السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
It’s Sunday 12th December 2021 / 9 Jumādā al-‘Ūlā 1423H.
Let me take you on the Star Academies journey today.
If my memory serves me correctly, a historical decision was made in the 1980s to open a Muslim Girls School here, in Blackburn. In the humble buildings of the old Madrasah on Bicknell St, this little school started its journey with a handful of girls. Little did we Blackburnians know at that time what an unprecedented journey this was to be.
Fast tracking 35 years, the living legacy of this humble beginning is absolutely amazing, with over 30 Muslim and non-faith schools across England now comprising this family. The ‘Star Academies’ have moved forward leaps and bounds, .مَا شَآءَ الله
Having known the present leadership team for a very long time, and maintaining regular contact with them, I am truly amazed at their dedication and the sincere effort they are putting in for a bright future for our generations to come.
However, as amazing and fascinating as this journey has been, it has definitely not been easy, having been faced with various struggles and challenges. The beauty about the management is that, to date, they have never claimed perfection and are always looking at ways and methods to improve and overcome their weaknesses.
Recently, a number of social media messages have been doing the rounds, attacking the integrity and motive of the management. This is indeed very sad and demotivating. The majority of us, here in Blackburn, know the management, especially the scholars who are leading this team.
Even before their graduation as scholars, they have been pillars of the community, having spent a lot of time in the Path of Allāh and keeping the company of the most pious around the world. What a shame then on those who launch unfair attacks on the integrity and sincerity of such individuals.
Without a shadow of doubt, mistakes are made and (with thousands of staff and tens of thousands of children) will continue to be made. They will be the first to accept this, and will not leave any stone unturned to ensure they learn from their mistakes and rectify them.
However, do their occasional mishaps and shortfalls give us all a right to have a field day on their entire body of work? To slander them and denigrate everything that has been achieved, partly through their sacrifice?
Thousands of our children start their day with recitation of The Holy Qur’ān. Time and space is provided to allow the students to perform their Ṣalāh during school hours, as well as the opportunity to Fast. Scholars visit regularly to deliver assemblies. PSHE and RSE have been delivered in a manner to fulfil legal requirements, while remaining consistent with our faith.
Many of the teachers recruited are former students or from the local community. The students eat undeniably Halāl food, and can wear a hijāb or topi. Over a hundred thousand pounds is raised each year for charitable causes – much of it to help Muslims. I could go on and on and on.
These are not small gains or blessings that we should dismiss easily. We should be grateful to Allāh and to our brothers and sisters who strive to serve His cause (however imperfectly). May Allāh Taala protect us from being one of the ungrateful ones, Āmeen.
My intention is not to take a biased view, but to strike a balance and bring out the reality. When concerned about any failing, we should be careful not to compare our schools to some idealistic perfect school in an Islāmic country. Rather, let’s consider the alternative – the non-faith schools our children could have attended, in their local communities.
When hundreds of staff and thousands of children are being managed, mistakes will be made. Point them out to the responsibles and move on. I for one can vouch that the leadership team has no ulterior motives and are more God fearing than many of us. Do not spoil your Hereafter by making a meal of their mistakes.
May The Almighty take the Star Academies to amazing heights and protect them all from the evil eye, Āmeen.
Finally, a disclaimer that I am not employed by Star and have not been set up to write this piece. Feel free to let it go global.
جَزَاكَ اللَّهُ خَيْرًا
Request for Du’ās
وَالسَّلَامُ Hanif Dudhwala