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It’s no small task to raise a child

October 2022

Zahra Rahimtoola

I, once, heard the story of two friends walking side by side on a busy weekday morning in bustling downtown Edmonton. They walked, quick paced, when with a sudden movement, one friend placed his arm out and stopped the other. “Wait! Look!” he said with enthusiasm, eyes wide, staring at the ground below his feet. “what is it?” expressed the other with concern and an eager curiosity. “the concrete has cracked, and a blade of grass is growing here” said the other. “so what?” “so…don’t you see? that’s the only thing that’s supposed to be here…”

Sometimes, when I can drown out the incessant lights and sounds of the world in which I am immersed, I reflect upon that blade of grass. I think about it sprouting in the center of a concrete jungle, fighting to grow in a hostile environment, grateful for whatever little light shines through the tall buildings and whatever drops reach it from what eventually finds its way down the sewer grates and manholes after a rainstorm.

I wonder if we all feel like that blade of grass at one point or another. Vulnerable and helpless, in an environment which does not nurture us the way we require, growing and searching for the sun, the source of existence.

In truth, I came to recognize that the worldview I held for so many years, maturing in the west was different to that which I was drawn. Only after traveling in Southeast Asia and studying there for a brief period, did I realize that there was an alternative way of thinking, just as legitimate, and far more satiating than the one to which I was accustomed. One that offered an inner tranquility.

Upon my return to the West, I began to take a greater interest in living with a Qur’anic worldview. Now that I have children of my own, I am conscious of the Amanah, the trust, with which my husband and I have been endowed.

My prayer for her is that she might navigate the world with taqwa, God-consciousness, with surety in her purpose and strength in her convictions.

It is no small task to raise a child; for it takes a village to inculcate a worldview within a growing heart. When searching for a school for my daughter, I wanted to enter a partnership with a party that understood this and who felt as passionately as I do. This is why I chose Sakinah Circle.

Sakinah Circle is a lofty program which does not concern itself with things that make us different, like language, culture, fiqh (school of law) or sect; but what makes us the same. Sakinah is a program committed to planting the seeds of faith-based values and a faith-based worldview. It is committed to providing children with the nourishment to build firm roots and grow in nearness to their Creator. For parents, there comes a comfort knowing that there is a strong alignment between what is taught at home and what is taught by the educational establishment.

For children, Sakinah Circle offers an environment where they feel a sense of belonging. They receive validation of the principles taught at home and they have a space where they can build friendships on a foundation of shared values. This offers a promising start for our children and is a rare blessing to be sure.

In Sakinah Circle, children are nurtured to see God in everything. They build an appreciation of nature connect it to the beauty of God’s creation; an appreciation of good akhlaq or adab (good behaviour) and connect it to God’s mercy and an appreciation of their purpose in life, to build, not just a connection with their Creator but a relationship with all of creation. All this is inculcated so they can grow up to become contributors of goodness in this world.

Whether the seed splits is ultimately in the hands of the Creator but it is a prayer in the heart of the farmer that his tiny plant may take breath and, so, he must make efforts to create the right conditions to allow for its growth.

As parents, we all hold the same prayer in our hearts for our children, and it follows, that we must also do whatever we can to create the right conditions for their rearing. I believe, the foundation Sakinah circle provides will help grow a meadow of devout servants, committed to their own journey in seeking nearness to God and committed to the stewardship of all creation.

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