Quran Focus Academy Blog

Islamic schools in Netherlands top performers

Islamic schools receive average of 7.4 in nationwide test at end of primary school, which is among the highest score in 2018 

 

Islamic schools in the Netherlands have performed the best among all primary schools for five years.

 

According to annual school research by a Dutch television news service, RTL News, Islamic schools in the country received the highest score in 2018 with an average of 7.4 in the nationwide test at the end of primary school.

 

In the research, RTL compared school results of the last three years.

Islamic Primary School El Boukhari in the western Leerdam city came fifth, El Habib School in the southern Maastricht city ninth, and Islamic Primary School Bilal in central Amersfoort city 10th, among 6,000 schools in the country.

 

It is no coincidence that Islamic schools have been the most successful for five years, director of Gokhan Coban Islamic School Boards Organization (ISBO), told Anadolu Agency.

 

“Teachers work hard in our schools, and we offer religious education to children two hours a week in addition to the national curriculum,” Coban added.

 

Islamic schools are now an indispensable part of the Netherlands. They make great contribution to the Dutch society, he noted.

 

A total of 12,500 student are studying at 53 Islamic school nationwide. Religious schools, which are funded by the states, have the same national curriculum as public schools. However, they have a bit more freedom to add religious teaching to their curriculum.

 

Participation in the test at the end of primary education is essential for entrance into the secondary education.

 

 

When is Eid al Adha this year?

Eid al-Adha is the holiest celebration in the Islamic calendar and this year it falls on September 12, in most countries.

The name Eid al-Adha translates as the “festival of the sacrifice” or Bakr Eid and is also known as the “Greater Eid”.

The celebration marks the end of Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca which thousands of Muslims all over the world embark on.

It is different from Eid al-Fitr – which is the festival that comes immediately after Ramadan.

During Eid al-Adha, Muslims honour the day Prophet Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son but was told by God to kill an animal instead, the celebrations symbolise Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah.

When is it?

The timing of Eid al-Adha is dictated by the lunar cycle so, it falls on a different date.

The day is set when a new moon is spotted – but there is little agreement within the faith about whether the moon must be spotted with the naked eye or if it should be seen in the country where the celebrations are occurring.

Eid al-Adha

Saudi Arabia announced on Friday it would celebrate the festival on the 12 September.

The Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha will be celebrated on September 12 in Saudi Arabia and in most other countries, and on September 13 in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The public holiday breaks for Eid have also been officially announced:

- Saudi Arabia: 12-day holiday break, which will include the days of the Hajj pilgrimage.

- ِGulf Arab countries of Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman: nine-day public holiday from Friday, September 9 until Saturday, September 17.

- Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Sudan also announced a nine-day public holiday on the same dates as in the Gulf.

- Turkey: nine-day public holiday from Saturday, September 10 until Sunday, September 18.

- Bangladesh: six-day Eid holiday, from Friday September 9 until Wednesday, September 14.

- Tunisia, Morocco and Nigeria: four-day long weekend holiday, from Saturday, September 10 until Tuesday, September 13.

- Pakistan: three-day holiday from Monday, September 12 until Wednesday, September 14.

- Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Ghana: three-day long weekend holiday, from Saturday, September 10 until Monday, September 12.

Local Names For Eid al Adha

The Eid al-Adha festival, or Feast of Sacrifice, is locally also known as:

- Eidul Adha, as spelled in the Philippines legislation.

- Eid el-Kabir, as commonly referred to in Nigeria and Morocco.

- Eid ul Azha, as referred to in Pakistan.

- Kurban Bayrami, as referred to in Turkey.

- Hari Raya Haji, as known in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

- Bakr-Id or Qurbani Eid, as referred to in the Urdu langauge, in India and in Bangladesh.

 

 

Muslim Kids & Islamic Homeschooling in USA

Columbia — On Monday afternoons, the halls of Dar al Taqwa Islamic Center are filled with voices of excited children, playing tag with siblings and friends, showing off snow globe art projects. A cluster of 20 mothers meet in the multipurpose room, tending toddlers and babies, chatting, and readying lunch, forming the Al-Ansar Homeschooling Cooperative, based on a consensus model where every member participates by volunteering to teach or clean up, essentially ‘pulling their weight.’ They settle down to listen to Elizabeth, a founding member, give a talk on classroom management.

Muslim_homeschool

Muslim Homeschool

In one room, Asmaa El-Haggan, mother of a ten year old son, teaches Model U.N Debate class. Seven weeks of classes are taught by mothers divided by age on topics of interest to the group or based on her expertise. By pooling money together, they recently had a nutritionist teach a class on healthy food choices. They hold an annual Art Fair and a Science Fair, and even hand out certificates. There are no charges except minor material fees for supplies.

Tips are shared: ‘get an educator’s card at the library and you can get six weeks to check out books’, ‘present your portfolio for review in a binder and show them your daily schedule’, ‘I use lyrical recitation of Quran and that passes for the music requirement.’ It’s a close knit, egalitarian group supporting each other in Islam and in their homeschooling journeys.

Driving in once a week from as far as Frederick, Silver Springs, Laurel to Ellicott City to give their children a taste of the classroom, Al Ansar moms are also active in arranging educational field trips for the 100 homeschooling families on their email listserv. They covered the Medical Museum, Owens Science Center, the Newseum, Ladew Garden, and a glass blowing factory last session. The next trips planned are to NASA and the U.S. Capitol.

“The DC area is great for free activities,” says one mother. The cultural and historical offerings are so rich, many homeschooling families rely heavily on the city’s cultural institutions, landmarks, museums, libraries and historical sites. The Maryland Science Center offered homeschool programming in the month of January. Maryland History Society has educational tours.

On Tuesdays, Heidi Wahba’s kids take a history class at the Sandy Spring Museum in Olney. On Wednesdays, they intern with Bryant County Critters in Gaithersburg assisting the instructor. Group study on Thursdays, and the week is finished off with a debate class with friends at the Makkah Learning Center in Gambrills. “I spend a lot of time in the car,” she says, driving her four children all over the state from their home in Brookville. It’s worth it to her. Her son was bullied ‘too much” in school, so she discussed it with a few Muslim friends, bought her first book called “Teach Your Own: John Bolt’s Book of Homeschooling”, joined 3-4 homeschooler listservs and never looked back. Building a solid foundation of Islamic beliefs is worth every minute to her. “My kids don’t follow the crowd.”

