PROBLEMS FACED BY MUSLIM SCHOOLS
by Mufti Zubair Bayat, South Africa
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The problem faced by some, in fact most Muslim Schools today, is the absence of a true Islamic atmosphere and spirit at these schools. As a result of this, pupils, the end-products of these schools, seem to lack the true and lasting Islamic values and the dynamism of a Mu’min when they leave the portals of the schools after spending almost 12 years of their lives there! This is clearly evident in their behavioural patterns sometimes in school and mostly outside the school, when all vestiges or traces of Islam seem to disappear from their lives. Once they have graduated from these schools and gone out into the wide world, it is difficult to accept that these are the same persons who had been exposed to the environment of an Islamic school for so many years. Some of the areas of weakness observed in pupils in this respect are as follows:
| Most pupils leave with a very luke-warm attitude towards Islam. They fail to properly carry out the fundamental pillar of Islam, Salaah and other acts of Ibaadah such as daily Tilawah, Zikrullah, etc.
| Furthermore, they seem to lack the willpower to abstain from Haraam and un-Islamic acts. They are not imbued with a burning love for Allah and His Rasul (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) and for Islam as a way of life
| They do not seem to be conscious to the suffering and hardship of the Ummah all over the world and they do not show any zeal or enthusiasm to serve the cause of the Ummah
| The lofty Islamic qualities of Taqwa (fear of Allah), Sabr, Shukr, forbearance, generosity, humility, shunning of extravagance, shunning of love of the world and comfort, etc. have hardly found a place in their hearts
| The degree of respect that needs to be accorded to parents, elders, guests and teachers seems to be sadly missing. Compassion for the younger ones also is lacking
| The language used and attitude displayed in some instances can hardly be expected of a pupil attending a Muslim School
| The absence of the physical identification (dress) of a Muslim outside school hours indicates a lack of conviction or commitment to an Islamic identity
| A degree of carelessness, irresponsibility, undisciplined behaviour is encountered at times
| Pupils also have been affected by a liberal, free and non-conformist understanding or
interpretation of Islam that has been promoted at certain schools, which has contributed
towards the above state of affairs arising. This point is a very serious cause for concern
| This is a brief statement of the problem which can be expanded in detail if necessary
| The solution/s to the above mentioned problems can be varying. Various solutions could be attempted
| However, a piecemeal or partial solution may only serve to treat the symptoms of the problem rather than the cause of the problem itself. This will result in a recurrence of the problem in short time. The school’s code of conduct is an example of a partial solution that enforces a certain pattern of behaviour or dress code upon pupils, but only helps within the four walls of the school and not beyond. This type of solution is not a total or complete solution
| The solution does not even lie in merely increasing the Islamic knowledge or information of the pupils or carrying out spiritual programs in a perfunctory manner
| For the solution to be effective and long-lasting, it will have to be a comprehensive and deep-rooted one, treating the problem at the very root instead of covering just the symptoms
| The panacea for these problems lies mainly in the injection of a powerful form of spiritual awareness in a consistent, sustained and concentrated manner. The other solutions will reinforce and enrich this very fundamental solution. A certain sustained spiritual atmosphere or climate must be created at the school in which pupils and others find themselves automatically inclining towards change and virtue. For this climate to be created and sustained, the presence of a spiritually endowed and imbued personage at the top of the school, whose spirituality would effuse throughout the school, is essential. All role players at the school, especially management, staff members and Boards of Governors must display a willing enthusiasm and inclination towards deriving maximum spiritual benefit from such a personality. All kinds of regular spiritual programs for all role players (including a segment of parents) must be organised frequently and the correct interpretation of Islam in its pristine purity must prevail over all else. When this environment is created, it is hoped that a revolution would take place and slowly but surely, the signs of change and transformation would begin to manifest themselves. At this stage, ancillary solutions would begin to help and become more effective, but not until then.
Ancillary solutions that could be adopted along with this fundamental solution are the following:
holding short daily guidance/Tarbiyyah programs for pupils/teachers
special emphasis to be laid on warning against various social ills such as customs, fashion, drugs, music, pornography, photography, videos, etc.
Pupils/teachers to be encouraged to pose questions to Ulama to increase learning process and for the promotion and dissemination of correct knowledge
to arrange short daily Tilawah and Zikr programs to instill spirituality
teachers to serve as role models for pupils in all ways
emphasis on improving the home environment by arranging programs for parents, particularly mothers
inviting Ulama and pious elders to visit the schools and address the pupils/ teachers
Encouraging pupils/teachers to attend Ijtimas, Jalsas and going out in Jamaat etc.