Reflecting on my upbringing, I realised that my real appreciation of who Allah is only sunk in when I was midway through university. This was when I was exposed to charismatic speakers who were able to connect at my level in delivering their sermons. Before that, I did learn to pray and recite the Quran (thanks to my parents, may Allah bless them!), but my ‘religious’ actions were more out of ceremony than out of appreciation or an understanding that I need to pray, I need to fast, I need to recite the Quran, I need to do good deeds and stay away from sin because this is what my Lord, my Creator, my Provider expects of me.

I have a sneaky suspicion that my upbringing mirrors that of so many of my peers. Worse still, some may still be in the dark.

So at Fitra Community School (FCS) we’ve decided that we don’t want my reality to be the reality of our future generations.

We would love nothing more than to see our children learning to recognise Allah from a very young age and truly know who He is, understand what pleases and displeases Him and know how to turn every moment of their life into an act of worship. Of course, captured within this is the love of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and the want to adopt his character and follow his sunnah.

So how will we achieve this?

First and foremost, we understand that guidance is in the hands of Allah – but here are a few things we hope to do (God willing) to help the process:

1. Islam will NOT only be taught as a standalone subject. Gone are the days when we will open an Islamic textbook, study it for an hour and then move on to Maths, English, Art or Drama! Of course there will be the need for some dedicated classes and of course we will focus on Quran and Arabic – but the expectation at FCS is that Islam will be lived and that every opportunity to link a lesson back to Allah, back to the Quran, and back to the sunnah of the Prophet (s) is taken.

2. A strong link between the home and the school: The worst thing that can happen to a child is that they are taught something at school and the practice at home is completely different or non-existent. So we are flipping it. Our expectation is that the parents and guardians will be the primary deliverers of most aspects of their child’s Islamic education (particularly in relation to acts of worship, character and ethics) and the school will reinforce it. Sounds scary? It isn’t really – if you don’t know something, we will help you learn. We will provide you with means to get up to speed, so that you can teach your children. We are a community school after all, so we want our whole community (the youngies and the oldies) to be on the road to Paradise together.

3. Role models: Our children need to be strong believers and we feel this is best learnt by seeing how others have done it. So providing our students with ample opportunities to study the lives of great people from our history and to connect with the many people who are doing great things in our communities today will be central to life at FCS.

4. The teacher’s DUA for their students: Nothing happens except if Allah wills it. As such, it will be an expectation that our teachers are constant in their dua to Allah for their students. We see working at Fitra as not just a job, but an investment in the betterment of our community and this Ummah as a whole and, as such, we hope to only attract and work with those who share this vision with us.

In closing, if our students leave us with a strong understanding of what it means to worship Allah and inherently wanting to worship Allah, we would be over the moon. We are not necessarily setting out to make Islamic scholars of all of our students, but hope that we are setting the strong foundation for those that wish to pursue this course.

Ya Allah, open the doors and make this dream come true!

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