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Child + Teacher + Parent = Quran Lessons

Hena Zuberi

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Cold, sitting on a wet rock, he would wait outside his teacher’s door for hours, waiting for him to come out so he could ask him a question. That was Imam Malik as a child, whose hunger for learning kept him there and respect for his shaykh deterred him from knocking on his door lest he disturbed him. That was a time when teachers of Quran were held in such high esteem. Unfortunately now the roles are reversed and we find teachers chasing students, calling them and waiting while they find their hijab, make wudu or drag their feet to Quran class. They get the eye roll when the students are stopped if making a mistake.  The empty stares, moms bribing kids to read one more page, mushafs are left in the car only to be hastily looked at for a few minutes before class. The same mistakes of madd, over and over again.

“The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it to others.”

Despite this hadith being so familiar to most of us, I can not tell you how many times I have heard a Quran teacher being referred to in derogatory terms – in some Muslim countries they are treated like servants, worse that the children’s nanny. If you don’t respect them personally than please respect the Kalam of Allah that they teach and give them honor based solely on the majesty of what they teach: the Quran.

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The following is advice that Amir Al-Mu’mineen, Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, gave: “From the rights of the learned over you is that you do not ask too many questions, you do not divulge his secrets, you do not backbite about him to anyone, you do not look for error in him, if he made a mistake you accept his excuse. It is incumbent upon you to respect and magnify him as long as he keeps Allah’s orders; you should not sit in front of him; if he has a need the people should race to serve him.”

In a hadith related by At-Tirmithi the Messenger of Allah, (saw) said, “He is not of us who does not respect our elderly, is merciful to our youth, and knows the rights of those who teach us.”

Quran lessons are a combination of effort on behalf of the children, the teachers and the parents. Many of us have played one of these roles, I have played all three. I feel many times the teacher, the child or the parent want to say the following things to each other but don’t out of humility, cultural taboos, or just can’t be bothered. Hope this will spark some very important conversations.

What a Quran teacher wishes s/he could say to the parents:

  1. We are human beings and your child’s teachers, please accord us more respect or at least the same that you would give to you child’s secular teachers.
  2. If you are paying us, please treat it like any other bill and pay us promptly – we would not charge for this noble cause unless our homes did not run on this money.
  3. Please be punctual – value our time, especially when we teach without payment as it is usually time we take away from our own families.
  4. Inform us in advance if you are canceling the class.
  5. Have the students use the bathroom and make wudu before lesson time as valuable time is wasted.
  6. Have your child dress appropriately for Quran class – the adab is head/satr covered, no faces or bad language on clothing.
  7. Please teach your children to respect us – if you call us names at home they will internalize this attitude, too.
  8. Revise the lesson at home especially if your child only comes a few times a week.
  9. If we have moved them back from one lesson to another it is usually because they haven’t completely learned the skills in that particular lesson.
  10. Don’t be offended or take it personally if your child is not performing well and we talk to you about it – we have their best interests at heart.
  11. If you are unhappy about anything please talk to us without your child present – it weakens our authority when your child knows that you do not respect us.
  12. Many parents question why the child is spending so much time on the “Qaidah” or “Yassarnal Quran.” Let the teacher spend the time required to learn the foundations, if the makharij are messed up then it takes a lot of work to fix them at a later stage.

Since I am not a hifidh teacher, I asked what one would say to parents: These are thoughts of a hifdh teacher:

  1. Please don’t tell me how to do my job…Memorizing a few surahs is not the same as memorizing the whole Quran.
  2. I am a teacher, not a miracle worker.
  3. Don’t enforce your selfish expectations on your children. Accept them for who they are and I guarantee they will perform better.
  4. Please do this for the sake of Allah and not as a status symbol. You’re affecting your child’s education in ways you do not know.
  5. Your child will not die because he has the sniffles…Don’t make him miss days unnecessarily.
  6. If you don’t make sure they learn their lesson at night…..you can’t expect them to become hafidh.
  7. Do not make long term plans, they do not work…make short term realistic plans.
  8. Please do exactly as I tell you, or else don’t blame me when things are not going well.
  9. I love my students very much and we have a very deep bond…that is why I am hard on them; not because I have a bad temper.

