Can We Raise ‘Good Muslim’ Children in the West?

February 27, 2007 § 37 Comments

Today, I went to my favorite local deli near the hospital where I work in Brooklyn, NY. I often go to this deli because, 1) the brothers are Muslims and I pray with them every Friday at our local masjid; 2) the deli is halal – thank God that some Muslim business owners are still concerned about the conditions of their products and services with respect to our religious beliefs – and 3) its healthy to break out of the office monotony to go and speak a different language and joke around with nice people after the noon prayer.

This visit however, was in the morning and not at noon. After I got my morning coffee and made a few salutations of good-will, a brother named ‘Abdullah and I began a conversation about foosha Arabic grammar. He is helping me to find a private Arabic teacher for my wife and children. ‘Abdullah is a very pious and hard-working Muslim from Yemen. And he shares with me one of his worrisome concerns about Muslims in this country saying,

“You know brother, when Muslims come to this country and have kids, our children start to speak English and forget all about the Arabic language.”

He goes on to tell me that its not only the language but Islam that is often forgotten or even rejected by our children. And I agree with ‘Abdullah, which is why I am working so vehemently to have my children learn firstly, about their religion and secondly, about the Arabic language. Consequently, the Qur’an the central authority of the global Muslim community, is incomplete without the Arabic language, so there must be a certain level of competence in speaking, reading and especially comprehension of Arabic.

Conversely, some argue that Arabic is not needed as long as you have the translations. Its true that the translations of the Qur’an to English and other languages make comprehension easier for those whom are not native Arabic speakers. However, the translations leave so much room for things to get – as the saying goes – ‘lost in translation’, not to mention the confusion that may occur during congregational prayers.

I think it is our job as parents to ensure that our children receive a proper Islamic education despite being enrolled in secular public or private schools. The consequences of neglecting this duty are severe, particularly in the West. For example, Andrea Useem of Religion News Service reports that,

“Sixteen percent of Americans have switched their religious identities at some point in their lives, according to the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey”

Though it is probably true that converts to Islam make up a large portion of this number, there is no proof that this condition is particular to Islam. In fact, a reasonable consideration is that the religious conversion rate in this country is the result of our society in flux as suggested by Peter Berger, professor of Sociology and Theology at Boston University,

“People are making more choices in everything, from lifestyle to sexual identity. It’s not surprising if they are making more choices in religion,”

This brings me back to ‘Abdullah’s concern, which was that the children of Muslim parents particularly those of immigrants have no interest in learning the Arabic language and incidentally Islamic teachings because they exist as an off branch subculture in this society as opposed to a mainstream identity. Could it be that for Muslim children, the Western lifestyle, a condition in constant flux, is overwhelming? My children are very small – five years; three years and 5 months old – and it still to early too see if they are more interested in non-Islamic culture. Right now they embrace their Islamic culture and heritage, so much that my son keeps asking me to come speak to his class about Islam. Apparently his teacher – who often discusses god and gods, with the children, in terms of ancient mythologies – has suggested that she would like me to do this, though I have yet to find the time.

Since my children are so young I am inexperienced in this area and all I can go on are suggestions from text and traditions. Therefore, I would like to begin a discussion on raising children to be good Muslims in the West. I think this topic could develop into a very insightful and inspiring resource for a number young families. So let me just go ahead and put the question out there: do any of you parents have thoughts or concerns on how to raise good Muslims in the West?

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§ 37 Responses to Can We Raise ‘Good Muslim’ Children in the West?

  • abdulghany says:

    Dear Brother Hakim,

    Salaam!

    How thoughtful of you to propose this. It’s a major problem being faced by all Muslim parents living in the West, and even in the Muslim world: no one is safe from exposure to the negative aspects of the present materialistic culture that has pervaded the entire world.

    I personally and humbly believe that we might as well go straight to the heart of the matter: what will keep our children on the right track is a solid, sincere, real and true relationship with our Beloved Allah.

