By Adil James, MMNS
Farmington–October 29–Southeast Michigan Islamic schools are blossoming, and not least among the local educational accomplishments has been the set of programs conducted at the Tawheed Center in Farmington Hills.
The Hifz program, under Imam Sohel, was begun only last year, and yet it has already graduated four students who are now hafiz Qur`an.
â€œThe beauty of the program,â€ explains Dr. Khalid Zafar, who has been intimately involved in the program from the beginning, and whose son was the first graduate, â€œis that everyone can go at their own speedâ€ as they memorize. The emphasis of the programâ€™s main educational pillar, Imam Sohel, is on making sure that the students have a sound foundation from the very beginning in the basic rules of reading Qur`an, before they begin to memorize large tracts.
Currently 12 more students are active in the program, which is a rigorous program of secular and religious instruction conducted at the Tawheed Center. Each student is required, before entering the program, to be prepared for rigorous work.
As explains Dr. Zafar, â€œWe have some strict criteriaâ€ before letting students in. â€œThey must be fluent in Qur`an before they start; they must know tajweed before they begin–sometimes we ask parents to get those things done before they come here.â€
Dr. Zafarâ€™s son, having graduated, is now in the Huda School. He is now getting straight Aâ€™s at Huda, which is the best traditional Muslim school in the region, competitive wth prominent local private schools Detroit Country Day School and Cranbrook, and the also-very-good public schools in the Bloomfield Hills area. The hifz graduates â€œare doing quite well in school–that tells us now theyâ€™re in regular schools and curriculum, how well theyâ€™re doing as far as academics go.â€
The Hifz program uses for secular subjects the Calvert Homeschool curriculum, which is an excellent homeschool curriculum that costs approximately $700 per student per academic year and is in essence a â€œschool in a box,â€ providing every book and material necessary for a child to complete an academic year. In fact Calvert is likely the very best homeschool program available, (probably much better than most traditional schools), and taking the guesswork out of a homeschooling parentâ€™s attempt to match his/her school curriculum.
Asim Khan, who is involved with managing the non-hifz schools at Tawheed, explains that the other educational program (the Sunday school) is also quite successful, although he hopes that more students will enroll.
â€œI manage mostly the Sunday school,â€ he explains, saying that the price of attending the Sunday school is â€œabout $400 for the whole year,â€ which school year lasts 8 months.
The Tawheed Center Sunday school is very rigorous. There are three levels (junior level, middle level, and senior level), and before entering the school each student is tested for proficiency. The courses are solely religious, because the students are already doing regular secular schoolwork independently.
â€œThe minimum age for the Sunday schooll is 6. Some kids are too young–we test them first. If they are capable and mature, then we take them,â€ explains Mr. Khan.
There are 8 teachers in the program; 4 for boys and 4 for girls â€œOn top of that,â€ he explains, there are â€œtwo Islamic teachers for each side. We donâ€™t teach any secular subjects. We teach Islamic fiqh, Islamic history, including Seerah of Rasulallah (s), also akhlaq, aqaa`iq.â€
Khan explains there is also a maktab–â€a little more expedited program,â€ with 3 sessions a week instead of the Sunday schoolâ€™s single weekly session.
â€œWe are still taking enrollment,â€ explains Mr. Khan. â€œYou can go to our website, tawheedcenter.org. Download our pdf registration form, behind the Sunday school tab. Bring the form with your kids at 10AM on Sunday. We will be taking kids for another month or so.â€
The program is hoping to enroll a lot of students–last year there were 80 students in the Sunday school program, which helped raise funds for the mosque also–the Tawheed Center has expanded considerably, expanding its parking lot dramatically, buying adjacent lots, and improving its physical plant.
If you are interested in attending this program or enrolling your children, please call Mr. Asim Khan at 313-506-3215.
â€œWe want to encourage everyone–we want the parents to send the kids,â€ he explains.
â€œLast year,â€ he explains, â€œwe had 12 sponsored studentsâ€ who were unable to pay the fees to join, but they were sponsored by the mosque or by individuals in the Tawheed Center community. In total, last year, there were about 80 students.
Khan explains that the Tawheed Center does not want to exclude anyone, they want to teach all children–therefore if you are interested in attending the program but feel that the financial burden would be too much, it is possible to speak to them about your special circumstances and they will in all likelihood waive your fees.
Many of the teachers have accreditation from Islamic universities, including the local Islamic American University.
â€œAlhamdulillah,â€ says Dr. Zafar, â€œa lot of masajid are copying this program.â€ He cites the new hifz programs at IAGD and the Bloomfieldâ€™s Muslim Unity Center.
The more the merrier.