Education - options for Muslims in Western societies

Discussion in 'General Topics' started by sunni_porter, Nov 3, 2018.

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  1. Khanah

    Khanah Well-Known Member

    Largely, the ones I am aware of, send their children to the same public schools that we go to. I suggest the excuse of 'most of them are from back home and therefore they don't know the fitna of public schools to it's fullest degree' etc which some may put forward is not suitable- everyone more or less has some idea of at least most of the problems that exist in public school.

    Amongst the many problems:-

    - Mixing between the genders to an extent that it is IMPOSSIBLE for the child to avoid e.g. some classes have seating plans where you have no choice who to sit next to etc
    - Mixing with children with terrible adab/behaviour
    - Teachers making light of fisq/acknowledging it as normal behaviour e.g. if they make jokes about drinking alcohol, for example
    - Teachers imparting kufr ideologies to young, impressionable minds who don't have the ability to critique what they're hearing
    - Kids engaging in kufriyya activities such as nativity plays in primary school. Even those who don't participate in the play itself will be asked to practice in choir etc per my experience
    - Music class, art class, etc which can be haram depending on what goes on in there
    - Even something as simple as doing PE e.g. although changing rooms are not mixed gender, there are all sorts of problems re awrah being uncovered for both genders.

    And so many more- I could go on and on. How do some of the imams etc in the west deal with the above? Simple- they don't
  2. Taftazani

    Taftazani New Member

    Home schooling is the only way to go.
  3. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    Interesting twitter thread from some brother on Islamic schools.

    Note: I don't know the person; skimming through his twitter timeline, he seems like a layman who likes Deos. But his comments in the thread in question are quite good.
  4. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    The popular social media Shaykhs, Imams, Mawlanas, Ustadhs living in the West with controversial antics - I wonder if there is a correlation between them and their schooling (i.e. did they go to public school).
  5. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    The Shaykhs, Imams, Mawlanas, Ustadhs living in the West - I wonder how they school their children.
  6. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    No, this is key.

    If you want to change the mindset of the community-at-large (i.e. importance of education and tarbiyah, educating them on the dangers of public schools, alternative options and how to go about it), then you need Imams and masaajid involved. Homeschooling parents need support as well as it can be overwhelming - this is a way of connecting with other like-minded parents and relieving some of the pressures (by sharing strategies and tactics, having the masjid run certain activities for the kids, etc.). Having individual parents reinvent the wheel (in terms of designing their homeschooling curriculum/strategy) is inefficient (as opposed to taking existing curriculums/strategies designed by Imams/professionals and then tweaking/customizing it).

    Is not an Imam's role to shepherd his community? Then how can schooling be overlooked? Daniel Haqiqatjou of MuslimSkeptic has devised a homeschooling curriculum which is available from his online institute (he charges a fee, but it is understandable).
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  7. Brother Barry

    Brother Barry Veteran

    The link shows page not found message but if you click the menu icon top right and click home it opens everything up for you.

    If you scroll down to very bottom on the error message page or after following above method you will find the our campuses link, clicking that will highlight their current setup for various countries.

    If the waiting list is anything like the ones for their madrasa system then it'll be very long, but then again that is a free madrasa system so it gets a lot of traffic whereas this will have set fees so footfall maybe less.
  8. Khanah

    Khanah Well-Known Member

    Have they opened further schools?

    As for the current schools open- I'm assuming there is a large waiting list for entrants? I think the link no longer works
  9. Khanah

    Khanah Well-Known Member

    I take your points- it is very convincing. I suppose it's just that I'm less optimistic regarding bad habits that you can learn from other children at the ages of 4-10 than you are. I feel I will need to read some books about child development and the like to see what the latest thinking is with respect to children developing personality traits, when this happens, etc and (when I get around to it), I'll report back. Ideally of course, homeschooling the whole way through would be great.