    If we can get each one of our children to develop a strong relationship of love for Allah and devotion to Him right from their early age, then the battle is won; everything will fall into place. Our children will then, of their own accord, want to be attached to all means leading to Him, including the learning of Arabic, the acquiring of religious knowledge, as well as the Islamic culture and way of life. If, on the other hand, they are given all these things but are not brought to an intimate relationship with Allah, the Most High, then there will never be any guarantee that they will remain attached to any of these things later on in life.

    The very first thing parents should do is to realise the magnitude of the problem. No human being on earth can fight the ever-present negative elements of materialism single-handed, or even with the help of the community. If anyone is to be asked for help, it is Allah Himself. Parents should actively and regularly pray for Allah’s help to keep their children attached and devoted to their Creator. The Holy Prophet s.a. assured us that the prayers of a parent do not go unheard. Prayer is therefore our prime weapon against the evil effects of the acquisitive and hedonistic culture we are exposed to. Indeed, when a parent cries before God and begs his Lord daily, and with great pain and anguish, to save his or her children from all these evils, how could Allah turn down such a sincere plea?

    Parents should benefit fully from the potent prayers of the Holy Qur’an, which prophets of the past made for their children and future progeny.

    The second thing is to show the children a good example of one’s own specially devoted and loving relationship with Allah. Children should see their parents going eagerly to worship God and they should hear their mother and father speak lovingly of God, with true emotion and affection. This will deeply affect the children.

    Thirdly, children should see their parents be largely unaffected by worldly things; for if the parents themselves are constantly showing greed after money and rushing madly after pleasures in undue fashion, then the children will naturally follow, and do worse than, their parents in these matters. If something is gained, the parents should express thanks to God; if something is lost parents should not go berserk as if it were the end of the world. Children should be taught the value of things so they become grateful instead of ungrateful and wasteful; they should not see their parents love worldly objects excessively.

    Fourthly, parents should talk to their kids right from the start about the good sides of the Islamic religious culture and also of any other culture(s) they are exposed to. It is no good condemning any culture wholesale, for every culture has positive aspects to it. Children should be taught how to take the good things of other cultures and leave the bad. They must be constantly told about the dangers of the materialistic culture.

    Fifthly, children should be greatly encouraged and congratulated when they are doing things the right way. They should be praised when they help others, when they worship God properly, when they make efforts to learn their religion, when they take part in good activities such as charitable projects, etc. Much praise for good deeds is worth far more than severe reproach for bad deeds.

    Sixthly, religion should be shown to them in the way it is supposed to be: as something easy and pleasant, and not as something burdensome and boring. As the Holy Prophet s.a. said:

    “This religion is easy. No one becomes harsh and strict in the religion without it overwhelming him. So fulfil your duties as best you can and rejoice. Rely upon the efforts of the morning and the evening and a little at night and you will reach your goal.” And: “You have been sent to make things easy and not to make them difficult.” [Sahîh al-Bukharî]

    Seventhly, moving and inspiring true stories of believers of the past and present and how Allah came to their aid or saved them miraculously from harm, etc., should be told to the children with great emotion, and with genuine tears in one’s eyes. This can only have a positive effect on them. Moreover, parents should pray that Allah graciously show their children miraculous signs of His presence and help so that the children see with their own eyes the Power and Love of Allah. Surely, Allah will not turn down such a prayer, Insha Allah. Thus, the love and attachment to Allah will come alive and will not be a dry relationship based merely on stories of the remote past.

    These were just a few of the many things parents can do to safeguard their children and future generations from not only the evil effects of society but of evil in general. Praying for the success of all these measures is absolutely vital. And parents should generously extend their prayers to other parents too. Prayers said out of the generosity of one’s heart for others are also heard for oneself. If we pray for the children of others to be saved, ours will also be saved, Insha Allah.

    I am sure other parents will have golden tips, practical advice and interesting incidents to tell us here! I am awaiting them eagerly to use them for my boys.

    May Allah accept the prayers and efforts of all believers for their children and generations to come. Ameen.