Zahirah Eppard and Moira McGuire are pros; they are grandmothers and have homeschooled several children between the two of them.

McGuire recommends that families new to homeschooling do it for more than a year. “A year is just not enough time as you need to adjust your ideas about education or your child[ren] needs to adjust theirs”. Skeptical of ‘traditional’ schooling, which she says isn’t traditional at all, she found herself unschooling, a self-directed approach to education. “In the beginning, I didn’t understand that I am an unschooler,” says McGuire. Her husband had a different, more planned approach. They have learned how to balance their approaches to their childrens’ education. She thinks for parents new to the idea, especially those who are pulling their children out from schools, need to know that a year is spent struggling with the question, ‘am I doing the right thing?’

Some choose to homeschool because they see a lot of time wasted in public schools and feel that their children can complete the 12 year curriculum at an accelerated pace. Creativity and flexibility are priorities for some and others want to build a solid Islamic identity. Currently more than 1.5 million children homeschool in the United States. According to the Maryland State Department of Education, Maryland’s homeschool enrollment nearly doubled over the past 15 years.

Hifdz of the Quran is a major reason why many families choose to homeschool. Without the pressure of public or private schools structured curriculum, Hifdh students tend to complete their memorization quicker. Husna Hamza has three daughters who are completing their hifdh at The Hifz School at Dar us Salaam; she homeschools her daughters and her three younger sons.

When Hamza’s girls were attending private school, she felt their relationship was more about their schooling and less about mothering — the boss-employee routine — ordering them around from the minute the day started to adhere to someone else’s schedule. Now she focuses on teaching her six children life skills and likes that she is not bound by a curriculum or artificial structure. “Home is the best, I don’t think young children should be away from home for such long periods of time,” she shares. She feels it is important for the health of the family – for bonding with parents and siblings.

Maryland is an active hub for homeschoolers, but is relatively homeschool unfriendly at the governmental level. Many states such as California and Pennsylvania provide resources, curriculums, let homeschoolers borrow books from the public school system, allow homeschoolers to take some classes in public high schools, give access to many public school extracurricular activities (sports, clubs, etc.). Some states provide public schooling at home by sending district teachers to the house. The District of Columbia pays for virtual homeschool programs such as K-12.com. The only resource that Maryland provides is that the homeschooled student may sit for standardized state testing.

But this didn’t stop Andini Gallivan family’s homeschooling journey which started when her daughter was also bullied in school. Her mother fell ill overseas and she took her two daughters with her to Indonesia for an extended stay. Her husband, a private school teacher, was intially opposed to the idea, but when he saw the progress the girls made under Andini’s tutelage he acceded. He is an active participant in their education and wants their daughters to home school through college.

They likes structure and have organized their Gallivan Academy to suit the family’s schedule and her daughter’s learning styles. These days the girls are studying the Khulafa Rashideen in History. She helps run a Muslim Homeschooling page on Facebook, which frequently offers tips and articles. The family moved from Virginia and finds more Muslim homeschooling families in Maryland. They do miss the resources in Virginia and the fact that Virginia doesn’t require portfolio reviews or reporting, but revel in the company.

Nahiya Saeed says seeing your child learn how to read and knowing that it was a result of your hard work is so rewarding. Participants use many different methods, ”different strokes for different folks”, says Saeed who attended public school. She has taught in the school system and feels the system is overworked with 30 students in a class room. “I don’t think homeschooled kids are smarter, but they tend to be more patient, less frustrated and less stressed as they receive a safe, tailor-made education.”

Home education is governed by COMAR 13A.10.01 in Maryland, a procedure used by the superintendent of each local school system to determine if a child participating in a home instruction program is receiving regular, thorough instruction during the school year in subjects usually taught in the public schools to children of the same age. Each school district has different requirements.

Under COMAR, students must be taught by parents or guardians but they can also hire tutors for subjects. Parents do not need to be certified. Learning the law is very important, parents are not required to teach the same information that the public schools teach.

Local school district personnel are not always familiar with the details of the laws, and a spirited discussion ensues as the Al-Ansar moms reveal their review experiences where they were asked questions that were clearly illegal. Dannette Zaghari-Mask, an attorney, says that sometimes the county asks to see everyone.“They are not allowed to interview the kids,” she says. Saeed nods her head in agreement; she is a member of the panel which runs the co-op. Mervad Sewilan comments that some reviewers ‘look at us as an enemy.’ Gallivan shares how she used her review as an opportunity for dawah.

Saeed says Al-Ansar is not an umbrella group, so it can not do the reviews for its parents, but the interest is there. Dar Al Taqwa has the required paperwork.

If a parent or guardian decides to homeschool, they have 15 days before the beginning of a home instruction program to sign a written statement on a form prescribed by the State Department of Education. In Maryland, English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Art, Music, Health, and Physical Education are mandatory subjects. Quranic recitation classes can be substituted for Music classes.

Some school districts have cooked up forms and policies that are not legally required, warns Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). The correct form—the one developed by the state Department of Education—is available on the HSLDA webpage for Maryland. HSLDA urges families to use this form rather than the one the county offers. Families are not required to file any forms with the local public school; a notification of intent is enough to inform the school superintendent.

Diana, a mother of six, sits outside a church, on a cold January day, with several other mothers clad in hijabs. Her daughter is inside attending an advanced science class in the church’s basement, that they found through a Christian message board. “I wish masajid [Islamic Centers] would open up their doors for homeschoolers to host classes.” Her experience requesting rooms at the Islamic Center near her home met ‘a lot of resistance and barriers’. Families can easily band together and hire tutors for private lessons cutting down the cost for a single family and provide income for retired teachers and professionals in the community.