What a child wishes s/he could tell their Quran teacher:

  1. Please do not hit me if I do not know my lesson.
  2. Smell good it is hard to learn when the teacher doesn’t smell good.
  3. Tell me if I did a good job – it motivates me.
  4. Please do not humiliate me in front of the whole class.
  5. Urge me to read more even if I am being lazy, sometimes I just need an extra push.
  6. Please do not take me back all the way to the beginning of the Qaidah or Quran if I have already done it – it is so discouraging – maybe you can review the past lessons AND give me new lessons too.
  7. Tell me your rules upfront because every teacher is different and sometimes I may do something because my previous teachers let me.

To be fair and since I am a parent, I realize that there are all sorts of teachers – some good, some great and some…let’s not go there. When looking for a person to teach Quran to your child check and make sure the teacher has proper tajweed. A good Quran teacher will not mind if you ask them to recite some verses to you or to someone who knows proper qiraat before choosing your child’s teacher.  This shows that you are serious about your child’s learning. Ask for references especially from parents in the locality. Ask if they teach individually or in a class format.

What a parent wishes the Quran teacher knew:

  1. Please do not hit my child to enforce a lesson – they will start hating coming to your class and in turn have horrible memories associated with learning the beautiful book of Allah.
  2. Please give my child proper attention and inculcate the love of Allah’s Book by being kind and gentle with them.
  3. Keep us in the loop – let me know if my child is being rude or not performing properly.
  4. As a parent I know my child better – please listen to our input about their learning styles or issues.
  5. Encourage my child and reward him/her with positive feedback  especially when they did well or learnt their lesson properly.
  6. Let us know in advance if you are canceling a class.
  7. Please be sincere and do not treat this like a money-making scheme.

We would like to make a resource for our brothers and sisters looking for qualified Quran teachers for thier children. So if you have had a great teacher and would like to pay homage to them or refer a wonderful Quran teacher please leave their name or their school’s name contact # ( with their permission) and location. May Allah (SWT) make it a sadaqah jahriah for you.

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Hena Zuberi is the Editor in Chief of Muslimmatters.org. She leads the DC office of the human rights organization, Justice For All, focusing on stopping the genocide of the Rohingya under Burma Task Force, advocacy for the Uighur people with the Save Uighur Campaign and Free Kashmir Action. She was a Staff Reporter at the Muslim Link newspaper which serves the DC Metro. Hena has worked as a television news reporter and producer for CNBC Asia and World Television News. Active in her SoCal community, Hena served as the Youth Director for the Unity Center. Using her experience with Youth, she conducts Growing Up With God workshops. hena.z@muslimmatters.org Follow her on Twitter @henazuberi.

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Zuleyka

    December 16, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    I believe there are lots of good teachers out there to teach Quran but I wish for my kids to be taught on this by their father :-)

    • Hena Zuberi

      Hena Zuberi

      December 17, 2010 at 5:51 PM

      salaams, Sister Zuleykha,
      That is wonderful that your husband can teach quran to your children. MashaAllah!

      I taught my eldest daughter and she was an easy student. But I starting having such a hard time with my second daughter- they have such different learning styles. I started losing my temper with her and felt I wasn’t following the advice I was giving so I started taking her to a teacher. MashaAllah, we have been blessed to have someone, who my children can look up to as a role model, they love going there and are enriched from the environment of a proper hifdh school.

      I think when we teach our own kids we have such high, unrealistic expectations of them.

  2. Avatar

    Arif Kabir

    December 16, 2010 at 1:07 AM

    Very pertinent article – JazākumAllahu Khayran for sharing.

    As someone who went through the Hifzh Program and later on became a Hifdh and Qur’an teacher during the summer and weekends, I can attest to many of the points that were brought up.

    Parents need to understand that it is their encouragement and diligence with the child that keeps him going more than anything else. Parents need to make sure no distractions get in the way, such as parties, excessive playing times, etc.

    Teachers need to understand that students do indeed take their subject material very seriously and that it may be easy to fail a child with a mere uttering of “Fail”, but that it psychologically hurts the child and the whole family once the news hits home.

    Students need to realize that their teachers have left their secular careers to teach them the Qur’an, and that parents are sacrificing a lot of time, energy, and wealth on their children, so they should be appreciative towards both and try to reciprocate it by doing well in school.

