Prophetic Wisdom in teaching: Nurturing Minds and Hearts

Homeschooling stands as a sacred journey for Muslim parents, an opportunity to instill not just academic knowledge but the essence of Islamic teachings. In this endeavor, drawing inspiration from the teaching strategies employed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) offers profound insights. 

Let’s delve into these timeless methods, tailored for the unique landscape of homeschooling for Muslim families.

1. Engage in Concise Communication:

In the realm of homeschooling, where one-on-one interactions prevail, embracing the conciseness of the Prophet in his speech and lectures is paramount. Keep lessons and discussions succinct, ensuring that the information is absorbed without overwhelming your child, likewise make sure to space out lessons and keep them at a reasonable number throughout the week

Hadith:

It was narrated that Jabir bin Samurah said:

“I used to pray with the Prophet and his prayer was moderate in length and his Khutbah was moderate in length.”

Sunan an-Nasa’i 1582

Hadith:

Narrated Ibn Mas`ud:

The Prophet used to take care of us in preaching by selecting a suitable time, so that we might not get bored. (He abstained from pestering us with sermons and knowledge all the time).

Sahih al-Bukhari 68

2. Adapt to Intellectual Levels:

Tailoring your teaching to the intellectual capacity of your child is foundational. The Prophet’s approach of speaking to people according to their understanding resonates deeply with homeschooling parents. Gauge your child’s grasp of concepts and adjust your lessons accordingly.

Narration:

Abu al-Tufayl reported: Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Speak to people only according to their level of knowledge. Would you like for Allah and His Messenger to be denied?”

Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 127

3. Encourage Questions and Debate:

Foster a culture of curiosity. Encourage your child to ask questions, just as the Prophet did. Create an environment where debates are welcomed, nurturing critical thinking skills from a young age. This is extremely important since learning requires thinking, questions force people to think, thus asking questions leads to deep learning.

Hadith:

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Do you know who are bankrupt?” They said, “The one without money or goods is bankrupt.” The Prophet said, “Verily, the bankrupt of my nation are those who come on the Day of Resurrection with prayers, fasting, and charity, but also with insults, slander, consuming wealth, shedding blood, and beating others. The oppressed will each be given from his good deeds. If his good deeds run out before justice is fulfilled, then their sins will be cast upon him and he will be thrown into the Hellfire.”

Sahih al-Bukhari

4. Provide Tangible Examples:

Incorporating tangible examples, like the Prophet prohibiting silk and gold for males, makes abstract concepts tangible. Use real-life examples that resonate with your child’s daily experiences to reinforce Islamic principles.

Hadith:

Abu Dawood (3535) narrated that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) took a piece of silk in his right hand and  a piece of gold in his left and said, ‘These two are forbidden for the males of my ummah.’”

Saheeh Abi Dawood, 3422.

5. Anticipate and Answer Questions:

Preempt doubts and questions that may arise in your child’s mind about Islam. Anticipate their concerns and address them proactively, creating a space for open and honest discussions. Do not shy away from controversial and tedious issues that are important to your child religious safety and growth.

Hadith:

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Satan will come to one of you and he will say, ‘Who created this and that?’ until he says to him, ‘Who created your Lord?’ When it comes to this, let him seek refuge in Allah and stop such thoughts.”

Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3276, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 134

6. Offer More Than Asked:

In the realm of homeschooling, emulate the Prophet’s approach of going beyond the curriculum. Just as he provided a detailed answer on sea water, supplement your child’s education with additional information that delves deeper into the tapestry of Islamic teachings.

Simultaneously, actively engage your child in the learning process. Encourage them to articulate their goals and expectations from each lesson. This not only empowers them with a sense of ownership but also allows you to tailor your teaching approach, ensuring a personalized and enriching educational experience that resonates with their individual needs.

Hadith:

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was asked about sea water and he said, “Its water is purifying for ablution, and its dead animals are lawful to eat.”