    Whilst I largely agree, I think there still needs to be significant involvement from the parents as well as some level of structure (although flexible). The benefit of homeschooling during these ages would be avoidance of fitna, as you mentioned, and the ability of the child to grasp higher level concepts that you would like to teach them. If someone was interested in taking a more classical approach to education and wanted the child to learn logic, rhetoric and the like (for edification of the mind rather than as something to help with GCSE qualifications)- then you can do that. Whereas if they're in high school, you can't exactly school them too much in these subjects when they return home especially as they should be focused on Islamic topics during that time instead.

    I think this is essentially out of the question. If we want to homeschool, we just need to take matters into our own hands.

    I think the overall purpose of learning arabic won't necessarily be to hear/speak it- rather, understanding of the written text is the most important aspect. Even when children learn foreign languages in school, they learn in order to pass exams as opposed to speaking.

    Whilst our reason for learning isn't to pass exams, they would be able to even with minimal speaking practice. Lots of people go through dars nizami and can read and write in arabic competently but can't understand it when spoken due to lack of practice- I don't think it's a big issue, lots of language learners have this problem. Usually they try and make up for it by watching videos in the target language and the like.

    It's all relative. Nothing is cheaper than public schooling and that was my reference point. No doubt, however, homeschooling for the right intention will bring barakah into the home and that's the important thing.
  10. barelwi

    barelwi New Member

    The same is partially true for some of our Islamic educational institutes. Cookie cutter courses with limited scope and Dars e Nizami syllabi without encouragement of extra reading, free thinking, imagination, critical analysis, etc lead to creating 'scholars' devoid of the proper skills needed to progress to the higher stages of scholarship.

    These courses should be the equivalent of the high school education / teen education listed below; meaning they should be a prerequisite equipping the students with the ability to then go on and read more books, study, specialise etc.

    It's more common nowadays that gaining the certificate for this prerequisite is the final stage of scholarship, creating Allamas and Muftis with unprecedented levels of lack of education.

    In the end, it comes down to this:
  11. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    Some quick thoughts:

    If you are going to let kids attend Islamic school, I think it makes more sense to let them attend during primary years (ages 4-10 / junior kindergarten to grade 5). There is less risk involved. It's not like they learn complex things during this period, so risk of getting a poor education is low. Kids are mostly innocent throughout this period, so less risk of bad habits and character development occurring. I think a kid's need to socialize is stronger in this period as well, so that is fulfilled.

    Middle school years (ages 11-13; grades 6-8) I would be less inclined to send to Islamic school, but would allow it depending on the situation.

    High school/secondary school years (ages 14-17; grades 9-12) I would not send to school at all. This is where, as mawlana abu Hasan said below, "school will only cripple the mind, extinguish thinking and imagination". In fact, I think this begins in middle school years, but is not as bad. High school is a complete dumpster fire (had another word in mind but it may be a bit vulgar). You've got youth with hormones raging and the negative stuff (related to environment/character) in full swing. High school is unproductive for the majority of students that attend. The benefit of homeschooling in this period is that the student can homeschool on their own with minimal involvement needed from parents.

    A homeschooling supplement program needs to be provided by a local masjid/Imams. Something like twice a week where homeschooled kids and parents can get together, have some formal structured learning/activities (whether it be deeni or non-deeni) and socialization. Masaajid are empty during the working day anyway and are completely under-utilized. (priority shouldn't be to build masaajid in the West anyway; we should be building community centers with space to pray in congregation). An Imam should be hired to just simply research and come up with a homeschooling curriculum; ideally hire someone who specializes in education. This would also take some pressure off the parents.

    For non-arabs, I think arabic can only be taught starting in grade 9 (maybe grade 6, but later is better/easier). Your native language (other than English, e.g. Urdu), however, can be taught immediately (ages 3 and on). The reason for this is that the child has been hearing their native language since they were in their mother's womb; and have been using the language on a consistent basis for practical/real-life purposes. Whereas with arabic, a non-arab child is not familiar with the language and will not be using it on a practical/real-life basis, so it will be more of a struggle for them to pick it up or have any interest in it. Note: I am not talking about the Qur'an, of course. This might be something that a homeschooling supplement program may be able to address though - have weekly arabic only sessions where you can only speak arabic, forcing kids to use and learn common arabic phrases.

