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17 May 2021 / 5. Shawal 1442

A Poem: No Choice

Updated 18 September 2013

As the new academic year begins, this poem asks: Is it not time we invested into the spirit and futures of our children by establishing where we have not, Muslim schools that provide parents with an alternative to secular education?

When she first opened her beautiful, innocent eyes
And her tiny, fragile fingers clasped mine
With all my heart, I pledged
My child’s spirit, I would protect

I knew she was not truly mine
She was a gift, an amanah from the Divine,
To nurture, raise, and guide
In her journey towards the Sublime

So as days and sleepless nights blurred
I struggled undeterred
Until she grew into a little girl who assimilated
Some of the values I lovingly integrated

And so I felt all would be fine
When her hand slipped from mine
To run to school, friends, clubs
Adapting, blending, to fit in and have fun

I had taught her He saw everything
Even when no-one was watching
And so I believed she would not be prey
To secularism, immodesty, moral decay...

I would drop her to school and pick her up everyday
I would allow no other to take her to parties and cafes
And of course, I made sure, every Sunday
She went to Madressa to learn and pray...
So how could she possibly go astray??

Little did I know, little did I understand
How quickly I would be surpassed
By friends, peers, crowds and norms
By the desire to belong, pressure to conform

I wanted her to be always God-conscious
Yet I educated her in a system that was godless
I wanted her to live for Him, prioritise spiritual success
Whilst her teachers and peers stressed
Success was academic and material progress

I wanted her to value character, integrity
Develop it through self-respect, modesty
Yet I expected her to also integrate
In a ‘liberal’ world with little shame

I wanted her to be His servant true
Yet the world in which she learned and grew
Neither loved and served Him, nor cared to
Why was I surprised when her light and passion died too?

Why did my community and I not have the vision,
To unite faith and education
Providing parents with an Islamic choice
Of education for their young girls and boys?

By Fatema Valji - UK


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