McGuire, a thrifty mother of six, says it is not her journey, it is her children’s journey. Her son, Zakaria asked her to homeschool in first grade, he is now 16 and taking two classes at Howard County Community College; $250 each a semester. She also unschools three younger children – reusing books and equipment. Homeschooling can be cheap if used textbooks are bought through eBay and homeschooling swap meets. Community college credits for advanced coursework can later be applied toward a degree, saving money in the long run.

Homeschooling can be expensive as well. Classes with private tutors, correspondence classes and curriculum such as Calvert can add up fast. A full 4-year, 18 unit high school diploma program with American School online costs $2100. Diana of Columbia, MD, spends at least a couple of thousand dollars, ‘plus pay[s] taxes’. Heidi has a budget of $2000-2500 for her children, which she finds cheaper than private school.

With two kids now in highschool McGuire feels the pinch, spending $500 a year per child per class. “I find the older I get and the older my kids get, the less involved I am; they are experiencing life,” says McGuire. ‘Subcontracting’ as she calls it, means having other people involved with her kids, “that is what is different about [homeschooling] high schoolers.”

A tax credit bill SB 271 has been submitted to the Maryland Senate. It will help all families who choose non-public education—both homeschool families and private school families. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) If enacted, homeschooling families can obtain a $1,000 tax credit for books, tuition, correspondence courses etc. Some homeschoolers see the bill as intrusive and oppose it. They fear stricter oversight.

Another concern for parents who want to homeschool through high school is college preparedness. They are unsure if they have what it takes to teach high school level concepts. Diana tortured herself over this issue. Her eldest has now graduated from UMBC. “She loved the place,” says Diana.

In 2002, the College Board, which administers the SAT, says that homeschoolers averaged 72 points, or 7 percent, higher than the national average. At a portfolio review in Greenbelt Library, the school district reviewer shared samples of transcripts kept by homeschooling mothers of high schoolers. “Some universities are more friendly than others,” she says and college board results, extracurricular activities, recommendations from community college professors as well as showing what the student has done with their life helps homeschoolers get into prestigious colleges. According to the New York Magazine, based on a study that compared students at a midwestern university from 2004 to 2009, students coming from a home school graduated college within four years at a higher rate than their peers—66.7 percent compared with 57.5 percent—and earned higher grade-point averages.

What about the kids? What do they think? Dalya, an eighth grader from Germantown decided to homeschool herself. The language at school, the aggression and bullying were too much for her. “I want to homeschool my own kids; schools are a bad influence,” she says with a grin. However, she is headed back to the local high school because that is what all her siblings did.

Safiyyah is a quiet eight year old, whose favorite subject is math. Homeschooled since she was in kindergarten, she shyly says, “I like being home,” her brown eyes looking down at the floor.” I like spending time with my mommy.” Her mommy, Kimberly Baqqi, the cheerful administrator of the Al-Ansar Co-op email list coos with delight. Validation feels good.

Nadia, Sakinah and Aisha are ninth graders having lunch in between sessions at the co-op. After being homeschooled by their mothers since they were in elementary school, they presently take chemistry classes together with a college professor in Adelphi, MD and writing classes in Greenbelt, MD. They find themselves aptly prepared for the classes.

Since socialization skills are a big concern for homeschool critics, this is a question that is often thrown their way. They don’t agree with the stereotype that homeschoolers are introverts. “It allows you to grow in a way that is not possible when people are closed in with [only] their peers,” says Nadia.

Confident that they can take on the world, they know that it is their own journey.

United Kingdom Experience – The Study of Quranic Teaching and Learning

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, Rome-Italy Mohd Aderi Che Noh, National University of Malaysia Ab. Halim Tamuri, National University of Malaysia Khadijah Abd. Razak, National University of Malaysia Asmawati Suhid, Universiti Putra Malaysia Abstract

Al-Quran is the revelation to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) started with the word “Iqra’’. Prophet (PBUH) had implemented five principles of al-Quran teaching and learning which his companions and the next generation follow until today. The model consist of Tilawah (good and fluency recitation), Tafahum and Tafsir (knowing and understanding the meaning), Tatbiq (appreciate and implantation of the teaching in daily life), Tahfiz (memorizing some verses for practice and reciting during prayer) and Taranum (reciting al-Quran with a good voice and proper song). In this part of the article, the main areas of discussion will be how the Qur’an is taught in the Muslim community in particular in their mosques, madrasas and community centres and hence their method of teaching and then how it is perceived by the audience i.e. the students, teachers and also parents.

 

 

The study found that the teachers have been using a variety of strategies in implementing quranic teaching and learning, some teaching methods such as conventional and others reflect new methods taking into consideration the different abilities of the children. This style of teaching totally ignores the quality of recitation and teaching with the rules of Tajwid. This article will then lead to a conclusion, which will include some suggestions on how to improve the main curriculum and how the Qur’an should be taught.
1. Introduction Quranic education

is an obligation to every muslims. It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to help new generation in Quranic learning to become true muslim and better human being. Quranic learning started with learning Tajweed, which means learning how to pronounce and recite latter correctly. Tajweed can only be learned with a qualified Quranic teacher. Abdullah Al-Qari (1988) asserts that the al-Quran must be learned from teachers’ i.e by musyafahah and talaqi. Without any proper lessons with the experts, a person will unable to read the Quran properly and smoothly.

 

A teacher who can recite the Quran with fluency and smoothly, and articulating every letter from its articulation point and giving the letter its rights and dues of characteristics will be considered as a model teacher who expert in al-Quran recitation (alGhazali, 1993). This is also consistent with al-Abrasyi (1969), which suggests those who wish to become a teacher of the Qur’an should know the consequences of reading the Quran and knowing the rules of reciting the Qur’an quickly and accurately. They should have sufficient capacity of knowledge to be taught to the students.

 

 

2. The Establishment Of Muslim Education In United Kingdom Toward Quranic Education

 Akbar S. Ahmed eloquently describes this new discovery of the British Muslim, “In a crucial sense they are staring from the beginning…rejecting what their fathers stood for and what their elders spoke of…Each generation must now rediscover Islam for itself” (Akhbar Ahmad, 2001) This brings us to looking at the establishment of Muslim education in the United Kingdom.

