When I was growing up the traditional way of learning about Islam was to learn how to pray and read the Quran in Arabic, with little explanation of the meaning of what was being read. No one really questioned this method and was considered quite the norm.
We were lucky though, my mum was very innovative in the way she taught us about Islam. Most nights she would tell us Quranic stories like bedtime stories. The Prophets were the heroes and the stories were told with astonishing description of something that was thousands of years ago in a country far, far away. And yet, was able to reflect the reality of each story.
But the most original way she taught us about Islam was by watching ‘The Bible Stories’ every Sunday evening just before ‘The Muppets’.
BIBLE…! You exclaim. Yes you heard right!
‘The Bible Stories’ was a story-telling show aimed at children quite similar to ‘Jackanory.’
We would watch the ‘The Bible Stories’ with mum and she would sub-narrate the bits that were different in the Quran. There was no Internet, Islamic books were expensive and mum improvised in a way that I think very few Muslim mothers would have thought to.
She made the best of what was going to appeal to us as children there was a story on the telly with illustrations. What more could a kid ask for? I bet we were the only Muslim family in the UK watching ‘The Bible Stories’. And ‘probably’ most definitely the only learning about Islam from them!
Oh and Tony Robinson?
Some of you may remember him from the children’s programme ‘Tales from Fat Tulip’s Garden’ (If you’re old enough) and Baldrick from ‘Black Adder’. In my memory Tony Robinson narrated ‘The Bible Stories’ and he brought the stories to life in his own quirky way!
So whether he actually fronted the show or not it doesn’t really matter because in my memory Tony Robinson taught me about Islam!