Raising Kids as Huffadh on Muslim Matters Podcast
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Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh Welcome back to the Muslim matters podcast where we discuss everything under the sun that affects Muslims, such as faith, local and global politics, social media, sex, education, civil rights, and family matters. All coming from a traditional orthodox perspective, subscribe to our podcast and follow us online on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on our handle Muslim matters, and check out our site daily and Muslim matters.org
Salam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and welcome to the Muslim matters podcast. My name is Aiden Vincennes, and I am your host. Today's guest is Jeff Hoffman buckets Allah Shoko Fatima is a British Alima, author and presenter of the island feed podcast based in London. She graduated with two atomia degrees classical degrees in Islamic scholarship, one from Ibrahim college seminary with a specialization field and the other was distinction from a Saddam Institute, awarded by Sheikh Mohammed Akram nadwi. She has completed a master's degree in Islamic law at SOEs, the University of London with distinction, winning the Doreen Hinchcliffe Memorial Prize for Best student in Islamic
law. In her teens, she studied Arabic and Islamic studies in Egypt at the private sector center and filterbuy Institute's as well as a college of Asada University. Welcome to the podcast. You can follow him on.
Set on money comm. Zenith How will you handle it? Allah hamdulillah I'm really glad we've got this opportunity to catch up and have this podcast it's been quite a while since we connected. For the listeners who don't know, I had the pleasure of meeting Shabbat mug a few years ago, I actually spent quite a few years ago now when she visited my hometown and it was really lovely to meet her from the law. Oh, just like her and you were wonderful host Mashallah. I do remember, I handed us I was looking through your bio, and mashallah, you've completed your master's degree, how well was that like
100 loans doing my master's degree?
very part time. So, it took longer than that, than usual. But it was a very satisfying experience and hamdulillah it's really great to hear Mashallah.
So the university that you just graduated from, with your masters? Tell us a little bit about it. Yeah, so, um, so as it's called, so as we don't usually call it SOS, so is the School of Oriental and African Studies.
It's the University of London, and they have a law department. And it's actually one of the only
law departments that has an Islamic law, kind of branch if you like, you know, the Center for Islamic law, because usually Islamic law is treated in Western academia. It's usually put under, you know, Middle Eastern Studies, or Islamic studies or Oriental Studies, you know, so, one of the unique things about this department was that they actually treat Islamic law as a living law, you know, like a living breathing law for our times. And so it does include Middle Eastern law as well.
The legal systems of Middle Eastern countries, etc. Malaysia. Oh, wow. And, you know, the Muslim majority countries, but there's a historical element as well. So the classical Islamic law, but then bringing it to the modern day and how it's
how it's manifesting itself, you know, in our times, so it was really interesting.
My dissertation was actually about
female convicts. Oh, really? In the West? Yeah. Especially, especially in Britain,
who were married to a non Muslim at the time of their conversion. Oh, wow. Yeah, that is a very pertinent issue. Yeah, so it was about how they were navigating Islamic law.
What impact it was having, you know, the fact that they converted and obviously classically, it was considered, you know, impermissible for them to continue being married, except in certain circumstances, etc. And so, it was really interesting. Actually, there was some surprising elements to it because scholars like even little pay him for example, rahamallah they, they actually had quite
refreshing views. Like for example, he actually encouraged Muslims to encourage convert couples to stay together. And what
In the sense that you're gonna stay married, legally married
and give the husband time to convert. Yes, I've heard this mentioned very rarely. But yeah, that is definitely an interesting perspective given how commonly it is just assumed like, no, there is no other option. You converted, you have to leave right away.
Yeah, so I was just trying to see how like some of the modern fatwas, how were the convicts actually know about them what's actually happening?
And what their actual experience has been, you know,
so, inshallah I should publish that. So you really should awesome. Adults would love to have that.
Because there are some kind of repercussions or interesting things I found, actually. quite troubling things actually, I found that Muslim Imams, the Imams, basically and mosques
are doing, you know, yes, that are quite
damaging to the individuals to the families, but but also, they're like a missed opportunity. Yes, missed opportunity to have potentially a whole family come to Islam, you know, ya know, definitely there's a lot of these challenges that come up, when women in particular accept Islam. And as you said, the repercussions of how badly these cases are often handled by Imams who are I mean, certainly they're well meaning, but they don't necessarily have the detailed filk background to understand the options that are there. And then perhaps more damaging, they don't have the people skills to handle the situation appropriately.
Yeah, but one nice thing was that I also interviewed and looked at Sharia Council judges, right, some of the judges in the UK, and most of these and actually, some of them are giving some really good advice, you know, but it's not necessarily feel filtering down to the everyday mosque. Right, right. Yeah, I guess that is always kind of an issue right? In a non Muslim society where you don't have formalized systems of oke off basically that can standardize and streamline everything that's going on between scholars and masajid.
Yeah, definitely. Alright, so let's actually switch to the, to the real point of this episode of child law, because I love chatting with you and but we could, you know, we could chit chat all day. But specifically for this episode, I really wanted to focus on the topic of kids in Quran so one thing that wasn't mentioned in your bio is mashallah, you've got four kids and I know that at least one of them if not more, is half of the Quran so just correct me like how many of your kids are actually have fought Mashallah.
Okay, so one of my sons has completed the memorization of Quran
on the other one has just taken a gap yet in order to complete
so he should, he should be completing in a few months and sha Allah, Allah Allah, Allah Baddeck. Yeah, so he basically took a break
when he was coming up to his important exams, but then he took he ended up taking a break for about three or four years. Okay, now he's gone back to it
for a year. Okay. And my my other children, they have memorized significant portions.
Well, that's something that we really want to focus on. How have you accomplished this goal? Michelle, I love connecting your children to the Quran as a Muslim parent in the West. And I'd really like to hear more too about the gap year as you as you brought up. So I guess like, first of all, why and when did you and your husband decide to make have a goal for our kids?