Sunan al-Tirmidhī 69

9. Utilize Teaching Moments:

Everyday situations provide profound teaching moments, just as the Prophet found a lesson with the corspse of the dead goat in the hadith below. Use these instances to impart wisdom and Islamic teachings.

Hadith:

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, passed through the market from a higher part of the city and people were look at him from both sides. The Prophet passed by the carcass of a one-eared goat and he reached out to take its ear. The Prophet said, “Which one of you would like this for a coin?” They said, “Who among us would want it while it is worth nothing? What would we do with it?” The Prophet said three times, “Would you like to have it?” They said no each time and said, “No, by Allah, if it were alive it would be defective as it only has one ear. How so if it were dead?” The Prophet said, “By Allah, the worldly life is less important to Allah than this is to you.”

al-Adab al-Mufrad 962

10. Emphasize with Oaths:

Strengthen your teachings with oaths, emphasizing the importance of Islamic principles. Make lessons memorable through impactful delivery.

11. Repetition for Clarity:

Embrace repetition to ensure clarity. Reinforce key Islamic concepts through repetition, allowing your child to absorb the teachings more effectively.

Hadith:

Anas ibn Mālik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Whenever the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) spoke a word, he would repeat it thrice until it is understood from him. Whenever he greeted a group of people, he would greet them thrice.  

Sahih Al-Bukhari

12. Physical Contact for Impact:

Physical touch can be a powerful teaching tool. Like the Prophet’s empathetic approach, use physical contact to convey important messages and create emotional connections.

Hadith:

Abu Umamah reported: A young man came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, give me permission to commit adultery.” The people turned to rebuke him, saying, “Quiet! Quiet!” The Prophet said, “Come here.” The young man came close and he told him to sit down. The Prophet said, “Would you like that for your mother?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.” The Prophet said, “Neither would people like it for their mothers. Would you like that for your daughter?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.” The Prophet said, “Neither would people like it for their daughters. Would you like that for your sister?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.” The Prophet said, “Neither would people like it for their sisters. Would you like that for your aunts?” The man said, “No, by Allah, may I be sacrificed for you.” The Prophet said, “Neither would people like it for their aunts.” Then, the Prophet placed his hand on him and he said, “O Allah, forgive his sins, purify his heart, and guard his chastity.” After that, the young man never again inclined to anything sinful

Musnad Aḥmad 22211

13. Use Cliff-Hangers:

Create excitement in learning. Use cliff-hangers to spark anticipation for future lessons or unveil interesting facts related to Islamic teachings.

Hadith:

Narrated from ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas narrates: Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said,

“Nations were displayed before me, one or two prophets would pass by along with a few followers. A prophet would pass by accompanied by nobody. Then a big crowd of people passed in front of me and I asked, “Who are they? Are they my followers?” It was said, “No. It is Musa (alayhis salam) and his followers. It was said to me, “Look at the horizon.” Behold! There was a multitude of people filling the horizon.

Then it was said to me, “Look there and there about the stretching sky! Behold! There was a multitude filling the horizon,” It was said to me, “This is your nation out of whom 70,000 shall enter Jannah without reckoning.” Then the Prophet entered his house without telling his companions who they were.

So the people started talking about the issue and said, “It is we who have believed in Allah and followed His Apostle, therefore those people are either ourselves or our children who are born m the Islamic era, for we were born in the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance.”

14. Incorporate Stories:

Weave stories into your lessons. Both Islamic and non-Islamic narratives can offer profound lessons, making the teachings more relatable and memorable for your child.

15. Address Focus Groups:

Recognize the diverse needs within your homeschooling environment. Tailor your teachings for specific age groups, paying particular attention to the unique requirements of women and children.

Hadith:

It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went out – on Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Adha – to the prayer place, and when he had finished (the prayer) he preached to the people and enjoined them to give charity. He said, “O people, give in charity!” Then he went over to the women and said, “O women, give in charity for I have seen that you are the majority of the people of Hell.”

