Secularism and school
It is with greatest urgency that I beseech Muslim parents everywhere: if you think drugs and dating are the biggest threats plaguing your children at school, think again. The real danger in public schools is in the very thing we encourage our kids to master – the curriculum.
The global secular system, when truly internalized, can tear down the very faith in Allāh. Secularism has been a staple in public education for years; so long in fact, that we may disregard the way it influences our children’s perception of themselves, their religion and the world. To explain the moral and spiritual dangers of a secular curriculum, one must first understand secularism and how it conflicts with Islām.
In simple language the word ‘secularism’ has two meanings:
i. Exclusion of religion from public affairs
The belief that religion and religious bodies should have no part in political or civic affairs or in running public institutions, especially schools.
ii. Rejection of religion
The rejection of religion or its exclusion from a philosophical or moral system.
A further scrutiny of the secular system would reveal that it is not simply the neutral ‘exclusion’ of religion, but that it is in itself a ‘religion’. The way cancer can destroy our body systems, the secular system can damage our kids’ Imān.
Given below are only a few issues with regards to the secular system of education.
- Practically all syllabi compulsorily include such heretical concepts which directly attack one’s Imān. Famous examples are the Big Bang theory, and Darwin’s theory of evolution, both of which openly confront and negate the foundational teachings of Islām. Belief in any of these would take one out of the fold of Islām. These are concepts which aren’t merely taught to the children; rather they are literally drilled into them. In a relatively religious family, a man narrated to his school going daughter of about seven years the story of Adam AS, and how we all came from him, only to get the retort that, “but we came from monkeys.” Thus, to send children to school is to put their Imān into an imminent and genuine danger.
- Immorality and shamelessness is rampant in schools, in fact, it is even taught and encouraged. Boys and girls end up interacting with each other, which may result into love affairs, and finally may end up with the actual act of zinā. This can even happen in so called ‘Muslim schools’ where boys and girls are taught in separate classes. At the very least the zinā of the eyes is committed – casting of lustful glances at the opposite sex – an action upon which the curses of Allāh rain down, according to hadeeth. A school going girl of eight years once told her mother, “All the girls in my class have boyfriends.” Sex education is taught without any inhibition, even to young students, and even to mixed classes, and such filthy topics as how to prevents STDs and pregnancy in pre-marital relations are taught – literally inflaming and inciting the desires and passion of the students to commit that which is haraam. In one mixed class, during the Sex Education lesson, a young, scantily dressed female teacher asked the boys what turns them on in girls, and asked the girls what turns them on in boys.
- The majority of teachers in schools are either non Muslim, or they are Muslims whose lives aren’t entirely according to Shariat. Both groups have a very negative effect on the innocent and unsuspecting children. Children generally look up to and revere their teachers, always seeking to mimic them in whatever they do. Whatever their teachers say is eagerly sucked in by their sponge like minds and hearts and forms an indelible imprint, literally an engraving in stone. In this way, the qualities of the teachers, their thinking, their way of dealing with issues, their lifestyle is all transferred into the child. Thus for example, if the teacher comes to school wearing a knee length skirt that leaves at least half of her legs exposed, then the girls would want to wear the same, believing naively that this is an appropriate way to dress. This can have very detrimental results, which we are witnessing with our eyes. These are the child’s formative years, and it is of paramount importance that they get correct Islāmic nurturing, and companionship of the pious, to mould them into the obedient Muslims which Allāh desires us to be. Deprivation of this will result in the child having no solid Islāmic foundation, the effect of which can remain for the entire life.
- Importance and priority is given to the secular education, and the greater part of the child’s day and energy is used in it, with little or no time left for Deen and Deeni studies, which are relegated and fitted in to the later part of the day when the child is completely exhausted. Many of us don’t realize, but this system day in and day out builds the mentality of the child. As he grows up, he is made to believe that the objective and priority of life is Dunya, and Deen is merely an irrelevant aspect on the sideline that should be turned to only when free time is found from the never ending rat race of worldly and material pursuits, and this is exactly what the West wants. Deeni studies are seen as a threat to the dominance of Secular Education, which, in sordid emulation of the West, is thought of as indispensable. At the slightest hint of any decline in attention towards secular studies, Deeni studies are cast aside without any qualms. This is, in effect, encouraged and condoned by the parents themselves. For example, if a student will end up missing his salaah because of having to write an ‘important’ exam at that time, then the parents will brush it off with a mere shrug and ,”Oh well, what can we do.” In a Madrāsah where I previously used to teach, I had a certain Quran student, a girl of about eight years. One day she came to class and announced to me that she will no longer be coming to Madrāsah. Upon my asking her the reason for this, she replied that her mother, after seeing her report, was unhappy about her progress in school, and told her she would have to put in more effort and time, thus she must use even the time that had been kept aside for Madrāsah to do revision of her school work, hence she will not be able to continue with Madrāsah. This girl used to come for half an hour at the most, and tajweed was a far cry for her, merely being able to recite was a struggle. However, the parents weren’t in the least bothered by this state of affairs, because her secular studies were being harmed (according to them), which they could not tolerate one bit. One can imagine the dire and hair raising consequences this can have for the child.