You know, it actually started when I was 16. I think
I was in Egypt as a student and
I was listening to a lecture by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, I think it was. And he was describing how we used to have like cassettes, by the way that we used to like, this is in the days before YouTube, right? Oh, yeah. This? Yeah. So I would, as a student, I would go back to London, buy like a whole load of cassettes from this dour international data center in London. And just take them back with me and just listen to them again and again, you know, just to really absorb
what was being said. And
in those days, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Suraj ah,
Hodge were very kind of popular, you know, the UK,
Chef Ron Phillips as well. So I listened to all of them. And one of the things she comes to us have said was that really stayed with me was, you know, he's to really talk about how,
how the average Muslim used to memorize the Quran, you know, back in the day,
how it was a part of part of people's curriculum almost or up, right?
How it wasn't like this Rarity or this kind of special thing, it was, you know, seen as something that you should do. 100 Yeah, like a part of your education. And,
you know, the more I guess, I learned about our history, our, our past, the more I realized, you know, like, I would love to help, I would love my children to memorize the Quran. And I think
it's strange, because I didn't necessarily think I didn't think I would like to memorize the Quran as well. Yeah, like, I did think that. But I think what that kind of period opened up to me was
the amazing ability that children have, you know, like, to do things at a young age that, for us have become a bit harder, you know, as you get older, so it's gonna be sponges. Yeah, so that as well as knowing Arabic as a language. I think both of those were,
were things that, from that age, I kind of decided that if I had kids, when I had kids, or in Charlotte, that I would,
I would make sure that that was going to be a part of their lives. So.
But when I did have my first child, I was 21 years old.
I think, yeah, I was myself memorizing at that time, I was memorizing sort of Bacara I remember the time. And so I would recite a lot, you know, so he he obviously, I don't know if, you know, the, I mean, definitely kids were exposed to sounds and noises in the room and it imprints on them basically. Yeah, like, even while I was pregnant, I was, you know, memorizing sort of occurred at that time. And when he was born, I would
you know, I don't know, I just think from, from when he could kind of pay attention, I would put sort of what was it was unmarked on in the background as just while he was playing sometimes, you know,
as instead of, I did used to sing lullabies as well, but I also would just recite and revise in a way I was revising, you know,
Especially, because I thought like, the first thing I would want him to memorize is just, um,
you know, write the chorus because it's like the, it's pretty much most Muslims I think start memorizing with anyways, like the shorter sort of those sources that we recite anyways, as part of our daily with our DB that kid.
Yeah, so what I found was, even when he was a bit like a toddler or a baby, I was reciting just Amma and, you know,
soon he could end the ayat. You know, like, he could tell me what the ends of the eye are to work. So he was like, absorbing this. Anyway, you know, like, even though he couldn't read yet.
So I think I just, I remember, I printed out like a list of the, the sorrows of JAMA, and I just made it into like, a fun thing that, you know, every time he had memorize a surah
we would put a sticker back, you know, that kind of thing. So it started off like that.
So it did help that I had studied that with myself.
And also, you know,
understood what I was reading, etc. I do you think, are really powerful to a martial law, the fact that you already had not just the surgery, but you were able to understand what you were reciting as well. I think that's a really huge key component that a lot of Muslim parents in the West, like myself included, honestly, we really miss that where maybe we're familiar with certain ideas or certain words, but there's definitely that gap in terms of really understanding what we're reciting at the same time as we're reciting it and the original Arabic and yeah, I think that having that
that particular element is you know, mashallah a really valuable tool that you've clearly been able to have and share with your kids.
Yeah, I mean, that age, you're not really like, going into the meanings necessarily, but I was encouraged sisters, you know, when they're talking about like,
raising their kids or when they're about to have kids, etc, to
really like polish up on your own dream, like and on your own basic skills, because
I think sometimes we think of education as something that you have to that you outsource, you know, but actually, certain the certain things, I think if you as a mother or father can teach, it's just going to be way easier and way better, because
certain things are best absorbed on a daily basis, because as a Muslim is something that you want anyway, right? Like, you should want to be able to recite the Quran properly yourself, right? It's not just for your children. So if there's anything that you really want to sort out, you know, because I think a lot of parents don't they just suddenly become very conscious of their own shortcomings. When in knowledge. I mean, like, when they're about to have a child, right? Yeah. Then it suddenly hits you. And you're like, oh, no, I don't know anything. Yeah, so if you're gonna learn anything, I would say, learn to read, read, learn, you know, focus on read Arabic, the basics, you
know? Yeah, for sure. For sure. So, that, okay, you did say you were 16 when you decided this. And that is like Marshall a very young age to be considering that to begin with what made you start thinking about having kids and what you want for your kids, when you were 16. Growing up in the West, in London,
we were like the only practicing family, you know, well, at least visibly practicing
for some time, and maybe because my dad is a scholar as well.
Like, we were just, or maybe my mum, I don't know, like, I just grew up with a real consciousness of our place in history and our, you know, privilege in a way, you know, the privileged position that we were in, having been brought up in the UK, right.
And I think,
somehow, I don't know how I
I just always wanted to
be a catalyst for the spread of Islam. That's truly a beautiful filter to have from such a young age, honestly. Yeah, when I was like, 15, I wrote in my, in my diary, which I still have, that I want to teach. When I grow up, I want to teach the message of Islam.
All over the world. I don't know how this is before the internet, right? Like
why I wouldn't even thought of that, but
I don't know why. But that was always in my mind. And so I always thought, you know, your family has got to be where you stop, right? Like,
if if the Muslim ummah was in this dire situation, and there was ever going to be a revival.
I think what the lectures of some of the shoe work of that time were doing especially was awakening in me this, this, understanding that look, we we, as an Omaha come so far from our potential, you know,
we had lowered our standards.
