When young kids start leading the sunnah. A review of the Al-Haiyyah competition
La ilaha illallah. The testimony of our faith. The reason for our existence. A good Word, a Word of Taqwa (Piety), a Word of Tawheed and Ikhlas (Sincerity), a Word whosoever it was his last utterance in this life enters Paradise.
Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance. It is the most beautiful gift a parent can gift to their child. In times where wonderful efforts are being made to eradicate the gaps to learn and understand Science (Khan Academy, Exploratorium, Tinkering Studio, etc), our kids are somehow missing out on a similar vision and education with regards to the knowledge of our religion. And as parents, many of us want our kids to be well versed in both the fields.
Shaykh Albani said, "The key to a return of the glory of Islam is: Implementation of beneficial knowledge and establishing righteous and correct actions, and this is a very great affair with the Muslims cannot reach, except through the methodology (manhaj) of tasfiyah (purification and correction) and tarbiyah (education and cultivation)"
One of the blessings of Islam is that Allah has given due attention to all of the stages of a person's life. The childhood stage is the most important. Childhood will set the pace for the rest of a person's life, especially, early childhood. If a kid is taught to be upright at this early stage, the kid will likely continue to be upright throughout his/her life. However, if taught corruption, the kid will be corrupt for the rest of his life unless Allāh has mercy on him. If you raise a child properly he will remain on this and you will have fulfilled your responsibility.
With this goal in mind, and with the blessings of Allah, we started a project called Memorize, which is a series of online hifdh (memorization) competitions organized across the globe to help spread the correct Islamic knowledge and to help direct kids to learn, participate and grow in Islam the way they do outside of it. Vision is a compass that directs one to its right destination. And we aim to direct and connect kids to what is required to be learned of the Islamic creed at their age. Not all have easy access to Islamic education, and not everyone lives in Muslim lands. But we have a powerful tool to swerve through this difficulty, the Internet. And hence, the competitions are held online.
Today's Special Moments Are Tomorrow's Memories
The Haiyyah Quiz
As the first project in our series, we choose the poem Al-Haiyyah by ibn Abee Dawood for memorization. The outline of the competition was to memorize the poem and to answer a few questions based on it. The competition was conducted for the age group 6-14-year-olds and quiz and grading were done accordingly based on the kids' age. The examinations were held online. Find out more about the competition here.
A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart
Why this poem?
Written by Abu Bakr Abdullaah bin Sulaimaan bin al Ash’ath as-Sijistaanee, well-known as Ibn Abee Dawood, the son of the Imaam and Hadeeth Scholar, the compiler of the “Sunan”, Abu Dawood (rahimahullaah), Al-Haiyyah is a poem concerning `Aqeedah (creed/belief) and Usul ad-Din (the fundamentals of the religion). It is called al-Ha’iyyah because each line ends with the letter ح.
Shaykh Fawzaan says in his introduction to this poem,
"This treatise consists of the belief and methodology of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah. Because the custom of the Muslims in the earlier period of Islam (the first three generations) was to believe in everything in the Quran and Sunnah without doubting or wavering in their belief. But after these glory years appeared misguided sects who spread misguidance and distorted concepts amongst people."
Scholars devoted their time and attention to small creedal texts because poetry is lighter upon the soul, easier to retain, and remains longer in one's memory. With importance matters of our religion composed into 33 beautiful easy lines to memorize, it was the perfect poem for us to start with.
Registrations across the globe
The Salafs used to say regarding educating the kids, “Play with them for the first 7 years (of their life); then teach them for the next 7 years; then advise them for the next 7 years (and after that).”
Excited with the prospect of reaching out to as many as we could, we let the message spread across the seas. And the response received was invigorating; many an inquiry from inquisitive parents curious about the how-to of the competition pointed to us that people were actually excited about this. And alhamdulillah, we had 77 people who registered.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think
Learnings and fruits of the project
Parents being excited about wanting their kids to learn is one aspect, and the practical side of kids themselves putting in an effort is another, but despite the challenges, many parents embarked on this venture together alhamdulillah. Mothers taking time out of their busy schedules to put in weeks worth of effort to make their kids memorize few lines each day, fathers sitting down with their kids to help them understand the poem, some of them going to the full extent of hiring tuition masters to assist their kids in this memorization process, the efforts we heard of were amazing! The passion and zeal of the parents, along with the effort of the kids is what made this process all the more beautiful.
