Abusive Quran School: My Mom is Pushing Me to Become a Hafiza

20 July, 2020
Q salamualaikum,

I wanted to talk about this for so long and allhamduillah, I can finally do so. I have been attending Quran classes for most of my life, since the age of 10. I am turning 17 this fall and I wanted to say that I despise coming to the masjid now.

My mom had always based her love towards her children by what they could offer. I don't really do any housework and she always criticized me for it. She also loves my eldest sister the most because she "helps me the most" and does the cleaning around the house, even though I do it whenever she asks me to.

So, instead she brought me to Quran classes ever since because I do not help her in any way. She has plans for me to finish the Quran and wants me to become a hafiza.

The place is very abusive. Every weekend, me and my little sister were forced to wake up at 4 am and stay there until 1 pm. We could not eat or sleep when we wanted to, we had to ask to use the toilet and they would refuse most of the time.

We always had to read the Quran on the top of our lungs until our voices went hoarse. We always feared getting hurt and the headteacher would beat us for absolutely no reason. We also didn’t have chairs and would often sit on the floor and could not get up and stretch.

But subanallah, I wanted to finish the Quran, but sadly that ambition faded away year after year. I hate that place even though I feel guilty about it. I am approaching my final year of high school and I feel like I wasted my time there. People tell me about how much ajar you gain but I do not care anymore. You do not gain any good deeds if you are forced to do something, everybody knows that.

I tried so hard to hold on but I cannot. I want to leave and never return to that awful place. I struggle in school compared to my other classmates because of juggling my education with my Quran and I envy them so much. It probably feels so nice being able to relax on weekends and not have to cry every time they roll around.

However, if I do end up leaving I will probably feel even more guilty than I already do. I am in Surah Maryam and my mom gets excited when I tell her I finish a surah. Not because she's proud of me, but that she can brag about her child's achievement to her friends.

I tried reaching out to Allah, but everytime I do, I just get knocked down even harder. I feel depressed, angry but worst all, I feel worthless.

Now, because of the virus, I have to do Quran online and my mom is also forcing me to take 2 summer school online courses that I do not want starting this July. I need advice and guidance.

Please help me and may Allah bless you.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Please talk to your parents, explain how you feel, how discouraging this school and the teacher is. Try going to another group or change the school all together. You might also want to call MuslimsThrive or Nasheeha.

Please sister know that Allah does not approve this violence that you have received. Stand up to yourself and save yourself from such experiences.

Although I know in some cultures (not Islam!) beating up children is accepted, hamdulillah you live in the US where this is not accepted and where you have places to reach out to help. 

The path your parents put you is really blessed and beautiful mashallah. Not every child gets the opportunity to only focus on learning the Quran. However, this should be in a peaceful environment.

I would encourage you to make a pros-cons list. What you gain and what do you lose if you keep learning the Quran? (in a more healthy environment.)

What changes do you need to do in order to keep up the motivation? Maybe a more balanced schedule with studies? 

Imagine the ideal life you want to live right now and think of what you need to create that. 


Salam Aleikom,

Thank you for writing to us. 

I am sorry to read about you having a fragile relationship with your mother. Our connection with our mother affects our life in multiple ways since our birth. Therefore, we need to do our best to keep a healthy bond with her.

Doing housework is part of the responsibility of adulthood

You wrote that “I don’t really do any housework and she always criticized me for it.” 

What is the reason you refuse to help your mother around the house? Islam encourages us to help our parents in all ways possible, but I do not want to “lecture” you about this. I am sure you are well aware of how mothers are important in Islam.

Doing the house chores prepares us for the responsibility you will carry as an adult inshallah when you will have your own apartment. If you desire being independent – which all teenagers desire -, doing house chores is part of it.

As you have not mentioned any reasons why you do not help your mother, I can only guess and give you some tips based on that. Please get back to us with more details on this issue so we can further help. 

The reasons I can think why you do not want to help your mother are that 

  • your mother expects you to help her at ANY time. For example, you are into something, you have already planned to do a certain thing and she just comes to your room suddenly with her requests. This might annoy you.
  • Maybe she asks you in a way that you feel she is “bossy”. Her words feel harsh and this discourages you to help. 
  • Maybe she wants you to do chores you hate doing the most.  

I suggest you talk to your mother and create some plans in regards to these chores that are convenient for you and makes your mother happy as well. Talk to her with lots of “I” statements about how you feel.  

Write down all the tasks that need to be done during the week, and divide them between the family members. Choose tasks that you are OK with, and give them an appointment as well when exactly you will do it. (Saturday AM, for example.) This way you take your part of the responsibilities, make your mother happy, and can plan your other stuff accordingly.

Abusive Quran School: My Mom is Pushing Me to Become a Hafiza - About Islam

Love languages

You wrote “My mom had always based her love towards her children by what they could offer.”

Sister, everyone has a primer “love language” – a way they express and experience love.

They are five languages of love: 

  • words of affirmation,
  • quality time,
  • giving gifts,
  • acts of service,
  • physical touch.

None of them is better than the other. What matters is that we identify people’s love language and act accordingly to show how much we love them.

Your mom’s love language might be “acts of service”. This would explain why she appreciates a lot that your siblings help her. There is nothing wrong with it – and you should consider it as well.

I am not saying this is the only reason your mom should show love towards you and hate you if you do not do the house chores. But it is good to know that your mom will feel loved the most if you help her out. 


Check out this counseling video:

Do not tolerate abuse at your Quran school

In regards to your horrific experiences at your Quran school, I am really sorry you have had to go through them. It is shameful and outrageous how some so-called knowledgeable Muslims misuse their position and harm children in a physical, emotional as well as spiritual way. 

Although I know in some cultures (not Islam!) beating up children is accepted, hamdulillah you live in the US where this is not accepted and where you have places to reach out to help. 

Please talk to your parents, explain how you feel, how discouraging this school and the teacher is. Try going to another group or change the school all together. You might also want to call MuslimsThrive or Nasheeha.

Aggression and violence only shows the failure of an adult. He has failed to be patient, his methods to connect with the student and teach them have failed. Out of this frustration, they lash out… This is completely wrong.

Please sister know that Allah does not approve this violence that you have received. Stand up to yourself and save yourself from such experiences. This damages your faith and motivation to do one of the most beautiful things a Muslim could do: studying the book of Allah. Do not let this happen! I am certain in the US there are many Quranic schools with a better treatment. 

Study or not to study the Quran: you have the choice

The path you parents put you is really blessed and beautiful mashallah. Not every child gets the opportunity to only focus on learning the Quran. 

I would encourage you to make a pros-cons list. What you gain and what do you lose if you keep learning the Quran? (in a more healthy environment.) What changes do you need to do in order to keep up the motivation? Maybe a more balanced schedule with studies? 

What hardships can you still tolerate to succeed with your goal at the end and what not? For example, you said you had to wake up at 4 Am. It seems to be hard, however, this might be just part of the learning process, a difficulty you could do to learn the Quran. (Not only Islam, but successful people teach as well that waking up early is one of the keys to success.) However, physical violence is surely something you should not tolerate!

Imagine the ideal life you want to live right now and think of what you need to create that. 
I hope this helps you,

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Timea Aya Csányi
Timea Aya Csányi pursues her BSc. degree in Psychology and Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University. She is a certified NLP® Practitioner, one of our writers and counselors at the "Ask the Counselor" section. She works as a fitness trainer who is specialized in the spine and functional training. She is advocates for gaining self-love and confidence through exercising. If you are a Muslimah who seeks spine-friendly online training with a PT, you can reach out to Timea at [email protected]