- A child is exposed to the open disobedience of Allāh, and he is made to participate in this breaking of the commands of Shariat. When a child isn’t yet bāligh, then the sin won’t be written in the record of the child, its burden will be shouldered in its entirety by the parents. However, nonetheless the evil effects of the sin will still wreak havoc in the heart of the child, preparing him and teaching him to keep on indulging in this disobedience for the rest of his life. In this way, the child is brought up in an environment where vice is rife, and not so much as a mention is made of upholding the Deen of Allāh. Besides what has been already mentioned, the two main sins which children are made to be involved in are music and animate pictures, both of which are major sins. The punishment for listening to music, according to hadith, is that boiling lead will be poured into the listener’s ears. Today, even in so called ‘Muslim schools,’ music is played in the class for the children. In fact, there is a certain ‘Muslim’ nursery school in which music is played regularly for the toddlers, the boys are then paired up with the girls and they are made to dance. Sadly, parents turn a blind eye towards such despicable acts that their offspring are made to go through. Pictures are found in plenty in text books and story books, and are hung up and plastered in the classes in the form of charts. According to hadeeth, the mercy of Allāh is taken away from a place in which there are animate pictures (pictures of people or animals). Thus by sending our children to school we are actually wilfully depriving them from the mercy of Allāh. It is only the mercy of Allāh that can save us from doom in this world and in the hereafter. When we ourselves have rejected this mercy though our actions, and are content to stay far away from it, then what will become of us and our children? They are also made to draw such pictures in class and as homework. In the hadeeth, the severe warning that has been sounded for this should be enough to send shivers down our spines – the person who will be involved in any way in making pictures in any form, will be subjected to the severest and most painful punishment and torment in Jahannam. It was this very school environment that had such a detrimental effect on a certain girl in the UK, and it so deeply planted in her the seed of rebelliousness, that even after completing the Ālimah Course upon being forced into it by her parents, she ended up forfeiting her Deen and Imān, and became a murtad (may Allāh save us).
- Nursery rhymes and fairy tales may appear to be harmless fiction and poetry to us, but we should not let ourselves be fooled. Concealed in them are such poisonous messages which are transferred to the children’s minds both consciously and subconsciously, and alter their thinking and views. The fairytales are designed to make the child fantasize and wish for the dream life that is portrayed in them, a sort of an ideal life the foundation of which is sin and immorality which is put across as acceptable, rosy, and beautiful. Almost all of them have one common theme – premarital love. For example, Snow White lived together with seven men before her dream lover took her away. Sleeping beauty is awoken by her lover’s kiss. Cinderella runs away to a late night ball to be with her lover. Rapunzel’s lover sneaks into her bedroom to secretly spend time with her. The list goes on and on, and there are many more examples. The children, by being exposed to this on a daily basis, are actually being conditioned to develop a liking and longing for all that Allāh has forbidden us. In the original version of Little Red Riding Hood, she takes a bottle of wine to her grandmother. Most nursery rhymes have sinister origins that many of us are not aware of. To mention just a few examples, “Humpty Dumpty” is actually a mockery of the Muslim defeat in Spain. “Goosey Goosey Gander” talks about religious persecution connected to Catholic priests. “London Bridge is falling down” is connected to child sacrifice, a major tenet in Satanism. “Mary Mary quite contrary” refers to Queen Mary of England, and her ruthless blood shedding. “Ring around the rosy” refers to the Black Death – the plague that wiped out of millions of people. Alternatively, it has also been said to refer to a religious ban on dancing. It is these stories and rhymes which our children memorize every day, polluting their innocent minds, instead of memorizing the verses of the Quran, and the Ahadeeth.
These harms are present in varied extents in all types of schools in vogue today. This includes those schools which are referred to as integrated or Muslim schools, which are just as much cesspools of vice as the regular ones. Many a times the only thing about these schools which is Islāmic is the name. Anyone who has read this carefully will notice one thing in common in all six harms mentioned – these aren’t merely short term effects that can be easily reversed. Rather, they are long term consequences of mind boggling magnitude. In other words, to send a child to school is to willingly present him for utter destruction and devastation in this temporary worldly life, as well as the eternal life of Ākhirat. Is it really worth it?
The so-called ‘integrated’ system of education is not the real solution. Teaching the secular subjects together with the religious subjects would mean administering ‘poison’ together with anti-poison potions. This would definitely not reduce the lethality of the poison.
We must respond to the dire need of saving the Imān our children from the dangers of the modern curriculum by investing in our Islāmic schools with our money and our time and by creating a comprehensive Islāmic curriculum, totally free from the secular approach, for classes from kindergarten to the uppermost grade, to be used in place of the secular system currently in place. Another very important point we have to bear in mind is to impart this Islamised curriculum in a totally Shariah based environment where no commands of Allāh are broken.
May Allāh Subhānahu wa Ta’ala Protect the Imān of our children and Guide us to fully grasp the reality.
Allāh Ta’ala Knows Best
The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of MuslimVillage.com.