Azka Javeria and Umm Zahra – Hiba’s team writers
As our kids prepare for their end of term exams, this might be the right time to reflect, why do we educate them in the first place?
Islam focuses on combining religious and worldly education to ensure spiritual growth as well as material success. All the resources that Allah (swt) has provided us with in this world are meant to be used mindfully and as per His obedience. Allah (swt) says in the Quran: ‘He subjected for you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth – all by His Grace. Surely in this are signs for people who reflect.’ (Al Jathiyah: 13)
Is the current education system fulfilling all the aforementioned purposes? To the best of my knowledge currently, education barely fulfills our material needs. The idea of social responsibility is present in textbooks but there is limited practical demonstration.
Perhaps one of the reasons for this limited interpretation of education is that our knowledge and understanding of Deen is restricted to a few textbooks, bottled up in a few cultural and customary rituals, free from the real spirit of Tauheed, worshipping One True Illah.
So how can we ensure that our students attain contentment in this life and success in the hereafter? Students can:
Understand that your life is from Allah (swt). You are under His Divine Order. His destiny for you is playing out everyday. You are being cared for by His uncountable Inaamat surrounding you.
Hence, reflect every day on what you study, draw lessons from it and write down how you plan to act on them. This can be done for all subjects including Islamiyat or conceptual natural sciences and even science and technology. Nothing develops without the Izn of Allah (swt). All ideas, subjects and advancement are permitted by Him to come into existence. Make Quranic and Hadith reading and reflection a daily routine.
- Be Mindful
Have you ever wondered why there is a Dua for even routine actions such as eating, entering the house, or wearing new clothes? This is because Allah (swt) wants us to be mindful of our surroundings, our actions and our intentions. By doing so, we become good observers and think through before speaking or acting. We are to observe not just natural phenomena but human behaviour as well and temper our responses accordingly.
- Empathize and Humanize
That teacher who can’t teach, that student who can’t speak- they are humans. Do not treat others like items on a shelf, categorized from the best brand to the worst. Understand that there are different kinds of intelligence and simply because they lack your abilities does not give you the privilege to insult or demean them.
- Give Credit and Be Appreciative
We rarely appreciate others, whether it is fellow students or even teachers. In fact, there is this toxic culture in some institutions of sabotaging others so as to reduce the competition. However, as one of my mentors told me once, ‘change is contagious’.
Instead of pulling others down or using them as stepping stones, appreciate others if you like certain things they do, for certain qualities they possess. Not only will it save you from negative emotions but will actually earn you some friends you can always count on.
- Give Different Forms of Charity
The Prophet (sa) said: ”On each joint of humans there is a charity every day on which the sun rises: doing justice between two persons is a charity; helping someone with his mount (transport), lifting him onto it or hoisting his belongings onto it, is a charity; and a good word is a charity, and every step you take towards the prayer (congregation prayer) is a charity, and removing harmful objects from the way is a charity.” (Bukhari)
Observe others around you, notice their problems and then try to help them in any way possible. Honestly help fellow students with their studies and teachers with their tasks. Give people your seat. Let them borrow your stationary, sometimes without expecting them to return it. Use your skills and knowledge to teach others- remember such actions receive reward in perpetuity. Small acts of kindness pave way for bigger ones.
In Islam education should give birth to a society that is responsible, cultured, kind, generous and active in acts of goodness. If our education is not breeding such individuals its high time we question it and get it fixed by demanding the right thinking and behaviour of ourselves, our kids and their schools.