Who am I and why am I writing
I'm an American. in 1975 I converted from Christianity to Islam. My mother's family was Methodist. My father's family was Christian Scientist.
There has always been a strong emphasis on education in my family, passed down from mother to daughter. My great grandmother was a teacher, who attended the teachers college of the University of Arkansas the first year it opened in 1872. My grandmother trained as a nurse and saw all of her children through college. My two aunts and mother graduated from University of California in the 1930s and 40s, quite unusual for women back then. My mother earned her BA and worked in nursery schools. She studied all of the child development literature that came out during her day and applied it diligently in her work and in raising her two children.
I earned my BS in chemistry, married, converted to Islam, and lived in France for 7 years and Kuwait for 9 years before coming home with my family. When I had children my mother made sure I had many books on the best methods for raising children.
So teaching, education, and using the best child management methods, all of this has been very important in my life. But as a Muslim, I wanted to know how raising children in Islam was different from the best methods of social scientists in America. I insisted to know. I was not raised to accept anything without question - so I questioned.
Dear sisters, friends in Kuwait, mostly American and British women, worked with me in collecting material for a mothers group we formed there. In the course of my research, I read all of Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawd, and Tirmithi in English translations available to me in Kuwait, in addition to the Quran. When the Gulf War dispersed our group, I compiled all of our material and organized it into a book. Several women, themselves mothers and converts, working for my publisher, American Trust Publications, reviewed all of the quotes and aligned them textually and numerically with sources of hadith in English that are available in the States. In Kuwait we had had access to different translations. My friend Zeba Siddiqui, an author, convert, and mother herself, made important editorial contributions. The book, The Child in Islam, was published in 1995.
Now we are in a new century. The Islamic school I helped start is now receiving my grandchildren as students. I taught middle school science there for several years and have been an active supporter and volunteer. As a grandmother, mother, teacher, and community activist, I feel strongly that parenting education needs improvement in the Muslim community. With new forms of communication today, I'm starting this effort to get discussion of parenting methods on-line.