I haven’t written for a long time due to a lot of personal life turbulence. However, today’s topic is something that is very dear to me and always on my mind. When we look at the weak state of the ummah today and all the struggles and calamities we are suffering, we have to question ourselves, why have we reached such a miserable state. The most common answer you will hear is Muslims have turned their back on Islam. And while that’s true in general I want to be more specific today and hopefully pin point one of the big reasons at the foundation of our crumbling faith.
Where do we spend most of our time in our formative and identity building years? The years that will shape who we are and draw the path to our future? For most of us the answer is school. Our hours, days and years are mostly spent in those so important educational institutions. The question is , is what we spend our time , effort, often money on in those institutions helping us build our Islamic identity or destroy it?
This brings us to the next question. What builds a person’s identity, his self worth, his compass in life? Is it studying languages, or maybe Math? What about science and geography? Or maybe physical education and arts? These tend to be the subjects we give the most attention whether as educators, students or parents. The only thing we are thinking about is our children performing well at school so they can go to a good university, then graduate and get a job and have a family. This is our aspiration and so it becomes our children’s as well. But while we are busy building the future of our children we are actually unwillingly destroying our Ummah. If we don’t have a memory, we don’t have a past and if we don’t have a past then we can’t have a future. And that is what is missing in our education. Studying our history, and learning from our victorious past. Giving our children true role models to follow instead of being fascinated with pop stars and footballers. Studying our history and understanding how our nation was built and what we need to rebuild it once more. In non Muslim countries we learn nothing of our history except maybe a few distorted facts and unfortunately it’s no better in the Muslim world. Where history school books focus on nationalism and mix truth with lies. The bulk of our Muslim heritage is never made mention of anywhere. So much so that even you searched yourself for a comprehensive Islamic history curriculum for children unfortunately you will not find one. (If anyone does know of one kindly comment below). It’s very sad indeed. While on the other side, tremendous effort has been made to preserve the identity of Non Muslims. They have put admirable effort in making comprehensive history resources for their children. Unfortunately we have been put to sleep and we don’t even realize what is happening to us. If we are to have any hope that this miserable state we are in will one day change, it is paramount that we look in our homes and make true changes. We may not have a choice in the schools our kids go to or the curriculum they use. But that is not an excuse for us not to try and change things. It’s not an excuse for us not taking care of this huge responsibility Allah has given us. If we want to have a future we need to start knowing our past.
So what do we do? And how do we teach our children. Ideally, a group of Muslims will come together and make it a top priority to formulate an Islamic history curriculum for children that will cover as much as possible of our rich history. In the mean time we as parents can do our best at home. This is an example of a brief outline of a history curriculum I think we can follow with our kids.
History curriculum outline:
• Grade 1: 25 Prophets from the Quran (except prophet Mohamed)
• Grade 2: Seerah / heroes (companions in focus)
• Grade 3: Seerah / heroes (companions in focus)
• Grade 4: Khilafa rasheda (Abu Bakr,Omar,…)
• Grade 5: Khilafa Omawaya /Abbasya/Ayoubeya/Fatimeya/Salajiqa….threats of crusades and mongols
• Grade 6: The Muslims empires built in Spain and Africa and where we are today
World view from Islamic perspective
• Grade 7: Ancient civilizations and the prophets in more depth
• Grade 8: Revisit Seerah in more depth while studying the Roman and Persian empires
• Grade 9 – 11: Modern history including the Ottomans/ The split up of the Muslim world /Palestine/ Iraq/Syria/Afghanistan….
• Grade 12: Building a Muslim empire
This outline is a personal effort. Not necessarily comprehensive. But they are important topics we should all strive to cover with our children. Start with your kids today. It’s never too late. Even if it’s just reading to them stories from our history before they sleep. We need to give them the right material to build their identity and in doing so we will be rebuilding our ummah.