The nurturing of Islamic values in children
The vision of the Madrasah Centre of Excellence (MCE) is nurturing piety in our students. Piety, or taqwa, is based on a Muslim’s relationship with his Lord. Based on this understanding, it is necessary to fully comprehend our relationship with our Creator. The key questions one must ask include:
Who am I? Where do I come from? What is my purpose in life? Where am I headed?
The curriculum framework consists of an overarching conceptual framework based on the Holy Qur’an verse 2:177, from which eight learning modules have been developed. The verse beautifully encapsulates the true meaning of piety (al-Birr) and the fundamental vision of what it means to be a true Muslim. It starts with rejection of the notion that just outwardly expression of worship is not a criterion of a good Muslim.
لَّيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَ لٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَ آتَى الْمَالَ عَلٰى حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبٰى وَالْيَتَامٰى وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَ فِي الرِّقَابِ وَ أَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَ آتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَ حِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَ أُولٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ
“It is not righteousness to turn your faces towards the east or the west; but righteousness is [reflected in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book and the Messengers; and one who gives the wealth, for His love, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the [stranded] traveller, the beggars, and to those who are in bondage; and one who maintains the prayer and gives the zakah; and those who fulfil the pledge when they promise; and they are patient in [financial] stress, [physical] distress and in heat of battle. These are those who have been true [to the faith], and these are the God-conscious.” Al-Baqarah, 2:177
+ “It is not righteousness to turn your faces towards the east or the west …” A good Muslim bases his life on a sound belief system, submits to the Divine guidance, and lives an ethical life.
+ “… but righteousness is [reflected in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day…” The origin of everything is Allah as the Creator of the universe, in particular the human beings as exemplified in the form of Adam and Eve. It also talks about the return of humans to their Creator for judgement and its consequences.
+ “… the Angels, the Book and the Messengers;” The Almighty Allah has provided a system of guidance in this world. The angels were created by Allah not only to manage the universe but also to help in conveying the Divine guidance to Allah’s vicegerents (khulafa) in the form of prophets, messengers, and Divinely appointed Imams on this earth. The angels played an important role in bringing the Divine Books and revelations to the prophets and the messengers.
+ The Divine guidance came in the form of prophets and messengers, some with and others without revealed books, starting with Nabi Adam (a) and ending with Rasulullah (s). Thereafter, the Divine Guidance continued in the form of Imamah, Divinely appointed successors of the Prophet of Islam, starting with Imam ’Ali (a) and ending with Imam al-Mahdi (a).
+ The fundamental role of the role of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (a) is to convey the true meaning of the Qu’ran and the authentic sunnah of the Prophet, and to provide the best role models for living as true Muslims. The Qur’an has indeed presented the Ahlul Bayt (a) as the example of par excellence of al-abrar, the righteous ones. (see 76:5)
+ Commitment to such a sound belief should manifest itself in actions. An important proof of true faith is the willingness to give away a portion of our wealth for the sake of pleasing Almighty Allah: “…and one who gives the wealth, for His love, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the [stranded] traveller, the beggars, and to those who are in bondage…” This refers to the voluntary charity, hence the phrase “for His love.”
Then comes the issue of commitment to the rituals that have been introduced by Islam:
“And one who maintains the prayer and gives the zakat…” Interestingly, the verse only mentions two pillars (arkan) of the faith: salah and zakat. Both emphasize the dual level of commitment necessary for salvation in the Hereafter: Islam does not only emphasize the human-God relationship (on the vertical plane), it also gives importance to human-human relationships (on the horizontal plane). Salah symbolises the human-God relationship; and zakat symbolises the human-to-human relationship.
+ With a sound belief system and practical proof of a person’s commitment to the faith, the verse now reminds us of the moral and ethical disposition of a Muslim on a personal level:
“…And those who fulfill the pledge when they promise; and they are patient in [financial] stress, [physical] distress and in heat of battle….” Akhlaq is the inner disposition and character of a person. Two important ethical values have been highlighted in this verse: wafa’u ’l-‘ahd and sabr. ‘Fulfillment of a pledge’ is a dimension of truthfulness that is the basis of faith.
+ Two important ethical values have been highlighted in this verse: wafa’u ’l-‘ahd and sabr. ‘Fulfillment of a pledge’ is a dimension of truthfulness that is the basis of faith. ‘Patience’ is the most important quality in facing the challenges of life and maintaining the faith under pressure.
+ The verse ends with an important conclusion: “These are those who have been true, and these are the God-conscious.” Truthfulness cannot exist without chastity, courage, wisdom, justice and other related virtues; truthfulness is the basis for faith and action.
Combination of a sound belief system, a true commitment in practice and a noble character together are hallmarks of the true Muslims and the true muttaqin.
Wal-‘aqibatu lil muttaqin – the final success will be for the pious ones! (7:128)