ABUJA – Seeing that their children are growing up without solid Islamic moral background, wealthy Muslims in Nigeria are changing hearts to install spirituality into their kids to get their lifestyles conformed to religious obligations.
“Today they are regretting their utter disregard for the future of their kids in terms of excellent upbringing that Islam offers,” Femi Abass, a prominent Muslim Nigerian columnist, told OnIslam.net.
“Whilst Islam forbids us from rejoicing at the ordeals of our brothers and sisters, I think many of them are learning their lessons the harsh way and this interestingly is an eye opener for all of us.
“It is heart-warming to see most of them changing their attitude.”
Several wealthy Muslims have noticed that their children are growing up having no solid Islamic background and are opting for isolated and wayward lifestyles.
This has prompted them to enroll their children in Islamic classes to help them get their life conformed to religious obligations.
A stark example of this was a one-time ambassador, who regretted at a recent gathering in Lagos that he did not raise his children on Islamic teachings.
“For me and my family, there is no compromising the mixture of sound Islamic moral upbringing with whatever western education I am giving to our children,” Alhaji Abdulsemiu Mobolaji Adedo, a retiree from Nigeria’s oil major Mobil, told OnIslam.net.
He said he has always been conscious of nurturing his children according to Islamic prescriptions because of the experiences of some of his friends and acquaintances.
“When the kids go to school in the morning, they retire to madrasah in the evening where they learn the Qur’an and other Islamic jurisprudence,” he said.
“And it is paying off.
“Western education hardly teaches morals, but the Qur’an is filled with lessons about how to live peaceful and productive life. The Qur’an teaches justice, fairness and equality and mutual respect.”
Alhaji Tajudeen Odewale, a chartered accountant in his late 50s, said his family has also learnt over the years never to let wealth blind their reasoning by not exposing their children to sound Islamic background, because “ultimately no schoolteacher will teach your children how to take care of their parents at old age and to be conscious of the Creator.”
Experts opine that failure to bring children on religious precincts lead to “upheavals” in the country.
“If all you expose your kids to is opulence and corruptive influences, the society will suffer the consequences,” Dr. Abubakar Momoh, a university dean, told OnIslam.net.
“Out of crass ignorance and meaningless show of wealth, some of our Muslim parents scoffed at the idea of sending their wards to Qur’anic schools. They say it is archaic.
“But they are retracing their steps today because those kids are now exhibiting arrogance and disrespect for public order and peace including for their own parents.” Professor Ishaq Lakin Akintola heaps the blame on the Nigerian government for failing to give enough attention to religious and moral education in public schools.
“But as Muslim parents, we are seeing what the arrogance of some of our peers has led them,” Ishaq, a professor of Islamic education in Lagos, told OnIslam.net.
“Most of us are guilty of wanting to show our kids that we are wealthy at the expense of basic morals.
“Because they failed to give their children the necessary religious background, those kids have grown up to be wealthy like their parents but are without any feelings or compassion for their parents – much less other members of their families or the society at large.”
Sheikh Sulayman Muhammad Awwal, a prominent community leader, opines that there is a strong link between upbringing at family levels and cohesion and peace a society enjoys.
“It is not enough to buy clothes and all those things for our children or sending them to the best schools in the world, we must make conscious efforts to grow them spiritually,” he said.
“We must show more than passive interest in what movies they watch and what company they keep. Anything short of this amounts to creating a chaotic future for them and ourselves.”
Muslims make up 55 percent of Nigeria’s 140 million population, while Christians account for 40 percent.