    • Hena Zuberi

      Hena Zuberi

      December 17, 2010 at 5:55 PM

      Alhamdulillah- one of the most pressing we face in our weekend school is whether to teach the whole class one lesson or read individually with each child. How do you teach brother?

      • Avatar

        muhammad tariq

        January 12, 2011 at 10:18 PM

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      • Avatar

        abdirahman

        January 30, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        I found this post really late but it’s written quite wonderfully! Maashaa Allaah.

        That is a great question and it would be great to get input from other teachers on how they approach this question. I’ve been teaching for two years now with the individual approach where each student reads their assigned portion of their new lesson or the review to me individually. I’ve been considering changing my method and having the class go as a group so I can focus more on pronunciation. If we read as a class, then I don’t have to rely on students reading at home because unfortunately many students simply don’t read at home. What do the other Quran teachers out there have to say about this?

  3. Avatar

    John Smith

    December 16, 2010 at 2:27 AM

    OH WOW, great article HENA!! YOU ARE AMAZING!!

  4. Avatar

    Asma

    December 16, 2010 at 4:17 AM

    Assalamu ‘alaykum:

    MashaAllah! A very thorough piece that I am sure hits home on many fronts. I appreciate the breakdown (point by point) of issues according to the roles of the various particpants that are involved in the Qur’an learning process.

    I just wanted to point out that the process of evaluating a Qur’an teacher according to your method is not always easy. You stated:

    When looking for a person to teach Quran to your child check and make sure the teacher has proper tajweed. A good Quran teacher will not mind if you ask them to recite some verses to you or to someone who knows proper qiraat before choosing your child’s teacher. This shows that you are serious about your child’s learning. Ask for references especially from parents in the locality.

    The problem is that in some parts of the world there are parents who do not know much Qur’an but want to get their children to learn it. Such parents do not have a means of evaluating the Qur’an teacher’s tajweed.

    Once again, excellent article! May Allah reward you for this clear reminder you have shared and may it’s message be a means of positive change for all Muslims.

    • Hena Zuberi

      Hena Zuberi

      December 17, 2010 at 7:07 PM

      You are right- that is the sad state that the Ummah is in. But things are changing.

      If parents don’t know proper tajweed, they need to find someone who does- its like if I was finding a math tutor for my kid for trig and I don’t know a hypotenuse from a tangent, I would not hire the first 15 year old on my block- I would research find a appropriate center or tutor, look at their track record- ask for references but with Quran some of us just find an aunti who wears hijab and are satisfied that our kids are learning how to read.

      I think our masajid also need to step up and do some referring especially if they do not have someone who teaches on the premises.

      And we need to develop resources= maybe a Quran teacher directory with ratings?

  5. Avatar

    Sadaf Farooqi

    December 17, 2010 at 5:13 AM

    This was an excellent, excellent article Hena!
    Barak Allahu feeki. May Allah reward you with immense good for writing up such a great article that covers a core issue from all angles and viewpoints. :)
    May Allah make your children from the اهل القرأن. Ameen.

  6. Umm Reem

    Umm Reem

    December 17, 2010 at 7:46 AM

    great post hena, mashaAllah…great post indeed!

  7. Avatar

    Holly Garza

    December 17, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    MashaAllah I love the points of view from different angles. Very well written.

  8. Avatar

    UmmNoorUddeen

    December 17, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    AsSalamualaikum waRahmatullahi wabarakatuh

    i am a quran teacher myself by the permission of Allah and i agree with all of the points you have made Alhamdulillah. jazzakaAllahu kairun

  9. Hena Zuberi

    Hena Zuberi

    December 17, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    I am going to start by referring two great Quran teachers in my locality (north of Los Angeles)- May Allah SWT grant them the highest maqaam in Jannah.

