Dr. Hatem AHaj M.D Ph.D

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The Dilemma of Schooling Our Kids

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One of the mistakes that I see many people intentionally and unintentionally make is when they compare the conditions of Muslims who live as minorities in the west to the Muslim minority in china, Philippines and the early Muslims who went to places like Malaysia and Indonesia.

And the reason why I think this comparison is false is mostly because back then when the Muslims went to china they did not send their kids to public schools to raise them on their behalf, and they lived together in certain villages and neighborhoods. And these two factors make for a major difference between the two groups. The dilemma that we are living in is that Islamic schools are not always available, and if they are, they are not affordable for all Muslims, and if they are, many of them are simply unsatisfactory (certainly not all of them).

Now, I will try to mention some of the pluses and minuses in each of our alternatives for schooling.

Here are some of the main problems with many Islamic schools, when they are available and affordable:

Un-Islamic behavior almost comparable to public schools in some.

No Islamic curriculum.

Bad organization.

Didactically below average, teachers are not qualified.

Facilities are below average.

On the other hand the following are the advantages of Islamic schools over home schooling and charter schools:

Not all parents are capable of home schooling their kids o Islamic schools also provide a social life for the kids within the Muslim community and that advantage is enormous.

They teach Islam and Arabic in a way many parents – and certainly all other schools – would fail to match.

They bring the Muslims together and create a sense of community Charter Schools

May be the answer to the dilemma of funds that face Islamic Schools Yet, you can’t teach Islam – and we now more than ever have to strictly abide by the rules – and you can’t also preach Islam in them, which is a huge defect. But again many supporters will say, just bringing the Muslim students together and protecting them from some of the dangers of the public school system may be enough and they may learn Islam at the masjid or elsewhere… Valid points.

Home schooling

Safest environment, no negative peer pressure and no bullying

Teacher/student ratio is 1/1-5 at the most

Parents give customized care and attention to their kids.

Home schooled kids have higher sats (scholastic achievement tests)

You make your own curriculum (for example teach Islamic history as social sciences)

There is a large variety of home schooling organizations and groups and distant learning programs that you can depend on

You make your own schedule (take Friday off do work on Saturday and Sunday)

If you travel you do not have problems even when you move oversees or if you decide to send your kids back home a few months every year

For socialization and having friends take your kids to the masjid often, you should anyway I have to admit though that it does take motivated and educated parents to take upon their shoulders such a task but if you only knew the happiness that you will have knowing that you protected your kid from a myriad of dangers then you would go for it!

If you decided to home school, I recommend to you to have your child take a standardized test on yearly basis. The wisdom behind this is to gauge your child’s progress and to find out whether you are doing a good job or not.

Besides, taking these tests is a necessity in the future when your child goes to college in-sha’a-Allah. If you live in the USA, a high SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) will open the doors of many universities to your child. Taking such tests requires a certain skill that requires practice and training.

Now, which one of these choices is best?

It depends on the parents and their ability to teach, and the availability and affordability of Islamic schools, and their quality, among many other factors, so you will have to do the act of balancing.

We – as a community – have to continue to build and support Islamic schools, and improve their quality.

As parents we need to invest in the education of our children, money, time and effort.


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Dr. Hatem was born in Cairo, Egypt and currently resides in the United States of America. He was granted his PhD in Comparative Fiqh from al-Jinan University, Tripoli, Lebanon and his Master’s Degree in Islamic law from the American Open University. He graduated top of his class with a summa cum laude grade. He is also a board certificated in Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics. He has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B., CH.B.). He graduated with honors from Alexandria University Medical School, Alexandria, Egypt.


  • Guest
    Norma Tuesday, 08 October 2013

    Home schooling is great!

    Salam alaykum
    Thank you I just start home schooling my 2children and is been great.
    I highly recommen connections academy.
    Subhannallah you really get to enjoy your children and allows them to learn Islam.

  • Guest
    Khadijah U. Bilal Tuesday, 29 April 2014

    Schooling Our Children

    May Allah SWT bestow peace and blessings upon our Prophet, his family, and his companions. May we be among those who are rightly guided. Ameen.

    As salaam alaikum!

    May Allah SWT bless you for committing your life's goals to propagating Islam. I am thoroughly enlightened by the work of AMJA. We thank you for writing this article and sharing reasonable comparisons we as Muslims parent should consider. Your article enhances the thought provoking questions parents need to consider. Our children, thank Allah SWT, inshaallah, will only be as committed to Islam as we teach, influence, and demonstrate. In our community, we have no Islamic schools or groups through which we can teach our children academically. One family has a home school program that includes other elementary-grade children from other families, however, this group is small and limited to a few families. I spend considerable time teaching our grandson Islamically and academically. His father is divorced, therefore.I assist with his son's education and upbring. I have recently become ill and unable to maintain the same level of instructions with our grandson, who also attends public charter school. I agree with you wholeheartedly regarding the prevalent conditions of charter and public school. Inshaallah, I share this article with my husband and son so that they can make additional decisions regarding our child's education.

    Thank you again, Alhamdullilah for sharing your knowledge with the believers. May Allah SWT continue to guide us and make us among those who are rightly guided. Ameen.

    Your Sister,
    Khadijah U. Bilal
    Parent, Grandparent, and teacher

  • Guest
    Faisal Farooq Saturday, 24 May 2014

    But why is this become so necessary to live in such country .....

    Asslaam u alikum shaykh

    I am surpurise from your comments on such an important topic to schooling .
    I agree with you that , we need to build and support school to educate the childrens. But my point is , from the the histroy of islam have to ever found that , muslims did hijrat to non muslims country , may be just for the business or trade and keep themselves amoung muslims in madina rather then in Makkah (non muslim state at that time).

    I request you to please give comments and clear the people's mind , that
    1- Ifwe are so scare of cannot fulfil the requirement of deen in non muslim state , WHy we live there, mention in hadith too

    2- If you have a problem of schooling the childrens , that Why not moving to ward muslim country rather then spoiling them in non muslim countries, its the parents responsiblity.

    3- After 2005 , after the cartoon issue (prophet PBUH) over the world, and all these non muslim get united against muslims, Do we all muslims have small quantity of shame in heart that we still want to live and educate our children in those countries ???? Think of it once ! if some country make some ones parents's cartoon and and reprint in the world , would this person still likes to live in a non muslim state ???

    4- Why the shyks of AL azhar in egypt, in saudia arab, Pakistan, India, malaysia e.t.c are silent yet , on giving clear picture to muslims people (Fatwa) , that wheather it is permissible to live in non muslims countries after 2005 issue or not ?

    I know , I will not get any response now . but still may allah give taufeeq to any one to answer these questions , and to clear me , as i have no knowledge.



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