My son is stretched out next to me in our bed, struggling with the Arabic alphabet exercises assigned to him by his teachers. As I sit here, I wonder how his future and many other children like him in the west will look like? There is so much knowledge out there that is out of reach for many just because of language barriers. Many of the books I found translated did not really convey the essence of the original Arabic text. Many of the misconceived notions about Islam and Muslims in the media stem from the simple errors of misinterpretation. As a father, I fear for my children’s access this vast wealth of knowledge, I fear that it may get hindered as a result of further neglect to this critical issue.
I do enjoy historical texts but some of the translated texts I have come across are simply…boring! How can I expect my child to express any sort of interest in the subject matter? When I can’t even stay awake past page 2. The problem is that the principal objective of these texts is to bring their heart and soul closer to God and the Prophet Muhammad (saw). This connection might prove difficult to materialize if we use the same “dry” translations and not evoke more emotional textual elements to bring the reader – regardless of age – closer to the text.
One word at a time, one page at a time, one book at a time. I will ask Allah (swt) for his guidance in this endeavour. May Allah accept it on my behalf for his sole pleasure.