“The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:”Part of someone’s Islam is his leaving alone that which does not concern him.”*
One thing I wonder about is why so many Muslims ignore prophet Muhammad’s wise words on countless things, one of which is the above hadith.
One theory I have is that this kind of advice is only useful for people who have accepted and internalized the Islamic philosophy of the Quran. Without first receiving a thorough education in Islam’s fundamentals, we would not be able to take the above hadith seriously.
This is similar to the way people who don’t know much about health keep eating unhealthy foods even though they hear everywhere that vegetables and fruits are healthy. I have read maybe 10 books on food and eating and their relationship to health, books like The China Study, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and Kitchen Confidential. Every book has made me appreciate more the importance of eating natural, organic foods cooked at home.
Here I will return to the original topic. The Muslim imams and their mosques in the last 10 centuries, even though they had good intentions, slowly drove Islam into the ground as they kept focusing on little pieces of advice without teaching the population the basics. It is understandable why they did this; it is difficult to communicate to another person what Islam truly is. It takes years. It is much easier to give people little pieces of advice (such as don’t lie, being kind to your parents, etc), hoping that they would pick up something useful. Sadly this method is ineffective since it does not create a true appreciation for Islam’s message.
A better strategy would have been to ask everyone to learn as much as they could about Islam so that by the time they reached adulthood they could be good teachers to their children. Islam is not meant to be taught by the mosques. Islam must be taught by parents.
Teaching our children Islam doesn’t mean holding hourly lessons everyday to teach them Quran. Children don’t like sitting through long lectures, and an hour is a very long time to a child. Instead of formal lectures, what we need to do is give them small lectures as situations come up, similar to how prophet Muhammad taught the early Muslims.
Zen students learn about meditation and the Zen kind of thinking by living with a Zen master. What I’m asking you to do is become your children’s Islamic master. No need for formal lectures–their entire daily life with you should be lessons upon lessons in the Islamic way of living and thinking.
Please note that I’m not recommending that we do not teach our children Quran. We should teach them Quran after they have learned the basics. If our children do not appreciate the importance of the Quran, they will hate sitting through Quran lectures. Therefore our first job is to teach them to appreciate it. How do we do this? In my opinion by being good Islamic masters.
And to become a good Islamic master, as I said Muslim parents need to learn a lot about Islam. They will need to read dozens of books. It will take years. It is not going to be easy. But it is necessary in order to be a good teacher.
I’m not recommending that parents not send children to mosques. What parents shouldn’t do is fully depend on the mosque or Islamic school to teach their children Islam. This kind of lazy Islamic parenting rarely produces devout Muslim children.
* This hadith was submitted to QuranClub by Seba Gasser.
Photo credit: Ahmad Zamri Ahmad Zahir