And so if we were ever going to go back to that, or even go to an even more glorious future, you know,
and bring people back to the straight path and be on the straight path ourselves, then
we'd have to raise our standards, right. So I thought part of that is to be carriers of the Quran. I lie you lay that foundation. But also, if you think about it, a lot of people they worry about their children right in the West specially like, yeah, of course, worry, like, oh, you know, you want to protect them, you want to protect them from the negative insurances and all sorts of things. And I remember when I did have my children, my first child, I thought the, the best thing I could do for this child to protect this child was to make them a carry of the Quran, because
then the Quran would be like a part of them, you know, what I mean? is part of the identity a part of the
UN a protection and you know what I mean? So, it has that shifa element it has the protection element it you know, keeping them connected to the dean in a very
tangible way. Yeah, it would be a visceral part of them you know, like be deeply embedded in them and you know, there I believe there is a Hadith about that isn't there but
you know, the, you
you know, it's almost as though your your body is, you know, Allah subhanaw taala
causes things to happen.
Through you, you know.
And I think I thought that
if that was the greatest gift I could give my children. That's a beautiful perspective, Mashallah. And I think that's really important for anyone really, I mean, I was gonna say, for married couples in particular who haven't had their kids yet or are about to have kids or you know, I mean, even if they've already had kids, but it's never too late to start to, you know, internalize this perspective and really have a powerful shift of mindset of what do you want for your kids, both in this world? And the next? Because, you know, it's very easy to say, of course, I want kids to be good Muslims, I want them to go to Janaki. But how are you going to do it? What is the real focus
here that you are going to dedicate to your parenting and your relationship with your kids? Like, as an example, you know, you've got your typical DC and auto parents who are like, Oh, yes, you're gonna be doctor, lawyer engineer, and they're like, in kindergarten?
Or, you know, other other things, too, like, Oh, you're always gonna have straight A's, oh, you're gonna have a successful career in the future, whatever, whatever. But as Muslim parents, what are we starting out with as the vision for our children's future? Is it something that we are truly committed to? And that's what I want to come in with the next question, which is more than just the memorization aspect, like, how did you and how do you connect your kids to the Quran emotionally? That's a good question.
So I have,
I think that I have certain
certain things that I like, to
a certain pattern that I followed with each of my children. Yeah.
In order to do that, because, as you're like, I actually sometimes say to my eldest son, I say, you know, there are a lot of ex who father walking around, you know?
Very true. Yeah. Yeah. And I'm always like, reminding him that, you know, have you done any revision? Like, you got to keep that as a part of your life? You know?
So, yeah, you know, you do want that, and sometimes you, sadly, I've heard, you know, even some chaplains say that, they'll go to prison, you know, and there'll be Muslim prisoners who used to be a five year prison, right, like, so in other words,
being a half IV has a great potential to make you to help you to be a pious person, too. And if you are a pious person and a half year that's going to raise your ranks, right on the Day of Judgment.
But it's not like, it's not a guarantee. Yeah, it's not going to be like, you know, it's not the it's not your ticket to Jenna, merely being a half of, you know, it's got to be, as you're saying, you know, it's got to, you've got to have that you've got to,
you have to live by the grant. At the end of the day, right. That's actually more important, because
being happy, there's not obligatory. If really frank about it, we then we consider optional. Yeah, I mean, it's not it's not an obligation on everyone to memorize the entire Quran, you could say it's an obligation to memorize parts of the grant so that we can pray prayers, right. But it's not an obligation to memorize the entire grant. So you what you don't want to happen is
to focus on so heavily on the memorization that you forget the thing that is obligatory, which is to cook to obey Allah's commands, right, that are in the grant. So
what are some of the things that I did to help them to connect? I think
part of it was
the stories of the Quran, you know, like so, from a young age, you're telling them the stories from the Quran, and you're making it clear to him, this isn't the Quran, this is from the Quran.
And those stories, they're not just stories, you know, obviously, that they are these wonderful lessons that they're going to that they're full of life lessons, the building blocks of life lessons, like those stories from the Quran actually establish, honestly, I think the very foundation of what it means to be a Muslim and to develop an assignment perspective from a very young age. Yeah, absolutely. Because the hearing about okay how, you know, the the trials that different prophets and different people
went through, and you know, how they responded and if they made any mistakes, how Allah subhanaw taala corrected them and what Allah expected of them and how they got through those and you know, it's the wonderful adventures but they're stories that
Allah Subhana Allah has given us for a reason, right? He gave the Prophet salallahu Alaihe Salam, those those stories in order to string
than him, you know?
So for us as well, so I think exposing them to that. And also the story of the Quran, you know, so how the Quran was revealed. The Sierra basically teaching them the Sierra, I think those two things are really important because, you know, it's like, you know, that whole thing. And there's quite a popular phrase nowadays, you know, start with why start with why, like, if you don't, if, if Islam is just a bunch of rules, if Islam is just a bunch of empty actions, then it's never going to be something deep, it's never going to be something that our children choose for themselves, you know, or Exactly, yeah, it has to be something that they connect with very, very deeply on a truly, like
an individual spiritual level. And you can't force that right. As you said, it's not just about the rules. It's about what's truly filling their hearts. Yeah. And I met lots of sisters and brothers in like, in Egypt, one of my flatmates. She said to me,
she was completely put off the Quran, right as a young when she when she was younger, because her parents used to send her to this madrasa. And the teacher used to hit them, and you know, and also, they just didn't know what they were reading, they have no connection to what they were reading or what they were memorizing.
And although it wasn't exactly the same for me as a child,
I do. I do remember, feel it, you know, we were reading Quran without understanding it as children, right.
And when we grew up, when I when I did learn Arabic, I realized how amazing it was and how much more fulfilling it was, you know, understanding it.
So I think it's really important for children to feel that connection, didn't hear the story of how the Quran was revealed.
You know, and the Sierra In other words, and the stories from the Quran, and I think that's the first way that they connect. The second way that I think I helped them connect
was learning Arabic as a language. Okay.
So look, I admit, I was a bit of an obsessive parent. Yep.
Tiger Mom, I don't expect everyone to be like this. Okay. I don't necessarily recommend everyone is like this. And to be fair, I wasn't like this with every child. It was probably my first child, you know, that was always have like that really powerful motivation with the first kid, right? Because you're like, I'm gonna do everything and all the things right. Yeah, so I was I was speaking to him and full time.
