School Is not Abiding by Islamic Rules

26 September, 2019
Q As-salamu `alaikum, we are a conservative Muslim family living in a Muslim country. I have 2 kids, a boy and a girl. The boy is 6-year old and we wanted to give him a good education, so we enrolled him in an international school, but we noticed that the school - as the case with all international schools - is marking almost western occasions like Christmas, Halloween and Valentine etc.

I started to worry that this might affect my son’s Islamic background and make him grow up in an un-Islamic atmosphere like the one he finds in the school. What’s your advice? Shall I change the school or I should not worry about that?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•By exposing your son to various holidays you are preparing him to deal effectively with different groups of people in the world with different belief systems, while maintaining his Islamic identity and belief system.

•Continue to build a solid Islamic foundation at home, keep the lines of communication open and ask him what new thing has he learned in school on a weekly basis.

•When holidays do come up, you may want to ask him how he feels about these holidays and then maybe read with him a story about the origin of the particular holiday, and explain to him why we do not celebrate it.


As salamu alaykum,

Shokran for writing with your most important concern. May Allah reward you for wanting to give your son a good education. While I am not an Islamic scholar, it appears to me that as long as your son has a solid Islamic upbringing at home, then the things he see’s or learns at school about different holiday’s should not influence his Islamic beliefs nor stance. In fact, often times children exposed to other cultures, religions and belief systems grow up more balanced and adjusted.

They are often more firmly rooted in their Islamic beliefs as they realize that everyone is not the same and that they are Muslim. As they want to be respected as Muslims, they are taught to respect others as well. So while yes they do learn other cultures and religions, they also learn a deeper pride and respect for Islam as they discuss their beliefs with others who may not be familiar.

School Is not Abiding by Islamic Rules - About Islam

Therefore, they may need a deeper knowledge of Islam in order to discuss certain issues (such as holidays) with non-Muslims. Muslim children in schools in the UK or USA use holidays as a way to do dawah and teach others about Islam; about our holidays and about why we don’t celebrate valentine’s day or Christmas. If the schools are truly international and progressive, they have special days wherein each group of children talk about their holidays and beliefs so everyone learns.

By exposing your son to various holidays you are preparing him to deal effectively with different groups of people in the world with different belief systems, while maintaining his Islamic identity and belief system. Many times students who study abroad who have never been exposed to holidays and different practices fall victim to their curiosity and it’s mysterious nature and hence they indulge in the festivities.


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This can lead to getting lax in habits of Islamic principles and cause one to get involved in wrong practices. However, if someone has been exposed to something all of their lives and has been taught that it is other people’s way of life not ours, then the curiosity is not there. They are used to it.

While only you can determine what is best for your son, I kindly suggest that you continue to build a solid Islamic foundation at home, keep the lines of communication open and ask him what new thing has he learned in school on a weekly basis. When holidays do come up, you may want to ask him how he feels about these holidays and then maybe read with him a story about the origin of the particular holiday, and explain to him why we do not celebrate it. As he is young, insha’Allah reminding him of our wonderful holidays will fill him with joy and pride as a Muslim. We wish you and your son the best!


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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.