Getting back to the three things that brought about literacy in the Muslim world
1.) learning large portions of knowledge by rhyme
2.) memorizing the Qur’an and writing it and knowing how to recite it well
3.) beginning the path of knowledge at a young age
Learning by rhyme made knowledge enjoyable and sharpened the memory. Memorization and the writing of the Qur’an strengthened the memory and refined writing and speech and provided one with a surplus of examples that are used in grammar and morphology plus the Qur’an teacher taught you a good lesson if you did not behave and learn so you learned adab too. Learning young capitalized on unblemished character and a virgin memory.
Many of us brothers from the West harbor sadness because we did not start on the path of knowledge early on but actually there is an advantage to starting late despite the great opportunity presented by youth. The advantage of learning late is that we bring reflexive activity to learning and life experience so the key for us lies in understanding rather than memorization without understanding as is the case with early child education. But we must combine some degree of memorization with understanding.
It is by approaching knowledge through rhyme and rhythm (Nadham) that makes the process of building memory easy and light and enjoyable. In the mean time at least let us get our kids into the rhythm of learning and recognize it is not too late for us we just need time, silence and patience and to forget about the critics and the competitors and kill the ego a bit and just sit and learn a bit and tap into the right part of the brain. Knowledge comes with repetition.
The attack on the Qur’anic madrasa is an assault on educational sovereignty and the beginning of exposing the youth to other forces which undermine the process of building refined morals and good people, rather than a good citizen we run the risk of creating a psychotic consumer. There must be balance between the demands of modernity and values, we must infuse values into modernity and that begins in education, education of youth and adults.