    Sister Ambereen 661-299-5810

    Mufti Ibrahim Qureishi
    Alkauthar Academy

  10. Avatar

    Saifullah786

    December 17, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    Assalaamuwalayakum

    it’s nice to have this type of incite. i’m not a quran teacher, but i used to teach sunday school but had to quit for various reasons. as a sunday school teacher, i was required to teach the very basics of islam. i would always have problems with behavior. only being in high school and not having any experience with children 10 years younger than me, i didn’t know how to handle them. some of the parents would just leave their children at the masjid like we were their babysitters and expect us to “control” them. another problem was getting in contact with some of the parents. sometimes the parents didn’t bother speaking with the teacher and sometimes teachers just gave up on contacting the parents.

    anyway, one of the biggest problems at our sunday school was the lack of proper quran teachers. there were only two brothers and one sister that would try to teach the whole school (about 100 students +). i want our sunday school to improve, but i don’t know what else we can do. it’s so hard to get teachers to volunteer. and with sunday school only being once a week, students suppose to get most of their learning and studying done at home, which doesn’t really happen.

    jazakallahu khair for the points. those are some really good ways to approach problems that students/teachers/parents may be having.

  11. Avatar

    Nihal Khan

    December 18, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    MashaAllah, great post! I agree and promote this article. As a hifdh teacher I find this process VERY beneficial. A hafidh knows that this is the EXACT relationship (Student, Teacher, and Parent) which is needed to get your hifdh done.

    There was only one point which I slightly disagree on (depending on what situation and school the child is memorizing in):

    – Sometimes a student needs to be taken back to the Noorani Qaidah because it is where one’s foundation begins. The students needs to be told to empty their cup when they want to memorize and should spent a few weeks on the Qaidah as it will solidify their makharij and tajweed (I believe it is very important for the student to have studied some tajweed and makhraj before memorizing). But then again, with systems of learning the Qur’an such as Ustadh Wisam Sharieff’s course is a very productive way of learning w/o having to put in the unnecessary strain which kids end up putting in when doing hifdh.

    EXCELLENT post. Jazakillahu khair Sr. Hena.

  12. Avatar

    Hebah Ahmed

    December 18, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    Jazak Allahu Khair Sr. Hena! Great topic written by someone obviously well aquainted with the Quranic learning triad. :)

    I think underlying all of the advice in your article is the very important point of actually pushing ourselves (in effort and money) to raise children who are memorizers of the Quran. Once we make that committment, Insha’Allah our children will mimic us in this prioritization and will thereby respect the process as well.

    I truly believe children take on the values of their parents. When they see their parents picking and choosing Islamic values and rules, expecting things of their children they do not expect of themselves, the children will also pick and choose, and usually not the same choices as their parents. On the other hand, when they see their parents consistently reading and memorizing Quran, respecting those with more knowledge and seeking that knowledge, and not compromising on the Islamic way of life no matter who they are with, then they will automatically do the same Insha Allah.

    Jazak ALlahu Khair for giving us the tools to improve the process and give us hope that our children can aspire to the same degree of Islamic knowlede as they strive for in secular knowledge.

  13. Avatar

    Kashif Naseem Dilkusha

    December 19, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    Assalamoalaikum

    Masha ALLAH, very well written article. I believe these thoughts should be posted in our quran schools and should be shared with parents and teachers.

  14. Avatar

    readquranonline

    December 19, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    To give children knowledge is one thing we can do and another is to teach them what their religion says. http://www.readquranonline.net/ is a great place to enroll your kids for all types of Quranic studies. Having a one on one Quran tutor being available 24/7 when you need them comes in handy.

    • Avatar

      Hena Zuberi

      January 26, 2011 at 2:35 AM

      I don’t know if online quran reading is really the answer especially for little children who need face to face instruction. There are so many online quran schools now- maybe another post is due.

      • Avatar

        kamran mirza

        May 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM

        well sister Hena i have don research on that as well like there are negative and positive aspects of on both end like if going to a Mosq the kids read quran in groups most of the Mosqs teachers just give them one or 2 lined and ask all of them to read it like 20 times or as many as they could without seeing that the kid is even actually looking or reading it with our looking and like a kind of memorizing without knowing that what written in front of the kid and after like 1 para or so the kid stops because it becomes heard from him to memorize it and some of the kids if they do not learn there lesson they are not taken separately or said that to read again there lessons they are given the new lesson and if any body asks to them of read to me from 2 pages back they have for gotten all

        on the other hand the online institutes have one teacher per one kid so the lessons are focused and prepared differently for each kid according to there nature the lesson which is given is tough constantly by teacher by him reading and the kid repeating after him and certain question like what is on the top of ra , kaf meem and i am on which word move your mouse where we are reading or even asking about the colors and having a cam interaction on both site so they can view each other make it more effective along in the next class the listening of previous lessons and a weekly test of the lessons that the kids have read makes it more intact that what is the process of kids learning the Quran and what extra efforts can be pulled upon to improve the kids ability and with the parents having kids in front of there eyes makes it more approachable

        http://www.learningquranonline.com

  15. Avatar

    kamran

    February 24, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    This is really interesting article. I have found really great stuff over here\par:http://www.afhamulquran.co