    Fyi: for Urdu speakers interested in teaching their kids Urdu, Dawat e Islami have some excellent textbooks used in their schools. See Dar-ul-Madinah International University Press -

    Well it will be much cheaper than Islamic school. The latter have high fees. And with homeschooling, you can choose where you invest your money with respect to tutoring e.g. arabic, martial arts, skilled trade, etc.

    Sunni leadership is completely clueless about education.
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  12. Khanah

    Khanah Well-Known Member

    I'm personally super invested in homeschooling as a concept so would like to keep this thread alive. My random thoughts ahead:

    I believe homeschooling IN GENERAL is superior to Islamic schools for one very important reason- children corrupt other children. Now, the children at an Islamic school may very well be better behaved than their public school counterparts because their parents are more invested in their deen (for example). But I suspect many of them are still badly behaved, gossip, talk about what they watched on TV last night etc. In the very early formative years i.e. primary school years, I still believe homeschooling is superior. Once your kids have developed some character and you've inculcated certain patterns of behaviour within them- then maybe Islamic school during the secondary school years to give your mrs a break, eh?

    Obviously, homeschooling is the most difficult of all options. And lots of things have to be on point in order to make it work. But the potential reward is much greater. End of the day, I don't see the next Al Ghazali coming from a public school but I can see one from a homeschooled environment. That has got to be your aim.

    Some research needs to be done into how the various christian groups in america manage it because they've been doing it for decades (homeschooling is quite big over there) and by all accounts, home schooled kids there have better outcomes than their public school counterparts (i.e. better grades on average, less likely to commit crime, etc).

    I've encountered non Muslims in the UK who homeschool so if they can do it, why not us?

    Of course, this leads to the issue of who exactly does the homeschooling. The burden will naturally fall to the mother in most instances so she needs to be up to speed. Structure will also be very important and Islamic topics need to be integrated into the homeschooling experience as opposed to being separate e.g. tajweed as first lesson of the morning, modern standard arabic should be your language option for modern languages (kids can do a GCSE in this as opposed to french or german). If you can't teach certain subjects to the children yourself (for example, maybe you don't know arabic), then you could hire a personal tutor for that particular subject (I have a suspicion homeschooling won't be cheap). Tutor can teach via the internet so could get a cheaper option from Yemen, let's say.

    The above having been said, we need to build Islamic schools in the UK at a very fast rate because homeschooling probably isn't viable for the majority and I'm not sure how we can answer for sending our kids to public school on the Day of Judgement.
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  13. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    Anyone with homeschooling experience willing to share the curriculum they used and how they designed the daily schedule for their child?
  14. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    Or rather, Islamic concepts; how the mind works and how humans know and understand things (rational judgements, empiracal evidence, etc.); how Muslims view and understand this world; logic; how to form and assess an opinion; values and how we determine what is a good value to have and not have; etc.....basically how to think and encourage one to reflect


    What should also be taught is how this world works and the pros and cons of it - economically (monetary system), politically (governments, democracies, etc.), modern nations, globalization (consumerism), history, etc. - so that a young adult stepping into higher education / the workforce understands the world he or she is stepping into and how it operates, the good and bad of it, etc.
  15. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    well I do not think that it is unwanted. I would very much like children to long for death and hereafter. After all, they've got an eternity to spend there. better desired than forced.

