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Homeschooling: On NY Times’s Stereotyping

school.gifFor once, MM is slightly behind on an interesting and relevant news story – you can blame me for that, though! :)

The notorious Neil MacFarquhar recently wrote an article in the NYT about Muslims turning to homeschooling – with the now-typical negative slant, making it seem as though the only reasons for which Muslim parents choose to homeschool their children is to prepare their daughters for a lifetime of servanthood in their husbands’ households or to protect them from ever reading books about pigs.

As someone who has been homeschooled for years (since grade 6), along with my brothers, MacFarquhar’s article irritated me quite a bit – first there’s the obvious insulting insinuations against Muslims (making us seem isolationist, oppressive against women, etc.); and then there’s the total disregard for how homeschooling is a viable education option for not just Muslims, but many nonMuslims as well, for both moral/ religious and academic reasons. In fact, it’s been recorded and reported that homeschooled students do just as well as, if not better than, those who attend public or private schools. Colleges covet homeschoolers; this report from the ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education mentions that homeschooled students have parents with higher education, achieve high grades and are more likely to be enrolled in a grade or two above the rest of their public/ privately-schooled peers.

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AlHamdulillaah, one of the sisters interviewed in the article has responded strongly and eloquently, pointing out the obvious distortions, manipulations, and outright lies evident in Mr. Farquhar’s piece of trash (as well as answering some questions people may have about homeschooling, like the whole “socialization” issue). (Hijab flutter to UmmZaid.)

Ms. Khan-Mukhtar’s letter to the Editor of the New York Times

Dear Editor,

I agreed to speak with Mr. MacFarquhar in hopes of getting some “truth” out there about why many Muslims are opting to homeschool. Imagine my dismay to find that, out of our lengthy discussion, he cherry-picked the one quote that was the least indicative of why my family chose to homeschool. To suggest that a decision as important as homeschooling was arrived at only out of a fear that “our kids might like pigs if they go to public school” was an insult not only to me but also to the readers of the NY Times. Mr. MacFarquhar admits that it was difficult to find willing interviewees, and he boldly suggests that the Muslims’ reticence might be out of a fear of being associated with homeschooled Al-Qaeda spokesmen. No, Mr. MacFarquhar, look in the mirror and you’ll see why many Muslims don’t believe the media comes to them in good faith.

Hina Khan-Mukhtar

Ms. Khan-Mukhtar’s Letter to Bay Area Muslim Home Schoolers

Thanks for being a voice of reason at a time when I (in particular) am feeling really disheartened and disillusioned. I’ve already emailed the reporter and he’s not responding (surprise, surprise).

It’s unnerving how easily the media can “take” what they want even if one sticks to one’s “talking points”. I tried really hard to stay away from religion and talked more about my experience as a public school teacher (where I wished I could have more one on one time with struggling students), my own children’s learning challenges (one son didn’t learn to read till after age 8 and, thanks to hs’ing, his self-esteem is still intact), the hs’ers ability to choose superior
educational materials (reading classics vs. basal readers in school), the lack of exposure to Islamic history curriculum in the public schools. “If one doesn’t know his history, how can he be proud of it? I grew up thinking the only thing Muslims contributed to civilization was algebra,” I said.

When the reporter asked me if we were worried about our kids growing up thinking everyone is bad and only they are good, I told him, “No, I don’t worry about that, because we don’t teach our children that only Muslims are the best. We teach them that Muslim values are the best. And Muslim values can be found in anyone anywhere. That’s why we teach our kids about Abraham Lincoln, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., Benjamin Franklin, etc. That’s also why we teach our kids about Salauddin Ayubbi and Shah Jahan and Ibn Battuta. We don’t want our children thinking that Osama Bin Laden is the only one who represents their religion.” I mentioned how our kids have read “Number the Stars” this year (a book about the persecution of Jews in Denmark during WWII and a young Christian girl’s sacrifice for her best friend) and “In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson” (a book about a Chinese girl’s assimilation into American culture while retaining respect for her family’s back-home ways). We’re teaching our kids that we’re part of humanity and everyone faces the same type of challenges and problems that we as Muslims do.

He asked me about “socialization” (the most common question) and I mentioned Little League, Boy/Girl Scouts, working with the Contra Costa Food Bank during Ramadan, sending cookies and baskets to our neighbors on Xmas and Hannukah, planning a litter clean-up campaign in the neighborhood, future plans for working in a homeless shelter, etc.

When he asked me about why we chose homeschooling, I compared raising Muslim children to an eastern martial arts tradition (i.e. Karate, Tae Kwan Do, etc., something people in the West understand and respect). The homeschooling setting is a place where the kids have a teacher whom they look up to and where the teacher should embody the values he/she is trying to impart to the students. I said that there were three parts to raising a Muslim child — teaching about (1) Islamic jurisprudence (the do’s and don’ts of the religion ), (2) Muslim etiquette (how to behave in society), and (3) Muslim culture (poetry, singing, history, appreciating things of beauty in the world around us and reflecting on God’s blessings in everything we see, etc.). Some (not all) of the madrassas we hear about in the news tend to focus on the Islamic jurisprudence and none of the beauty and that’s why we see individuals who have skewed views of the world (this was in response to his question about how we were hoping to avoid creating the types of egotistical Muslims we’ve seen doing damage in the world).

When asked about civic engagement, I told him that we were trying to raise Muslims who would be a source of pride not only to their fellow Muslims but also their fellow Americans. We’re trying to raise the future leaders of America, not leaders of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. The Muslim way of prosletyzing isn’t to go knocking on doors trying to teach others about their faith but to live a life that is so full of dignity and grace that others are attracted to them on their own. My own opinion is that these values are hard to teach properly when they’re only limited to Sunday School mornings or after 4 pm when the kids return from “real school”. Every moment of the day is a teaching opportunity and hs’ers seize those moments to teach grammar and math along with reflections on what it means to be a proper Muslim and how to behave with peers and adults and those younger than us. I mentioned that we love America, that this is our home and we’re not going anywhere, and we want to produce productive citizens who can represent Americans and Muslims in the best manner possible. I told him about how we all value the ideal that the public school system represents — that every citizen is entitled to a free education. How we support that ideal, yet we are grateful that this wonderful country also gives us the option to educate our children in the manner we choose as best. I told him that there just aren’t enough hours in the day and there’s so much to teach; that’s one of the reasons hs’ing suits our lifestyle, we can pick and choose what we focus on.

I mentioned to him my own experiences of growing up in the States, going to school here, and how there were many things I wasn’t allowed to do. I told him that I wanted my own children to hear more “yeses” than “no’s” in their educational experience so that they wouldn’t grow up viewing their religion as a reason for being kept from doing “fun things” all the time. I told him that I wanted my kids to recognize that they have a dual identity — an American identity and a Muslim one — and that those two identities can be in harmony with one another and not in conflict. He asked me for an example where I thought there could be a potential for my kids to feel “left out” and I gave him the short “Why I Like Pigs” example from my child’s kindergarten class. I had been debating about homeschooling at the time and when I saw those booklets on each of the student’s desks, all the memories of always being the one who was “different” came flooding back to me, and I took it as a sign that I should be providing an environment (at least in the early years) where my kids felt comfortable and strong in their religion before making them have to explain why they couldn’t do this or that all the time. I shared my hesitation about telling that story, I even emailed him later telling him that I was concerned that that incident would be misrepresented.

And, lo and behold, I was right. Out of everything I told him, that’s the one part he used, and the impression for readers is that I came to a decision as important as homeschooling only because I was afraid, “Oh no! If my kids go to public school, they might like pigs!” How insulting.

I told him over and over about my concerns about how Muslims and home schoolers are portrayed in the media, how the only reason I was speaking to him was to get some “truth” out there and to clear up some misconceptions.