Like that dedication? Yeah, I had labeled everything in the house, like in Arabic, you know, so that he would memorize cuz he started reading at a young age, probably because I was, you know, there all the time. Trying to get him to read. And, but I don't expect people to be, you know, to that level. Okay. And with with my next children, I wasn't like that. Obsessive, right. But I do think what I did do was tried to, from a young age, make Arabic one of their languages. And that's not that easy when you're not a native speaker yourself. Right? Right.
Because you don't want them to pick up your even though you might not think you've got an accent, you probably have you know, if you learnt it when you were like over the age of 12 usually is so basically I started reading all these books about language, and how do children memorize How do children learn? You know, I also wrote this article for Muslim magazine ml magazine, about her FOB. And I think part of it was because I was so curious to know, you know, how did different how far in UK do it, you know?
So I went and interviewed a bunch of her father and half of that. And that was really interesting as well, like, just to hear about their journey. Yeah, of course, you know.
And so part of it was that, you know, me educated myself, I guess, about how I would go about this. But I took my children to Egypt,
in the summers, you know, ah, because I didn't want them to. I wanted them to be exposed to native speakers. Right. Right. Right. Yeah. That's like immersing them completely in the culture. Yeah. And there's like these centers in Egypt, where there was even like a, believe it or not, there's even some, like a row that was called robot robots.
Oh, wow. I know. It's like, literally a roll though. Where they speak for sir. So how often were you going for summers? Like what
Just like a couple of years in a row, was it for like, yeah.
You know, it was extended summer holiday.
I probably did it twice. And then, and then they were learning Arabic at school anyway. And they had a tutor on Laos. They had an Egyptian to, to through Egypt, like, from Egypt online. So once they got that sort of initial foundation, they didn't need to be there physically.
As long as they had a teacher
who was speaking to them online, you know.
And my children went to Muslim schools. I think one of the reasons why I made I wanted them to go to Muslim schools is so that the school environment was supporting
this massive lifestyle choice, which was to, to be her father, you know,
we felt that school life had to support it had to be motivating them and and celebrating that, you know,
and if they'd gone to maybe a state school or like a public school, public school, yep. Then probably nobody would have known about it. You know, what I mean? It's like, it's not one of those things that people will tell. Tell the teachers about right now. Muslim teach. Right, right. Yeah, it would have created like, a completely different dynamic in terms of the environment that they were exposed, and more often than not, yeah, so going to Egypt and that, I'm just mentioning that because that like, was something that was going on as well, you know, like, like, their Arabic education, okay. With Arabic as a language was happening alongside their memorization. So,
initially, I was, you know, they were memorized, they memorized use AMA, that was my main goal. And they did that at home with me. Okay, right. But very soon, I started realizing, you know, like, first of all, I'm not a half of them myself, you know.
So I'm, and also, as they getting older, felt like to maintain the motivation, etc, they need, right, of course, they need other kids who are involved in essentially the same things that they're in. And it's not like,
their secret life at home that they're doing. And meanwhile, everybody else is living a completely different lifestyle. Yeah, and I don't know if it's, especially with boys, but I happen to have boys. So for me, it was like,
they need a gang, you know, like, they need their gang they need they need their little group of guys who are into the same thing, you know.
And at that time, it wasn't that easy to find a teacher
or a class and there wasn't a class near us, you know.
we just, I just phoned up like five different people, you know, knowledgeable people, people who cared about knowledge, Islamic knowledge in the area. I was like, I'm looking for a health teacher. Do you know any health classes, you know? Right, right. Just started as
far as you can. Yeah, just started putting the word out. And then I heard we found out okay, there is this teacher more. He's a Mauritian teacher who's very good.
And he's had a few graduates with him and in a mosque, but it's like, an hour away, you know? Yeah, I was drive.
And, but we still we went for that, you know, we actually went for that. And it was quite tough, initially with my first son, and
because he had started school by now after, you know, and, and, by the way, another, so
Arabic language, but then, because the reason why I wanted them to learn Arabic language, obviously, is because as as they're memorizing, they're going to start thinking about the meaning right? And it's going to start making sense to them. Not right, it'll start like sinking in and then it'll start clicking. Yeah, yeah. Right. And, and also, I just felt like I wanted to have that language with them, you know, to be able to communicate with them as well for us to be on the same wavelength about when it comes to Islamic topics as well right.
But uh, but also the another thing was reading the Quran okay.
So that's another thing I did at home which was
before they started on this like full time HIV thing you know, like really intensive HIV. Were they actually aiming to memorize the entire Quran
at home they were doing so I said just Amma learning Arabic at least the foundations
The Koran so you know, literally the Chi that right Elif betta learning that, and then I moved on to reading the Quran itself, which is, it's not that easy, you know, initially, but Right, there's always that struggle shifting from Chi that the must have, right to the must have. And then this is where I'm saying that you as a parent being able to do it is really helpful
that I could do it every day, you know. So once they started reading Quran,
my aim was that they would finish reading the whole Quran once, at least, right. And that's, obviously that takes time, right. And so but because I could devote like 10 minutes a day to it, even every morning,
it didn't take that long, you know, especially with with my first two children.
And so they had finished reading the whole Quran. And the reason why that's important, is because once they get on to actually memorizing as you know, aiming to memorize the whole Quran, you want them to be independent, you know, you don't want them to need to hear it being recited from you, right?