    "yuN bhi kisi din hamne, dunya se to jana hai"

    a good reply, imho, would be - good things have to be earned and it is not good to show impatience for the n'iam which is stored for the hereafter. Better spend your time thanking Allah subHanu wa ta'ala for the beautiful gardens and palaces he has prepared for you (note we are talking about kids here) and when He subhanu wa ta'ala calls you all you have to do is close your eyes and say labbaik.

    sorry if I misunderstood you and went off on a tangent. My point is that - we need to de-stigmatize death for our youth. It is not to be seen as a sad reality - not that all good things come to an end and so will life - but that all good things are yet to come and the more you send forward for that life the happier you will be there. and bliss there shan't end while the bliss and pain in this life ends.

    if someone's child longs for death - I'd congratulate them and commend them for their excellent parenting.
  16. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    What Islamic texts would you recommend should be a part of the student's curriculum and when (e.g. xyz should be taught in grade 1...)
  17. Brother Barry

    Brother Barry Veteran

    At the moment the only thing for pre-teens we have from a reliable sunni organisation is the Dar-ul-Madinah Pre-Primary & Primary Schools of Dawateislami who have established 40 campuses in various countries including the UK & USA. Dar-ul-Madinah Blackburn UK has successfully passed the Ofsted inspection and recently a licence from Californian State authorities has also been given to Dar-ul-Madinah Sacramento Campus in USA. Currently they have approximately 14,000 students studying in different campuses of Dar-ul-Madinah in various countries.

    Secondary schools are in the pipeline for the UK as far as I understand and colleagues & university are to follow down the line. Traditional education alongside islamic teachings will be the focus from pre-primary all the way to university In-sha-Allah.

    A Jamiah for sisters is also on the way very soon In-sha-Allah
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  18. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    public schooling is a waste of time - yes, if kids have a place to hangout with other kids (we are social animals you know) then the school can be totally avoided. if you are in a place where there are no such avenues for kids, it may become necessary to send kids to school until 8-9 years for kids to socialise. thereafter school will only cripple the mind, extinguish thinking and imagination.

    materialism and show-off is rubbing off on tiny tots. little kids come back home asking about the car we drive and the phone we use. if you do not spend time with kids and explain things to them - teach them the difference between good and bad/evil, expect them to make their own judgement.

    as an aside, the unwanted side-effect of feeding an imaginative and curious mind, is an endless stream of questions. "when can i die and see grandpa?" "i want to die now and go to live in palaces where i can have everything i want". "oh, i wish i were dead...and gone to heaven"
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  19. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    I would say this needs to be taught regardless of what schooling option is chosen.

    One of the main problems with public schooling, in addition to the more common ones such as negative teachings / environment / influence, is that it consumes a significant amount of a child's time - 6 to 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks a month, 10 months a year for 14 to 15 years.....these are the prime years a child / teen / young adult has to learn and study Islam with no responsibilities.

    So when a child spends an entire day at public school, they then come home and would need a session with parents to debunk any junk they learned and correct their perspectives (as per your points). Then additional time would be spent on top of this for Qur'an recitation and memorization. These important aspects though are being taught to the child when they are at their lowest energy levels for the day and are tired, making it less effective and taxing on the child.

    Hence the benefit of home schooling or an Islamic school - the items you mentioned are integrated in the lessons in the first place along with Qur'an, etc. therefore there's no additional time added on the child.

    One of the aims of home schooling / Islamic school should be that the student becomes fluent in reading, writing and speaking Arabic over the course of these 15 years, or at least have a solid foundation in it. With public schooling I would say it is impossible for children to learn Arabic on the side.
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  20. Juwayni

    Juwayni Veteran

    As Salamu 'Alaykum Wa RaHmatullāhi Wa Barakatu,

    There may be a fourth option. What if there was a series of books written for parents to teach their children how to survive an environment like public schools. Examples includes knowing how to address topics like evolution, social interactions in that environment, and dawah - all from a Sunni perspective.

    The fact of the matter is that a Sunni Islamic school is something that may not happen soon. Moreover, many of us have had to learn rational proofs against atheism, research evolutionary theory, and familiarize ourselves with refuting heretical sects. This is because we encounter a multitude of people in many aspects of life - often many of whom we disagree with.

    Thus, the most practical solution is to directly educate parents and children. You'll find in history examples like Said Nursi ('Alayhi Rahmah) and his Risale Nur that he wrote with the intent of protecting Turks whose children went through the secular education system.

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