He did send me a list of my quotes that he was planning to use (some that I was actually satisfied with) with the mention that some may be edited due to limited space. When the article came out, all the quotes I was hoping would make it were cut and the one that I didn’t want (the pigs story) stayed in. Gee, wonder why? I am grateful, however, that he accommodated me in one matter. In the original list, he mentioned that I am part of a co-op that teaches Quran and Arabic. I wrote him back and asked him to mention one of the many secular subjects we teach as well — cooking, sewing, carpentry, tae kwan do, art, science, history, etc. He did work with me on that. (In retrospect, I remember him chuckling and asking, “So the girls learn cooking and sewing?” and I responded heartily, “Oh no, boys too! Learning how to stitch has been great for my son’s fine motor skills!”…I had no idea what angle he was coming from, now I do, after reading about his take on the Lodi community.)

Anyway, I mentioned here some of the things I said not to “defend” myself but to offer some “talking points” to others who are thinking of continuing the dialogue. I’m out (at least for now).

Wassalaam,
Hina

Related:

From Home-School to “Real School”

Homeschool FAQ

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Zainab bint Younus is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

60 Comments

60 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Manas Shaikh

    April 4, 2008 at 9:07 AM

    We need out own journalists. Better still- our own journal.

  2. Avatar

    Mezba

    April 4, 2008 at 10:02 AM

    Isn’t the reporter right though, bottom line, that the reason many Muslim parents (and non-Muslims) homeschool is exactly due to that reason – if the kids go to public school they will get “corrupted” (i.e. become like pigs)? It was her quote after all.

    I am not defending media’s treatment of Muslims but I think here the article touched on some right points. Basically homeschoolers should say

    1) Why did you not let your kids go to public school?

    2) What benefit are you getting from being educated at home by people (parents) who are a) not qualified to teach and b) not knowledgable to the degree a teacher would be in subjects like Chemistry, Biology etc.

    3) Are the objections to educating a kid in public school cannot be fixed? Isn’t it better for Muslims to mingle with society so society knows them better and they can fight for their rights within the system?

    You might find this discussion interesting – it’s a Canadian Muslim girl’s blog and the post has discussions by mostly Canadian Muslim public school teachers.

  3. Avatar

    sincethestorm

    April 4, 2008 at 10:22 AM

    I’ve noticed that as a community we have a defensive approach to the Muslim bashers. We are so focused on projecting an image and defending our choices so they will think we are normal. Muslims don’t go around asking why are you doing this or that? So why do we let others do it to us? Justifying your actions constantly is insulting and at some point we need to stop having an inferiority complex. We are spending time on individuals who have already made up their minds and have no desire to discover the truth. It seems like a huge waste of time!

  4. Avatar

    AbuFatimah

    April 4, 2008 at 10:34 AM

    As-Sallamu Alaykum,

    Masha’Allah, Sister. May Allah reward you for your excellent effort. Unfortunately these biased reporters will always “find” the story that suits them. What we need is more diversity in our media, and in particular more Muslim representation in its ranks.

    Will MM sponsor a campaign to raise funds for a journalism scholarship?

  5. Avatar

    AbuFatimah

    April 4, 2008 at 10:51 AM

    Mezba writes:
    >>2) What benefit are you getting from being educated at home by people (parents) who are a) not qualified to teach and b) not knowledgable to the degree a teacher would be in subjects like Chemistry, Biology etc.<>3) Are the objections to educating a kid in public school cannot be fixed? Isn’t it better for Muslims to mingle with society so society knows them better and they can fight for their rights within the system?<<

    the issue is that at a young age, our children are probably going to take more from their environments than they will contribute tp them. being taught by individuals that are not Muslim and often times have no fear or appreciating of Allah can be very detrimental to a child’s development. Islam teaches us to help our neighbors and contribute to society. If properly home-schooled, the child will be taught and encouraged to be active in the community.

  6. Avatar

    Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    April 4, 2008 at 11:11 AM

    As someone who has went to public school all my life here in T.O., I’d just like to say that you wouldn’t believe how many people have been destroyed religiously by going to these places. As one brother put it, for all you parents, putting your kids in public school is like throwing them into the hellfire yourself.

  7. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    April 4, 2008 at 12:04 PM

    You said: For once, MM is slightly behind on an interesting and relevant news story – you can blame me for that, though! :)

    You know if you were on islamify.com” you wouldn’t have missed the story because it was posted there.

    Remember, it’s where you can see what’s on the ummah’s mind!!!

  8. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    April 4, 2008 at 12:07 PM

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum,

    1) Why did you not let your kids go to public school?
    Sis Hina answered this quite well in her message.

    2) What benefit are you getting from being educated at home by people (parents) who are a) not qualified to teach and b) not knowledgable to the degree a teacher would be in subjects like Chemistry, Biology etc.

    There are two types of homeschooling: one where you (the parents) have to come up with a curriculum of your own and literally do everything yourself; and then there’s Distance Education, which is part of the Ministry of Education and provides you with curriculum, material, and teachers you communicate with over the phone/ email/ in person if you live close enough to the office.
    You’re doing everything that other kids are doing in public school, with qualified teachers, except in your own environment and at your own pace. Plus you can tweak things to make it more Islamically focused and so on.

    3) Are the objections to educating a kid in public school cannot be fixed? Isn’t it better for Muslims to mingle with society so society knows them better and they can fight for their rights within the system?

    See AbuFatimah’s comment above.
    Seriously, what do we see the majority of the time from Muslim kids who’re out in the public schools? Most of them end up losing themselves, their Deen. Remember, these are kids – young, still developing as people and learning from their environment and easily affected by the people they’re around. We can’t expect them to be strong enough to be able to get through it unscathed.
    BTW, homeschooling doesn’t mean that you’re totally removed from society and don’t mingle!

  9. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    April 4, 2008 at 12:10 PM

    “You know if you were on islamify.com” you wouldn’t have missed the story because it was posted there”

    We knew about it already (not from Islamify… bwahaha), I just took too long getting around to it. (Life and such, y’know.)

  10. Pingback: Islamify.com

  11. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    April 4, 2008 at 12:22 PM

    You know, not only are their stereotypes against Muslim girls who are being home schooled but generally in the media there are stereotypes against ALL homeschooled kids.

  12. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    April 4, 2008 at 12:23 PM

    AnonyMouse, you hurt my feelings.

  13. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    April 4, 2008 at 12:53 PM

    “but generally in the media there are stereotypes against ALL homeschooled kids.”

    Surprisingly, I’ve actually come across quite a few positive articles/ news stories in Canadian media about homeschooling… it could be because the majority of homeschoolers here choose Distance Ed. as opposed to the “create your own curriculum” method; also, homeschooling creates the opportunity to be involved in activities that aren’t always feasible for those in public schools (like travelling, or being involved in humanitarian work, etc.). For those who utilize these opportunities, there is a great deal to benefit from – benefits that non-h.s.-ers wouldn’t be able to experience.

    “Anonymouse, you hurt my feelings.”
    Awww, would you like a hanky?

  14. Pingback: Homeschooling Muslims « Reflections

  15. Avatar

    Nirgaz

    April 4, 2008 at 6:34 PM

    I myself am seriously considering homeschooling my son Salih next year…and mostly it has nothing to do with our faith.
    I happen to love the magnet school he attends here in Nashville TN. And it is on the pathway to MLK highschool magnet which was ranked 23 in the nation last year.
    I also am one of those who feel if you give your kid a strong identity of being a Muslim while they are at home, from birth up, that public school can be a very good thing.
    I also feel it makes a big difference if you the parent have experienced this school system versus parents who went to school back home or worser yet don’t know enough English to be able to keep up with what there kids are doing or who they are friends with.
    But why am I considering homeschooling…
    Salih started middleschool this year and has had a hard time of it. He goes to a majority African-American school where most kids his age are much taller and bigger than he is. He is half caucasian and half kurdish…both are working against him in the height area:) Anyways he has commented to me on several occasions of the emotional distress he has suffered by others picking on him for this. And while I am not so naive as to not realize that this is middle school and teasing is merciless at this time. I feel it is starting to really effect him and his ability to be succesful in school.