I know, different people do it in different ways. But for me, I wanted them to be independent enough, that when their teacher says to them, right, you gotta go and memorize this page, or the half a page, or whatever it is, they've got the fluency, you know, in being able to at least read it, etc. So I think those are the firm foundations, you know,
I actually have a
of six things, which I am, right, I'm actually writing a book about raising a half. And the first, the first part of the framework is vivid vision, having a vivid vision as a parent, you know, of
what you want as a family and what kind of family you are, why you want to do this HIF, you know, the fact that you're going to be rewarded as parents as well. And, you know, all of the things that we've already mentioned, I guess, the second thing is firm foundations. And that's what we've just been discussing. Right? Right. Foundations are really important. If you if you skimp on the foundations, what happens is later on, you're gonna have to do like, remedial stuff, right? Like, yeah, and then sometimes it just comes crumbling down. There isn't that sense of, like, I guess, like real dedication or that meaningful connection for the kids themselves. And when you mentioned
like even having proper Tajweed, for example, I know, I mean, like, I teach with my dad at our local little madrasa as well. And you know, we'll have kids who maybe they memorize just, I'm a brother teach me these atrocious, so we literally have to take them all the way back to the FBI that even and literally go through like a letter by letter. And so there's a lot of unlearning, that has to happen for them to relearn correctly. And that's often unfortunately, it's a massive challenge. It can be very unmotivated, actually, for a lot of the kids, especially if they're a little bit older, when they're younger, it's easier to fix them. But when they're a little bit older, it becomes more
and more of a challenge.
Exactly. And so that's why you you, the more competency they have, the more confidence they'll have, right.
So you're helping them to be competent at reading, understanding, connecting, having that those firm foundations. Then the for me, the third, the third part of my framework is disciplined action. Okay, now this is when you've actually decided right, we are going for it now. Okay?
For me, Jews, Allah was really like the test, you know, can if a child can memorize just Amma they've gotten into the habit, they've gotten into a certain, you know, mode, and obviously, all throughout this, we were doing,
like we would have, we would have a celebration, we would have a potluck party, I would give them a certificate or whatever, you know, I'm glad you brought that up. Because I was going to say like, how do you kind of create that positive culture connected to the Quran? So those are really great tips.
Yeah, we'd have a party, you know, each milestone so even like, oh, you finished reading the guide. You know, if you started reading the most from the most half, that was a party. Basically any excuse for a party, you know, like
you've finished reading Surah Baqarah. Yeah, you've memorized half of JAMA, you've memorized the whole of Jama party, right like
Yeah, so I mean, that's what we do. Celebrate it, you know, make it like something that they're excited about and feeling positive about.
But it's a different shift. You know, when you go from Okay, you've memorized his unmatching that right? We're going to memorize the whole Quran now. You know,
That's a different gear, you're in a different gear now. And it is a lifestyle choice.
So as I said, my son initially had a tutor, but eventually, my husband had had enough, you know, like, it was very draining to drive him after school
to, you know, a child of like six or whatever, seven, however old he was
to be, like,
driving off to school that far, and, you know, basically, yeah. Kid falling asleep, right, and then get being made to get up again. And then. Yeah, it was, it was getting too much. So my husband went to the local mosque. And I had already spoken to the local mosque myself, you know, and I'd said to them, Listen, you know, these are your kids, you know, like,
because I really believe that, you know, the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. Yeah, that's an I wasn't.
I feel like it's powerful part of our tradition that we have really neglected, unfortunately, once we've come to the west. Yeah. And it's not just my responsibility in the benefits of these children being poor five, being
knowledgeable is going to be an asset for the, for the community, right? It's not, it's not about me, it's not about them even right. So I went to the masjid just as just almost like, naturally. And that was good, actually. Because they said, you know, what, we used to have a hip class in this Masjid. But it kind of died away, because some, the main Imam had moved on and whatever, whatever, right? But, but believe it or not, they've actually been thinking about reviving that health class.
So when my husband had had enough, he went to the masjid and he just had meeting with them. And he was like, Look, can we just do this? Now? You know,
we need this make it happen. You got to basically you got to tie the men out, you know?
Because at that point, my husband was like, I think we should just stop now. Like, give up as in, right? Oh, wow. Okay.
Because there was no, there was no way of doing it, you know,
apart from taking him to that teacher, that we knew of anyway, so. And it was only because I was like obsessive and,
you know, was like, I kept I was keeping my husband motivated as well, to be honest, you know, this is like all sitting on your shoulders where you're like, No, we're gonna keep doing this, we're gonna keep doing this. I think there needs to be at least one parent, one person who's driving the whole thing, you know?
Because actually, there's times when either of you might feel like it's too much, you know. But I think because he was having to do that journey and f&e it motivated him to now be like, Look, this is ridiculous. I'm going to the mosque. I'm asking them to sort this out. Now. Look, I'll help them you know. And I think that's when things get done, isn't it when the men get together, and they're like, we've had enough.
they actually started restarted the hip class.
And everyone, obviously, everyone pays fees, and you know, all of that.
It's very disciplined. They had certain rules. So they said, Only people who had memorized use unmark could enter.
So in other words, people who children who'd already had a bit of a track record
of being able to memorize so everyone was similar kind of level in that sense.
And yeah, then hamdulillah it just became easier because now it was like, a few minutes drive, you know, like after school, right?
So it was just, it just changed everything. And really, my children memorize my eldest son anyway, he memorized the entire Quran at that Masjid. Mashallah, at the eighth class, very disciplined his class.
Small class, not not, it's not like, you know, full of lots and lots of children. There's a separate class, they have a separate class for reading Quran and memorizing short scorers and stuff like that. Right, right. Oh, five, they have a special class and only people who are 100% committed, wouldn't be allowed in that class. And you could even get expelled if Oh, as if you weren't serious enough. You just got kicked out? Yeah, in the sense that they would, you know, bring you in, they'd call you in, they wouldn't just let it go. You know, they look, we can't do this, you know, like, can't do this with with the lack of commitment. It has to be with the commitment because there's
three parts to the hip, right that they're doing every single
To date, which is a new lesson
they're doing, what they memorized the day before. They're revising that. Right. And then they're revising something from way back. Okay. Yeah. So it's like three different levels going on. Right. And that's a lot and SubhanAllah. I don't know how they keep track, they have these like records. And they have to, you know, like,
yeah, like, each child had their own book and all of that. But you see that that's where this class was essential, because they were the experts, you know, they've done it before. Right? Then they have a system that works, and also their men. And for my boys, I just felt that was great. Because now my boys have more mentors.
