Bismillahi ma sha Allah, on this blessed 27th of Ramadhan, my son Eesa, 10, has finally completed his hifdh of the Qur’an. Allahu Akbar. =)
Alhamdulillah, and again Alhamdulillah – both Umm Eesa and myself cannot praise our Lord enough for His immeasurable bounties and mercy. How He has favoured us in so many ways is quite simply breathtaking. Alhamdulillah, and again Alhamdulillah.
After the permission and tawfeeq of Allah ‘azza wa jall, this is the culmination of many years of really hard work and sacrifice on behalf of my wife, myself and of course Eesa himself. This is no doubt only the beginning of a long road that all of us should be wanting to set out upon, but to finally reach Stage One in what we hope to be many stages on the way to creating real authentic scholarship and leaders for the Muslims in the West in sha Allah, one cannot but feel so relieved and happy especially at such a blessed, beautiful time of the year. Alhamdulillah.
We wanted to share this wonderful news with our friends and family for two main reasons
1. Because I trust that the very first statement that will fall from the lips of you Islamically educated and upright individuals will be “ma sha Allah, laa quwwata illa billah.” (thus protecting my family from any dodgy nazar bakwas!) and that the second statement will be a du‘a from you blessed people which we are truly and sincerely SO dependent upon, always and forever.
2. Because there is a real need for the Muslims to take their children’s Islamic upbringing very seriously; news such as this should be used to encourage and inspire us all to set out and complete this same objective as easily and successfully as possible. In fact, despite the obvious “nazar” doubts I see this as obligatory upon myself to share such news as my own senior Mashayikh advised me. It IS possible, it IS your priority for your children, and IT is the best thing you’ll ever commit serious time to.
I don’t have the time to write in depth about some of the key things we did, our tips and tricks and the like – note that I’m a huge believer in the principle of “different strokes for different folks” – what worked for us might not work for others, or even be applicable. I do actually intend perhaps on teaching a family seminar and maybe also bringing this to a weekly class as well in Manchester for 2012 where I’ll go into proper detail along with scriptural evidences etc in sha Allah.
But for now at the very least, you should know:
- if your child doesn’t love to memorise and you don’t create an atmosphere of the same, then this will be very difficult. Sure, taking a hard-line approach, hardcore punishment and (light) beats etc is a tried and tested method which might work now but it’ll come back to sting you on the backside later when they show no interest for the meaning of the Qur’an or even wanting to study it. And anyway, there are enough things you can withdraw from a kid’s life these days which hurt much more than a slap – there is somebenefit in the Premier League after all… =)
- this whole Qur’an memorisation game takes up so much time from both parents so be ready for that, but don’t run away from it. You and your child will suffer if you just delegate your child’s education to some next Maulvi as I mentioned in my lecture called “The Absent Father” (see the Prophetic Guidance site for that).
- the most important person in this whole equation – even more than the child – is the mother. I have said many times before to you that the most important education you give is to our women, because they are the ones who hand-rear and build the next leaders of the world. That’s not some Hollywood movie rhetoric by the way – I am fully committed to making my children the greatest thing this world has seen since slic…Haagen Dazs Strawberry Cheesecake Ice-Cream in sha Allah. =)
And I recognise that your wife will play at least a 70% winning role in that effort. You simply cannot invest enough into looking after your wife, supporting her, educating her, and loving her all the way throughout. She not only has to be the engine for this process, but then she has to be the daily role-model and yet at the same time put up with a lot of disrespect and disappointment and anger from the kids which they will never dare display to their father. It’s a thankless job for many years but that’s why a righteous woman is the very best provision a man can ever receive, because it is her faith, righteousness and love in Allah jalla wa ‘ala that keeps her going along this very long and tiring path.
- We live in a new age. I seriously fear that even less people will be memorising our texts in the future despite our numbers swelling like crazy over the next 50 years. Firstly, there are just FAR too many distractions as well as secondly, there are too many new tools that will allow one to get away with not having to memorise anything. I tell my students that a set of glasses will be available soon that one can wear and they will have the entire Qur’an displayed in front of your eyes – being an Imam will become a piece of cake! I saw an NEC prototype with other material 2 years ago so just wait for that one to be released and then you’ll realise what I’m talking about.