  16. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    April 4, 2008 at 9:07 PM

    nirgaz,

    Being picked on is not the only reason you should homeschool your son. Inshallah, you should keep track of my blog, I am going to launch a site dedicated exclusively to homeschooling inshallah by this weekend. It will discuss why you should homeschool in the first place and provide resources for muslim homeschoolers. keep your eyes peeled.

  17. Avatar

    Shirien

    April 5, 2008 at 12:23 AM

    Honestly, it’s quite shocking what kids learn these days in public school. Alhamdulillah I’ll be the first to admit our Islamic School here isnt top-notch in terms of quality, unfortunately.. but the akhlaaq, and innocence of the children make it worth it.

    They learn to be proud of being Muslim, and in the end when they are done with highschool and go to college, even though the education was slightly weaker in secular studies, they manage fine in college.

    3rd graders lost their innocence in public school. It’s really shocking and quite depressing.

    If you cant home school send them to Islamic School.

    I’ve been sent to public school all my life. Alhamdulillah Allah ‘az wa jal protected me from a lot…

    I definitely plan to home school my future kids for a while inshaAllah.

  18. Avatar

    Umm Reem

    April 5, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    I was just talking to one of my husband’s classmate’s wife this morning, and she is considering homeschooling her 5 year old daughter. She lives in MD and she said most of her neighbors homeschool (all non-Muslims) so much so that they have convinced her into homeschooling.

    She took her daughter on a Disney cruise for her birthday and she said most of the other children on the cruise were all homeschooled!! None of them were Muslims.

    It wouldn’t take long for one to know that how many parents are turning to homeschooling if one runs a little check on these online homeschooling websites and see the no. of children registered with them. Plus, how in past few years States have started offering virtual academy programs!
    If they didn’t have enough students these virtual academy programs would fail.

  19. Avatar

    Nirgaz

    April 5, 2008 at 7:07 PM

    Since he was five I have been considering homeschooling him…he first attended an islamic school but for several reasons I won’t go into that didn’t work out. He then came to these magnet schools and really blossomed in them. In one year he caught up two grade levels he was behind in.
    His being picked on is not the only reason I want to homeschool. It was just one that I was highlighting.
    Also I am well-informed on homeschooling and have done extensive research on it. You see I am a journalist and I am good at digging for info.
    Especially into Muslim homeschooling…
    http://www.arabesq.com/
    I especially like this site and have the book that this sister put together on tips on homeschooling the Muslim child.
    So I am not coming into this decision lightly, In fact its been one that’s been five years in the making.
    Insh’Allah I will look for your site in the future.

  20. Avatar

    khaled | Tajweed Podcast

    April 6, 2008 at 12:15 AM

    All i have read here you could also read this article which was published on Sydney Morning Harald This Saturday in Australia:
    “Off to uni as a child prodigy at 13, working as a prostitute at 23”
    Sufiah Yusof’s case has thrown a spotlight on the practice of hot-housing children for academic success, writes Lee Glendinning.

    ON A bright afternoon in 1997, Sufiah Yusof stood sandwiched between her father and younger sister, grinning into the middle distance. Dressed in an academic cap and gown, she posed for a photo after becoming one of the youngest undergraduates to gain entry to Oxford, aged just 13.

    Last weekend, a little over 10 years later, she is pictured in grainy black and white images that have surfaced in a British newspaper. They reveal the 23-year-old has reportedly begun working as a prostitute, hiring herself out for £130 ($285) an hour in a Manchester flat.

    [Rest of story on the Herald.]

    Sydney Morning Herald 5/04/08

    wasalam

  21. Pingback: Vida halal | Homeschooling & journalisme | label halal - article - Halal & halal | Al-Kanz, site d'information des consommateurs musulmans

  22. Avatar

    Aboo Abdillah H

    April 6, 2008 at 10:02 PM

    Homeschooling is a good way to keep our children protected from the evils and filth of the kufaar.

    Nirgaz, sending our children to black schools is the worse thing a Muslim can do.

  23. Avatar

    Tahira

    April 8, 2008 at 5:47 AM

    As a muslim raised in public schools I can see the benefits and consequences of it having an education within the greater society. My parents gave us a strong Islamic identity and expected alot from us religiously. I was also taught to keep good company so my friends didn’t partake in the haraam things of school society. But if I did have unsavory friends they didn’t stay my friends for long. My parents were always watching us, my dad was a public school teacher, so if I made a did make a mistake the iron hammer came down. LOL I found that my cohorts that attended muslims schools faced the same issues that we did in public schools.

    I had friends that taught at Islamic schools that would tell stories of parents that wouldn’t raise their children with Islamic principles, their kids would get into “trouble” at public schools, and then they would hurry them into muslim schools in the false hope that the school would “save” them. So I can appeciate a parent that wants an education at a muslim school but remember that the same issues that are faced in public/private schools are faced in muslim schools.

    Insha’allah I plan on educating my children at home using the classical education method. I’m not homeschooling just to keep away from the ills of public schools, but rather to give my child an education that is demanding and teaches them how to criticially think.

    “Nirgaz, sending our children to black schools is the worse thing a Muslim can do”

    Now this comment got to me. As an african american muslim, a child of converts, and a former student of a “black school” this comment offends me. I do not deny that some schools, regardless of ethnicity, are filled with students that you don’t want your children influenced by. But to suggest that blacks schools are of a special concern to muslims and sending you child their would somehow be worse than a school made up of any other ethnic group is incorrect. This is unfortunately another example of muslims buying into the prejudiced and lowly thinking of blacks that is so prevalent within American society. It’s saddening.

  24. Avatar

    anon

    April 8, 2008 at 8:41 AM

    “This is unfortunately another example of muslims buying into the prejudiced and lowly thinking of blacks that is so prevalent within American society. It’s saddening”

    Well said, I was actually wondering if anyone else noticed that comment. Quite frankly, I think the worst thing a muslim could do would be to raise his children to be bigots and racists, which apparently some peope have no problem with.

  25. Amad

    Amad

    April 8, 2008 at 9:32 AM

    Aboo Abdillah H, I believe, is African-American himself. But apparently doesn’t find much comfort in it. He has put similarly distasteful and prejudiced comments at other blogs.

    I think that his mistake comes from conflating some of the evils in society with race. He doesn’t realize that when you sweep a whole race under the rug, as American society did to African-Americans for hundreds of years, it takes TIME and EFFORT for such a nation to pull itself up from poverty and social problems. And usually this nation needs help, which is why I am personally a big believer in affirmative action. Many African-Americans have picked themselves up from the vicious cycle of poverty and more will continue to do so.

    Instead of cursing one’s own people, Aboo Abdillah and other similarly disillusioned BAM brothers would do better by becoming part of the solution. And that means removing oneself from cultish mentalities.

    Inshallah, we will have an outstanding exclusive article on MM by Tariq Nelson in the upcoming week, which addresses some of these sentiments. Look out for it!

    w/s

  26. Avatar

    Aboo Abdillah H

    April 8, 2008 at 7:43 PM

    I called myself “African-American” BEFORE embracing Islam. I am a Muslim upon the Sunnah now walhamdulillah and I do not appreciate being associated with lowly people. Islaam is not about race and is for all of mankind and there is no room for nationalism.

    My point in my post above is that the blacks are immoral and will only pass on their immorality to Muslim children. I am amazed that a Muslim would send their children to such a school because those people are so predatory.