16. Expressive Teaching with Controlled Anger:

Infuse intensity into your teachings without causing harm. Controlled passion can make Islamic lessons more impactful, just as the Prophet’s eyes would raise his voice when given a sermon.

Hadith:

When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) delivered a sermon, his eyes would turn red, he would raise his voice and he would speak with intensity, as if he were warning of an (enemy) army, saying, ‘They will surely attack you in the morning, or they will surely attack you in the evening!

Sunan Ibn Majah 45

18. Using Analogies:

Analogies can serve as powerful tools in conveying complex ideas. Use relatable analogies to make Islamic concepts more tangible for your child.

Hadith:

Jabir ibn Abdullah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The parable of the five prayers is that of a river running at your door in which one cleanses himself five times a day.”

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 668

19. Use Diagrams or Drawings:

Visual aids are invaluable in education. Consider using diagrams or drawings to illustrate Islamic teachings.

Hadith:

Ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, drew a line in the sand with his hand and he said, “This is the straight path of Allah.” Then, the Prophet drew lines to the right and left, saying, “These are other paths, and there is no path among them but that a devil is upon it calling to its way.” Then, the Prophet recited the verse, “Verily, this is the straight path, so follow it and do not follow other ways.” (6:153)

Musnad Aḥmad 4437

20. Use Gestures While Talking:

Physical gestures can enhance communication and leave a lasting impression. This tactile approach can make lessons more memorable for your child.

Hadith:

Narrated Sahl bin Sa`d:

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this,” putting his index and middle fingers together.

Sahih al-Bukhari


21. Turn Questions into Opportunities for Reflection:

Channel the Prophet’s insightful teaching approach by going beyond the surface of a question. Pay attention to your child’s unique situation and endeavor to provide more than a direct answer. Recognize their individual circumstances and discern how you can offer additional information that not only addresses their query but also enriches their understanding in a way that is specifically tailored to their educational needs. In doing so, you emulate the Prophet’s practice of recognizing the potential for even greater benefit in every teaching moment.

Hadith:

Narrated Anas:

A man asked the Prophet (ﷺ) about the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgment) saying, “When will the Hour be?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “What have you prepared for it?”

Sahih al-Bukhari

22. Promote Collaborative Learning:

Foster a sense of community and collaborative learning within your homeschooling environment. Reflect on the era of the Prophet, where companions (sahabas) actively participated in answering questions and providing fatwas during his lifetime. Encourage group discussions or involve other family members in answering questions. This not only broadens perspectives but also instills a collaborative spirit in your child’s learning journey.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, homeschooling for Muslim parents represents a sacred journey, a unique opportunity to impart not only academic knowledge but also the profound essence of Islamic teachings. By drawing inspiration from the teaching strategies employed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), homeschooling takes on a timeless and enriching dimension.

The Prophet’s emphasis on concise communication, adapting to intellectual levels, encouraging questions and debate, providing tangible examples, and anticipating and answering questions serves as a guiding light for Muslim families navigating the homeschooling landscape. The incorporation of teaching moments from everyday situations, going beyond the curriculum, and utilizing impactful methods such as oaths, repetition, physical contact, and cliff-hangers contributes to a holistic educational experience deeply rooted in Islamic principles.

Furthermore, the Prophet’s use of stories, addressing focus groups, expressive teaching with controlled anger, analogies, diagrams or drawings, gestures while talking, and turning questions into opportunities for reflection showcase a multifaceted approach that resonates with diverse learning styles. The promotion of collaborative learning, reminiscent of the companions’ active involvement during the Prophet’s era, fosters a sense of community and shared knowledge within the homeschooling environment.

In essence, the journey of homeschooling for Muslim parents becomes a tapestry woven with the wisdom of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), creating an educational experience that transcends traditional boundaries and nurtures the holistic development of children in both academic and spiritual realms. As parents embark on this sacred journey, they find not only a roadmap for effective teaching but also a path that leads to the enrichment of their children’s minds and hearts, aligning with the timeless teachings of Islam.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *