Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, my dear brothers and sisters.
Any success to occur in the effort to empower the khalifah potential of any person must first begin with the understanding and acceptance of the Khalifah Method premise otherwise any significant behavior change achieved is short term and the effort fruitless as it fails to achieve the objective of creating the Transforming Generation. The foundation of all Khalifah Method programs, be it parenting, youth, children or corporate, relies on this basic premise:
When any individual or social group of any size is given two things;
- a positive, accurate and motivational world view. This is Islam studied and understood logically and rationally from the two Books of Revelation: Al Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. (‘He was the walking Quran'[Aisha r.a]) and creation of the universe (contemplation of all of Allah’s creations)
- a good understanding of the laws of learning, by which all human development takes place.
then, that individual or social group will naturally and inevitably move toward all that is good and right.
Allah Almighty said in the Quran in Surah Al Shams, verses 7-8,’ By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightment as to its wrong and its right.’ We are all born into this world in a state of fitra (an inherent disposition to love what is good and right), so when placed in an environment of Al Quran and Sunnah, the outcome should naturally be every one being in a state of taqwa (constant remembrance of Allah Almighty), accountability and responsibility toward each other.
An example of this occured during a children’s program at school. The children had already, over the course of several months, learnt about the Khalifah Concept and the Khalifah Responsibilities. I divided the children into groups of about 5-7 students in one group. Each group was lead by the oldest student in that group and he/she was responsible for every student in the group. I told them,’ If anything happens to a member of your group, I will not ask them but I will ask you instead. So, you need to constantly be aware of your group members and look after them.’ A few stories from that program:
- During group presentations, one leader choose the youngest student in her group to present, even though there were other more confident students. I congratulated her on her fairness and the effect of this was that the other groups also appointed their younger group members to present, Masya’Allah!
- During presentation preparation, a group leader allowed the younger students to decorate the borders of the presentation paper. This group leader stood his ground even though the other older group members thought the decorations made the presentation paper look messy. He was recognised in front of the other students for his kindness to his younger brothers.
- School was over and some children were playing when one of them was accidently tripped and fell down. He started crying and the leader of his group during the (school hours) program came over and began consoling him. I was impressed that the feeling of responsibility continued even after the program ended, Masya’Allah!
Sigh…The truth is, it doesn’t take much to create positive changes in children. Given the encouragement and opportunity, they would rather be khalifah of Allah than naughty and irresponsible. It’s in their fitra. Truly, it’s us the adults who cheat these children from fulfilling their role as khalifah of Allah. I am crying now because I remember this girl from an orphanage I volunteered at. She told me she worked so hard to get into the top class at school but on her first day there, the rest of the students asked her,’ What are you doing here? There must be a mistake in the office. You don’t belong here.’
Just think of the number of children who lost their chance to be khalifah because no one believed in them. I can’t stop crying…
[An update, 15/8, 5.38pm] I just found this article today. In her new book, The Philosophical Baby, Alison Gopnik, a University of California, Berkeley, psychologist was asked by Time in an interview;
”How about moral development? One of the great philosophical debates is whether people are born with an innate sense of right and wrong or whether it develops over time. Does your research shed light on that question?
Yes, there’s quite clearly an innate basis for our moral sentiments. The youngest children have a great capacity for empathy and altruism. There’s a recent study that shows even 14-month-olds will climb across a bunch of cushions and go across a room to give you a pen if you drop one. And we know babies imitate facial expressions and are sensitive to emotions; there seems to be a very strong connection with other people early on. It is a very hopeful finding.“