  • Hakim says:

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam,

    As I said, my children are very young the eldest being 5 and I found a very nice book that addresses the seventh of your measures, that being:

    “Seventhly, moving and inspiring true stories of believers of the past and present and how Allah came to their aid or saved them miraculously from harm, etc., should be told to the children with great emotion, and with genuine tears in one’s eyes.”

    There is one book that has childrens stories from the Qur’an that begin with the Creation – my boys favorite story – and follows with the stories of the prophets (a.s.) succesively from Adam (a.s.) to Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). It can be found here.

  • Dirty Butter says:

    This concern of yours applies to Christian families as well. We live in a very materialistic and hedonistic time, which is not conducive to the rearing of godly children. I would say that abdulghany’s suggestions are good ones for all parents whose concern is that their little ones grow into adulthood with a personal relationship with God, not just a lot of religious rituals that can so easily be discarded.

  • abdulghany says:

    Absolutely, Dirty Butter. I have always found that believers of all revealed religions face the same problems and can all find solace in the same way: by truly turning to God, Who created us all.

    Thank you for your comments.

    • kim says:

      Well I like to read what everyone is saying I am doing my best to raise my boy I have converted to islam when I married my husband 12years ago and I am doing my best to teach my kids the right way

  • Rob says:

    Regarding the language, imo that is something shared by all immigrants. My parents are immigrants but I was born here; and while my Spanish is extremely good for an American, my ear for the language is good enough that I can detect an American accent, which is embarrassing.

  • Hakim says:

    Rob,

    Thank you for joining us. I was wondering about your comment, you said,

    “My parents are immigrants but I was born here; and while my Spanish is extremely good for an American,”

    So did you at any time – in your youth – avoid or reject learning the intricacies of proper grammar within the Spanish language?

  • Samaha says:

    He He – you’re about to get an earful.

    Okay, so I was born and raised here in the US. We lived 7 miles from our mosque and I spent a lot of time there growing up, as my dad was treasurer (so I spent time in the library often while he worked) and my father had also arranged for the then Imam Mustafa Ceric to teach us Arabic. Otherwise, for the most part, I am the product of a public school system and a father that had not only devoted himself to our community but devoted himself to seeking knowledge.

    While I had since early childhood become fascinated with Islam and religion in general, my peers (other Bosnian and some non-Bosnians) did not have this same enthusiasm, of course not all of them, but I would say most did not.

    We all married Muslims like good daughters and sons. We had children and are now raising our children.

    When my husband and I first started talking about marriage – I had 2 conditions – the first was the name of our first daughter had to be ****** and the second was that our children had to go to Muslim school. All three of our daughters are now in Muslim school and this means so much to me that I have been spending 3-4 hours a day driving to the school then back home and then back to school and back home again for the last 7 years.

    Now, for all of this, no my children are not learning classical Arabic, rather they are learning and I may as well add – poor conversational Arabic. My daughters can however read the Quran in Arabic as well as they can read Harry Potter in English.

    That’s fine, but then I have the social issues. Are my daughters able to decide for themselves what proper hijab means and when they shall start wearing it? No, it is decided for them and a one-way view of hijab etiquette is being instilled for outside of school. However, my daughters pray in congregation 2 prayers a day in school. Is a sense of self-worth and confidence being instilled upon my daughters. Again, I will have to say not. They are discouraged from speaking to boys at all and are often even separated. My daughters often experience conversations of “girls can’t do that”. However, during Ramadan, my daughters fast in company of all of her Muslim friends. I get to experience “Ramadan Programs” although that had been taken away for about 4 years (after changing schools and the new school is on the conservative side).

    So you may be wondering what actually drives me to invest all of this time and effort into Islamic school when I myself have serious issues with some of the outcome?

    It was a conversation that took place a few years back with Muslim peers that I grew up with and the topic was this: “Do you expect your children to marry Muslims?” and most everyone expected that their children would not marry Muslims and everyone seemed so non-challant about it. In their mind the reality is that they are born and raised in this environment and they will accept whatever choice their child makes (not that I wouldn’t – but I haven’t resolved that my child will marry a non-Muslim).