We did have doubts if kids would be able to memorize and understand the poem. Was it too tough? Will they be able to memorize all 33 lines?
But as soon as the competition started, six-year-old Isa ibn Mudassir Habib stunned us all as he memorized the complete poem! Another six-year-old Ibrahim Lowna learnt the poem and its understanding from his elder brother whilst listening to him. Amazing is the feat of these little souls, they keep amazing and teaching us with their brilliance. And alhamdulillah, we had so many kids who memorized the poem perfectly, leaving us judges with our hands clasped nervously, whilst judging between them.
Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars. And just like the Ark of Noah, the brightest stars are the ones who hold on to the sunnah
Children need to be appreciated and valued with both tangible and intangible awards. This encourages them to learn more and at this age, memorization and inclination towards the religion are sought. A rewarded system encourages appropriate behavior, increased motivation, joyful students (yeah, kids can go buy their lego blocks with the prize money), boosted self-esteem, and prolonged learning and this is required at a young age.
The first prize was 5000 INR, the second was 3500 INR, and the third 2000 INR. And the next seven would get 1000 INR. And the remaining candidates would be awarded Amazon gift cards worth 500 INR. As the goal of our project is to encourage kids to learn, with reward being just a stimulus, we wanted to appreciate all the kids for any small effort they made in learning the poem.
Remember, you're the one who can fill the world with sunshine
Imbibing The Correct Aqeedah
Will we see Allah in Jannah?
Where is Allah?
Can we speak badly about the sahaba?
Will the sinners who died upon Tawheed be forgiven?
Is the Quran the speech of Allah?
These are some of the questions we quizzed the kids on based on the poem. Pretty straightforward and easy right? So why are we asking such simple questions?
The purity and innocence of young souls is beautiful. And from the innocence and purity of their mind and soul is that it is easy and intuitive for a child to understand that we have a Creator, and that we are born for a reason. A line from the poem states,
And say: Allaah will make himself visible to the creation, openly, Just as the full moon is not hard to see, and your Lord (will be seen) more clearly
What we learn from history is that we do not learn from history. Many groups fell into deviation on simple issues as such, The Mutazilah, the Jahmee, the Asharis, and the Qadariyyah to name a few. Lives were lost, people were tortured, companions and scholars were killed. This is what occurred after the death of our Prophet. Trivial issues they may seem, but it is important to understand that these issues are intuitive for kids to understand as it is inherent to them to follow the Quran and Sunnah based on what is given in the text. Yet, the so-called intelligible, well developed and comprehensive minds couldn't grasp this. And this is the beauty of the poem of Ibn Abee Dawood, which relates so much in these short 33 lines for generations to learn and follow.
Now now now. All you have to do is to STOP doing whatever work you are biting your nail against, lie on a comfy couch, steady yourself, grab some popcorn and keep scrolling down the page.
Here are some beautiful recitations by our contestants. More to be added inshaAllah!
If you don't know where you want to go, then it doesn't matter which path you take
Future of the project
Children are the future of the world. They are the pillar of the nation, and our future leaders to build the next generation with all their knowledge and education to spread the message of Islam and present the world with its best values. It is important to inculcate the values and knowledge of our past generation (salaf us salih) into them for them to carry it forward. It will help break the social evils of the society and promote the right message of Islam. Hence it is important that every child is educated.
Our motive stands to create a community around these kids and the parents, to help them understand the religion and grow with time.
We aim to conduct more of these tests every month or so insha'Allah. Whilst following the scholars and researching books that are taught to kids at Islamic schools, we aim to conduct more such competitions for kids and people from all age groups.
This is going to be a recursive series of events, so for those parents who mailed us expressing their desire to join, but couldn't due to Ramadhan, please do not feel disheartened! There is more coming up soon, alhamdulillah. And stay tuned for a lot of other competitions coming up in journaling, arts and crafts, science, and memorization!
Be a part of it