    I think that we can all agree that homeschooling is the answer to keeping our kids safe because we can warn our children of the dangers of the kufaar

    O Sunni/Salafi, ponder upon the words of the ‘ulamaa’ and ask Allah for firmness upon the sunnah. Be neither bewildered by the likes of Tariq Nelson and other than him that call us to mix our affairs with those of the kufaar and declare their open hatred for the salafis and call to the innovations of the 72 destroyed sects upon opposition to the way of our salafus saalih. Do not be beguilded by the so-called eloquent speakers of the parties and organizations upon haraam unity pledges and tolerance of false methodologies.

    We ask Allah to guide us and them to that which pleases Him (subhaanah)

  27. Avatar

    Qas

    April 8, 2008 at 8:36 PM

    I wonder … could the kunyas of Salman Al-Farsi, Bilal Al-Habshi or Suhayb ar-Rumi all be indicating their ethnicities…

  28. Avatar

    AnonyMouse

    April 8, 2008 at 9:01 PM

    “the blacks are immoral and will only pass on their immorality to Muslim children.”

    No. Those who are immoral, are immoral regardless of their race… not BECAUSE of it. Whites, blacks, browns, and purples all have their own issues but that does NOT make any of them better or worse than any other race.

    It is more accurate to say that many schools, especially those in impoverished or troubled areas, are harmful to the children of this Ummah… there’s no need to bring race into it.

  29. Avatar

    Aboo Abdillah H

    April 8, 2008 at 10:43 PM

    AnonyMouse, there is no question that the black schools are much worse and many Muslims are sending their children to these schools that are destroying their Islaam. I want nothing to do with none of the kufaar and their sickness. This is why our fires should not see their fires. This is why we should separate from them and their filthy way of life before they infect all of us.

    Every Muslim that can not make hijrah should pull their children out and home school their children upon Islaam and the Sunnah and keep them far far away from these people.

    We must establish correct home school curriculums derived from the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His Messenger [sallallahu alaihi wa sallam] and what the righteous Salaf were upon so as to educate the [forthcoming] generations with it. Perhaps it would be a good project to translate some or all of the Saudi curriculum into English for our children.

    May Allaah protect us from the filth of the kufaar

  30. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    April 9, 2008 at 1:16 AM

    aboo abdillah – just curious, thats some strong rhetoric. is it safe to assume you are living in a muslim country and free from filth? :)

  31. Avatar

    Umm Zaid

    April 9, 2008 at 1:05 PM

    Salaam ‘Alaikum

    //is exactly due to that reason – if the kids go to public school they will get “corrupted” (i.e. become like pigs)? It was her quote after all.//

    Mezba, that is exactly what she did not say. Please read her letter yourself. The “pigs” thing was (a) a book about pigs, and (b) mentioned in the context of her memories of being the kid who didn’t fit in, and not wanting that for her kids — in the context of many other reasons for home schooling that she placed more emphasis on. In add’n, Sister Hina was a teacher in public school who saw that she, as a teacher, wasn’t even afforded the time or resources to spend more one on one time with kids who needed it. She didn’t say anything about “corrupted” or “becoming like pigs,” nor did she ever imply that public school kids are pig like. Unfair, Mezba.

    // What benefit are you getting from being educated at home by people (parents) who are a) not qualified to teach and b) not knowledgable to the degree a teacher would be in subjects like Chemistry, Biology etc.//

    What makes you think that public school teachers are knowledgeable in these subjects? We’ve all read the books and newspaper and magazine articles about what’s going on in some of our public schools (and this could apply to a great many schools as well). Many have degrees in Education, not a degree in Chemistry or Biology. Some universities do have teachers do sub-specialties and some states allow people with these degrees to become teachers even though they don’t have the all holy B.Ed. Personally, I think Schools of Education are part of the problem. Who is “qualified to teach” more than a parent? Parents teach their children so much in life outside of school — a sincere, bright parent who makes use of resources can do just fine teaching their child at home. Should we parents stop teaching our children things b/c we don’t have official credentials from the people who decided they are the official credentialers? Is the knowledge of ABCs and 123s so specialized and dangerous that we can’t have it in the hands of untrained amateurs? I am very, very wary of anti-homeschooling sentiments from Muslims, considering the great importance that is supposedly placed on the place of the parents, esp. the mother, and the hikma and such that they have to pass on. (Not to mention, “home schooling” is the way it’s been done for centuries pretty much everywhere).

    I went to public schools — some of the best in my state — and my teachers weren’t professional chemists who decided to teach for the love of learning. They were teachers with M.Eds or B.Eds who were teachers. Maybe sincere, but I didn’t learn anything from a lot of these folks that I couldn’t have learned from my own parents (if my parents had been of the home schooling inclination, which they aren’t… but that didn’t stop my dad from dragging out 800 page tomes on Chinese history when I mentioned, “We’re doing a chapter on China in Social Studies.”)

    //Are the objections to educating a kid in public school cannot be fixed? Isn’t it better for Muslims to mingle with society so society knows them better and they can fight for their rights within the system?//

    I don’t send my children to school so they can learn to rage against the machine. They’re there to learn. I don’t believe in burdening a 5 or 8 or 12 year old child with the “fight for your rights” mantras. Our Muslim American community is obsessed with this idea of battling the man. It’s tiring. Beyond whatever educational problems a given district has, there are also social issues to be considered. As the parent of a teenage girl, I cannot imagine ever subjecting her to the type of public high school I went to as a teen (that really good one, you know). I know we all hear horror stories about Islamic schools, but at least it’s not being taught and normalized to them. At least, at least there are a few things we parents can hold on to when it comes to *our* community’s private schools. That the nurse isn’t handing out condoms or scripts for birth control is just one of them.

  32. Avatar

    Meena

    April 9, 2008 at 9:44 PM

    Umm Zaid – “What makes you think that public school teachers are knowledgeable in these subjects?” – you are mistaken, teachers in Canada at least face a lot of competition. You DO have to be trained in your subject area so I’m not sure where you’re getting that information from. I’m a public school teacher and EVERY year we are trained – it’s an ongoing process from university. Perhaps schools in the States are different. Of course parents should be teaching their children their abc’s and 123’s, I think you’re missing the point Mezba made, these things aren’t restricted to teachers only, but when you reach the higher levels and the subjects become more specialized and you have stay at home mothers who didn’t finish their own education, well the children isn’t getting everything he/she SHOULD be getting and is entitled to get, if they live in the West at least. Please do not insult all teachers to say that what they’ve studied is worth nothing. Most of us are very passionate about what we do but you will always find a few bad apples in the pack (as in all fields).

  33. Avatar

    Meena

    April 9, 2008 at 9:47 PM

    And BTW the race remarks in the comments above are very disturbing. Are the comments not moderated here or is it quantity over quality?

    You will find that at many black-focused schools, the majority of the children ARE Muslim, the comment therefore is an insult to these brothers and sisters of ours and very hurtful.

  34. Amad

    Amad

    April 9, 2008 at 10:39 PM

    Meena, comments are definitely moderated and we operate under rules described under “Modus Operandi” on the left. We lean towards leaving a comment that’s in the grey area vs deleting it to allow more free flow of communication.

    Sometimes it is important to leave certain comments to show how despicable and sad those positions are, and to recognize that some Muslims indeed hold those positions. And it is important to refute them.

  35. Avatar

    Aboo Abdillah H

    April 10, 2008 at 8:11 AM

    strong rhetoric? It is not a hadith that our fires should not see their’s? We should all be living in Muslim lands to keep ourselves and our families protected. Short of that we fear Allaah as much as we can. Some can not make hijrah to a Muslim land and must do the best they can and do things like home school and bring as much Islaam into their homes as possible while protecting their family from the filth on the outside world. It is tragic to allow muslim children to be around the kufaar and become corrupted by them.