And they have a class full of
people who are doing the same thing. Some of them are older, some of them are younger.
So my son became the first half with from that Masjid. Mashallah, that's incredible.
And with my other
with my second son,
you know, with your first child, you usually have so much time, right? More time. And so he was way ahead in terms of like, years of having done fifth, with my second son, his exams and things started coming close when he, you know, when he was coming to like, having memorized about 50, and nearly 20 pages.
And we just felt like it was too much, we could see that it was too much for him. He wasn't there. He wasn't managing schoolwork, you know? Yeah. Along with this. So
we took a break when he wants you to take a break. And we, we agreed. And he his motivation had gone down, I must admit, as well.
So we didn't insist on it. You know, I think that's really important that you mentioned that, like, his motivation had gone down, he was struggling. And that you guys as parents respected that. I think that's really important. Because there is a misconception or an idea that you know, once you start, you cannot stop and you cannot give up and you just keep going even if you're really not feeling it. Yeah, with my eldest, he managed to finish before any kind of exams started coming in, you know, any kind of okay. Critical years if you like.
So probably he was in Britain, that will be like year nine, which is 1314 years old, right? Yeah. But, but the thing is, even my my son who stopped
Well, by that by that time, it was to two more sons who had gone into the hips class.
They both stopped just before that exam. So the two years when in Britain, we do our GCSE years, right.
But you know, what, we still kept the
owner of HIF. And the kind of, you know, the mentioned the possibility of them returning to it. So it wasn't like, Okay, well, doors closed. That's it, we're done. It was just a reminder that this is a break, but we're gonna keep up with it. We're gonna go back to it. If they wanted. Yeah. Okay, it wasn't essential.
Because, I think also, like,
they were also obviously seeing the eldest brother.
So they, they naturally were looking up to him, you know, they're naturally seeing it as an honor as a, as a goal that they wanted to reach. But
you know, we knew they to go back to it after you've now become an adult, like, an older
is got has got to be self motivated, you know, like, you're not dragging an 18 year old down to any mosque, right, like, or even 19 year old. So
it's not like, you know, like, a child will just comply with their parents or, you know, we're going to school you don't ask your child, you know, do you want to go to school, you just take, like, so you just take them to HIV, and they just think this is life, you know, this is part of life and, but when they get to a certain age, now, they've got to choose it. You know, and if they don't choose it,
it could be counterproductive if you really insist as a parent, you know,
if you can re motivate them that's a different matter. Right. So, so with with my second son,
I would say he had lost his motivation, you know, because it was too much for him like to do school and that
but he had memorized so much, you know, like nearly two
When teachers so I would just say to him once in a while, wow, 20 years, you just need to do a bit more.
Almost there, almost there. Yeah. So I would keep that kind of thing alive, you know, in his head.
So when he finished
what we call Sixth Form College here, he started having his own kind of real motivation to go back to it, you know? And that's wonderful. Mashallah, yeah, we didn't even I think it was good to give him that time to come to himself. And then he was like, I want to take a year out, you know, and I'm just going to do have, I'm just going to finish my head, give just give me one year, instead of going to university straight up.
Waste, because we could see, he was really motivated, he went back to the same mosque, by the way.
I did end up becoming that little village hub. Definitely. And, you know, I'll always be grateful to those Imams and to that, because I could always pick up the phone to them and say, Look, you know, my son is lacking motivation. Can you have a word? Like, yeah, I would say to them, you know, please let him come back. You know, he's really motivated. He wants to come back. And they said, okay, yeah, send him round, we'll have a meeting. And if it wasn't for that kind of encouragement, positivity from them.
You know, just be like, Mommy mom nagging you. Right? Yeah. And I don't think for boys especially that's, that would have been a good thing. You know?
For them, I think it empowers them when they feel like they've decided they want to do it. So this year, I'm like,
to my son, yeah, yeah, I'm saying to him, you know, I want to party. So can you please finish?
That's the main thing. I keep saying to him. So he is he's going every day. And
it's good to see because he's got people there now much younger than him.
And there's also other students who left and then they've come back complete. So yeah, I don't think has to be an all or nothing thing. You know, you have to be flexible. Basically, keep in, keep in the loop with your kids see where they're at, see what their level of motivation is, given that space that they need to just kind of, you know, come to this level of, you don't want to give up too easily. You know, yeah, don't think that there's a danger of that. But just think about other things. You know, like sports. If you think about sports, if you think about, you know, I don't know, what do you have in Canada, hockey moms, right.
In America, we have like football, American football, right?
Soccer moms, you know, like, just just think about any sports start, right? Or any kind of athlete. Usually, when you when you listen to them, they're like, oh, yeah, my parents, right? They always talk about how their parents
got them into that thing in the first place, got them extra tuition or whatever, and used to drive them to the club, you know, all of that stuff.
Then they doing that for something, don't do it, right, like doing that for something that has a worldly benefit. So I don't think we should think of it as like something that we're
kind of, we're not forcing them to do it. You know, it's strongly encouraged that you're strongly encouraging it. And you're that you're that coach, almost, you know,
those dads, you know, those dads who are standing
on the sidelines yelling away. Yeah, like, for some reason we understand that. But when it comes to religious things, we think, Oh, that's too much. Right? Red, suddenly, there's that perspective just disappears. No, yeah. So I think sometimes it takes that kind of voice in your head, doesn't it for a young person that you can do this, it looks like it's too much, but you can do it, you can do this. And just imagine, like porn and cheerleading, basically. Yeah. And imagine the end, you know, imagine once you get that, but obviously, you're telling them that you when you get there, it's not the end, but still, there's going to be like this honor, you have this honor, you know, on the Day
You talk to them about the whole father of the past. So like during lockdown, for example.