    I realize that it is the example and upbringing that I enstill in my child, but there is also a reality of what is going to appear normal to my children and my own community will have as much to do with that example (if not more) as I will. So, I aim to preserve one more Bosnian Muslim generation and hopefully it will be 2 as I’ll drive my grandchildren around for the same amount of time to insure it.

    Oh – and I do intend on integrating my children through other means like sports clubs and having them work at 16 – possibly enrolling the oldest into some college courses while she is in high school.

  • Hakim says:

    as-salaamu ‘alaiki Samaha,

    I knew I could count on you to comment on this item, thanks. Yes, you and I share many of the same concerns though I have boys and your girls are a bit older than my boys, it still sounds the same.

    The social issues are to be expected, my children go to a secular school during the day and an Islamic school on the weekends, but they are young so it is really difficult to tell how the Islamic lessons are effecting how they perceive the world around them.

    But you did make mention of an area that I think should be of concern and that is the issue of classical Arabic. That is a very big concern of mine as I discussed in the post (the conversation with brother Abdullah). The social issues at least the ones described can happen in secular schools as well, though a spot light is on Islam and Women right now, so I do understand your concern.

    However, I cannot see – at least not now – my boys marrying a non-Muslim woman, for me that is unacceptable, though it is permissable to marry women of the ‘people of the book’, I personally think that it is important for the raising of children that the wife be a Muslima. Unless they reject Islam, but that in itself is another issue all together.

    By the way, I have heard of Imam Mustafa Ceric, I have heard very good things about him.

    maa’ salaama

  • Samaha says:

    Salam Hakim,

    I have to say that I wonder at just what age should children start learning classical Arabic. My daughters started conversational Arabic in kg – but I don’t think that would be appropriate until possibly fourth grade or so.

    I often think that we are pushing language classes in Islamic schools at too early an age. Not because I think that they are not capable of learning another conversational language at an early age, but rather it is an additional class to the core curriculum, Islamic studies, Quran and the two daily prayers at school. We spread them so thin that something has to give and I know at my house it is Arabic and Quran (as I can’t help them anymore).

    As for our children and who they marry – that has got to be the scariest subject for me but it is one that I have forced myself to think about and not just me but hubby as well. I mean – I am doing everything to the best of my ability to raise them as Muslim girls, hopefully strong, independant, Muslim girls (hence the Equality Project I have been working on), but I can only do so much. I have written a bit about arranged marriages as I know that my daughters have been raised amongst cultures that do arranged marriages, but that isn’t a part of my own culture. I wonder if my daughters would feel hurt if they are not approached in this manner (even if this isn’t her vision of marriage) and if they are approached for an arranged marriage – then what? Honestly, I can’t even imagine that they would marry outside of Islam as my oldest seems so very orthodox and I find her preaching to me, but I have to remember that love happens – so then what? Scary!

    Yes, I’ve written a bit about him and he’s very active worldwide. I have been trying to get a hold of him and one of the administrators in Bosnia keeps telling me not to give up – it is just that he is travelling all the time. I will have to try again today.

  • As salaam alaikum.

    Allah (swt) has blessed our family with five children. As a result of His will my wife and I have four.

    All are good all round kids — and neighbours and friends often comment and ask “what did we do?”. Our answer is God (swt).

    We have a traditional home. My wife alhamdulillah has stayed home with them, we have traditional values, with family time, conversation, pole modelling, and God (swt).

    If Allah (swt) is not the head of your home. Shaytan will be.

    Wa salaama,

    nuh ibn

    ps. do an act of kindness for someone right now!

  • abdulghany says:

    Salaam

    I believe children can best be taught a new language at a very young age. It does not seem to hamper their other studies, as they usually see it as a fun activity. It is when kids start to learn new languages when they are older that it quickly becomes boring for them.

    Studies have shown that children who are bi- or trilingual tend to do better at school. More parts of their brains are thought to be activated to cope with the extra skills needed to juggle several languages at the same time. This may explain why they tend to be good in their studies, but it is by no means a definitive explanation.

