Most Muslims from the “Indo-Pak” sub-continent (Or descended from there) will remember a time in their youth that the first thing that they ever memorised Islamically were the “Six Kalimas”.
No explanation was given as to why we needed to memorise them, what they were for, or if there was an specific time or place we should recite them. They were just forced into our memory with bad tajweed and no understanding, followed by the “2 Imans” and then finally Sura al-Fatihah, Sura al-Ikhlas Ayat-al Kursi and so on.
I came across the following question posed by someone on Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari’s Darul Iftaa website:
Please can you kindly answer the following question within the light of the Qur’an and Sunnah. The five kalimahs, which are taught in many madaris (Islamic Schools for Children) overlooking other important issues relating to Islam, what is its reality? I live in a society where there is great importance to this factor. I am sure there are other important things that can be taught to the children.
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,
The five Kalimas (statements) that are taught in the religious schools of the Indian Subcontinent (and by those who originate from there) is for the purpose of instilling in a child’s heart the roots of faith (iman) and belief (aqidah).
The first two of the five Kalimas are necessary and important for every Muslim, for it is bearing testimony (shahadah) on the fact that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad (Allah bless him & give him peace) is his Prophet and Messenger.
The third Kalimah is actually a Dhikr of Allah in glorifying and praising Him. There are great rewards promised in the Ahadith upon this Dhikr of Allah.
The Companion Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah said:
“That I say “Subhan Allah wal hamdu li Allah wa la ilaha illa Allah wa Allahu Akbar” is more beloved to me than whatever the sun has shed its light on.” (Meaning its rewards are more beloved to me than the whole universe and whatever it contains). (Sahih Muslim, 2695 and Sunan Tirmizi, 3591)
The wording of the fourth Kalimah has also been mentioned in the Hadith. Sayyiduna Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said:
“Whosoever says: “La ila ha illa Allah wahdahu la sharik lah lahu al-mulk wa lahu al-hamd wahuwa ala kulli shay in qadir” ten times, will receive the reward of freeing four slaves from the children of Isma’il (Allah bless him).” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 6404 and Sahih Muslim, 2693)
The fifth Kalimah is a supplication (Dua) in disapproving of disbelief (kufr) and seeking protection of Allah from associating any partners with Him.
Now, the first two or one of the two Kalimas are essential and must be taught to the children, as they represent the basic belief of Islam. However, the other three Kalimahs are the words of Dhikr and Dua.
There is nothing drastically wrong in teaching these Kalimahs to the children in the Madaris, and one should not object to it. However, it must be remarked here that, by teaching these Kalimahs, one should not overlook and neglect other important aspects of Islamic Knowledge. The child is in his initial learning stages of the basics of Islam and we should ensure that he receives adequate knowledge of Islam that will benefit him in this world and the hereafter.
And Allah Knows Best
Muhammad ibn Adam
Leicester , UK
There you have it, the great mystery is finally revealed. (But I’m sure there were six, not five, and I still don’t know what those “two Imans” were for).
I personally think this system that desi Muslims have for teaching their children needs to be scrapped immediately. There are much more important things need to be taught and instilled first and foremost, such as Aqeeda and belief, and then to learn how to pray Salah properly, then they should advance to learning particular du’as and Dhikrs.
It really personifies the state of Islamic scholarship back home when people just blindly follow what has been taught to them and not questions the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. This is one of the problems that has led to a nearly non-existent Ijaza system and Islamic “scholars” who have very little if any knowledge of Arabic, Proofs and Texts. Let’s make d’ua Allah (SWT) guides the Muslim ummah to what is right and good for it, and lead us to knowledge and wisdom. Ameen.