One thing I did was, I was like, right, guys, we are not going to waste this time, you know, like,
so I'm like, you're all doing you're all getting your jazzers in Pyrrha. During right? So we get a teacher from Egypt, home, they love for the internet. And, you know, you're going to read at least read the whole Quran to, you know, in one fit to a chef, you know, beginning to end and have that you know, so I
think, you know, slowly it just, and then when they got the certificate
you know, you just sit there and read it to them and say, Look, you just look at this, you have recited Quran to somebody who recited it to somebody who recited it to somebody, and just go back, and it says, the name of a Sahabi. Right? Yep. As part of that living tradition, right, and then Gibreel.
Like, it's like, it really brings it to life for them right back to Allah subhanho wa, taala. It's like, wow, you know, like, you've got a connection, you've got that connection. So, as you can see, it's really like, I think we have to re discover the or, you know, that we should have for this tradition. And this.
And like I said, it becomes a disciplined action. And then my fourth part of my framework is maintaining motivation. As we've already mentioned, you know, things like, celebrating, having parties having
for me, school was part of the maintaining motivation. Because that school environment being Muslim meant that they, they, they were being
celebrated for it, you know, right. And they were being supported throughout like, they, they're surrounded by other people who were sharing those experiences with them. Yeah, and also, you know, then the school as they get older, they could give them some responsibilities, maybe, you know, like, leading a prayer or, etc, you know.
And then the fifth part of my framework is integration.
And integration for me is
now look, they've, they're memorizing, they've memorized or they all memorizing,
how are they integrating the Quran to their life? How is it becoming something they act upon something they, you know, that they live by? And this seems like a really key part of it, because this is, this connects to that, beyond just memorization part. Now, this is like, how does it apply to everyday life? How does it impact them, as individuals as believers, and here, this is where we've got to
make our children aware of the fact that listen, the Quran can be a proof for you or against you. So this isn't, isn't it's not a mantle of glory, you know, being a half of it's not merely a mantle of glory, where you're like, you know, you're getting this title, and everyone is like, you know, praising you that that's not the point, right? Actually, you're going to be more considered more, potentially more responsible, right? more accountable, more successful, more susceptible, even to you know, shaytaan, trying to pull them off the right track? Yeah. And so, I guess, that's where, again, you know, learning Arabic having an Islamic or holistic Islamic education, right?
Even if it's not extremely advanced, but at least, you know, the basics and he still the essentials, you know, making sure the salah is a part of your life, making sure that you as a family are living according to the Quran, at least to the best of your ability, right?
Of course, you fall short, of course, you've got shortcomings and and you get you even get to a stage where your children will, will get far ahead of you, you know, and they'll actually say to you, should you be doing that? Should you be saying that?
You know, so which is a good thing, I think.
So you're not perfect, you're not sure it you're not feigning perfection, right?
But what you are doing is striving and they can see that you're striving in the when you fall short, you try to make amends and you're not just paying lip service, and you're not just kind of trying to have the glory of the Quran without
you know, living it. So I think that that becomes a part of your family identity then and you say, look, we've got to live by the Quran. You know, it's like, for example, recently I saw these
Islamic scholars yet the Islamic scholar, female scholars,
academic scholars, okay. I'm ik, and they're like doing these lectures about Islam and the Quran. And none of them wear hijab, right? Yes, yeah. When it comes to the academics, it's always very jarring to hear them. You know, they're sitting in there and they're talking very deeply about the nitty gritty of Islamic law or philosophy or whatever. And then you're looking at them you're like, do you even know how to cipher to Hello?
You Yeah, and, and the sad thing about that is it's not about judging people on the external, right, if the hijab was just in like a external had an
Oh, like a declaration then fine, but the fact that it's actually a part of, you know, like a command of the Quran, right? When somebody isn't practicing it, it's like, I can't hear your words, because your actions or your actions are speaking too loudly, you know? I can't hear you anymore because,
you know, how can you have that much cognitive dissonance, that you, on the one hand are purporting to
talk about what the Quran says and what Allah says and
purporting to be an expert on the Quran.
And an authority on the Quran while on on the other hand, not being able to practice things quite openly and blatantly, you know.
So I think in the same way, when it comes to being a half of
I think we want to make our children afraid of being hypocrites, you know, at the end of the day, right? Yeah, for sure. That's such a massive, massive danger. I think for anybody who is immersed in Assam studies of any sort of any kind of Dini endeavor. That's truly one of the biggest dangers that awaits. Absolutely. So I think that's, again, a lifelong thing, you know,
that you've got to make them aware of and then the last part of my
framework is lifelong revision. And of course, that that's, that comes with it, right. So once they they're starting to get to the end. Yes, it is a lifestyle choice. This is why I'm saying it's a lifestyle choice, because this is going to be unless you want to be an X half IV, right?
This is going to be a part of your life. And it's not actually that hard to make it a part of your life as in to maintain the Quran. Because once they've done it well, I've Well, at least for boys anyway, I don't know what it would be like for a girl yet.
at least for my son's one of the things that is there is every year it's like, right, you better volunteer to do that, are we you know?
And there's so many that are always going on, you know. And there's some different icebox Islamic societies, MSA is they will want to do a bit of that our way. And so there's plenty of different options for them. Yeah. And so if you're saying to them, Look, every year, just make it your habit to do to lead that away.
Either part of it, or a significant portion, you know, and that kind of keeps them motivated. And what's the word revising, as well revising to a goal, you know?
But yeah, I don't know what it's gonna be like, once they've left home and you know, then it's going to be that that'll be their journey on their own, then it will be on them. Right? You know, thank you so much for sharing the process of your journey and raising your kids to be her father, Mashallah. It's it clearly requires a lot of dedication, a lot of resources. And just before we wrap up, I just want to ask you a question about that specifically, which is, you know, emotionally you had a lot of opportunities, you know, like taking your kids to Egypt and having access to Islamic schools and things like that. And all of that has obviously, mashallah contributed to your
children's have the journeys? Um, no, but you know, like, for others who don't have that kind of access, like, for example, the city that I live in, we don't have an Islamic school, even in the mainland, you know, there's, I think, maybe two or three Islamic schools, and you know, they're very expensive. There are people who don't have access to tutors, things like that. Is there anybody you know, who was able to, you know, achieve the same goals of headphones without having access to those particular kinds of resources? So I think, I know, people who've been able to do it at home, you know,
that was where one or two, one of the parents at least, had either memorized themselves or was just very committed to taking control of that whole process, you know?