    Having said that, it is very difficult to teach a foreign language at home if it is not spoken. So classes are necessary. But for small children to go to classes is not an easy thing to organise.

    In Japan, children as young as 10 months old go to English language schools, where they listen to nursery rhymes, songs and stories and watch cartoons – all in English – with their mothers. It might sound drastic, but it no doubt gives them an edge on kids starting later.

    Maybe such classes could be organised by local Muslim communities for Arabic, but it looks like a difficult task indeed.

    • Saleeem says:

      for those are arabs; you should have no problem I presume. that is, Arabic should be the only language spoken at home – mostly importantly, mum should speak only arabic as the saying goes:
      الأم مدرسة إن أعددتها، أعددت شعب طيب الأعراق.

  • Dio says:

    Dear Bro

    Salam

    Please exchange links with me. I would like to follow your assertions here.

    Dio

  • Parents’ Power

    I have been campaigning for Muslim schools since early 70s, because British schooling is not in a position to satisfy the needs and demands of bilingual Muslim pupils. Now MCB has accused schools of failing to respect the needs and demands of the Muslim pupils. The publication of 72-page document by the MCB is an attempt to promote better integration of Muslim pupils into the state sector. It calls for tolerance of religious needs and demands. According to Daily Express the document demands that all children to be taught in Taliban-style conditions. It calls for special considerations for Muslims in almost every aspect of school life: collective worship, PE, dance, swimming, exams, school meals, sex education and parents evening. According to a study, majority of Muslim pupils are underachieving at schools because the curriculum is racist. The lessons failed to motivate or interest pupils and that the curriculum did not provide enough positive models. Head teachers have warned that meeting the needs and demands of the Muslim pupils would pose major practical difficulties for schools and it sounds completely un-doable. The British Established dismissed calls from MCB for schools to do more to accommodate Muslim pupils. In state schools, Muslim pupils are placed in situation where they feel pressured into acting contrary to their beliefs and conscience and also experience Islamophobic sentiments and comments within schools.

    Bristol council spent £18000.00 researching whether there was a demand for an Islamic school. The MORI report showed that support for Islamic schools and awareness of the Bristol Islamic School Trust campaign are at such a level within the Muslim community that the council cannot afford not to address this issue without significantly disappointing parents. I think all over the country, Muslim parents would support state funded Muslim schools. The silent majority of Muslim parents would like to send their children to state funded Muslim schools.

    I did a survey in the London Borough of Newham in 1991 to find out the level of support for state funded Muslim schools. I visited each and every Muslim home in the Borough to find out their opinion about Muslim majority state schools to be designated as Muslim community schools. Nearly 90% of Muslim parents supported my proposal. The Guardian newspaper dated 5th of November 1991 devoted half a page on my efforts for state funded Muslim schools. The Channel 4 also produced a documentary which was due to be shown on that evening prime time but the broadcast was cancelled by the higher authorities because of institutional censorship and racism.

    There are hundreds of state schools where Muslim pupils are in majority and instead of replacing them with Multi-faith schools; all such schools should be designated as Muslim Community schools with bilingual Muslim teachers as role models. Muslim schools are supposed to be not only faith schools but also bilingual schools where English, Arabic and community languages would have priority for the development of economic, social and emotional literacy. State funded Muslim schools are the solution and not a problem.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

  • samaha says:

    AA Iftikhar,

    I read that 72 page document and I am full of scorn for all it is asking for. Quite honestly I am not a fan of state funded religious anything. I don’t know how it is in the UK, but such would have serious implications here in the US.

    I think that Muslims need to have reasonable expectations and establishing adequate facilities for prayer are one thing, but asking for schools to modify bathroom facilities to be wudu friendly is asking for too much. Insisting on a girl’s right to wear hijab is quite another from insisting that Muslims be allowed to wear amulets as they have religious meaning and are not just jewelery. We as Muslims need to integrate into the cultures that we live instead of trying to segregate ourselves from them.

    I don’t think that we have done any favors to hispanics here in the US by offering bilingual classes and to the contrary we have created a disadvantage for them. Many of these programs are now being cut from the system for this reason.