In Britain, the establishment of Muslim education commenced during the 1960’s with the ‘Qur’anic School’. This was not an institution by itself but more of supplementary education in the mosques that the first generation of Muslim established for their children. Since the early days, Muslims began to rely on Imams imported from their home countries for religious services and for basic Islamic education for the younger generation.

These lessons for primary and secondary school level pupils were teached by Imams to the pupils in the late afternoon after school hours or during the weekends (P. Lewis, 2002). This effort of education for the Muslims have by now developed into the establishment of voluntary aided madrasas and Muslims faith schools across the United Kingdom, which follow the national curriculum but with Islamic studies, especially the teaching of the Qur’an, incorporated.

The establishment of Muslim faith schools has been very successful since the late 1980’s in the sense that there are currently over 100 independent and seven state-funded Muslim faith schools in the British education system. However, it is important to take note that the majority of Muslim children in the united Kingdom still attend British state schools and that the supplementary education is still the main link for a Muslim pupil to the teaching of the Qur’an.

At this moment it seems that only three percent of the Muslim pupils in Britain attend Muslim faith schools or madrasas (Nasar Meer, 2007). . This is the reason why the supplementary Muslim education and its Qur’anic teaching is the main focus for this study. It is the only way the majority of Muslim children across the United Kingdom can have access to the teaching of the Qur’an.

This supplementary Muslim education utilizes a number of places to impart this knowledge during the weekend or after school hours. It is still common for the Muslim community in the United Kingdom to mainly use the mosque for such teachings, however, if that is not possible then a community centre or a local school is commonly hired for this purpose or the Qur’anic teaching may be imparted within the home of the imam (Peter Mandaville, 2007).

However, this supplementary education has in recent years been highly criticized by both Muslims and nonMuslims for their poorly educated Imams and out dated teaching skills (Martin Van Bruinessen, 2003). It has become very common to hear Muslims in the United Kingdom and in Europe demanding that their Imams should be better educated in the Islamic Sciences and have a better understanding of their respective European society (Amjad Hussain, 2007).

Even though Islamic education in the United Kingdom has evolved successfully over the last forty years especially due to developments with regards the Muslim identity in Britain, it is still the supplementary Muslim education that is vital for the new Muslim generation, born and raised in the United Kingdom. It is therefore important to research the individual experience of how the Qur’an has been taught in these Qur’anic Schools.

 

3. The Method Of Teaching And Learning Quranic Education In United Kingdom

 The Qur’an as Muslims understand it to be the direct speech of God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the Archangel Gabriel holds immense importance and status in their lives (Abdullah Saeed, 2008).

Not a single home within any Muslim community will be without it. It is treated with utmost respect and dignity and every effort is made to ensure its sanctity. However, the main purpose of this part of the article is not to delve into the liturgy and virtues of the Qur’an from the Muslim perspective but to highlight how the Qur’an is taught and what methods are used specifically within the Western context and to be more specific within the context of the United Kingdom. Nor is it intended to delve into the different interpretations and sciences of the Qur’anic verses whether they are classical or modern interpretations.

However, what will be highlighted here is a Qur’anic verse, which indicates the purpose of the Qur’an and then investigating and comparing this verse in terms of implementation within the context of the Muslim community. In this part of the article, the main areas of discussion will be how the Qur’an is taught in the Muslim community in particular in their mosques, madrasahs and community centres and hence their method of teaching and then how it is perceived by the audience i.e. the students, teachers and also parents.

This article will then lead to a conclusion, which will include some suggestions on how to improve the main curriculum and how the Qur’an should be taught. It is stated in the Qur’an in Chapter Sad, This is a blessed Scripture, which We have sent to you (Muhammad), so that people may think about its messages.

One does not have to be an exegete to understand and grasp this verse as it simply encapsulates how the Qur’an should be read, understood and practised. Further, to reinforce this position one may argue that the Prophet Muhammad himself followed these instructions and practically demonstrated them to his Companions as he was responsible to teach and clearly explain to his followers the book. Undoubtedly, Muslims read the Qur’an to obtain reward but does that fulfil the purpose, is mere reading sufficient? Or is the main objective defeated, which is to ponder and to implement, as the above verse implies. Over the years however, different methods have been adopted for different age groups and the system and curriculum in mosques etc. has dramatically changed. This is mainly due to the exposure and teaching techniques, which teachers in this field have learnt and adopted from other sources such as government schools.

Government teachers are provided and given different methods of how children can learn and what methods can be adopted. These same teachers then have the possibility to apply these methods in the mosques, which not only makes the session interesting, but more interactive and productive for the child. Categorically, the area of learning and teaching the Qur’an can fall into several categories; the first the mosque itself, secondly a community centre, which is hired out to the local Muslim community; thirdly a local school, fourthly at home or private tuition (Muslim, Sahih Muslim, 1998). In terms of the quantity of students, this will vary according to the population in each community.

 

However, with regards to the teaching methods, we have a fusion of different styles. Some teaching methods are conventional and others reflect new methods taking into consideration the different abilities of the children. As mentioned earlier, this method is very effective and also accommodates the children in their learning in this area of studies. For example, the conventional practice, which I like to use here rather than using the term ‘old’ or ‘traditional’ is a method which was imported from the subcontinent. This method of teaching, it could be argued is in total contradiction to our contemporary context and in addition, it could be further contended, that it is in conflict with the example of the Prophet Muhammad himself.

 

The typical classroom setting in a mosque would be that the students would sit on the floor in front of a bench and the teacher would sit in the front of the class. The teacher would call each student one by one and listen to his reading from the Qur’an and then set him more reading for the next day. Depending on the capability of the teacher, he would rectify the student’s reading with correct pronunciation of each letter (Tajwid) or if he himself was unable to do this, then this would be left to the student’s discretion.

