Begin with the Name of Allāh
By Rafi M. Ali, M.D.
Director of DarusSalam Seminary’s Tadrīs Integrated High School Program
A generation ago, a survey conducted at a high school suggested that the seven biggest behavioral challenges found amongst the students were: talking out of turn, chewing gum, being disruptive/making noise, cutting in line, running in the halls, dress code violations, and littering. A more recent survey at the same high school suggested that their seven biggest problems are now: alcohol abuse, drug abuse, robbery, teen pregnancy, assault, rape, and suicide.
It is clear to me that our society is failing to nurture healthy young adults. Various pernicious ingredients fuel the outraged crucible where children are nurtured in our times. One ingredient is a struggling educational system. The failure of the educational system is appalling considering simply the number of hours children spend in school. The question remains: is there a root cause of such failures?
Human frailties side with the ways of the majority, by a process akin to natural selection, thinking them the best ways to the end — despite the moaning sick and the silent dead peppered by the roadside. There is comfort in embracing the collective opinion, even if it is wrong.
Our Prophet advised us to begin all matters in the name of Allāh . You might think it trite or even somewhat condescending to offer such a seemingly simple suggestion. Apologies to the reader for creating such a misunderstanding. How many Muslim classrooms, however, are deprived of such beginnings? A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step., You must be sure that the first step is in the right direction. An individual suffers erosion of confidence and energy if he is not true to his foundational beliefs. You cannot give that which you do not have.
No doubt, only the way of Allāh as taught to us by our beloved Prophet Muhammad leads to an Abode of Peace! One who seeks for root causes must ponder carefully.
. Richard M Eyre and Linda Eyre, The Turning: Why the State of the Family Matters, and What the World Can Do about It (Sanger, CA: Familius, 2014), 30 -31.
. : Peace be upon him.
. Attributed to Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism.
. BBC World Service, Learning English, Moving Words,| BBC News (BBC), http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/movingwords/shortlist/laotzu.shtml (accessed September 30, 2019).