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Schooling for muslim children in non-muslim countries

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Schooling for muslim children in non-muslim countries

Post by Admin on Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:41 am

Asalam alaikom sisters

The following question was put to the Sheikh:
"Christian school forcing all students to attend Church:
salamalakum
I have put my son’s name down for secondary school
they replied and accepted him to join but i have come to learn that if he goes to their school
he will have no choice but too attend church along with every one else
i was told that this was out of respect for them!!!!
now I’m not sure if we will be able to accept the place
there is only one other school and there is a big chance that they will not accept him in this school.
How much of a sin would it be if he went too church and just sat there?
or should i refuse and stick too my principles and hope for the best inshalah?"

He answered firstly by directing us to the following fatawa:

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which was written by 4 major scholars. We were frustrated because we felt that the context of the question was not addressed. Upon enquiring for clarification from the Sheikh he (may Allah reward him) gave the following detailed answer and explanation, putting things into the proper perspective for us:

Guidelines on the Fatwa about sending children to the schools of unbelievers

Some reasons why children need protection

[1] It is not allowed to send your children to the schools of the unbelievers for the simple reason that they are unbelievers and in that environment, children will be taught unbelief of one form or another. They will be taught to accept Christianity, atheism, agnosticism, humanism or pluralism - or some cocktail of the aforementioned, all of which strike at the very heart of these children's developing minds and souls. They will learn how to disobey Allah, follow their desires, become ashamed of their religion, bend their religion, doubt there religion and leave their religion if they so wish. They will be taught to sin, learn how to get away with sin and accept sin. They will learn to fornicate as heterosexuals or homosexuals, or accept deviant sexual orientations. The list goes on. Do not doubt that children will be exposed to some or all of these things, any one of which is an immense danger. And they will not only learn these from teachers and lessons in the classroom, they will learn it from other children and young adults in the classroom and in the playground. You have virtually no control over these matters. Your children will be exposed to these things for more waking hours than they spend with their parents, so when will these things be countered?
When they reach the legal age, if you dare try to correct them, they will be able to tell you exactly where to go. And the law will be right behind them.


Ireland is no Different

[2] Ireland is not significantly different in this regard. Catholic schools, non-denominational schools, private schools and state schools in Ireland are not free from the majority of these evils, and this is true of every single non-Muslim nation on the face of the earth. And the scholars know it. The point missed by some who wanted to jump in and explain what Ireland is like is that Ireland is not that different in terms of the Islamic ruling. Every single reason and excuse given about the specifics of Ireland has been heard before about other countries and other communities. The question is not whether the Shaykhs are oblivious and just give out fatwas without knowing the situation. The issue is scholars know what is relevant and what is not. It is easier to know the situation in Ireland than it is to know what should be done according to Islam, so we are more in need of being told the reality than the scholars are in need of being informed by us.


The inherent problems of attempting to compromise

[3] Opting out of a very limited number of activities in these schools does not change the reality. Concessions made for Islam are not sufficient. In fact, the very notion that Muslims can join in some activities with a flavour of their own religion is a warping of the religion and only reinforces the pluralistic Western liberalism that is so confusing for adult Muslims in the west, let alone the impressionable minds of the kids. For example, it is not allowed in Islam to celebrate festivals or significant occasions of the unbelievers, like Christmas. Inviting Muslim children to take part in a religious event by modifying it with some token Islamic theme is disfiguring the religion of Allah, not helping it. Even with the best of intentions, non-Muslims cannot help Muslims to be true Muslims in this way. They only cause confusion. And if you were to modify, opt-out and exclude your children from everything prohibited by Islam, your child would be left with almost nothing to do in school outside of his books, no friends, and would probably be a laughing stock. So you are between distorting the religion or making school torture for the children, which will make it only more likely that they will rebel against you and Islam at the first opportunity. Also, much of the influence on young minds will come from their peers and colleagues at these schools. You will never know everything your child is exposed to at school, let alone be able to counter it. None of this is hypothetical, it's already happening.


We need to be told, not the Scholars

[4] When scholars - especially the senior and experienced ones - give a fatwa they know what to ask before giving an answer. Notice that in the fatwa regarding schooling, the scholars did not ask about France or the details of the parent's situation. What he said was sufficient for them to answer the way they did. Why? Because the lands of the unbelievers do not differ significantly in terms of the danger upon Muslims residing there, especially the young and developing. The challenges facing parents who seek alternatives are also well defined and covered by Islamic principles. The important thing is to know the ruling and the solution. The fatwa gave the ruling and the solution in a manner the scholars deemed fit for the situation. Of course, if a person feels there really is some feedback needed, he has the right to ask, but it must be in the correct manner. If scholars think that the questioner is hunting for a particular answer or is not being totally honest, or is simply in danger of falling into error, they give their answer accordingly. If it becomes clear to them that the person is being argumentative and is not asking because he sincerely wants to do the right thing, the scholars can dismiss that person and they don't even have to answer his question.

