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“Every new-born baby is born on fitrah (the disposition of Tawheed), but it his parents who orientate him either in a Jewish or Christian (or any non-Muslim) creed.” (Hadith)

1. Introduction
Parents are key partners in the education of their children. However, not all parents visit the maktab in connection with their child’s/ren’s progress, performance or behaviour. Many parents, especially those who have experienced negativity in their madrasah days, as well as some of those who hail from the lower income group, view the maktab as a hostile and forbidding detention camp.

At times the relationship between a Muallim/ah and parents becomes unpleasant. This is particularly so when there are disagreements between the Muallim/ah and the parents regarding their child’s/children’s performance and/or behaviour. Such situations call for the Muallim/ah’s patience, tact and discretion.

2. Nurturing a healthy relationship
In the glory days of Islam, the seats of learning were occupied by illustrious personalities. Their knowledge and piety was such that it automatically attracted people from far and wide to pursue Deeni Education. Those who undertook their studies under the tutelage of these saintly giants, became strongly affected by their Muallim/ahs. This relationship also assisted in communicating the noble morals and ideals from one generation to the other. It further helped in setting firm standards and ethics of study as well as a strong basis for the unique relationship between Muallim/ah and student.

The young people who came into contact with such students and scholars were deeply affected and aspired to emulate them. The harmony, piety and respect that developed from these contacts soon became a powerful assurance against sins, crime and immorality. Societies developed into well-knit units and advancements in all facets of life was smooth and wholesome.

In current times this catalyst for sound and true education has all, but disappeared.

The Muallim/ah is being viewed as just another salaried employee. Parents and subsequently their children have lost respect for these men/women of learning. In the resultant vacuum, the young student of today is left without someone … someone special who he/she can emulate and model his/her life upon.

The Muallim/ahs too are not without blame for this unfortunate state of affairs. They too have become “market orientated”. They do not believe that their responsibilities should extend beyond the confines of the classroom! The sad and tragic outcome of such attitudes is that the once revered Muallim/ah, is now viewed as “just another person”, outside the maktab. Those who they teach do not regard them with any respect and status.

3. Outcomes of unhealthy relationships between Muallim/ah and parentl
The unfortunate effects of this sad state of affairs is clearly visible in the declining societies of the times. Teenagers in particular, have become the unfortunate victims. When this stage of decline is reached, the question that begs to be asked, is :
“Why are the young of today not being influenced by, or impressed with, what is being taught to them?”

Both, the Muallim/ah and the parent-community need to take serious cognisance of this decay. The Muallim/ah, during his introspection should convince himself that the qualification he/she has acquired is not an automatic license for success. Additionally, the Muallim/ahs should also ponder about whether they are worthy of being emulated as role models… by learners, parents and those who they inter-act with.

The parents, in the course of their self-analysis, ought to be brutally honest and forthright. The question that should be uppermost in their minds, should be:
“How can we [parents] become partners with the Muallim/ahs in trying to save our future generation from misery, shame and destruction?”

4. The way forward
Once again, they should begin to respect and show reverence for the Ulama and the Muallim/ahs who teach their young ones. They should immediately form a kind of “group of concerned parent “, and positively agitate for the organisation of ABET classes in the evenings or after their work commitments.

They should join their children in the quest for and the acquisition of Deeni Knowledge. The maktab mutawallees ADMINISTRATORS should be “pressured” into organisisng extra- mural classes, having more parent-Muallim/ah meetings and creating more opportunities for parents to visit the maktab in order to discuss their children.

Insha Allah, when this “turn-around” occurs, the flood of mercy and the unlimited favours of our beloved Creator, Allah [Subhanahu wa Ta’ala], will once again begin to shower upon us. [Aameen]