    The majority of children at black schools are not Muslim. That is a myth and I say again that there is no way a Muslim should send their children to such a school

    Amad, can you show me which of my positions is “sad” and “despicable” with proof from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of his Messenger [sallallahu alaihi wa sallam].

    Is it “sad” that we should make hijrah from the kaafir lands?
    Is it that if we can not do that then we should shield our children by all means from the kufaar by homeschooling them?

    I will go first:

    Allaah the Most High has said: “You will not find a people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred (people)…”

    Sooratul Mujaadilah 58:22

    The Messenger [sallallahu alaihi wa sallam] also warned against the people of innovation, from befriending, supporting or taking from them saying:

    “Whoever innovates or accommodates an innovator then upon him is the Curse of Allaah, His Angels and the whole of mankind.”

    Reported by Imaams al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.

    If we are to remain away from innovators, then how much more so are we to remain far far away from the kufaar?

    We also find the Noble Companions and the Taabi’een after them warning from the danger of innovations upon the Ummah and its people.

    Ibn Abbaas, radiyallaahu ‘anhu said: “Indeed the most detestable of things to Allaah are the innovations.”

    Reported by al-Bayhaqee in as-Sunan al-Kubraa (4/316)

    Sufyaan ath-Thawree said:

    “Innovation is more beloved to Iblees than sin, since a sin may be repented from but innovation is not repented from.”

    Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (no. 238)

    Ibraaheem bin Maysarah said: “Whoever honors an innovator has aided in the destruction of Islaam.”

    Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (1/139).

    Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyaad said: ”I met the best of people, all of them people of the Sunnah and they used to forbid from accompanying the people of innovation.”

    Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (no.267)

    Al-Hasan al-Basree said: “Do not sit with the people of innovation and desires, nor argue with them, nor listen to them.”

    Reported by ad-Daarimee in his Sunan (1/121)

    Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyaad said: “Whoever sits with a person of innovation, then beware of him and whoever sits with a person of innovation has not been given wisdom. I love that there was fort of iron between me and a person of innovation. That I eat with a Jew and a Christian is more beloved to me than that I eat with a person of innovation.”

    Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee (no.1149)

    Al-Layth bin Sa’d (d. 175H) said: “If I saw a person of desires (i.e. innovations) walking upon the water I would not accept from him.” So Imaam as-Shaafi’ee then said: “He (al-Layth) has fallen short. If I saw him walking in the air I would not accept from him.”
    Reported by as-Suyootee in al-Amr bil ‘Ittibaa wan-Nahee anil Ibtidaa’.

    Let us investigate my words in light of the above. The people of the Sunnah are not be tricked by tears and soft words. Bid’ah is bid’ah no matter how it comes, or who it comes from and indeed all bid’ah is misguidance and all misguidance leads to the Hell fire

    So since it is important to “refute” me, let me see it

  36. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    April 10, 2008 at 11:11 AM

    you still didn’t answer my question, is it safe to assume you are living in a muslim country and living free from all the filth you have described? :)

  37. Avatar

    anon

    April 10, 2008 at 11:30 AM

    Most likely he’s living in the good ol US of A off the filthy kufar and their filthy Section 8

  38. Avatar

    Mezba

    April 10, 2008 at 4:05 PM

    The main sentiment expressed here by supporters of home schooling seems to be that if you let your kids go to a public school they will get corrupted. Again no one here is refuting that and the lady in the article also seems to feel that. I feel this sort of sentiment is just a delusion.

    1. Public school teachers not only have knowledge in how to teach (an M.Ed. degree) but also knowledge of their subjects.

    2. Public school offers much more than just education – for example you can join a sports team, you can join a crafts / arts team, or go on field trips with people your age.

    3. It helps in pupils learn to deal with kids who have different belief systems.

    4. As Muslims – we are supposed to take care of our neighbors and our neighborhood and our community – not bunker down and not deal with it.

    5. Parents have responsibility to teach kids about Deen and spend time with them and get to know them and keep them on the right path – regardless of whether they are homeschooled or not.

  39. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    April 10, 2008 at 4:37 PM

    1) Homeschooling doesn’t just mean a parent tries to teach their kids everything straight from their heads. What you actually do is register with a distance education school that provides the curriculum, material, and TEACHERS who mark your assignments, write report cards, etc. Thus, you’re recieving the same education that kids in public school are getting, except in a better environment and you can tweak things to suit your situation.

    2) You can do the same through homeschooling also.

    3) See above, except that it’s up to parents to teach their kids how to deal with and respond to those with different beliefs.

    4) Homeschooling doesn’t stop you from stepping out into the world and experiencing life.

    5) Yes, of course – however, it is undeniable that it’s a lot easier to do it when the kids are homeschooled.

  40. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    April 10, 2008 at 4:39 PM

    I think a lot of the criticisms brought up against homeschooling is due to ignorance of how exactly it works and not realizing that socialization and other kinds of learning, development, and growth CAN and DO happen/ are available to homeschooled kids. Just because you’re homeschooled doesn’t mean that you don’t go out, don’t have any friends, and don’t do anything outside of home!

  41. Amad

    Amad

    April 10, 2008 at 5:07 PM

    These 2 kids, 10 & 7 are home-schooled:

    Abdullah’s Galaxy & Reemo’s World.

    They are doing quite fine actually mashallah.

  42. Avatar

    Aboo Abdillah H

    April 10, 2008 at 7:56 PM

    No ibnabeeumar, I am not in the land of the Muslims, but I am doing all I can to protect my children from the evil effects of the kufaar. This is why homeschooling is the way for Muslims. We must protect our children. Those who send their children to public school are astray and putting their children in deep deep danger. This is the point

    I would like to respond to the quote above:

    ////1. Public school teachers not only have knowledge in how to teach (an M.Ed. degree) but also knowledge of their subjects.///

    Kaafir teachers?

    ////2. Public school offers much more than just education – for example you can join a sports team, you can join a crafts / arts team, or go on field trips with people your age./////

    What is the benefit in Muslim children befriending kaafir children in their games?

    ///3. It helps in pupils learn to deal with kids who have different belief systems.///

    So that they can apostate??

    ///4. As Muslims – we are supposed to take care of our neighbors and our neighborhood and our community – not bunker down and not deal with it.///

    Our responsibility here is to call these people to Allaah and not clean up their neighborhoods and feed them. The ulamaa have explained that if we only call to tawheed and left everything else then our dawah is sufficient. It is better to be uneducated and live in a filthy neighborhood on tawheed than in a clean neighborhood on shirk.

    ///5. Parents have responsibility to teach kids about Deen and spend time with them and get to know them and keep them on the right path – regardless of whether they are homeschooled or no///

    Those that are not homeschooling are neglecting their duties as parents

  43. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    April 11, 2008 at 12:17 AM

    what exactly is wrong with kaafir teachers? i think you have a slightly twisted perception of walaa and baraa. may i ask, where did you attend school? were you homeschooled all your life by people free of bidah shirk or any other shortcoming? since you are in america i am guessing you went through the education system here to some degree right?

    also, whats wrong with them playing sports with other kids? won’t they have to interact with “kaafir children” at some point?? moreover, how do you expect to fulfill the responsibility you mentioned of calling these people to tawheed if you don’t interact with them??

    lastly – do you work for a “kaafir”??? who’s cutting your check? :)

    anyway i think you make some rather bold assertions that don’t reflect reality. regarding your statement,

    Our responsibility here is to call these people to Allaah and not clean up their neighborhoods and feed them. The ulamaa have explained that if we only call to tawheed and left everything else then our dawah is sufficient. It is better to be uneducated and live in a filthy neighborhood on tawheed than in a clean neighborhood on shirk.