    State funded religion is a problem, if it weren’t we’d all be living in the ME.

  • […] Abdullah presents Can We Raise ‘Good Muslim’ Children in the West? posted at Hakim Abdullah. In this next post, Hakim Abdullah looks at one of the most pressing […]

  • See this post: http://theimamsdaughter.myminaret.com/2006/03/22/growing-up-muslim-in-the-us/
    Quick summary:
    What helped me keep my Islamic identity while growing up in this country was:

    1 – Living next to the Masjid
    2 – Attending Sunday School
    3 – Getting involved in the Masjid Youth Group
    4 – Summers spent in Lebanon every couple of years

    • Saleeem says:

      Mona,

      I like the last point. it may not be possible for many to go a country where the dominating culture is a muslim one; it definitely works. so, those who still have a family back in ther original home, do it folks, may seem expensive but i would certainly do it – three months every year or every two years is an awful lot of time during which one can learn and adopt values and principles.

      wassalam

  • Umm Layth says:

    as-Salaamu `alaykum

    Insha’Allaah this finds everyone in good health & Iman.

    One of the biggest concerns for me is that my son is being raised upon Islaam, without a choice. I mean, for me, the decision was my own – as I am a revert. But for him, it is not and when I look around to families who reverted but whose children were raised upon Islaam, I find a huge lack of appreciation for Islaam. So it scares me.

    I must say that one thing that I am very anti – is putting our children in public schools. I was raised in America, a non-Muslimah and I attended public school since 1st grade. This was back in the 90’s when I was in elementary but I remember that even then there was so much stupidity amongst these young kids and as you hit higher grades it only got worse.

    My parents who are Catholic, may Allaah guide them, aameen – did try very hard to instill good morals in me and constantly reminded me to be the better one in school. I was the quiet one, the one who always knew when something was wrong and what not. But there came times in my life where peer pressure really bothered me. I tried my hardest to fight it, but it is hard when you are around the same people so many hours a day, 5 days a week, year after year.

    Having experienced middle school and high school and having accepted Islaam during my 9th grade year and seeing how hard it was to stay away from all the evil (and believe me, I tried very hard) – I realized that I had to remove myself from that environment and so I decided to study at home via a charter school for the rest of the time. It was really after I accepted Islaam in that 9th grade year, that I knew I would never place my children in such an environment.

    And I think that is a main problem with a lot of parents. I mean we can think that our children are going to be strong and that they will remember Allaah – but peer pressure is real and the loss of self-identity is real. That isn’t to say that there aren’t kids who survive all the immorality but it is difficult.

    I know that after I accepted Islaam, I met sisters who became religious in public school because of the filth they see and by Allaah it is wonderful to know that they were able to beat such evil but unfortunately, and we all know this – it isn’t the case with the majority. So, I believe that as parents we need to really look at things realistically.

    We want our kids to be around the best of people, as Rasulullaah (sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) reminded us constantly – so we should make sure that their environments are those which will bring about good socialization and constant remembrance of Allaah. Parents need to find the best means to provide for their kids – good friends and good mentors, who are Muslim and who are deening.

    Parents need to become more involved in their children’s lives and work to find alternatives to what is common but harmful.

    • Saleeem says:

      Salam Umm Layth,

      I agree with you partly. Sending kids to a charter school or a muslim school will certainly help in raising you kids in a good way. However, you cannot just isolate yourself from the rest of the community; kids need to learn other scial skills. In view of your experience, the following will contribute greatly to raising kids well.
      – good schools, charter or muslim (but too extreme)
      – good guidance from parent, love you kids and be friend with them (requires dedication)
      – monitor tv programmes (no tv is way too much)

      all success,

      wassalam

  • Susan says:

    I am a non-muslim married to a muslim. My husband recently told our daughter that if she did not start praying at age ten, then she would be hit. He says that this is customary.Is this the case? It seems wrong. She has never been required to practice any par of the religion before. What is the significance of age ten and where in th Quran is this law? I would appreciate any anwers to explain.