  16. Avatar

    kamran

    February 28, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    this is interesting article .i have found really great stuff ovre here/ par;

  17. Avatar

    kamran

    March 1, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    this is interesting article .

  18. Avatar

    Quran

    May 25, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    MashaAllah your post is very effective, specially useful for those who want their children to learn Quran education from some institute or at home tutor.Our site http://www.quranreading.com gives online tutoring program which provides the clients the comfort of their home. They can learn Quran online with our experienced tutors.

  19. Avatar

    Learn Quran Online

    June 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    My Quran Lesson is an easy way for you and your kids to learn the Holy Quran. All you need is a PC, headset with a microphone and a broadband internet connection.

  20. Avatar

    Mark

    March 15, 2013 at 6:14 AM

    Online education is not a new concept. There are hundreds
    of universities, colleges and entities who are providing
    online Quran education. Hundreds of adults and children
    have successfully learned to read Quran from our qualified
    live tutors. Parents have been pleased with this service and tutors

  21. Avatar

    Hassaan Ahmad

    November 14, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    Splendid article! I really appreciate you for writing this wonderful article. I’m also a Quran teacher and I teach my students with encouragement and give them confidence. I treat them with respect and sprinkle some interesting Islamic stories once or twice a week, which develops more interest in learning and they don’t feel any sort of burden. I give respect and teach them kindly and provide them a comfortable environment which helps them to learn more effectively.

    It’s not only about teaching. It’s about character building. Teachers and parents are role model for kids. Kids imitate elders. If we treat them nicely and teach them the right way they’ll do the same and it will lead them to built a great character. Moreover, it will help you to play a vital role in society.

  22. Avatar

    mummyjaan@gmail.com

    February 26, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    This is an old post and I happened to come across it while doing a search about online Quran tuitions.

    I must say that I am *stunned* with the references to hitting; does it even happen anymore? I remember about 30 years ago hearing about cousins whose “Quran teacher” would arrive with a stick in his hand – he didn’t use it as far as I know.

    Isn’t it time the “fear factor” was permanently put in the bin with respect to religious education – or any education, for that matter?

    In this century, does a child or a parent actually need to say something like, “Please do not hit me/my child if I don’t know my lesson”? Surely we’ve moved on from these kind of attitudes?

  23. Avatar

    readyforex2013

    March 3, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Got a brilliant platform of Quran learning for kids at http://www.schoolquran.com/Quran-Learning-For-Kids.php

  24. Avatar

    Abdulrahman Abdullahi

    February 2, 2016 at 2:02 AM

    Assalamualaikum…
    Masha-Allah very beneficial article.

  25. Avatar

    Usman Ben

    June 4, 2016 at 5:40 AM

    This is a unique article which explain everything someone need to know.
    You can also learn more from here https://www.holyquranclasses.com/

  26. Avatar

    Muhammad Masood

    July 25, 2016 at 1:09 PM

    i am teaching online Holy Quran.Holy Quran read with us

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#Life

Pursuing Public Policy as a Field of Study: A Few Principles, Tips, and Advice

Ahmad Raza, Guest Contributor

Published

Witnessing people rise up, speak out against injustices, and protest, is a life-changing experience. It definitely was one for me. A decade ago, barely a few months into college, watching the unravelling of the Arab Spring inspired me to change my career goals and embark on a journey to better understand the world of government and public policy. While my journey is still young, I’ve learned a few lessons and principles along the way that may be of benefit to anyone starting theirs.

Consider your options

The first principle in pursuing a path in public policy is to take steps to keep your options open for your source of income. Why? There are a few factors at play. The first is the reality of the job market. Government jobs pay the best in the space, but they can be scarce (and unlike the private sector, there’s no startup ready to disrupt the space).