So these two realities of our new styled life (not just in the West but everywhere) means that we have to be dynamic when it comes to our approach to this challenge. In my personal opinion that means embracing technology and the razzmatazz of this new life, and not trying to fight it – ipods, the internet, MP3 players, and other trials in normal society such as Sony Playstations, Ben-10, Ronaldo & Messi and the Transformers. These have to be part of the solution, and not just seen as the problem. We’ve personally been able to use all of the above to get the first part of the job done and we will be very dependent on them to maintain our progress and move through to the next stages of consolidation of the hifdh, the adding of qira’at, memorisation of tafsir and hadith etc.
This is controversial I accept, but for me it’s a Yankee no-brainer.
- further to the above, be prepared to seriously dig deep into those pockets. You will definitely have to come good for all the promises and carrots you dangled in front of your kids otherwise they’ll never trust you ever again. I wince when I look at what I’ve had to pay and what I will be paying soon to keep this up from machines, to games, to outings to arcade chairs to all kinds of bakwas. But it is worth it. Believe me, it is worth it. Just sitting with my kid and discussing tafsir and the grammar of the Qur’an during our recitals has shown me that and you definitely need to 100% believe me in that too so that you aim for the same kind of satisfaction ma sha Allah.
Note that I’ve been able to lessen this financial burden by being pretty frugal and keeping the kids away from such delights above for many years – they never had anything electrical or game machines etc all their lives, and thus to be given them as a prize and carrot makes their value even more great to them. But if you have this approach where you shower your kids every year with gifts and top-end stuff, or when they get good Secular grades or you celebrate birthday bakwas etc and the like, then expect a real hard slog to really motivate your children when it comes to Deen. Just sayin’ ya’ni.
Oh and prepare yourself to have regular kick-offs with your Dentist. Your kids teeth are going to get battered with all the chocolate bribes. Have you ever tried getting a kid to memorise a page for an apple?!
- the final point for now is specifically aimed at those writers/activists/public people/scholars/da’ees etc who do such good in the community but don’t invest the same time in their children. I’m not here to judge but I will say that I hope you don’t come to a day when you look back and regret the hundreds of hours spent on the da‘wah and then didn’t get at least the same results from those whom you are obligated to care for. People often find it insulting when I have a dismissive attitude to giving lectures and accepting invitations – I don’t really mind people getting offended by that to be honest. My skin is far too thick for that, perhaps my brain as well. But I learnt my lesson early on many years ago and I’ve done my fair share on that scene – there’s now plenty of speakers and lecturers around at the moment who love doing that so good luck to them. I don’t want to have that problem again myself, so I’ll just take it easy and focus on what I feel the priorities are – if that means I accept some, reject some, ignore some, then so be it. It’s about balance. We HAVE to teach and educate the people and give quality da‘wah but lets not go to any extremes. And I advise those of you with children to be that ruthless as well, if not more so.
There’s so much more that can be said about all of this but I just want to focus on this time of ‘ibadah and thanking Allah jalla wa ‘ala for his infinite bounties and blessings.
I also wanted to thank all of the hundreds perhaps thousands of people I come across in real life as well as online who make du‘a for me and my family. May Allah bless you all and give you the very best in this life and the next. Many of you know that I have a slogan which I say often: “please pray for me because we are completely dependent upon it”. See, I’ve learnt a long time ago the amazing power of du‘a. Really. I mean it.
And I guess well now you know that we truly and sincerely are grateful for those supplications, and these blessings above are partly in response to your wonderful empathy and generosity, so long may it continue! We are dependent upon it. =)
Eesa’s feat isn’t amazing by any stretch of the imagination because we’ve seen enough Youtube videos showing amazing miracle kids and the like, but this message is a reminder to you on what can be achieved, and it is also a reminder to myself on how important it is to be keep going and make something from this and to not just rest on our laurels so as to humiliate myself and my family. This will be good motivation for me!
Having said the above, well done Eesa. You did great son – may Allah jalla wa ‘alaincrease you in good, and make you a million times the man your father could ever possibly have been (which won’t be difficult lol!) and that you become a credit to this mighty nation of the followers of Sayyidina Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Ameen!