    • Saleeem says:

      hi Susan,

      It sure is customary as the prophet pbuh said “teach you kids how to pray at age 7 and hit them for it at age 10.” So, you guys should have taught her how to pray and the significance of praying and all in the first place.

  • Andleeb says:

    as salamu alaikum,

    I would like to share that i am living in sydney, australia.
    Maash allah we have heaps of islamic schools teaching islamic values and traditions. Best of all i have got satellite tv where my children can learn all about Islam.
    I have lived in USA. I think its high time now when our children should learn all about islam so that they can differentiate between right and wrong. Also we shoud make more visits to our home countries for the awareness of the culture.
    People in australia are more family oriented and less materialistic and selfish. At least i am one. so i am thankful to Allah for sending me to such a beautiful country. My children now their mother tongue i.e urdu as well as arabic and english. My home is close to the mosque so they are learning QURAN as well.
    May Allah make easy ways for people living in the west and he guides all of us to the right path. ameen.

  • Mum+psychologist says:

    Secrets to raising good Muslim kids?

    1- No T.V
    2- Quran – for parents FIRST thus our kids
    3- Dua for all
    4 – Consider home-schooling seriously

    No TV and no school = parents take the responsibilty of raising their children rather than taking the ‘easy’ option and leaving it to the TV or school

    • Saleeem says:

      great idea, I sure will do the same, but requires a huge commitment from you part. To put it another way, what you are suggesting can be done by a handful of people, what about the mainstream.

  • sarah says:

    I think all of you guys are wrong if your children want to learn and study isam then it is up to them and don’t worry about them not marrying a non-muslim if they chose not to then let them. And you may ask who am I to say such things well i am saudi and you may have parbuly gussed that saudi Arabia is home to meka and the counrty is based on the reiligon isam. So you if relly want to know if your children will grow up as good little children then you well see when they get older. And islam isn’t about pushing your childern into it its about what they want to do.

  • Sakeena says:

    salam alaykum all,

    This is an awesome question and i have found that many women in my community have found some very creative solutions with great results. Many of the sisters in my community who have small children homeschool them. This way they can be sure that the kids are properly socialized and receive a top of the line education. In fact what they do is they create a sort of co-op where three or more families will work together so the kids get a chance to interact and they can pull on all of their collective strengths to give the kids a great foundation. In later years, high school or there abouts, some choose to send their kids to public school so that they can get into colleges with less difficulty. Others do it the other way around but with less success.

    The number one hint for effectiveness i have found is modelling, modelling, modell. Kids really do what you do and not what you say. If you put Allah subhana wa ta’allah first in a very natural and organic way they will too. If you try to get preachy or judgemental as a way of re-enforcing islamic values they will smell a rat and disregard you as a preachy jerk. You can’t protect them from the pervading society so don’t try. Rather make sure they have as many examples of good muslims around them at all times as possible. that means we mommies have to get social as well so that our little girls see great examples of muslim womanhood. And dads are gonna have to get in there too.

    in my old community we had a muslim family meeting every other week. All the muslim families would get together to talk and learn and pray together. It really helped us out as parents and several marriages resulted from it.

    Of course these are all ideas coming from converts. I don’t know why immigigrant families are not more active like this but i am sure its a cultural divide that can be crossed with time. But my point is that yes we can raise great muslm kids here in the west with a whole lot of prayer and a little bit of creativity.

  • sr nichole says:

    As’salam alikum (Peace be upon you),
    I feel rather silly, but alas…what suggestions do you have for a muslim parent that lives in a small community (of non muslims with no muslim resources) for economic reasons. I am a revert to Islam and have no family other that my husband and daughter (of eight) to lend support here, and sadly I don’t have excessive support even from there :(. We have had financial difficulties in a large muslim based community, but I feel so isolated. I know it is all part of the test from Allah (swt) or God, but every article I read says establish muslim youth groups, visit masjid, visit muslim families….etc.~I cannot do this. I have been to several websites concerning different issue (about parenting and marriage) and asked others for good resources, but to no avail. I am trying to integrate here and figure ways to make people aware of Islam, and I pray about this often. Any suggestions would be appreciated^^

  • Hakim says:

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum sister,

    I will respond to this by email and post a brief summary of our discussion.

