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Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

Allaah سبحانه وتعالى has laid down for Muslims the best way of life guided and guarded by the shari'ah. But it is unfortunate that today, a lot of Muslims look elsewhere for guidance. Islaam places great emphasis on the tarbiyah (education and orientation) of Muslim children as well as continous education and re-orientaion of Muslim adults. Kids are like new computers with fresh memory, parents must watch what they install in it. Anything (whether sensible or senseless) that is installed in it would enter and may remain there forever. Muslim parents and guardians must be very careful of what they install in the brains of their children and wards. 

For instance, if a parent is a type that listens to music always, whether he likes it or not, the children would inadvertently pick those musical tracks into their brains. If a parent is a type that watch films and football always, the children would pick the habit from him or her and it may be difficult to control in the future. These are part of the many ways by which the brains of many kids are distorted. If proper care is not quickly taken, any child that grows up under this nature of parenthood may find it difficult to learn the deen properly and live a shari'ah compliant life. The purpose of this chapter is for us to delibrate on how Muslim parents can actually manage the brains of their kids in a way that would assist them in living and maintaining an Islamic way of life wherever they find themselves. 

The word 'حلقة' (halqah) literally means 'circle', 'loop', 'ring', 'annulet' and so on. Technically, it means a gathering or an assembly where people learn the religion of Islaam. Consequently, 'Family Halqah' is a gathering or an assembly of Islaamic knowledge within a household. The concept of 'Family Halqah' has become a useful tool towards fostering a typical shari'ah compliant home. The initiative is not only meant to expose the children to basic principles of Islaam as understood by the salaf (pious predecessors) from their tender age, it helps the parents too in growing their knowledge and understanding of the tenets of Islaam in accordance with the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

It is the primary duty of a man to ensure that his household acquires knowledge of Islaam and apply it from time to time. We are made to understand that every husband would be questioned on the Day of Judgment how well he had taken care of his home, and how far he has been able to instill Islamic knowledge and discipline on his wife and the children. 

The 'Family Halqah' is meant to be a gathering of knowledge by which members of a Muslim home learn and discuss Islamic matters for them to improve their relationship with their Lord. The Family Halqah also helps Muslim homes to boost their spirit of Islamic brotherhood. The justification for Family Halqah initiative under the shari'ah is the verse of Suratut Tahreem, where Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ

"O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded" [Q66:6. ]

From this verse, one could understand the need for us to protect ourselves and household from the torment of hell-fire by enjoining what is good on ourselves and forbidding what is bad for ourselves. That is why we are the best generation ever raised for mankind. This particular verse is more relevant to our contemporary time considering how much Muslims have distanced themselves from the teachings of Islaam (Sunnah). A lot of Muslim parents send their children and wards to boarding schools without caring about the Islamic orientation while in those schools. Many of these boarding schools have little or nothing to offer in terms of Islamic education and orientation. Even for schools with considerable level of Islamic flavours, there is need for proper monitoring on the part of parents and guardians. The initiative of household halqah would help Muslim children and wards to maintain their Islamic identity wherever they find themselves. Some of the benefits of a Family Halqah are as follows:

1. Family Halqah initiative assists in building the taqwa (fear) of Allaah. When a family forms the habit of sitting together learning about Allaah, their love for Allaah would increase and fear of Allaah would continue to grow in their minds. Allaah says in Suratut Taobah 

(أَفَمَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَىٰ تَقْوَىٰ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٍ خَيْرٌ أَمْ مَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَىٰ شَفَا جُرُفٍ هَارٍ فَانْهَارَ بِهِ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

"Then is one who laid the foundation of his building on righteousness [with fear] from Allah and [seeking] His approval better or one who laid the foundation of his building on the edge of a bank about to collapse, so it collapsed with him into the fire of Hell? And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people [Q9:109]

This verse emphasises the importance of building a home upon the fear of Allaah and obedience to His dictates and the Sunnah of His Messenger صلىالله عليه وسلم.

2. Family Halqah would bring about love among the members of the family. Every members of the family would understand the importance of loving one another for the sake of Allaah.

3. Family Halqah would go a long way to reduce unnecessary tension in the neighborhood. Members of the family must havd learned verses of the Qur'an and hadiths on goodness to one's household and the rewards attached to it. Members of the family would respect one another. The wife would be secured from the evils of the husband and vice versa. When any member of the household is about to misbehave and a member says "fear Allaah", the erring party knows how serious that statement is. But if such a statement is said to someone without proper understanding of Islaam, he would get annoyed.

4. Family Halqah would promote tie of kinship, and members of the household would be merciful to one another. They must have learned verses of the Qur'an and hadith on the need to keep tie of kinship.

5. Family Halqah would make the parents and children to imbibe good character and manner of dealing with people within and outside the home. When the children of such Muslim home walk out, people would begin to ask, where are these kids from? The kind of humility and kindness they display in and outside the home would be exemplary.

6. The Family haqah would guide against gheebah (backbitting) and nameemah (gossip) that are fast becoming normal in our society. The children would be taught to keep quiety when there is nothing useful to say.

7. Through an effective Family Halqah, Islamic standard of dressing would be inculcated in the children. The boys would dress neatly in their nisfu saq and nice beards. The ladies would comply with the conditions of the best form of hijab in Islaam. 

8. The Family halqah is an opportunity to teach the children and wives the need to purify their intention always. It would assist them to hate riyaa' (show off).  

9. The Household Halqah would assist the family members to memorise many adhkaar and use them to solve their problems.

10 The Family Halqah is an opportunity to teach the correct and authentic 'aqeedah. It would educate members of the household on the danger of shirk, bid'ah and sins of kabaair nature.

11. The Family Halqah would instil boldness on the kids. They would be to address the public on different Islamic issues because they are already used to the system. Their parent allow them to take hadith and tafseer sessions from their tender age.

12. There is a great sign that Allaah love homes where knowledge of Islaam is valued. The existence of household halqah in a Muslim home is an indication that Allaah wants goodness for the household. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم says: Whoever for whom Allaah tips for goodness, He grants him the understanding of the deen.

The Family Halqah can always be done atleast once in a week. It could be more than once in a week, but a week shouldn't pass without it. Proper attention should be placed on qiraa'ah, 'aqeedah, 'ibaadah and akhlaaq. The family can choose different books on those areas of Islamic knowledge. The family is advised to start with small books, and not ones that are too complex for the kids to read and understand. They can decide to take only one hadith on a sitting. They must make sure there is no break (consistency) once it starts except for unavoidable reasons. They shouldn't waste time or spend more than the time ordinarily specified for exercise. 

It is advised that brief talks on previous lessons should be rotated among members of the household as a means of revising what has been previously learnt. Parents must not leave their children for the internet to train. There are shia, sufi and khawaarij sites that can mislead young children who are not well ground upon manhaj salaf. Lastly, I advise that parents should not be reluctant or hesitate to pay qualified people to come to their homes and teach them and their children some beneficial books. May Allaah make it easy and grant us success in this world and the hereafter.

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