In this case, the scholars deemed it serious enough to not give any exceptions. Any contingencies are already covered by general Islamic principles (see last point). A fatwa cannot be expected to explore all possible exceptions and excuses all the time. If a fatwa is kept general and the reason for the ruling is given, it is safe to say the fatwa was meant to be general. In the case of this fatwa, the answer was you cannot send your children to such schools. The ruling was based on the fact that those schools are the schools of the unbelievers, regardless of the country. In fact, the scholars have issued other rulings that prohibit the entrance of Muslims into even international (Kafir) schools in Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, where the law and the culture gives Muslim parents a much stronger position. Clearly the danger is more pronounced in a country like Ireland, where Muslims are relatively isolated. The solution, as pointed out in the fatwa, is to to employ taqwa, which means to fear Allah and obey Him. The promise from Allah is He will show a way out and give provision from where we would not imagine, if we put this taqwa into practice.


We should grasp this idea first, then consider the options.

Possible Solutions

[5] Once we recognize that it is only in turning to Allah and striving to obey Him that we will find a way out, we see how to implement this in our situation. First, do not send the children to such schools. Educate them either in Muslim schools, or homeschool them.
Muslim schools

The danger in sending children to Kafir schools is far too great to dismiss this option immediately. No school is perfect, but you have to be careful when comparing the two kinds of schools. Is it really worse to send the children to a Muslim school where they will at least have the basis of their religion protected even if they're likely to learn some bad things, or to send them where the very essence of their faith and character is at risk? Would you rather send your kids - if you had no other choice - to a Muslim school where they might pick up swearing than send them to a school where they will learn that it's okay to believe God has a son? The Quran tells us that the mountains are ready to crumble and the heavens are ready to split asunder at this filthy statement. You're going to have to deal with some amount of sin simply because you live in Ireland, but if you have a choice, you don't choose the worst one.



Homeschooling

This is arguably the best option if you are able to educate the children yourself, or in cooperation with others, as it avoids even the problems with Muslim schools where there are naturally going to be many kinds of students.
Many western legal systems accommodate teaching children outside of schools, since schools are an artificial and quite authoritarian measure, and they are not the original method of teaching, contrary to what we generally think. In some cases authorities actively bully and scare parents into thinking they are being negligent if they even think of taking their children out of school. Despite this, many people, including non-Muslims are opting for homeschooling for various reasons. In England (I'll come on to Ireland), you are not legally required to have your children in school, you are required to be able to demonstrate that you can provide them with an adequate education. As far as I know, and this is where the sisters' regional knowledge and investigation comes into play, Irish law also has provisions for homeschooling. It is up to the sisters to make sure about this. The situation can be different for those who have never entered the school system and for those who are in school and whose parents want to take them out. There are homeschooling organizations in Ireland and legal representatives who affirm that the Irish constitution and educations acts provide for children being homeschooled.


The absolute last option, not the first

[6] If it is absolutely impossible to homeschool, either because a parent is not able to do so, or because it is illegal and the implications of breaking the law will likely lead to an even worse outcome, like the children being taken away from the parents, and if all other avenues are exhausted; if the Muslims cannot leave the place they are in for a location where they can practice their religion adequately, then and only then can it be said that you have no choice but to send the children to school. It has become something you are forced to do. In this case, there is no sin upon you, but it is incumbent upon you to be vigilant and ensure that all measures are taken to minimize the negative effects of schooling with the unbelievers. If you then have to make a choice about what kind of school, it should be based on which of the schools your child is less likely to be harmed in in terms of his or her aqidah (belief) first, and then in terms of his or her other morals. If the child has reached the age at which they are commanded to pray (7 years by the Hijri calendar), the school must provide prayer facilities if the child is not able to pray at home or in a mosque during school hours. No scholar can spell out for you exactly which school to go to, and this is where your knowledge about the available schools comes into effect.

This is what Allah has enabled me to write on the topic. The original question from the sister was about a choice between schools. But I believe any answer to this had to go back a step and deal with the principle. This became even clearer when some of the reactions to the answer appeared. And Allah knows best. He is the one we seek aid from, and with Him lies success.




Last edited by Admin on Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:52 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Font adjustment)

_________________
When you are faced with a choice - what ever you do - do it SOLELY for the sake of Allah and you can't go wrong.

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Join date : 2010-04-23
Comments : Where is Allah? Who was Muhammed? What is your book?
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