 

However, the example of the Prophet Muhammad is quite different with regards to learning and teaching of the Qur’an. This is very explicitly explained in the Hadith of Sahih Muslim narrated by Ibn c Abbas, which describes the way Gabriel would descend every night in the month of Ramadan. He would then read and teach the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad and then Muhammad would read it back to Angel Gabriel (Muslim, Sahih Muslim,1998). To further reinforce this, Al Suyuti in his Al-Itqan (Al Suyuti, Jalal al Din, 1991) and Al Nawawi in his Al Tibyan (Al Nawawi, Yahya, 2002) have given some examples of how the early generations would read and then further implement the Qur’anic verses.

 

From these examples, we can establish the importance of the Qur’an and its status in the eyes of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad. However, this example of the pious predecessors is not inherent in mindset of a great percentage of the Muslim community because they feel that it is sufficient for the children to complete the Qur’an in recitation by any means possible. In addition, the most striking thing which I have observed is that the parents will thrive on this point that their children have completed the Qur’an many times, yet they do not understand a single word from it. We have many mosques and community centres and homes where the Qur’an is being repeatedly read and memorised yet the main purpose and the main essence of it still remains untouched.

 

This point however does not discredit those organisations that teach the Qur’an in a systematic way. However, even if the teaching was developed the mosques still do not have a curriculum or a unified programme with other mosques and organisations, especially with regards to the teaching method of the Qur’an. This is due to many factors; one of these factors is the different ideologies and sects within the Muslim community mentioned earlier in the article. This disallows having the possibility of a unified curriculum and syllabus.

 

The other factors are to do with which background you are from, even though you are resident in the United Kingdom. It has been argued by many of my colleagues that most mosques seem be run by people who are from the similar background linking them all to one tribe, family or clan emanating from their homeland. This ultimately brings along its consequences and implications because these same people will only allow an Imam who is from their own background. For arguments sake if an individual from a different group would apply for the role of Imam, then his application would be rejected. If not, then he would have a diminutive role within the mosque to discharge his duties. This ISSN 2039-2117 (online) ISSN 2039-9340 (print) Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy Vol 5 No 16 July 2014 316 ultimately leads to poor delivery of teaching and being very counterproductive in delivering to the students who have enrolled.

 

As previously mentioned, the main focus of the teaching Qur’an in the United Kingdom is primarily on the basic alphabet and thereafter the individual is encouraged to begin reading the Qur’an. This style of teaching totally ignores the quality of recitation and teaching with the rules of Tajwid. Unfortunately, this would ultimately defeat the main conditions of reciting the Qur’an. The Qur’an needs to be taught in such a manner which encapsulates the main purpose derived from the verse in Surah Sad.

 

If this is done in this manner then the purpose of the Qur’an is achieved and hopefully rewarded. However, what is lacking is this focus on the purpose of the Qur’an, which therefore leaves the individual or in this case the student with no knowledge of what he/she is reciting. More focus is exerted on the quantity rather than the quality. Furthermore, another point to consider here is the time constraints and the quantity of students in a Qur’an class. Due to the timetable, school time starts at 9 am and ends at 3.30pm. By the time the children arrives home it is time to prepare and get ready for the mosque, which again differ with regards to opening times, some may even start at 4 pm, 4.30 pm and 5 pm and continue till 7 pm or even 7.30pm. These two hours the child spends in the mosque, with other children learning the Qur’an who on average total 15-20 in numbers (sometimes even more).

 

This means that the individual child will have spent no more than ten minutes with the teacher. It is safe to conclude here that the quality of teaching will be low, especially if you have limited time and a large number of students since each individual needs to be taught according to their own ability. In terms of the work given for the next day it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that their children are regular and consistent with their work and they are also responsible to ensure that this is done at home prior to their child’s arrival to the mosque the day after. However, through my own experience, there are a few concerned parents who ensure that their children perform and fulfil their homework but majority are totally oblivious to their child’s Quranic education. It is seldom I have had parents approaching me to ask how their children are performing, which again reflects upon the understanding of the parents and how much interest they show for their child’s welfare and education.

 

4. The Pitfalls In Implementation Of Quranic Education

In United Kingdom So far, the discussion above, I am sure from the perspective of others who share my thoughts, seems to argue that there needs to be a more unified system and curriculum in the United Kingdom. This would not only accommodate the children but also the adults and parents of the Muslim community in order to appreciate and fulfil the purpose of the Qur’anic verse in chapter Sad. However, what has been stated previously was focused on learning how to read the Qur’an. There is also a need to emphasise the memorisation, which is as I would argue a Muslim tradition.

 

The art of memorisation existed and was a common trend in the pre-Islamic era and remained important after the advent of the Prophet Muhammad till today. Memorising from a young age benefits the individual long term and helps in memorizing any text whether in Arabic, English etc. Accordingly, there seems to be separate classes for memorization in the United Kingdom. Depending on the locality, there may be a high demand and some of them may even start early morning before school for one hour then after school e.g. 5pm till 8pm 5 days or even 7 days of the week.

 

The Muslim community today in Britain has many Huffaz (Memorizers) of the Qur’an. Each individual will perform Tarawih in the month of Ramadan in mosque, community centre, at home or maybe go abroad because of the huge demand for someone to lead the prayer. However, the pinnacle of this discussion is that main purpose of understanding the Qur’an and its implementation remains. Through the light of the verse in chapter Sad it clearly states the purpose of the Qur’an in terms of recitation, pondering/reflection and paying heed.

 

There is no doubt that there is reward in recitation but by fulfilling the rules of Tajwid, which Muslims believe is an act of worship itself. However, with regards to its implementation the mosques, community centres and schools in the United Kingdom, which as part of the educational policy impart the teaching of the Qur’an, need to consider the following:

 

1. To have teachers who are familiar with the social settings and background of the community, hence the wider community. This implies that the teachers are not from abroad and they should be familiar with the system and methods of teaching hence they should be fluent in English.

 

2. Teachers should be kind hearted and loving towards their students and be able to accommodate their student’s needs.

 

3. Teachers should be familiar with students who have special needs as everyone has different abilities.

 

4. Parents need to show more responsibility and awareness towards their children’s Qur’anic education.

 

5. Parents need to create a link with the teacher and work in tandem with the work set out for the child.

 

6. The committees of the mosques regardless of the different ideologies are required to consider the welfare and future of their children’s Qur’anic education and to put aside their differences, which is creating a great confusion amongst the Muslim youth and children.

