Asalaamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barkatuh.
Eid Mubarak! I hope and pray you have all had a blessed Ramadan and a wonderful Eid. It's nice to see all of the children returning to school enthusiastically this morning. It's also lovely to welcome new children, and their parents, to the school community.
Ramadan is a great opportunity for reflection-not only on our personal relationship with our Creator, but also a great time to reflect on the quality of our service to the deen. As headmaster of Deenway, for me Ramadan especially provides an opportunity to reflect on and reassess the work of our school in the light of its higher purpose. Spending time in the masaajid and having an opportunity to see children and young people from the wider community (not just the school children) interacting with their parents in different contexts and also talking to their parents about their concerns; reaffirms the importance of the work of our school. It is also a humbling reminder that we are all privileged to be able to send our children to an Islamic environment where not only their academic needs, but also their spiritual and developmental needs are taken care of in such a holistic and caring way. It is also clear from such reflection that parents need support-more than ever before-to help navigate the complexities of raising children in the best way, whilst dealing with all of the challenges of the modern condition. It may seem a strange thing to say, but perhaps the greatest challenge facing the mission of Islamic schools is not the wider society, but the choices parents make for their children on a daily basis inside and outside the home: how they communicate with each other and relatives, what they talk about and the choices they make for themselves and their children-from organising the house to choices about entertainment and the companionship of others. Even what they say about teachers, staff, the school, Imams and scholars in private when they forget that their words are being noted down. Children absorb all this deeply into their psyche and it is reflected ultimately in their behaviour.
Where there is harmony of purpose, understanding and practice between home and school our young people are excelling ma sha Allah. To the extent where there is discord or contradiction between what children see and hear from adults at home, and what they are allowed to do and not do by their parents, compared to what the school is trying to convey and model on a daily basis from the teachers, the learning environment, the lessons and the daily routines; the ability of the school to benefit the children is compromised. These words should be carefully pondered over by all of us:
“Verily, God will not change the (good) condition of a people as long as they do not change their state (of goodness) themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to God)”
In order to help mitigate this issue and try to bring home and family life into harmony with the school it is clear that Islamic schools need to do much more than focus their educational efforts on children. We need to focus those efforts at least as much, if not more, on parents. With this in mind, I hope and pray that the school will be able to engage directly with parents in a more regular way with sessions for parents to attend so that we can all learn and develop together. This will only be possible with your support and engagement. As most schools-and ours is no exception-have little to no support, lots of financial challenges and an incredibly difficult mission; to the extent that you actively support the school-through fundraising, donations and dua's, is the extent to which we have the material and spiritual energy to be able to serve you better. In sha Allah please look out for further updates on all of this in due course.
Wa ma tawfeeqi illa billah.