Government jobs, of course, aren’t the only option (and for many people, it’s not what they want to do). Another route is to work at non-profits, or think tanks. Pay in these areas will greatly vary, depending on the prestige (and donor base) of the organization. As with the public sector, here too jobs can be scarce.

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

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How do you keep your options open? Investing in skills that can translate (or even aren’t relevant to public policy) is a good place to start. Software programming, communications, or data analytics are some examples of skills that will provide you with options to fall back on. Learning an in-demand language is another option.

While thinking of your income isn’t, and honestly shouldn’t, be the motivation for entering public policy (I always dodged the ‘how will you make a living?’ questions in college), it is a practical consideration that will eventually catch up with you. This can come in various ways, and is unique to each individual’s circumstances. The worst-case scenario is if one starts to consider bending their ethical framework when they find themselves in a financial squeeze. The freedom to be able to walk away from something in order to maintain your ethical code is extremely powerful, and skills that keep your job options open help greatly.

Maintaining your ethical code is of the upmost importance in this space (and remember that you can still influence policy discussions regardless of your job title).

Take on a non-career mindset

Another principle to keep in mind is to avoid thinking of what you’re doing primarily as a career. The idea that you’ll just work your way up and increase your income, job title, or employer benefits has to be dropped before setting out on this journey.

Why is this important? Many major life decisions are made with the idea of a linear career trajectory in mind. People take out mortgages and car loans with the expectation of an increase in purchasing power as their careers progress. This can’t be the expectation in the public realm. While this advice is arguably applicable in other sectors, I believe it is absolutely critical for anyone considering working in public policy before beginning the journey.

Political winds constantly shift, and will be faced with difficult choices. It is important to fit your work to your ethics, and not the other way around. Dropping the mindset of a linear career, combined with investing in skills that give you the option to walk away if needed, are two ways to make that happen.

Avoid insiderness

The world of public policy is complex, and it requires effort, study, and a keen eye to understand the social role that public agencies play. At times, the ideas and concepts become overly technical and inaccessible to a general audience. This can bring with it a sense of ‘insiderness’, and a general feeling of ‘being in the know.’ Knowing the lingo and talking points is important, but it can disconnect you from the people that you have set out to serve (at worst, it can be a way to intimidate those who aren’t ‘in the know’).

Having a sense of humility, of course, is necessary for any aspect of a Muslim’s life. A field in which you’re expected to provide solutions to society’s problems, and to convince others of your solutions, arguably has an inherit conflict with that sense of humility. But that doesn’t have to be the case. The key is to finding a way to engender a countervailing experience against the highs of insiderness. The one that I believe in, and ties in to the point earlier on building skills for optionality, is to learn a language.

Why learn a language? There are several reasons. The most relevant one here has to do with the process of learning a language itself. This brings with it the experience of having to learn to ‘speak’ again. You put yourself in a context where your words, and in some ways your ability to be heard, are taken away from you. This alone can engender a different sense of humility.

Learning a language also grounds you with the experience of not having your voice understood by others. It builds an appreciation for people whose voice might not be heard in the policy process. Simultaneously, your new language will open the door to learning from new voices and perspectives.

Learn from tradition

Public policy is a secularized space, but that doesn’t mean that our tradition can’t inform our mindset stepping into it. One particularly salient area is keeping in mind how to view success. Stepping in with a commitment to your ethics naturally means discarding the idea that success means a specific title or position associated with your name.

How then should you view success? It begins with accepting that you may not live to see the fruits of your labor. Your name may never be known in this world. Success in a worldly sense isn’t why you’ve stepped on this path.

This doesn’t mean not being ambitious. It’s important to have ambition. Just don’t let your ambition override your values in deciding what to do. Learning the stories of historical figures from our tradition who’ve faced similar struggles helps with this. Examples include, just to name a few, Imam Shamil of Dagestan who resisted Russian imperialism, Imam Malik Ibn Anas who refused to change his beliefs when pressured by political authorities, and Nizam al-Din Awliya whose family were made refugees due to the Mongol invasions and had to subsequently build a new life in India.

Another area to learn, as Imam Dawud Walid suggests in Towards Sacred Activism, is studying usul-ul-fiqh and aqeedah, which will help complement your policy studies and further ground your knowledge of the world.

