Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
Question: My sister has stopped going to school for the last three years. She is too scared to go to school. We tried to contact many scholars but no one could help us. I request you to please help us and tell us what to do.
Answer: Assalamu alaykum,
May Allah reward you for being concerned for your sister. This is a serious matter indeed. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Seek knowledge from your cradle until your grave.“ Getting an education is something that is necessary for a girl, no matter the age, in order for her to raise a generation of intelligent, devoted believers.
The first thing I would do is take a step back and look at your family’s life as a whole. You must do your best to eliminate the strictly prohibited (haram) and the offensive (makruh) from everything in your family’s life. Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Verily, this world is cursed and everything in it is cursed. Except for the remembrance of Allah and what is conducive to it, the scholar and the student.” [Tirmidhi] Here are a few examples to follow for your sister and the family:
1) Only eat of the permissible (halal); do not go near unslaughtered meat or any doubtful ingredients in the food you buy.
2) Remove any statues from the home, or pictures of animate beings from the walls and decor, such as birds, butterflies, etc)
3) Be sure that she and everyone else is praying five times a day. No men should be missing the Friday prayer. Everyone should learn or review their personally obligatory knowledge to make sure that their worship is valid. Check to see if you owe any zakat and pay it in full. Also, pay off any debts.
4) She and everyone in the home must read some Qur’an every day, preferably understanding the meaning of a translation.
5) She should be covering herself with hijab when she leaves the home or comes in the company of marriageable (non-mahram) men.
6) She and the rest of the family should reconcile with any enemies or with anyone against whom they are holding grudges.
7) Check for any contraventions of the shari`ah that might be going on.
Once you have begun to apply at least these guidelines above, you can hope that Allah will solve this issue for you. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Take care of Allah, and He will take care of you.“
Get up in the last third of the night to pray The Prayer Of Need. Ask Allah to forgive you all, ask Him to rectify this problem.
During this period, make sure that she is learning at home, and keeping up to date with her English, Maths, and Islamic Knowledge and Qur’an. https://www.khanacademy.org/ is an excellent website to use.
She should recite all of her sunna du’as when leaving the house, or returning to it when eating, entering or exiting the bathroom, when getting dressed, waking or sleeping, etc. Especially recite the Verse of the Throne (ayah al-kursi) before bed and the last three chapters (surahs) of the Qur’an.
A teacher once told me, “Nothing gets rid of a problem better than charity does“. Give in charity when you can, you can even slaughter an animal to feed the poor. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Verily, the most beloved of deeds to Allah are the consistent ones, even if only a little.“
I ask that Allah solves this situation for you all and that she return to sound mind and body, capable of helping herself and others.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.