 

7. The committees need to work in tandem and are required to unify a curriculum and syllabus, which can accommodate a child who moves from one mosque to another or from one city to another.

 

8. The committees also needs to ensure that students are rewarded for their achievements and given commendations on a regular basis and this can be done if all the teachers of an institute work in tandem and have regular meetings with parents and children to discuss their progress and work on any difficult areas where the child needs assistance.

 

9. Great emphasis needs to be exerted in understanding the Qur’an which is key for the child in order for him/her to develop and grow into a peace loving Muslim.

 

5. Conclusion

These suggestions are based upon personal experience as a researcher of Quranic Education in the United Kingdom. However, there has been a wide changes in certain areas of the country in regards to the teaching of the Qur’an. Certain organisations do have a system and to understand the Qur’an, they have text books which elucidate certain verses of the Qur’an, which makes it far more enjoyable then mere reading in a repetitive fashion.

 

The introduction of online courses for the Qur’an and its sciences alongside recitation and TV programmes, have also proven to be profoundly affective for anyone willing to learn the Qur’an. As an individual, parent and teacher, in my opinion, if the Muslim community wherever they are, work in solidarity and are conscious of their children’s welfare and future, focus on this one verse of the Qur’an in chapter Sad, then I am optimistic there is a bright future . It is stated in the Qur’an. This Quran does show the straightest way.

 

References

 

Abdel Haleem M.A.S (2010). The Quran: English Translation. Oxford University Press. 17.9 Abdullah al-Qari Haji Salleh. (1988).

 

Kursus qari dan qariah. Kota Bharu: Pustaka Aman Press Sdn. Bhd. Abdullah Ishak. (1995). Pendidikan Islam dan pengaruhnya di Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Abdullah Saeed. (2008).

 

The Qur’an, (London: Routledge), pp.22-34. Akbar s. Ahmed, Islam Today, (London: I. B. Tauris), 2001, p.234 Al Nawawi, Yahya. (2002).

 

Al Tibyan fi Adab Hamalat al Quran, (Beirut Lebanon: Muassasa al Risala,), p.78-94 Al Suyuti, Jalal al Din. (1991).

 

Al Itqan fi cUlum al Qu’ran, (Beirut Lebanon: Dar al Kutub al cIlmiya), p.388-389. Al-Abrasyi, Mohd Athiyah. (1969).

 

Al-tarbiyah al-Islamiyah wafalasifatuha. Kaherah: Isaa al-Bab al-Halabi Al-Ghazali, Muhammad. (1993).

 

Kaifa nataamul maaal Quran. Kaherah: Dar al-Wafa’ al-Nawawi Yahya. (2002).

 

Al-Tibyan fi Adab Hamalat al-Quran. Beirut Lebanon: Muassasa al-Risalah. p 78-94. al-Sayuti, Jalal al Din. (1991).

 

Al-Itqan Fi Ulum al-Quran. Beirut Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiya. P 388 -389 Amjad Hussain. (2007).

 

Saving the Crisis of Islam in Higher Education, Journal of Beliefs and Values, Special Islam Edition, Number 2, pp.267-273. Ghazali Basri. (1991).

 

Pendidikan Islam dalam sistem pendidikan kebangsaan: satu analisis. Jurnal Pendidikan Islam. Jilid 4: Disember. Halim Na’am. (2005).

 

Pelaksanaan j-Qaf. Prosiding Wacana Pendidikan Islam Siri ke-4. Fakulti Pendidikan: Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia. (2005).

 

Modul pengajaran pendidikan Islam. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka M. A. S. Abdel Haleem,. (2010). The Qur’an: English Translation, (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 38:.29. Martin Van Bruinessen, (2003),

 

Making and Unmaking Muslim Religious Authority in Western Europe, ISIM Mohd Salleh Lebar. (1992). Perubahan dan kemajuan pendidikan di Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur. Nurin Enterprise. Nasar Meer. (2007).

 

Muslim Schools in Britain: Challenging mobilizations or logical developments, Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Vol. 27, No. 1, , pp. 55–71.

Netherland, p.7. P. Lewis, Islamic Britain, New York: I. B. Tauris & Co. Ltd), 2002, p.56. Peter Mandaville. (2007).

 

Islamic Education in Britain: Approaches to Religious Knowledge in a Pluralistic Society’ in Hefner, Robert & Qasim, Muhammad Zaman (eds.), Schooling Islam; the Culture and Politics of Modern Islam, (Oxford & Princeton: Princeton University Press, p.230 Rosnani Hashim. (2001).

 

Kurikulum pendidikan dari perspektif Islam dalam konteks pendidikan di Malaysia. Jurnal Pendidikan Islam. Jilid 9, Bil 4: November. Sahih Muslim. 1988. Hadith no 6009. Riyadh Saudi Arabia: Darus Salam.

 

Europe – Islam is the fastest growing religion

Since 1960s immigrants from Muslim countries started to appear in Western European countries, such as Germany, France and Belgium. Although Muslim communities existed in the Old Continent long before this, especially in the Balkans, no major wave of immigration of Islamic population ever took place before.

Muslims are not a homogeneous group. They are of various national, ethnic and racial identities. Top countries of origin of Muslims in Western Europe are Pakistan, Turkey and the Maghreb countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia).

In Western Europe, Muslims generally live in major urban areas, often concentrated in poor neighborhoods of large cities.

According to the Pew Forum, the total number of Muslims in Europe in 2010 was about 44 million (6%), excluding Turkey. The total number of Muslims in the European Union in 2010 was about 19 million (3.8%).

If the current rate of migration of Muslims to Europe and Muslims fertility rate remains, by 2030, Muslims are predicted to form about 10% of the French population and 8% of the European population.

The French capital Paris and its surrounding area has, by far, the largest number (up to 1.7 million according to the The Economist) of Muslims than any other city in the European Union.

Demographers forecast Marseille will be the first Muslim-majority city in Western Europe. Demographers  forecast that Muslims will comprise the majority of the population of Brussels by 2030.