But, nowadays, look, we've got the internet, okay. Right. Now, we have to move away from thinking we have to have the perfect setting. And believe me, even though it might sound like I've had a lot of resources and hamdullah, we, we did end up having a lot of resources. Initially, it didn't feel like there were resources, you know, like, I had to fight to get money off my husband to do some of these things. Like joking. Yeah. Because it's not that my husband wasn't motivated. It's just that, you know, stuff costs money, you know, and
maybe you sometimes you have to cut down on certain things. You know,
when we started Muslim school, for example, we couldn't afford it at all. It was very daunting, the whole idea of it. It's expensive.
Um, but you're right, like, not everyone has every resource, but I do think that we shouldn't lose sight of the power of dua. Okay. And just begging Allah for some something that you really, really want. You ask Allah to make the universe conspire to give it to you, you know,
I know that might sound, you know, fantastical, to some people, but so many times it's worked for me, you know, like, I grew up in a council flat in Hackney, which is one of the poorest areas of London write accounts for flight is like a project. I think that's what we call them in America. But I've never felt like, if I really wanted something, I couldn't get it. I don't know why. Maybe it's the way my mom used to make dua, or the way that I've seen on Mother's Day, ah, and the Tawakkol, in a law that Allah will provide is very powerful. And I agree, I mean, you know, came from low income family as well and never ever felt that loss or felt like, oh, we can't, we can't get something we
get, because Because probably, we also saw how somehow our parents would get things right, like certain resources, or, like we moved, for example, suddenly, all of a sudden, from one of the poorest areas of London to one of the wealthiest areas of London. Mashallah, and obviously, as a child, and you understand how that happened, and, you know, it wasn't, it wasn't something where I do believe it was the power of the app, you know, in my family, my dad is always asking us to make that and he himself was making it so because maybe, if you've witnessed these things happen, you know that when you really put your mind to something, and you ask Allah subhanaw taala, to move the
world to make it come to you.
As fantastical as that sounds,
believe me, you've got to try it, you've got to try it. No, I completely agree that power of European that certainty and Allah, knowing that Allah is the provider, knowing that Allah will make away happen for you, truly, truly powerful, but also picking up the phone. Yeah. And this is something I've done quite a few times with things that I've wanted to achieve, that I couldn't see how I could achieve. I've literally picked up the phone to five people or 10 people, right? To just brainstorm with them or to tell them or to just explore with them, how I could find a solution to this issue, right.
And if you phone 10 people, if you find even five people, you're gonna get some leads from that, you know, power of networking, yeah, you will get some leads. In fact, you'll be surprised at how it's almost as though by you putting your intention out there in the world, things just start coming to you. And that's literally how I found our initial health teacher, right. And it is initially is how I found the hips class in the end, right? Because I was just phoning around talking to people saying that, how can we make this happen.
And even if it initially you get closed doors, it's like, no, but you've, you've planted a seed almost. And sometimes that person will later get back to you, or you'll get an idea that you'll follow up on later on, etcetera. So I would say don't underestimate the power of your own blog and your own network your own, you know, like resourcefulness.
But apart from that, if you can get away from perfection and needing like, the ideal class and the ideal situation and the ideal teacher, etc. You can live in what you have, what is the second best thing you could do about it? What's the second best thing you could do? Right? Probably online.
Again, online, you know, especially if you get a tutor from somewhere like Egypt, which I'm most familiar with.
It's more expensive, you know, you can find Institute's that are like $6 An hour or something like that. Right. Which for most people is not that expensive, right, like tuition in the West can be like $40 for Yeah.
And, you know, for for that environment that that is that money goes a long way. Right. Right. Of course. Those are the rates that they've set. It's not like you're kind of dragging them down. Yeah. So
that's another option. It's not perfect, but get started. For me. I think getting started is very important, like,
and then slowly things start getting easier. Other things will open up, but don't allow your lack of resources to be a reason to not get started. So have that intention. Look at what you
Have and just start. Get Started, even if like, like I said, you know, just I might start with Osama. Once you get to the end of December, you'll you'll figure out the next step, then you'll figure out the next step, you know.
Inshallah, inshallah. So that's that's one idea.
I think that's very powerful advice, actually. And I do, I do agree that sometimes we overthink these things. And like I said, just start with that first step, call upon Allah and Allah will provide and Allah will make away. So we are wrapping up with, with our time, I've taken over an hour of your time with Allah. And I just wanted to thank you so much for sharing that journey and just being very open about, you know, what you've been able to do, what your approach has been, I really appreciate it, especially how you mentioned, you know, the journey with your second child is different with than with your first child, and that's okay. And that flexibility is really
I think if I can do it, you can do it. That's what I say to sisters, you know, like, don't, don't think that anything is out of your reach. Make the intention get started. When you get started, and you show a lot that you're serious about something
and how much you're willing to invest in sacrifice for it. The doors open, you know, things do get easier over time and Sharla. And on that note, I want to say exactly the theatre for giving your time and sharing your story. And I hope the readers are Muslim matters, listeners benefited from this episode as much as I did with hamdulillah and I really look forward to having you on again inshallah for another episode. Maybe we'll talk about your Alinea journey next time, inshallah.
to our listeners. Thank you for joining us today and keep up with the next episodes coming up as well. And please do share your thoughts your questions, your comments. For Shaha Fatima and her story. In the comments below. Does that benefit was set on lotic Omar hematological brachetto
Hey everyone, don't forget to subscribe to our podcast and follow us online on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on our handle Muslim matters. And check out our site daily and Muslim matters.org Thanks for listening and we'll see you in the next one in sha Allah. I said mo Are they gone water Hamato Allah here about a cat two