The Al-Ghazali Children's Books are some of the most important books available for Muslim children in the world today.
“It will change the way we teach our children.” - Hamza Yusuf
Children around the world have responded positively to these books - they understand and recognise the truths being represented to them.
About the Al-Ghazali Children's Project
The Ghazali Children’s Project by Fons Vitae seeks to educate children spiritually, and transform their characters, by showing how the outer aspects of Islam can, through their inner spiritually transformative meanings, change every situation into one that strengthens their innate human nobility of character.
The curriculum connects ta'leem (knowledge) with the tarbiyyah (the practise thereof, as a character-building process).
The Project aims to help support Muslim communities in realising how to live by and embody the noble Prophetic character through spiritual understanding, self-observation and correction. The children’s books simplify the core stories, principles and meanings of Ghazali’s Ihya ulum al-din for the level of children.
For more details on the Project, visit the following link.
Why is this Project so important
Children are deeply spiritual beings: if you reflect on where they come from before birth, they are intensely close to the fitra (their innate / primordial human nature). They recognise the fitra easily.
With this foundation of faith, as parents we can nurture our children's fitra as they grow. As parents, we are responsible for our children's Islamic education and their tarbiyyah. In many instances, Islamic education was (is?) being taught in a narrow, boring way, incorporating an almost exclusive rote-learning system. This method of teaching does not engage a child's imagination, it doesn't allow for a deep understanding of the content, and sadly, can actually put children off learning completely, which is definitely not an outcome we want, particularly when it comes to learning about our beautiful Deen.
The Al-Ghazali Books strive to provide a framework for educating Muslim children spiritually. Imam Al-Ghazali wrote that the purification of the heart comes through ridding the soul of its vices and reforming it with virtue. He explained that a person who stops at outward purification alone is like someone who wants to invite a king to his home, then busies himself with decorating its front door while leaving the inside full of rubbish and debris.
In the same way, the Ghazali books seek to encourage the polishing of the heart, through embodying beautiful qualities such as humility, love, forebearance, altruism, and gentleness. The books help children to eliminate base character traits which accumulate when the true nature of the heart is neglected.
Will these books benefit me as a parent, outside the Madressa / school context?
Even outside a madressa / school context, the Ghazali Children's books provide Muslim parents with an excellent framework to instil values in our children. It equips us with the language to use to demonstrate that Islam, at it's heart, is a practical religion. The books demonstrate how Islam is connected to life.
The teachings will not only impact on the conversations you have as a family, it goes beyond that - it helps you, as a parent, embody the values which you wish for your children to inspire to. Ultimately, your children should see you actively living the values being taught, for them to appreciate it as the truth.
Details about the books
The following books are currently available:
Book 1: The Book of Knowledge
Book 2: The Book of Belief
Book 3: The Mysteries of Purification
Book 4: The Mysteries of Prayer
Book 5: The Mysteries of Charity
Book 6: The Mysteries of Fasting
Each book has a corresponding workbook which reinforces ideas that the children are learning. The workbooks incorporate many activities and games whereby children put into practise the virtues they’re studying. The workbooks also include a teacher's manual and curriculum with many supportive activities
Each book features beautiful, diverse illustrations in mediums such as watercolour.
Examples of the teachings
One of the teachings from Book 1: The Book of Knowledge is that we all have two hearts - a heart inside our bodies which beats and pumps blood, and a real shining heart, which is invisible. Our special shining heart can gather dust or dirt when we do things that are below our dignity, such as lying, gossiping, being selfish, or boastful. You can polish your special heart when it gets dirty, and in doing so draw closer to Allah swt.
The concept of a special invisible heart can be taught through art activities, whereby the child would draw a beautiful shiny heart, and make dots or markings therein indicating vices which they wish to polish away (self-correction).
Another core teaching is that there are 2 kinds of learning - the first are things we learn in everyday life such as how to shoot an arrow, and then there is a special type of learning, which teaches us how to get to Jannah (paradise). This ties in with the teaching of there being two worlds - the world we are currently in, which is temporary and filled with problems, and the next world, which is where we will always be happy and with everyone we love. The Ghazali Children's books will guide children on what they can do everyday in this world, in order to get to the next.
In Book 2: The Book of Belief, children are taught fundamental concepts about Allah, death, and the hereafter. This is told through stories involving the intriguing concept of time travel, to captivate the attention of young minds and hearts.
From what age is this appropriate?
The materials are suitable for children who can read, but the teachings can be adapted by parents & teachers for children as young as 5 years. There is no age limit - even adults have benefited immensely from these books.
The Ghazali Children's website provides classroom support for teachers and homeschools. The following link contains wonderful teaching resources for teachers and parents, to assist with teaching the Al-Ghazali lessons. Full details on the curriculum may be viewed here.
Ghazali Children's Website
The Ghazali Children’s website is an interactive universe – it is filled with fabulous activities to entertain and educate Muslim children, through flipbooks, comic strips, skits posted by other children, games to play, additional materials for teens, and a media library which your children will love. The website also enables Ghazali children from around the world to 'meet' each one another.
Full details of the advisory committee may be viewed here.
Polishing the Heart
A major new Ghazali Children’s Project documentary on Muslim children’s education. Featuring interviews with many teachers, parents and scholars including Sh. Hamza Yusuf, Prof. Ingrid Mattson, Sh. Abdal Hakim Murad, Dr. Tamara Gray, Prof. Mustafa Abu Sway, Sh. Yahya Rhodus, Baraka Blue and many more. A little inspiration during these difficult times. After a decade of work with a dedicated team of scholars, we see here the project in action worldwide and hear from teachers, parents and children about its transformative impact.