The table below lists large cities of the European Union with significant Muslim populations.

 

City

Country

 % Muslim (est.)

City proper, Metro area
Amsterdam  Netherlands 14%, 24%
Antwerp  Belgium 16.9%,
Berlin  Germany 6%, 9%
Birmingham  UK 14.3%,21.8%
Blackburn  UK 27%
Bradford  UK 15%, 24.7%
Brussels  Belgium 15%,25.5%
Cologne  Germany 12%
Copenhagen  Denmark 10%
Leicester  UK 18.6%
London  UK 8.3%,12.4%
Luton  UK 24.6%
Malmö  Sweden 10%, 20%
Manchester  UK 15.8%,
Marseille  France 20%30%
Paris  France 7.4%, 15%
Rotterdam  Netherlands 13%,25%
Slough  UK 23.3%
Stockholm  Sweden 20%
The Hague  Netherlands 14.2%
Utrecht  Netherlands 13.2%
Vienna  Austria 8%, 10%

 

 

 

 

 

Calgary Islamic School, Canada

Calgary Islamic School is a full-time Islamic School that serves the Muslim community in Calgary, Canada. The school accepts students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12.

CIS provides:

  • A great learning experience fully compliant with the Alberta curriculum
  • Quran and Arabic programs, and
  • Great Islamic environment for growing and learning.

We are set on preserving the Islamic identity of our community in Calgary and we believe that our goal is only achievable through raising generations of young Muslims who love and follow the way of Allah (subhanahu wa-taala) and His Prophet (peace be upon him).

We aim to empower our students with the knowledge and skills needed to prepare them to lead successful lives as Muslims in Canada. Furthermore, we provide an advanced and comprehensive academic program that will prepare our students to pursue higher education and be competitive in their careers.

For more information: http://www.calgaryislamicschool.com/

Holy Quran Park in Dubai

The Dubai Municipality has announced a new theme park project called Holy Quran Park to be located in Al Khawaneej.

Construction of the new public park has begun, meaning visitors should be able to experience the miracles of the Holy Quran by next September.

The 60-hectare park, designed in the Islamic perspective and estimated to cost about Dh27 million depending on the final design, will introduce visitors to the miracles and stories of the Quran in an air-conditioned tunnel.

Other facilities will include children’s play areas, an outside theatre, fountains, a lake, running-cycling-and-walking tracks, a palm oasis and an Islamic garden.  The garden, along with a glass building, will showcase all plants mentioned in the holy book, including fig, pomegranate, olive, corn, leek, garlic, onion, lentil, barley, wheat, ginger, pumpkin, watermelon, tamarind, ceder, vineyards, bananas, cucumbers, and basil, in a bid to encourage people to think about why the plants are mentioned.

General projects department director Mohammed Noor Mashroom said the initial site preparation works, tracks and service buildings had been completed. The second stage will start next month and end in July next year, while the third stage, starting in August 2014, was expected to be completed in September next year.

news@khaleejtimes.com

First free Islamic school to come up in Blackburn

London: Muslims in the north-western British city of Blackburn are awaiting the approval of plans to build the first free Islamic school in the country to serve both Muslim and non-Muslim students, Lancashire Telegraph newspaper reported.

“The planning application has been submitted following months of detailed design work on what has proven a very challenging but equally rewarding project,” Principal Jacquie Petriaho told the newspaper.

 Muslims have applied to the Darwen Council to build a free Islamic school in Blackburn in Lancashire County. The application includes moving the current Tauheedul Islam Boys School from its current site in Little Harwood to the former Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) building at Edinburgh House on Clarence Street.

 “The scheme submitted meets the schools aspirations, by providing well-ordered learning spaces and innovative working environments and has done this while respecting the qualities of the surrounding area,” said Petriaho, the former deputy head of Beardwood Humanities College.

The new school aims to provide a first-class education for its 700 pupils with the aim of getting many into Britain’s top universities. The school was temporarily located in the Tauheedul Islam Girls’ School, which was relocated to its new site in Beardwood Humanities College, Preston New Road.

If approved, the multi-purpose school will open in September 2014. It will be the first free Islamic school in Britain. British Muslims are estimated at 2.5 million.

There are 400,000 Muslim students in British schools, according to the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

About 7,000 state schools in Britain are faith schools – roughly one in three of the total – educating 1.7 million pupils.

Of the 590 faith-based secondary schools five are Jewish, two Muslim and one Sikh – the rest are Church of England, Roman Catholic and other Christian faiths.

The free Islamic school would offer huge opportunities for both Muslim and non-Muslim students in Blackburn.

 “The site is in an ideal location to serve our projected pupil intake and offers the opportunity to redevelop a site that has blighted the local community for a number of years,” Principal Petriaho, who is not a Muslim, said.

 “Tauheedul Boys’ School will continue to provide outstanding educational opportunities for many young people in Blackburn and our pupils and staff are excited about the opportunities the new building will create.”

 Pupils from the Islamic school have been playing a leading role in serving the vulnerable in Britain. Pupils from the Tauheedul Islam Boys’ High School (TIBHS) have succeeded in raising £4,600 for Crisis – the UK’s national charity for single homeless people.

 “Although our school only started a few months ago, our boys have demonstrated their commitment to community service and philanthropy,” Petriaho said.

 “Through our partnership work with Crisis, we aim to transform the lives of thousands of single homeless people in the UK.”

 The 2011 census found that the proportion of Muslims in Britain rose from 3.0 percent to 4.8 percent, becoming the fastest growing faith in the country.

 

Hope Conference; Islam is not what you think – Scotland

Attracting audience from around Scotland, Muslim leaders have organized a conference to correct misconceptions about their faith, and break down barriers with followers of other faiths.

“We wanted to provide a social space, a family-friendly venue, for people of all religions to meet and have free discussions,” Zahid Ali, a spokesman for the group organizing the event, Vision Islam, told The Scotsman on Monday, March 18.

 

Attracting Muslims and non-Muslims from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee, the conference was held to tie in with the end of Islam Awareness Week.