    I would rather contend that our duty as muslims is to live in a clean neighborhood AND call them to tawheed all while interacting with them in a polite manner. there’s too many people with delusions like this who fool themselves into lifestyles that have destructive effects on their families in the name of “living upon tawheed’ (in a nonmuslim country!!)

  44. ibnabeeomar

    ibnabeeomar

    April 11, 2008 at 12:37 AM

    also let me just point out, i’m not taking issue with homeschooling instead of going to public school. i would send my kids to public school as a last resort, however, i think some of the reasoning given is a *bit* extreme and unrealistic in my opinion. if we pull them out because of “oh my God they’re next to a kaafir” then how can we expect them to work or live in this society? especially when making hijrah is not within everyone’s means.

    i also don’t think homeschool or islamic school precludes people from being able to interact with non-muslims, however, the etiquettes and manners need to be taught. i dont think that the “dirty kuffaar” attitude though, is the way to go.

  45. Avatar

    Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    April 11, 2008 at 12:31 PM

    The main sentiment expressed here by supporters of home schooling seems to be that if you let your kids go to a public school they will get corrupted. Again no one here is refuting that and the lady in the article also seems to feel that. I feel this sort of sentiment is just a delusion.

    With all due respect, anyone who believes that public schools are not a major source of corruption for Muslim kids is totally out of touch with reality. There is absolutely no question that many of the kids who go to these schools, some of whom come from a very religious background, get trainwrecked religiously because of the public school environment. I myself have seen many girls enter high school with hijaab and relatively modest clothing (i.e. not necessarily abayah) only to end up in senior year wearing the tightest clothing and intermingling with/dating guys (Muslim AND non-muslim). I have seen many guys who had very nice, modest characters turn “gangsta” with the worst akhlaaq. There are even kids who leave Islam entirely. That is not to say that public school is the only cause for these things happening but for anyone to question whether or not public school is a major cause of these things happening is, I think, ludicrous (at least as it applies to Canada).

  46. Avatar

    Umm Layth

    April 12, 2008 at 12:10 AM

    I don’t care how accredited a teacher is, I would never ever put my children into public school. Though I believe the main reason to avoid putting them into this crappy system is education, I also know there are many other factors that will make my first reason a whole lot stronger.

  47. Avatar

    Umm Layth

    April 12, 2008 at 12:18 AM

    . Public school offers much more than just education – for example you can join a sports team, you can join a crafts / arts team, or go on field trips with people your age.

    I read an article of a parent who tried to get her public school to teach the kids trade type skills and they refused to because there was no time. If the real things that matter are not important, what is the point anymore? All this scheduled learning is it really benefiting our children and preparing them for life outside of school? Why are they slaves to a system and imprisoned for so long? Why should they lose their innocence and be told what they can and can’t learn, if they are smart enough for this or too dumb for that? I don’t know how Canada works, but I would like to know what focus these teachers are really putting into training children to be adults.

  48. Avatar

    Umm Layth

    April 12, 2008 at 12:19 AM

    I mean, responsible, educated, and caring adults. Think Leader.

  49. Avatar

    A.Ashfaq

    April 12, 2008 at 6:12 AM

    Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

    I havent read all the comments, but i do attend public school here in the uk, i’ll give you my insight and i may raise a few issues…

    SubhanAllah it is difficult and muslim kids are suffereing due to the environment they are put in, for me personally i went from non-practicing to practicing in school, so i never had to face the culture shock those who go in newly face. These brothers and sisters who do go in like this find it very difficult and i can understand why, personally within my school i have tried to talk to these girls and Alhamdulillah most of the have matured but some haven’t.

    Sometimes my eman level goes down, because it is not the environment where Allah subhana wa tala is remembered, seeing it first hand i will not send my children there inshAllah, not only are the students damaging to the children due to their influence, but i find teachers who are supposed to role models also can push a child towards haram. For example i wear hijab and jilbab, alhamdulillah i have a good relationship with my RE teacher, but the advice she gives me is, ‘go and have fun, go out and taste the world, leave home, stay away from home for a year’ knowing my teacher indirectly this means; take off your hijab, have a relationship, and this is what Allah made haram! Fo rme i will just state no, i’m having fun worshipping Allah, thankyou very much, but the girls sometimes do take it in and i have to make a real effort explaining the no’s and why’s.

    However 94% of muslim children if i remember correctly attend public schools, shall we abondon them? where i attend alhmadulillah there is some dawah, and those that are practicing, personally there is only 3 people i know in my school who are and alhmadulillah these three people are really helping them. I just cant imagine school without dawah, it would be dead!

    Home schooling is good, but how do we deal with the problem of eduacating the rest of the muslim kids.

    Sorry for the long post….went off a bit off topic, okay maybe loads, inshAllah theres some benefit in it.

    wasalaam

  50. Avatar

    A.Ashfaq

    April 12, 2008 at 5:34 PM

    What i want to also add is homeschooling is good, alhamdulillah but it’s not going to happen to everybody, if you say stay away from the kaafirs in the US or the UK, it’s a tad bit unrealistic, and its not going to happen, we should not teach our kids to hate them, rather to guide them, through islam. If we sprout hate, this is only going to further thier sterotypes, we are here and whilst we are we have to be the best examples.

    I know teachers who go through public school and alhamdulillah, they are helping the kids, sometimes…just sometimes there is benefit for a good muslim to be in that environment, we are not leaving these countries, 6 million in the US i think, all migrating to muslim lands i dont think so, its not going to happen. I think we should focus on how to help the kids here.

    I be around them and i can tell you they crave guidance and there is no-one to give it them, and we shoud even non-muslims, remember we will be questioned on how we delivered the message to them!

    Home schoolers are cool, and i’m not falling for the silly sterotypes, however there are some really good things happening in public schools and there are muslims there, lets discuss what we are going to do to help them, rather than say public schools are a waste of time and lets forget about them. Going to public school i can tell you there are good times and bad times, but what the non-muslims now know about islam due to our presence is amazing, we can really help islam by being in the situation that Allah has put us in, i’m noy say fall into it, rather cope with the task with ihsaan.

    Wallahu alam

  51. Avatar

    Saja

    April 12, 2008 at 10:22 PM

    Asalaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh,

    Wow. I graduated from a public high school last year, and I’m currently in university to become an elementary school teacher. I am amazed at what’s being said about public schools, teachers, and other races.

    If I had the opportunity to change my K-12 experience in the public school system, I wouldn’t. I was the only hijabi in high school, was in all those diversity and community service clubs, never partied, drank, went to a school dance/prom etc. and neither did any of my (nonmuslim and female) friends. I loved high school. Does that make me a bad person? It’s all about finding the right mix of participating in all the (right) activies, clubs, etc. and making all those memories without compromising yourself and beliefs. It was my opportunity to make an impression on 800 people who will probably never get to know a hijabi/Muslim, ask questions, etc.

    In fact, I just talked to a friend of mine from hs who told me she won a prize at her uni’s Islamic Jeopardy because of our religious talks. Is she a dirty kaffira who I should have not associated with? She thought Muslims worshipped Buddha and all these crazy things before I met her….should I just have let her dwell in her ignorance?

    Allahu ‘Alim. Maybe my school and experience was an exception.

    I live minutes away from Dearborn, MI; a city with an enormous Muslim population, Islamic schools, and even public high schools with an overwhelming Muslim majority….but that doesn’t make it a good thing. In fact, when I asked my father why we never lived in Dearborn he replied that Muslims aren’t perfect people. They do “bad” things too, and if I went to a public school with a 93% Muslim population that also partied and drank, and were “undercovers,” he feared that I’d let that taint our perfect religion and think that it was okay because “Muslims do it too.” He prefered to give me a strong Muslim moral code in the home, teach me halal from haram, and allowed me to interact with all different kinds of people, because that’s life. I had the masjid and my “oustide of school” Muslim friends as a supplement. People may disagree with his decision, but I’d rather be a well-rounded Muslim in any environment than someone who isolates themselves from society (I’m not talking about all home schoolers…I know they’re normal kids too!)