 

Aim high in whatever good you seek to do. Just keep in mind who truly provides success. And then, get ready for the journey you’re about to take.

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 21: The Strong Believer

Marwa Aly, Guest Contributor

Published

Now that we have learnt about how we come to success, let’s now talk about the strong believer.

Question: Who can tell me who was a strong believer during the time of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)?

Yes! There are so many of them, like Umar, Hamza, Khalid ibn Walid, az-Zubayr ibn Awwaam, Nusaibah, and Ali [may Allah be pleased with them all].

Before Umar ibn al-Khattab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) became Muslim, the Muslims would not pray publicly in front of the Ka’bah. They would be beaten and hurt if they attempted to do so. But, when Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) became Muslim, he went directly in front of the Ka’bah to pray. When the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) commanded the Muslims to perform the hijrah (migration from Mecca to Medina), many Muslims did so at night so as not to be seen by the Qurayshi tribes that wanted to keep them in Mecca. Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) on the other hand, declared his migration and threatened anyone that attempted to stop him. Abdallah ibn Mas’ud raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: 

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“Umar’s submission to Islam was a conquest, his migration was a victory, his khalifa (period of rule) was a blessing. I have seen when we were unable to pray at the Ka’bah until Umar submitted. When he submitted to Islam, he fought them (the pagans) until they left us alone and we prayed.”

There is a phrase in the Qur’an where Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) commands Prophet Musa 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and Prophet Yahya 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) to take the book with determination; فَخُذْهَا بِقُوَّةٍ  (fa khuth-ha bi quwwa) [take it with power] . 

Question: What do you think it means to take the book with determination, or with power?

While the Qur’an is definitely a book that is soothing for our souls, it is also supposed to empower us and strengthen us, so that we can then go forth and empower others by it as well. 

When we practice what is in the Qur’an, it allows us to remain upright, and builds our spiritual muscles as well. Just like you have to train to grow your physical muscles, you have to keep training for spiritual muscles too. 

Question: What are some ways we can train our spiritual muscles?

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 20: Come to Success

Marwa Aly, Guest Contributor

Published

Now that we have learnt about how Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Mercy encompasses all things, let’s now talk about coming to success.

Whenever we hear the adhan (call to prayer), there is a part where the mu’adhin (person calling the athan) calls out: “حي على الصلاة” hay ‘ala as-salaah (come to prayer). Then he says: “حي على الفلاح”- hay ‘ala al-falaah.” 

Question: Does anyone know what hay ‘ala al-falaah means?

It means ‘come to prayer, come to success.’ Is that how we usually think of success?

Question: What is your definition of success?

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Yes, sometimes we think that having a good job, a nice house, and a loving family are the measurements of our success. There may be some truth to that  for this world, but how does Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) measure our success?

Do you know that there is a surah in the Qur’an called “The Believers” (Al- Mu’minun), and that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) promises that the believers will be successful? He says:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ 

“Indeed, the believers have attained success” [23; 1]

Let’s dig a little deeper into the Arabic word for success: فلاح (falaah). Do you know that a derivative of that word فَلَّاح (fallaah) means a farmer? 

Question: What are some of the things that a farmer needs to do everyday?

Farmers need to fertilize their soil, plant seeds, pull out weeds, protect their plants from predators, and water their crops. Do you think that’s a lot of work? Do you think it’s easy to be a farmer? I want you to imagine a time when farmers couldn’t turn on a hose to water their plants. They completely relied on rain to irrigate their crops. So, they could do all of this hard work, but if there was a drought, their crops wouldn’t be able to survive. To be a farmer requires a deep sense of تَوَكُّل, tawakkul (reliance on Allah)

So, part of success is hard work, and a big part is also knowing that nothing happens without the will of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). That’s why when the muadhin tells us to come to salaah (prayer) and to come to success, we respond by saying: 

لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِٱللَّٰهِ‎

“There is no power nor strength except by Allah.”

We can only come to prayer and we can only achieve success if Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wills it. The only thing in our control is the amount of effort we exert in the process. 

So, let’s be farmers; let us try our best to plant good seeds, water them, nourish them, and pray that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), places baraka (blessings) in all of our efforts! 

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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