16 800 – this is the approximate number of hours that a child will spend in school over the course of twelve years, from grade one to matric.

3000 – this is the approximate number of hours that a child will spend in the maktab madrasah, assuming that the child attends the maktab for six years, five days a week.

Ask almost any practising Muslim adult today as to how he/she learnt to perform wudhu and salaah and recite the Quraan Majeed, or where they learnt the basic Islamic beliefs, masaa-il (rulings) and sunnah du‘aas? The answer will almost certainly be ‘the maktab madrasah’.

The maktab madrasahs twenty-five to thirty years ago were not what they are today. Many of the asaatizah and aapas were over-burdened and under-resourced. Most maktabs did not fall under an umbrella body providing the support of a standardised national syllabus and external examiners.

Yet, they persevered and did the best they could. Likewise, our parents understood the urgent need to enrol us into those maktabs – as a result of which we today know the basics of being a practising Muslim.

Unfortunately, the focus has shifted for many and the priority has changed. Day after day, children are motivated by their parents to be diligent, hardworking and excel in school so that they will secure an admission into university. They are even encouraged to pursue extracurricular activities as these will make their future application form and CV more attractive.

The biggest problem, however, is that most of the time, these material endeavours are at the expense of the maktab and Deen.

As seen above, the time spent in maktab vs the time spent in school is already drastically disproportionate, as for every one hour that the child spends in the maktab, he will spend more than five hours in school. Thereafter, when the meagre maktab time is misappropriated for extra-curricular activities, assignments, extra tuition, etc, then the inevitable outcome is that the child becomes well acquainted with the world, but is out of touch and unfamiliar with the Deen with which he requires to gain safe entry into Jannah.

The urgent need for our children to attend the maktab madrasah punctually is not only to ensure that they learn to perform wudhu and salaah, recite the Quraan Majeed, learn basic masaa-il, etc. – though these aspects alone are undeniably ample justification due to their great importance in Deen. Rather, over and above these aspects which relate to practising Deen, the maktab will assist in safeguarding the child’s imaan itself which is his single-most valuable asset in the entire world.  

Most schools today teach concepts and theories that are completely incompatible with Islam. Be it the atrocious theory that humans are descended from apes, or the depraved ideology of accepting LGBTQI+ as normal – all these are concepts, ‘enshrined’ in the syllabus, which single-handedly have the destructive power to demolish our child’s imaan.

It is for this reason that it is so vitally important for the parents to conduct daily ta’leem at home, so that this ta’leem may serve as an antidote to any poison that is ingested in school. However, when the bleak reality is that most parents do not conduct ta’leem at home, then it is even more imperative that our children attend the maktab where they will learn the correct Islamic beliefs. Children attending the maktab madrasah is even more crucially important in this era of severe fitnah where, on a regular basis, shocking reports are received of teens leaving the fold of Islam.

Every parent wishes well for his child, but due to our short-sightedness, we focus only on our child’s material and financial prosperity. What about his Aakhirah? When our stay in the Aakhirah will be everlasting, and our stay in this world is for just a few short years, then is it fair on them that we devote and dedicate the bulk of their time and energy to the world, while depriving them of the Deen which they require for the Aakhirah?

Remember, when the child will one day be laid in his grave, the questions he will be asked will not relate to his degree or profession – they will relate to Deen. On the Day of Qiyaamah, the first thing which he will be made to account for will be his salaah. On that day, it should not be that we are taken to task for depriving the child of Deeni education and neglecting to raise him correctly.

May Allah Ta‘ala protect our imaan and the imaan of our children, and may He enter us all into Jannah safely, aameen.