    Muslim children who have good parents that teach them the right ISLAMIC values will thrive in almost any environment.

    I’m not saying everyone should send their kids to public schools (especially since they seem to be getting worse), because home schooling is a great option, but this over exaggerated view of products of public schools as horrible Muslims who give in to all this fitnaliciousness was enough for me (a long time lurker) to comment.

    This comment is long enough, so I’ll stop here.

  52. Avatar

    Mezba

    April 13, 2008 at 9:47 PM

    Saja,

    this is my experience exactly.

    I cannot believe some of the statements being made here.

  53. Avatar

    anon

    April 13, 2008 at 10:26 PM

    “I cannot believe some of the statements being made here.”

    I think some of those statements come from not really knowing what they are talking about. I’ve noticed that several commenters on this site have a propensity towards exaggeration and victimization complexes
    Those who did go to public school and had bad experiences probably made very poor choices in friends or were losers who couldn’t make any friends. This is not the public school systems fault. This is the fault of these individuals parents for doing a crappy job at raising them . And its their own fault for not having the guts to stand up for what they were taught and what they believed in. Its really as simple as that.
    Quite frankly, if you are that afraid your child will lose their faith simply by attending a public school than it speaks more about your own skills as a parent than the “evil” schools.
    Seriously, if you feel you’re children won’t survive in public schools with adult supervision, how the hell are they going to manage in university where they are basically free to do as they please. Oh that’s right I forgot. They’ll be done with university and married by the time they are 18. That means that you’ll be able to drive them to and from classes at uni (since they probably won’t have a license when they attend) and sit behind them in class, hold their hands and walk them to organic chemistry, make sure they write their essays, and pack their lunch for them everyday and make sure they’re drinking their milk and make sure they don’t talk to any of those evil kuffar and make sure they do their prayers and you can even wipe their nose for them when it runs in the middle of developmental biology. And since it is developmental biology make sure you cover their eyes if the professor shows pictures of any naughty bits. God forbid their eyes should be polluted. Hurray for your children

    “Muslim children who have good parents that teach them the right ISLAMIC values will thrive in almost any environment. ”
    Thank you for someone finally speaking with some sense on this thread Saja. Good grief

  54. AnonyMouse

    AnonyMouse

    April 13, 2008 at 10:35 PM

    I think there’s misunderstanding on both sides: those who say that the real world/ public school is full of evil and Muslim kids can’t be allowed anywhere near there; and those who think that homeschooling means sheltering your kids from every harsh reality.

    The truth is that it depends on the household, on the parents and on the kids. It also depends on where you live, what the schools are like, what your priorities are in terms of Deen, etc. The truth is that there are pros and cons to both situations, although personally I find a lot more cons w/ public school than homeschooling.

    In the end, nobody is saying that you MUST homeschool or that you MUST send them to public school. We’re all free to choose and agree to disagree.

    May Allah guide us to doing that which is best for our Deen and Aakhirah, and keep our children – and ourselves – strong upon Islam and be able to withstand the trials and tribulations of this world in a manner pleasing to Him and which will lead us to Jannah… ameen.

  55. Avatar

    Umm Layth

    April 13, 2008 at 10:41 PM

    Whatever system a parent decides to adopt for his/her child they really need to make sure that they are involved in their child’s life. This should be an even bigger priority for public schooled children’s parents because of the fact they aren’t around their parents as much, their role models more often than not become those they see for the majority of the day (while they are awake), such as teachers but most of the time friends.

    We shouldn’t bash parents for being concerned about their children and deciding that public school isn’t for them. There are many issues with public schooling that are quite obvious, but if we aren’t going to be open minded about the harms of this place then we will not accomplish anything. I hope those who promote public school ask themselves the question: If public school really was working for our children, then why do we have so many dropouts and so many children failing? Seriously, why?

  56. Avatar

    A.Ashfaq

    April 14, 2008 at 2:26 AM

    May Allah guide us to doing that which is best for our Deen and Aakhirah, and keep our children – and ourselves – strong upon Islam and be able to withstand the trials and tribulations of this world in a manner pleasing to Him and which will lead us to Jannah… ameen.

    Ameen anonymouse…ameen

    If public school really was working for our children, then why do we have so many dropouts and so many children failing? Seriously, why?

    Public school can fail children, so can other systems, it really depends on the child, who they are, and what background they are bought up with and most importantly the friends they choose to be with. However, there is some good thier and we can utilise the good. If parents decide not to send thier children thier to protect the, then alhamdulillah there is good in that and they shouldnt get a bashing, however there are parents who do send them there, and they do have their reasons and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. May Allah protect us. as a i said i go to public school and i get amazing results last year because i wanted to put the effort it, and kids who dont wont, simple.

    There are many issues with public schooling that are quite obvious, but if we aren’t going to be open minded about the harms of this place then we will not accomplish anything. I hope those who promote public school ask themselves the question: If public school really was working for our children, then why do we have so many dropouts and so many children failing? Seriously, why?

    There is harm, and i can tell you, it is damaging but we are there and in one way it does make you stronger, i’ve learnt things that i could have not have learnt otherwise, even bad things can benefit you if you take a lesson from it. For example when i give dawah to my cousins or the girls in school, i can talk to them because i know what they have been through.

    If you can avoid it avoid it, and may Allah reward you for trying, but if you are there utilise it and do your best.

    Also aren’t we supposed to hate the kufr and not the kafir, many people haven’t even recieved the message…Allahu alam…is there an article on the correct understanding of wala al bara. i remember in the Al Kauthar twins of faith conference, sh Yasir spoke abou it and he said: how can we hate every single kafir? like have a natural hate for them, everytime we go to a store, we have this hate, he said it was un natural…InshAllah sh Yasir can clarify that in more detail or any other knowledgeable br or sister.

  57. Avatar

    Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî

    April 15, 2008 at 12:40 AM

    Look, I think the bottom line is that even IF the chances of public school (specifically high school) having a significantly negative effect on your kids was small (which it isn’t AT ALL), why would a parent risk the hellfire for their children by putting them through such fitnah when they are not forced to?

    I can only speak for my high school, but the level of free mixing with girls dressed like prostitutes was very high (mind you, at a time when everyone’s hormones are raging), the few practicing Muslims had to really go out of our way to pray their basic salaah, and the pressures to conform were overwhelming. At least to me, it’s obvious and very much expected that many Muslim kids would go astray in such an environment and am baffled that people actually disagree. It’s not as simple as a poor choice of friends. You could be the most religious person in the world and still go astray in such an environment. You could be the best parent in the world and still have your kids go astray (e.g. Prophet Nooh ‘alayhi salaam).

    SubhanAllah compare the amount of free-mixing that goes on in the average school to the ‘free-mixing’ that that monk from bani Israa’eel who was put in charge of watching the sister of the two brothers was subjected to. That monk went from the most pious person in town to a fornicating, woman and child murderer who died while prostrating to the devil! And parents are surprised when they put their kids in the public school system and they turn out bad?! Ajeeb!

    Now, I’m not trying to say that every kid who goes through the public school system turns out bad, nor am I saying it is the ONLY reason why Muslim kids go astray. I myself am a product of that system, as I’m sure a lot of readers of this blog are, and I know quite a few brothers from high school who are very practicing, but I think it’s obvious that the average high school is not conducive to a person trying to practice their religion. In fact, there are many factors that work against it. In my opinion, many of the initiatives that I see masaajid undertaking in terms of trying to guide the youth are really just damage control for the bad influences those kids get mainly from public school. Therefore, I ask any parents reading this, in the name of Allah, to strongly, STRONGLY, reconsider putting your kids through the public school system. Protect their deen BEFORE their dunyaa’.

