Monday, March 5, 2012
As a homeschooling mother, and as time goes by and my kids are starting to get older, whenever I take a course or learn something new I try to think of how I can use this knowledge and benefit my family. No, I cant exactly sit down with Yusuf tomorrow and share my notes with him about how fiqh has evolved, but I can teach him the names and stories of some of these ulama. And even then, he may not fully understand or respect this knowledge as much as I can as an adult but at least I can plant the seed.
Not only did I walk away from this class with a new found love and respect for the Ulama, but I also walked away with so much motivation and encouragement to continue homeschooling! Im not saying I will force my children to become scholars of Islam if they do not want to. But as their mother I know I want to instill the love for the deen and the ilm in them from a young age. And quite frankly, I dont think this can be done to its full potential in the modern school system [and Im talking about Islamic schools, I wont even bring up the option of Public Schools!].
I feel that by being homeschooled a child is able to reach such a higher potential, not just academically but also in terms of akhlaaq and maturity. By having my kids at home, I have the freedom to take them to lectures and events whenever I want [if they were in school, I dont think Id keep them at an AlKauthar class till 9pm on a school night].
Take Jummuah for example. I am amazed at how much Yusuf has learned at the age of four, simply by attending regular Jummah Khutbahs for the most part of his short life. He has almost completely memorized the opening of a khutbah (which I cant even say). If he was in school, he'd only be attending Jummah on long weekends and summer holidays. MashaAllah just from sitting in the mesjid close to the Imam, observing his tones and gestures, Yusuf has developed a love for doing his own khutbahs at home. He will get up on our sofa and start of with the ayaat and hadith which the imaam usually says and then goes into his own khutbah. Okay, maybe he wont make complete sense in what hes saying but Im amazed to watch the passion that comes out of him... and I know the way hes speaking, his hand gestures and tone, is not from me, rather from the imams which he has observed.
Today at the AlKauthar class, the instructor, Sh Musleh Khan began to do an imitation Sheikh Mukhtar AsShinqiti and I told Yusuf that the sheikh was imitating another sheikh just like he does at home. His eyes just lit up and he was completely mesmerized.
Mashallah we are blessed in our family that my husband works with an Islamic organization and often gets to interact with influential people. And we have taken advantage of this opportunity to allow Yusuf to interact with such people (and inshaAllah as Ibraheem gets older, him as well). One time, Sheikh Bilal Ismaeel was visiting from South Africa and my husband had to pick him up from the airport, take him to the hotel etc and alhamdulilah he took Yusuf along with him. For months after Yusuf would speak so highly of Sh Bilaal and remember little things about him. The main thing he loved and learned from him was the saying "HayakAllah." To this day ( over two years later!) Yusuf still remembers Sheikh Bilaal, and that phrase.
These are opportunities which I believe, and ask Allah to help shape a child and instill the love of deen. Yes of course the success of scholars of the past was from Allah swt, but their environment had a huge influence on who they turned out to be. And if I had Yusuf in school, ya maybe hed have lots of fun playing spiderman and batman with other four year olds, but he would rarely (if ever) have the opportunity to have these experiences that I have mentioned. [Yes, I still believe kids should be kids and have the chance to play... you can refer back to my previous post and what I said re: socialization inshaAllah.]
This also brings me to the topic of hijrah. I never used to understand why people were so big on moving to an 'Islamic country.' But as I think more about my children's future, the more I understand why people think this way. I wont even get into the 'evil' that is in the West because thats not my main reason. I once told a friend of mine who is very passionate hijrah that I didnt get why she was so big on it. I told her that you cant find a perfect Muslim country, or even one close to it... that there's so much corruption there as well, so whats the point?! And she said something that has stuck in my head! She said that though corruption may be widespread there, and you will even find horrible people there... but that is where you also find the best of the best of this Ummah. Subhanallah after taking this course this weekend I understand this even more. Even those figures we look up to here in North America that live amoung us today, they were not all born here, and if they were they went overseas to gain their knowledge. And though the knowledge could technically be made available here through books and computers... its the akhlaaq that students must learn first. I believe its only when you are sitting in the presence of a great scholar and have this exposure that you can fully develop true love and respect of the deen and ilm. And we dont have that here.
No, this doesn't mean Im ready to pack my bags and move to a muslim country tomorrow, or even within a few years. But I now believe that a muslim cannot reach their full potential as a student of knowledge by remaining permanently in these lands. At the least I think it is essential to travel (even if temporarily) to gain true ilm... and I pray that Allah swt grants us the means to do this.
May Allah SWT help us to do not only what is right for our children, but that which is best for them! May He give us the strength and patience and wisdom that we need to raise leaders of our Ummah. May He help us to have and achieve high goals in life and to accomplish that which will please Him and also increase our sources of sadaatul jaariyah, Ameen.
Id like to share this video which I feel is a perfect ending to my weekend of being encouraged and motivated... please watch.