education is not “good-enough” to teach your child, keep in mind that in the US many students in high-school cannot even point US on the map, while in Canada I myself witnessed many high-school kids who do not know their basic multiplication tables. So, there’s your green flag to gain some confidence.
· The teachers have high academic skills, but the system is made in such a way that it literally distracts the child from studying - by providing too many activities that are only remotely related to schooling; the child is mainly indoctrinated into “the miracle of consumerism” (wow!) through all those holiday- days (and semi-holidays) provided in school. Even for Christian people, Christmas is perhaps the most highly exploited holiday on planet earth (otherwise why go major into credit cards to make the “necessary” Christmas expenditures? etc, etc.)
· One other solution is to send your child to Islamic school, if you can afford it. This is also a good idea for the mothers who insist that they must work outside of their homes. Since you do make the extra income, why not spend a part in the way of Allah and get your kids into a good Islamic environment?
· Many people argue that Islamic schools do not have “qualified staff, enough resources, such as good computer rooms, library, etc.” However, some of the staff do have Canadian bachelor degrees, while others have bachelor degrees or Masters from their back-countries (such as India, Algeria, Egypt, etc.). I saw many kids coming to Canada in both public and Islamic schools from India and had a very high education level compared to Canadian kids (therefore, know that those “middle and third world countries” – they still call them the third world) are really more advanced in the elementary and high-school levels compared to the Canadian system.
· Also, it is true that public schools usually have more resources, but did you stop to think for a moment to what % do the kids really use these resources to the utmost benefit? How often do the kids go to the school’s library or computer room, and if they do – do they really read books or articles they borrow, or if they use the computers – do they use it for academic purposes, or simply use it for kids games (the kinds of “special games” where you click a button and after 3 hours of clicking you learn nothing out of it).
· We know that both Islamic or government schools may be organized well or less well; however, the Islamic school offers salah (prayers) and thus prepares the child for the Akhira (life after death); while the public school primarily prepares the child to go running around making and spending money usually in a way which makes Allah T’Ala angry and brings no barakah to the individual and society. Strong morals are also not emphasised in public school: and we are all witness to what kinds of morals and lifestyle kids “learn there”.
Going back to your own countries:
· If you really feel that none of these are options for your child, and no matter how you organize your child’s schedule you still end up with nothing much – then go back to your countries and put your kids into strong Islamic schools and have them in an Islamic environment.
· You got to pay attention though, because even in Islamic countries many unislamic things are going on, so the environment of the child is still an issue. However, there is a masjid pretty much on every corner – therefore, the chances of your kids being a good Muslim are good – if you put some effort into it. Also, the Islamic education is very cheap.
· The One Evil happening in most Islamic countries (especially in the ex-colonies such as India, Pakistan, etc.) is that now the Islamic education (the Qur’an and Sunnah) is taught mostly only in Madrasahs, while the dunia education is taught in regular schools. And even Alims say that the curriculum after the Partition (1947) was never changed in countries like Pakistan (they still have the British curriculum there in public schools) - which explains the really low level of Islamic education there for the average Muslim.
· Now think for a moment – who were those great Muslim explorers and scientists (such as Ibn Battuta – geographer and explorer, Avicena -Ibn Sina - great Muslim doctor, Imam Bukhari, and many others) - they were Alims and completed their Muslim and dunia education in their teens. Their education (Islamic and dunia was taught in the masjid, in the same place).
· What does a teenager typically do nowadays? Wasting time on some kind of music styles, cannot tie his/her shoelaces properly (just kidding), cannot do the house chores and cannot wake up for Fajr. (The other evils we will not mention due to shyness/modesty in the paper-writing). This is the “modern miracle” of dunia education, strongly advertised as the “greatest education system – in the world!” (Wow!)
- Pay attention to your child’s education from the young age (elementary level and pre-elementary).
- Consider the suggested options in this article or find your own methods, which work for a complete Islamic education of your child.
- Do something about your child’s education early – or else later on it may become difficult for you or your child to get any real benefits and become a good Muslim.
For any comments, opinions on this article, contact sister Mariam at [email protected];
For any other articles on education, visit www.withkidsinmind.net