“O ye who believe, guard your soul and that of your family from hell fire whose fuel shall be human beings and stones…” Q66:6.
Education is the process of teaching, training and learning. It can be formal or informal.
Education also means acquisition of skills and knowledge that make one independent of others for sustenance in the future. Education is an establishment because it is an eye-opener, brain sharper, heart developer and body strengthener. An ignorant person is a burden, a source of sorrow and a demoraliser.
The children come to this world ignorant and innocent, deprived of guidance. It is the duty of the parents to guide the child to the right direction. As the child opens his eyes and lays his feet on the soil of the earth, he should be guided to school. The first school is the home, especially the mother’s laps. In this wise, men were encouraged to choose good mothers, those who are religious, educated, morally upright and intellectually sound for their children.
Islam recommends that the child be taught the Kalimah Laa ilaha illa Allah (There is no deity worthy of worship except Allah) by making Adhan (the call to prayer) into his right ears immediately after delivery. Also, this word should be put on his tongue when he begins to talk and should be implanted in his heart. All the above are the duties of the parents, especially the mother at home.
Our predecessors attached much importance to educating their children. They never left their children unlettered. The Holy Prophet (SAW) encouraged learning from the cradle to the grave and that is why the only befitting prayer he could offer Abdullah Ibn Abass was Allahumma faqqihu fid din wa allimhu taawil, meaning O Allah, bestow on him the understanding of the religion and grant him the knowledge of Qur’an exegesis.
Consequently, Abdullah Ibn Abass became a great scholar and a teacher who left a hallmark in the areas of teaching and learning in Islam.
The child’s brain is fertile for learning and memorisation. This opportunity should be translated into reality by engaging the students in full-time learning when they are very young. As-Sha’fii (popularly known as Imam Sha’fii) was reported to have memorised the Holy Qur’an at the tender age of 11 years. This is the challenge to us as parents not to allow our children to waste their precious time in frivolities in order not to regret in the long run.
In Islam, the knowledge of the Holy Qur’an is primary to every household. Learning the Holy Qur’an is not restricted to reading alone but the children should also be encouraged to memorise it and know its meaning. Besides, the children should also study the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (SAW), acquire the knowledge of fiqh (Islamic Jurispudence). All these have been made easy in the modern time because there are as many websites as can be harnessed; many are also on CVD and DVD that can be used to teach the children at home.
The Holy Prophet (SAW) said, “teach your child the arts of shooting, ridding (driving) and swimming.” This hadith exposes us to skill acquisition in Islam. Whereas it is not restricting us to only these three areas. It opens our eyes to the importance of art and craft which in one way or the other can make the child meet the challenges of time, every child in the Muslim households should be computer literate before getting to secondary school.
The Muslim child should be exposed to western education because it is the legacy of our predecessors that was hijacked by the Western world. Muslims in the early centuries excelled in the areas of knowledge like Medicine, Mathematics, Science, Engineering, Philosophy, Language art to mention a few.
It is an incontestable right of the child to be educated and not to be left ignorant or sentto street to beg in order to fend for himself. Islam considers it another form of child infanticide not sending a child to school; or giving him/her a balanced education. “Readers are leaders”. Our children should be made to read as much as possible to challenge their intellect and become a source of pride in the future.
Finally, we should assist our children with prayers as done by the Holy Prophet (SAW) for Abdullah Ibn Abass.