    As far as University, I don’t think it’s worst than high school and middle school in the context in which we’re speaking. In University you’re a lot more free to choose who you surround yourself with, the pressures to conform are not as high and, at least from my experience, it’s easier to practice your religion. The main danger of University, in my opinion, is shubuhaat whereas in high school it’s shahawaat.

  58. Avatar

    Saja

    April 15, 2008 at 1:39 AM

    Well said brother. The examples you used were great. Now I can see the other side more clearly.

  59. Avatar

    Olivia Kompier

    April 18, 2008 at 11:28 PM

    Masha’Allah, I really enjoyed this article. It is unfortunate how media outlets try to portray Muslim families who homeschool, or better yet “spin” their stories. May Allah reward the families who are seeking to raise and education their children in an upright manner, ameen.

    The school which I currently operate, Prestige Academy, is designed with homeschooled students in mind, although students who have been schooled in a traditional public or private school will also enjoy it immensely, insha’Allah. But what motivated me was my own passion for education, my own experiences homeschooling and my desire to provide an alternative for families who homeschool but do not feel confident in their ability to educate their children at a highschool level. I pray that Allah makes it of benefit to many families, ameen.

  60. Avatar

    A.Ashfaq

    April 25, 2008 at 1:57 PM

    Salaamu alaikum,

    I’ve been meaning to write this ages ago, Br Abû Mûsâ Al-Ḥabashî you right and i do agree with you. After going back to my public school, i became more aware of the things around me, the muslim kids and the non muslim kids and it hit me. If you want to protect your children from the hell fire you wouldn’t send them there. Not that i wasn’t aware before, but now everytime i sat in a class room i was looking around analysing the situation, and subhanAllah the fitnah and the haraam is rife whether its major or minor. Yes, you can remain practicing and worship Allah, but the smoke definately hits you and you won’t escape it no matter where you run.

    Whereas, yeah University is much easier and you can choose your own mates, own place and its not crowded, whereas in Public school you know everybody and its very hard to avoid people; male or female. May Allah protect me.

    After reading this article alhamdulillah i have decided that i will homescool my kids, and Sr Olivia i think i may be one of your clients in the future *smile* bi’idnillah

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#Islam

30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 16: The Best of You

Now that we have learnt about fruit out of season, let’s now talk about the best of you.

I want you all to think about your closest friends and how you treat them. 

Question: Would anyone like to share how they try to treat their closest friends?

That’s wonderful! You try to be thoughtful and considerate of their feelings. You bring snacks to share with them, you may buy or make them a gift.

Question: Now, I want you to close your eyes and think of the way you treat your family members. Is it the same?

Question: Why do you think that there is a difference between the way we treat our friends and the way we may treat our siblings or parents?

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Yes, we do spend a lot of time together. We see each other when we’re cranky or frustrated. Sometimes we want our own space to think, or we don’t want someone interfering with our things. Those are all valid reasons. But, do you know that it is more beloved to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) that you treat your family members better than you even treat your friends?

It’s true! In a hadith, Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: 

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِهِ وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِي وَإِذَا مَاتَ صَاحِبُكُمْ فَدَعُوهُ

“The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best to my family.” 

Question: What are some ways we can be the best to our family members? I’m going to share with you a hadith that may help you get some ideas: 

وعن أبى أمامه الباهلى رضي الله عنه قال‏:‏ قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم‏:‏ “أنا زعيم ببيت في ربض الجنة لمن ترك المراء، وإن كان محقاً، وببيت في وسط الجنة لمن ترك الكذب، وإن كان مازحاً، وببيت في أعلى الجنة لمن حسن خلقه” ‏(‏حديث صحيح رواه أبو داود بإسناد صحيح‏).‏

“I guarantee a house in Jannah (Paradise) for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a house in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.”

If we work on these three things: less arguing, no lying, and good manners, alongside all of your other suggestions, we will be rewarded with Jannah, inshaAllah

Question: Do you think we can all work hard to be the best to our family members?

 

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 15: Fruit Out of Season

Now that we have learnt about making our intentions big, let’s now talk about fruit out of season.

Who can tell me who Maryam raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) is

Yes, she was the mother of ‘Isa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), and also the best woman to ever live. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says in the Qur’an that He chose her over all the women in the world.

Question: Do you know that she was also the niece to a Prophet? Does anyone know her uncle’s name? 

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His name is Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), good job! Do you know that Prophet Zakariya  'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)  was actually inspired by something he saw in Maryam’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) room? It’s unusual for adults to admit that they learn from younger people, but we actually do, all the time! 

One day, Prophet Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) went inside Maryam’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) room and he saw fruit that was out of season. 

Question: Can anyone tell me what fruit would be out of season in the spring, but we love to eat it in the summertime? Can we get that same fruit in the wintertime?

Well, Maryam raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) would get fruit that was supposed to only grow in the summer during the wintertime too! This was a gift that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) would give her. Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was so amazed by this! He asked Maryam raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) how she came upon the fruit and she replied:

 هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّـهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

“It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides for whom He wills without measure.” [Surat Ali ‘Imran; 37] 

Now, by this time, Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was very old. And when you get to be very old, it is very unusual to have any more children. Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and his wife never had any children at all. But, he was so inspired by what his niece said that he raised his hands in dua’ and asked Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for a child. Even though having a child seemed  impossible because it was “out of season” for Prophet Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) he asks anyway knowing that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) can grant us anything- even if it is not “in season!”

Question: Can we get that same fruit in the wintertime?Did Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) answer Prophet Zakariya’s 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) dua’? 

Yes! Prophet Zakariya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was blessed with Yahya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), who too became a Prophet and was the cousin of Prophet ‘Isa  'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)!

This shows us that it’s never too late or too early to ask for what our heart desires. Maybe Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will grant you something that is out of season too!

 

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 14: Making Our Intentions Big

Now that we have learnt about the Prophet Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and the Shaytan, let’s now talk about Prophet Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and the Shaytan.

Question: Have any of you heard the phrase:  إنما الأعمال بالنية  (innamal ’amaalu bi-niyyaat)? Does anyone know what it means? 

It means that actions are judged by their intentions. 

Question: What does it mean to intend something? Do you need to say your intention out loud?

An intention is something that you feel internally – it is the ‘why’ behind your actions. 

Question: Do you think we always make intentions behind the things we do?

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If we really tried to make an intention behind every small thing, it would probably cause us some frustration. Most of our actions are done out of habit anyway; like making our beds, brushing our teeth, and making our meals. But, what if we started to be more intentional with the way we operated? What good do you think could come out of it?

Maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to lose our temper. Maybe we could get even more hasanat (reward) for transforming our ordinary chores into extraordinary acts of worship!

One day, Imam ash-Shafi’, a great scholar of Islam -may Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) be pleased with him-, had some students over at his house when they heard someone knock on the door. One of his students went to answer the door, and Imam ash-Shafi’ stopped him and asked him what he was doing.

“I’m going to answer the door,” the student replied.

Imam ash-Shafi’ said, “Before you answer the door, make the intention that if it is a poor person seeking help, you will give them charity. And if it is a guest, that you will host them.” 

Something as simple as answering the door became a way to get lots of rewards! How? Well, whenever we make a good intention, we get the reward for it even if we are unable to do it. That’s how generous Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is, and Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) can reward a good intention up to 700 times!

I want each of you to pick something ordinary that you always do and make your intention behind it very big! 

[A parent can give the example of washing the dishes: Intend to have a clean home, intend to make dhikr while washing the dishes, intend to have clean plates and utensils for us to be nourished and well fed, all so that we can be healthy and remember Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and His blessings etc.]

Now, who wants to share?

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