A Madrassa is an environment in which Islam is discussed and implemented. The mercy of Allah descends upon Madrassas. In the sight of Allah they are blessed places. It is saddening how some parents view them like a detention for naughty children. Or they assume it is a place for children who cannot excel in academic studies, as though Madrassa is easier or less significant. Some do their children a disservice, by threatening to send them to Madrassa if they misbehave.
Back in the days, if a child was naughty, parents would say that if you don’t start behaving, we will send you to Mia’s Farm. Mia’s Farm was one of the first Darul Ulooms in South Africa. It paved the way for the establishment of many other Darul Ulooms. Mia’s Farm has produced countless Aalims who have travelled extensively throughout South Africa and abroad to spread the Deen. Such a noble Darul Uloom was reduced to a mere naughty corner for naughty children. This is inappropriate. Perhaps the same example is not given nowadays. However, telling a child that I’ll send you to Madrassa or its teachers if you misbehave, are still common threats. Avoid doing this. If your child needs reprimanding, do it yourself. That is your duty as a parent. Don’t drag the Madrassa and its teachers into this. Of course, this doesn’t negate the fact that our scholars are readily available to advise where necessary. But some parents take this out of context.
We should speak of madrassa in a positive light. Give it preference to help children understand what matters most. Nowadays, we do the opposite. Many parents are unconcerned if their child performs poorly in madrassa. Whereas for school, they expect sterling results. Some parents book their children’s appointments in madrassa time rather than school. Or children miss madrassa for flimsy reasons. Some time back when I used to teach in a maktab, a child came up to me in class, apologising for his absence the day before. When I asked the reason, he responded that he had a test at school. Unsurprisingly, his mum made him skip madrassa to revise for that test. I instructed him to tell his mum that he has a big test at madrassa tomorrow. Thus, he needs to skip school to revise. He began laughing and responded that mum will never allow that.
From the onset, this child has already learnt that if you have to choose between deen and dunya, give dunya preference. This is one of the reasons why we have many businessmen or professionals who are willing to sacrifice their fardh Salah for work. Many don’t feel guilty as they were raised with that mindset. This needs to stop. Otherwise, children will become frightened to attend madrassa or they will view it negatively. Fix this mindset before it is too late. May Allah forgive us and grant us the ability, aameen.
— Shaykh Dawood Seedat حفظه اللّٰ