By Laa’iqah Ebrahim

Review: The Islamic Trivia Card Game from the IslamicText Institute  

With thoughts of our nation’s struggle to connect with learners and stimulate a love of reading trending in my headspace, I was reassured by the wholesome trivia game, IslamicText Trivia. The game, designed to inspire a child to study Islamic tradition, is the brainchild of the Islamic TextInstitute in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Opening the compact box reveals a labour of love that takes the player through eleven categories including Fiqh, History, Tawhid, Arabic, Spirituality and Quran. Players choose historical characters to emulate, with the goal of unlocking various levels of paradise, by earning rewards for good character and demonstrating knowledge in each category. In a time when many Muslim children are exposed to “role models” with questionable character, the idea of children learning about righteous conduct, in a fun and creative way is consoling.

The game requires two to six players and “a fair judge”, as instructed by the rules, to check the answers provided on the question card. It also includes an element of imaginative travel to destinations that enrich spiritual connection, setting the tone for the child’s future travel aspirations.  The deck of Special cards affords players rewards for actions such as reciting Thikr, providing the meanings of Arabic words or causing fellow players to smile.

Viewed as an addition to an Islamic education, the game reinforces within the child the desire to adopt Islamic values and acknowledge Islamic heritage through practice. Unlike most commercial board games on-shelf for children, the IslamicText Trivia supports collaborative competition among its players. In these games, usually based on chance, there is typically a winner and a loser. Arguably, the effects of such games are apparent in the contemporary pervasive psychology; that for one to win, others must fail.

We want children to interrogate information and draw on deductive reasoning to solve problems and generate innovative ideas.  But at what expense are we building these key thinking skills in many schools today? Do we develop emotional intelligence by challenging children to seek solutions and direction through introspection, contemplation and prayer?

When asked what inspired the game, Allie Khalfe, founder of the IslamicText Institute said, “A deep-seated love for Islamic tradition.” He felt compelled to disseminate the vast history of Islamic law, philosophy and theology that has guided Muslims for centuries, to the younger generation.

The first in a series of upcoming games, the first edition was featured in Cape Town earlier this year and has since been used in Egypt, Australia, New Zealand, London, America and Mauritius. When asked about his reaction to this wide appeal, Allie says, “The feedback has been positively gracious”. With plans for translations of the game into other languages, starting with Arabic, he expresses deep gratitude for the journey the game has been on.

He prays for an opportunity to use the game as a vehicle for life-changing charity. With groups of more and more children engaging with the IslamicText Trivia, we may soon see national competitions with winners receiving their school fees paid or even a trip for their family to the Holy Lands.

Khalfe urges his fellow educators, “I encourage schools to use this creative tool to disseminate beneficial knowledge within our communities to uplift the people and support them in practising the same religion as the best of men to walk among us, the noble Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”