“The problem we have is this – there are people who have a view of what Islam is, but most people don’t interact with Muslims, and if they do it is generally in a shop, so they don’t have a chance to interact on a social level and exchange views.”

Themed “Hope Conference; Islam is not what you think”, the event was designed to bring Muslims and non-Muslims together to break down barriers.

Held at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange on Sunday, it attracted more than 800 people to discuss all aspects of the religion.

Attendants were also invited to listen to a host of high-profile Muslim speakers including Yvonne Ridley from Britain, Yusuf Estes and Kamal El Mekki from the United States and others.

“This particular event was designed to be a really positive day – to bring people from all faiths together to share their thoughts on Islam,” Ali said.

Attracting Muslims and non-Muslims from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee, the conference was held to tie in with the end of Islam Awareness Week.

It included scores of exhibition boards and stalls about Islam.

The event also hosted a series of lectures tackling topics such as “Islam a Religion of Peace & Hope”, “Islam misunderstood: media’s role” and “Are Women Oppressed in Islam”.

Scotland is home to more than 500,000 Muslims, making up less than one percent of the population.

Muslims are the second largest religious group in the country, which has thirty mosques.

Challenges

Encouraging dialogue with the wider society, the conference has offered Muslims a chance to dispel misconceptions about their faith.

“There is this family side to Islam where we are all interacting and sharing ideas – then there is the darker side of politics and the rise of attacks against Muslim women, against Mosques and the rise of Islamophobia,” Ali said.

The spokesman said Muslims were caught in the middle of far-right radicals and Islamophobes.

“We are caught in a very difficult place,” he added.

“At one end we have been hijacked by radical fundamentalists and on the other side we are being targeted by people who think all Muslims are extremist.

“This is 
always something that is simmering under the surface – an anti-Muslim sentiment – especially in tough economic times.

“In challenging economies, as we have seen throughout history, Nazi right-wing groups rise up. However, we are aware of this, which is why it is so important to get people talking, and break down barriers,” he said.

Ali noted that though Scottish Independence has divided the society, he saw it as a benefit for the Muslim community.

“Like any community there are people on both sides of the argument. My personal feeling is that if we had an independent Scotland then it would be easier to enact some law to protect religious minorities,” he said.

“There is of course the law again bigotry which we think is heading down the right religious lines – and we’ve had some positive noises from the Scottish Government.”

Bringing hope of a better understanding in Scottish society, the Muslim event won plaudits from Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who visited the conference.

“Events like these can help to dispel ignorance,” MacAskill said.

“They can help contribute to the process of dismantling damaging and excluding stereotypes and reduce misunderstanding or misrepresentation.”

Islam Awareness Week Glasgow, Scotland

“We all drink Irn Bru and support Andy Murray. We’re all Scottish. The idea is to bring Scotland together with the things we have in common, rather than highlight our differences.”

Amjid Bashir is a Muslim businessman from Glasgow and is one of hundreds of volunteers behind this year’s Islam Awareness Week (IAW.)

Humza Yousaf: Islamic tartan celebrates Scottish Muslim cultureAzeem Ibrahim

Taking time from his busy job as co-owner of the city’s Newsbox newsagents, Amjid and fellow members of the Muslim community are doing their utmost to break down negative images of Islam and welcome non-Muslims to learn about their religion.

“The whole idea is that much like Glasgow City Council has their ‘Open Doors’ for a week, where they open their doors for the public to have a look around, it’s similar to that,” said Amjid of IAW.

“In recent years Islam has had a bad image in the media in general and this is a way to readdress that.”

From March 11 to 17, IAW gives Glasgow the chance to gain a deeper understanding of Islam and celebrate Scots identity.

This year’s theme is ‘Things We Have In Common – Scottish Islam’ and sees the largest collaboration between Muslims and non-Muslims in the event’s history.

Volunteers have arranged events with non-Muslim organisations to discuss what issues affect Muslim and non-Muslim families, in order to highlight the problems that every household has in common, regardless of its faith.

“Everyone involved has given up a lot of their time to give back to their community,” said Amjid.

“Doctors, taxi drivers, teachers are all involved and the age group varies. There’s an 11-year-old girl doing something for the launch, and in one meeting the guy sitting next to me was 70.

“The beauty of it is that people get to work with each other and get involved.”

IAW Activities include the exploration of art, photography and social issues relating to Islamic culture. A special Islamic tartan, recently modelled in London by prominent Scottish Muslim MSP Humza Yousaf, will also be showcased throughout IAW.

Groups of school children are invited to receive tours of the Central Mosque and pre-school children are able to attend an arts and crafts session at the Scotland Street Museum.

“Glasgow Muslims have a strong Muslim identity, but also a strong Scottish identity,” said Amjid.

“We’re Muslim and we’re Scottish. The Scots identity is very strong and Muslims are very proud of that.

“Young people are proud to be Scottish, and I’m proud that they’re proud to be Scottish.”

The Islamic Society of Britain founded Islam Awareness Week in 1994, to contradict misconceptions surrounding Britain’s second largest faith group.

Scotland has its own version, run across Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh, that’s tailor made especially for Scots.

Speaking on inter-faith relations in his home city, Amjid said: “Glasgow is better than most cities, but a lot more interaction has to happen.

“Sometimes there’s a very negative image of Islam, but things like this tell you what Islam is all about.

“Through initiatives like this we can make things better.”

The week of events will culminate in a highly anticipated gala dinner and hijab fashion show.

‘Rocking on Heaven’s Door: From Gok Wan to Islam’, held at The River Palace Banqueting Hall on Saturday 16, will showcase a variety of stunning hijab styles, highlighting the booming fashion industry behind Muslim clothing.

The gala dinner, entitled ‘Weaving the Tartan – Celebrating Scottish Islam’, welcomes members of the public and the Muslim community to come together for a three-course meal, a tour of Glasgow Central Mosque and an open discussion about Islam.

“Ordinary people from all walks of life sit together and dispel myths about Islam,” said Amjid of the gala dinner.

“It’s a good way of letting their hair down and getting to know each other.”

Those interested in attending the gala dinner on Friday, March 15, must register via the IAW event site.