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Can we make our online Madrasah classes spiritual?


Madrassahs have gone online – can we take our spirituality to the online classroom?

As you scroll through social media , the adverts hit you , online hifz, online maktab and fascinating online tafseer classes or Qur’aan classes that serve to create a space for learning and gaining a closeness  to Allah .

We currently live lives that are incredibly busy and seem to delegate Islamic knowledge to the backburner, butthe Pandemic , extreme loss and intense sicknesses , have pushed us all to reassess our spiritual journeys- we all have begun searching for a way out. Searching for a way to gain a closeness to Allah Ta’ala that might impact our lives and create a solace in our grief.

For the busy mother, the revert Muslim, for people in far off towns with no access to Islamic knowledge this has been a healing for them , a unique way to allow people to connect to Allah through their laptops and in the comfort of their homes.

Guidelines for the online Madrassah Teacher:

Teaching the words of Allah and His Rasul should always be with a deep spirituality and a means of connecting your students to Allah. When in a physical classroom – effort is put in to the demarcation of an area for Qura’an and there is a Noor in such a place as it is only used for the words of Allah. As you move online it can become so easy to begin teaching  in areas that are used for relaxation or in places that are not conducive to the Noor of teaching Deen. It is imperative that we create a space to teach the words of Allah that foster this Noor , often on a musallah or at a desk that is in a designated space for that purpose. It can become extremely easy due to the mobility of a laptop and WiFi to teach in any place .

Due to the student being behind a screen, it can become extremely difficult to build a spiritual connection beyond the teaching and completion of class notes. As an online teacher of Deen , you have to take the time to explain with a desire that the student be impacted and not only focused on the completion of course material. Online teaching is in its infancy here in South Africa, however in the UK and much or the US it is the biggest space for learning Deen. Many have complained that online teaching becomes more geared to ‘selling courses’ with no real care if the student is gaining an attachment to the words of Allah or there is understanding in the course material. As a teacher of Deen understand that your students are coming to you because they are looking for a connection to Allah that they are unable to find in their daily lives. Your role as a teacher has to be focused on developing the student beyond the screen.

While ease seems to be the core focus of online teaching – it can be extremely easy to slip into teaching without preparation or the extra care that is taken in the classroom. Ensure that you take a few minutes to log in prior to the class , invest a few minutes after class to ensure that that a stronger rapport is created.

Using the many tools that are easily accessible online, you can use the many resources such as slideshows, PowerPoints, closed individual groups , telegram groups etc. to create a learning environment that is powerful and deeply spiritual.