As a mother, Dr Mona would face a lot of increasingly complex questions from her own children. Sometimes they would ask which creatures are stronger than the other. Then there’s a few more that left her bewildered such as ‘Which of the weather elements are more powerful, wind or rain?’
“I had no idea how to answer these questions. That’s when I thought that there is an Islamic perspective and that those were the things I wanted my children to learn as well,” said the founder of muBn, a bespoke consultancy company.
It was these experiences that led Dr Mona to create Tarbiyyah’; a ‘pray and play learning approach inspired by the teachings in the Quran, Hadiths (reports describing the words, actions and habits of the Prophet) and Sunnah (The Way of the Prophet). The programme teaches children between the ages of three to nine years old more about Islam, Hadith & Sunnah, Solat, Miracles of Qur’an, Arabic, Stories of the Sahabah Zikrullah, all from a scientific perspective.
Why kids in that age group you may ask? Well, Dr Mona says that’s when kids are usually at the age of ‘genius’. This means that kids start to ask sharp and intelligent questions. It is an exciting time for kids to be learning so we’ve structured the Tarbiyyah programme to take advantage of this and to unlock the creativity and inventiveness of the children, she said.
Tarbiyyah employs a practical approach when it comes to learning rather than just being theory based. Dr Mona said that the programme teaches children to be critical thinkers by taking part in activities that train their Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS).
In the programme, the kids take part in arts and craft activities and perform scientific experiments to ensure a practical learning experience. But it doesn’t end there. To stay true to Islamic teachings, Dr Mona said that the children eat raisins, dates, almonds and drink zamzam water to imitate the life in the days of the Prophet (pbuh).
The goal? By taking part in the rituals and habits of the Prophet (pbuh), the children would be able to learn meaningful lessons about their own spirituality and have those lessons etched in their minds. “The main message we want to bring is that Islam is a complete way of life”, she said.
She has big plans in mind for Tarbiyyah. The programme is already recognised by the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Brunei and the programme’s instructors are certified by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB).
Dr Mona hopes to turn the programme into a franchise so that more children in other countries will be able to learn more about Islam in a wholistic way.
“We’re hoping to see Tarbiyyah grow into a franchise. We’ve already started talking to potential collaborators outside of Brunei so we’ll see how that goes. And we’re also working to get internationally accredited so that we get the programme into other countries,” she said.