  • sami says:

    assalamu alaikum
    i was reading this blog or whatever its called and its very true..im not a parent.in fact im only 13 and i realize we need to know more about islam and the parents need to help make islam fun if not at least something exciting for us to learn..my parent i think did a pretty good job with my siblings we go to masjids to pray, halaqahs, and those things that really make u think about Islam really deep in your heart..then u kind of feel super religious that one day and then the next day is out to the usual video games and stuff..u know i reallly wanna stop play video game and sports ..but i dont know how to quit video games.i know its jsut a waste of time..my parents only let me play after i do my homework and read quran but i still think its a waste of time…..all i want to know is how i can keep this pious feeling to do good from the lectures?

    i dont know if u noticed my writing is confusing is bad ima A student but i really bad at writing lol..i think it has something to do with my keyboard lol jk

  • magey says:

    well i am not a parent but a kid. i was born and raised in a muslim country. i moved to a western country when i was sixteen and started my senior years of high school there. I must say it is not easy if you continue to practice being a good muslim. But i sometimes see muslim kids integrate with the local kids and loose their faith. I guess it’s easy for them. every teenager tries to fit in. But for me fitting in meant giving up some of my beliefs. But insha’allah i kept my faith. i don’t think i will be able to fit in here. there are almost no muslim students at my school. only 1 or 2. for me home was better for being a muslim.

  • Grandma says:

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum sisters and brothers,

    I am a Muslim grandmother, my husband converted to Islam 35 years ago. We tried to raise our two daughters as Muslims. Took them to mescid so they can learn about Islam and prays, I taught them duas every night, to live in Islamic culture and way of life we moved to Saudi Arabia for four years.

    One occasion I remembered I got a telephone call from my daughter’s school principal in US and I was rushed to my younger daughters school and find my daughter is hysterical because she bit a piece of pepperoni in her cheese pizza which is accidently mix in her pizza.

    When they were really young they were really good Muslims, but now they are married (with none Muslims) I felt they lost their faith.

    My daughter’s husband wanted their baby to christening. My husband and me talked to them and let them know that we are against to their decision. They said they are not doing Christening because the religious reason they are doing just for family gathering. We told them that they could do family gathering without religious ceremony. I found out they did the christening without our knowledge. How can this little girl once hysterical accidently bit a pepperoni pizza now Chritening her baby? I am extremely upset, broken heart, depressed (crying every time I taught my little grand-baby) and felt distance toward to my own daughter. Please help me. What should I do?

  • Saleeem says:

    Let’s be honest, whatever you do, you simply cannot raise you kids the way you want, it is just too difficult to do that; western culture is dominating – at school, on the street, on tv, friends and neighbours and so forth.Plus, you’re busy at work, and how much of your time can be given to your kids, and if so, what will such time be spent on. Also, how much can mum do, if she is not working – not much I suppose. It’s true that you enjoy the quality of life but the expense of your kids’ future.

    so in my mind, the best thing you can do is to live in country where muslim-culture is dominating and bear with it – quality of life. At the end of the day, one has to make sacrifices.

    all success,

    wasslam

  • ANJUM says:

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum…..

    am a married girl, i have a problem though im a muslim born & brought up in a good environment but i dnt know how to read quran in arabic i read in translated english book ,as my dad is a very strict man he never let me go out or let any tutor to come & teach quran ,but my mom made all effort but i learnt & couldnt remember anything properly as i have got bad memory power .now Im living in UK allahamduliah my husband is a very great supportive guy so i want to learn the QURAN .Can you please guide me any school or tutor who can teach me with less fees or free as i cannot bear much amount as im not working.I live in BRISTOL (REDLANDS).Your help would be appreciated .please help me out .i really ant to learn .i tried to call many mosques as there are very few mosques in bristol & even trasportation is also costing me very much .other than saturday & sunday lessons im ready to learn any day.please help me out.

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