La Tahzan Wa La Khauf

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Teaching of Islam

Why is the current approach of teaching Islam ineffective?

It is an undeniable fact that knowledge is important in Islam. Teaching of Islam is one important task which helps spread further the religion as well as a way to learn further about it and seek its truth.
It is sad to note that the current approach of teaching Islam seem to be ineffective, both to adults and children. It is apparent that children in schools are expected to memorize a number of Quranic verses, all the 99 names of Allah SWT, hadiths, names of Prophet Muhammad’s SAW family members etc.
At one glance, we see that young children’s first experience in learning their religion consist mainly of memorization, some even without knowing the meaning behind the verses and the reason they need to learn it. They do it without understanding what is Islam all about and what it means to be a Muslim. The result of this is that children grow up under the impression that Islam is all about memorization without understanding the true meaning of it.
We also see that in most classes teaching Islam, children especially are not encouraged to ask questions. Students are only expected to repeat verses after their religious teacher and then start memorizing. In the end, we see teenagers getting bored with the subject, drop it when they get the chance and end up being religious illiterate. This current approach of teaching Islam in this modern culture has made people become very weak in understanding the religion and some can easily be led astray. They have no confidence in their faith and are unable to point out the benefits of Islam.
In some classes, we see students sitting before the teacher silently and most of the time; the teacher scolds them for not following the Quran and hadiths. We ask one question: How do these students follow the Quran and hadiths if they are not taught on how to do so in the first place? Scolding them will make these students dislike their teacher; and this may even make them dislike the subject entirely.
We learnt from stories of the companions on the Prophet SAW that he never yelled or scold people who made mistakes. This was mentioned in the Quran where Allah SWT Instructs the Prophet Muhammad SAW:-
"It is part of the Mercy of Allah that you deal kindly with them, because if you were harsh with them, they would have run away from you. So overlook their faults and ask Allah's forgiveness for them..." [Ali Imraan: :159]
The truth is Islam is a religion that encourages seeking of knowledge and requires us to think, observe, investigate, reflect and understand its divine revelation. It is not about following without thinking, neither is it about memorizing without understanding. Scholars and teachers teaching Islam must make use of their students’ curiosity and satisfy their curiosity by answering what they have at the back of their minds. Answering questions such as the spiritual and social benefits of the solaah, the meaning behind Allah’s SWT names etc. would be very meaningful in helping students understand Islam. Stories about the life of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his companions which includes moral values makes it easier for both children and adults appreciate moral conduct rather than learning the abstract principles on its own.
Some Islamic classes isolate the students from other general knowledge such as literature, science, chemistry etc. This is ineffective as students are unable to relate the Islamic values with other forms of knowledge. They could not understand the fact that faith and reason support one another. As a whole, these students could not study Islam in its whole structure.
Just look deeper at how a non-Muslim embrace Islam and why a person born Muslim are committed towards Islam. Often, we learn that these people have role models who are devoted Muslims and wanted to become like that person. If they stumble across new information, which they don’t understand, they ask questions or read until he is satisfied. Hence, teachers teaching Islam must be that role model for their students or at least use examples of great Muslims and inspire their students to work towards becoming a Muslim in its true sense. A good example would be that of the Prophet Muhammad SAW where stories about him often leave a strong impression in our mind.
Allah SWT Says in the Quran:-
“And thus preach joy to My servants.
Those who listen to the word and follow the best of it.
Those are the ones whom Allah has guided and they are the wise people." [Al-Zumar: 17, 18]
In short, it is important that Islam be taught in a way that is meaningful to the students. It is best that Islam be taught gently with honesty. Those teaching it must be calm and patient, fair and just. If students make mistake, be forgiving and guide them towards the right path. This will help them understand the deeper meaning of the purpose of their lives.


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"To Sharing Islamic Knowledge With Muslims In The World"