Salute and thanks to teachers for their commitment and inspiration
Today (2 September 2016) is a special holiday for teachers. It’s Teachers’ Day.
I wish all teachers and my daughter, son and daughter-in-law who are teachers, a Happy Teachers’ Day.
My son, Muhammad Imran, Head of Department/Information and Communications Technology at Victoria School, and his wife, Shuhaila Sidik, a teacher at Singapore Chinese Girls’ School, were graduates of the National University of Singapore, and have always valued education.
Imran, who has a master’s degree from the National Institute of Education (NIE), and Shuhaila have bought lots of books for their 2-year old daughter, Nur Iffah Imran, and have been guiding her in literacy, numeracy and conversation so much so the little girl is very smart, talkative and sociable and bilingual in English and Malay.
Islam greatly values teaching and learning. Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said:
- “Learn, teach and widen your knowledge and do not die ignorant. Allah does not excuse ignorance.”
- “Studying is like glorifying Allah, and teaching is like charity.”
Islam commands Muslims to acquire education from anywhere in the world and be progressive. They are encouraged to study any branch of the sciences, including the proper use of, and researches on, the “bounties” Allah has provided on earth and in the universe.
Muslim women too have the same right to pursue education as the men. The Prophet said: “The acquisition of knowledge is the obligation of every Muslim, male or female.”
Two quotations from the Hadith (Sayings of Prophet Muhammad) that highlight the importance of education are:
- “Knowledge enables the possessor to distinguish right from wrong; it lights the way to Heaven; it is our friend in the desert, our society in solitude, our companion when friendless; it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery, it is our ornament amongst friends and an armour against enemies.”
- “To the student who goes forth in search of knowledge, Allah allots a high place in the mansions of bliss; every lesson received has its rewards.”
“Read” (“Iqra” in Arabic) is a noble instruction from the Qur’an itself. “Read” is the first word of the very first Revelation that Allah sent to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), through the Angel Gabriel. Chapter 96 of the Qur’an is named “Read”.
Although the instruction to “Read” was addressed to our Prophet, the message is meant for all humanity, Muslims and non-Muslims. The instruction indicates the importance of reading for personality refinement and accomplishments as well as for the progress and the development of the nation and the entire world.
Reading is the cornerstone of education and the acquisition of all kinds of useful and beneficial knowledge. It is also the foundation for studies, researches and investigations for further and new knowledge.
Muslims ought to acquire education even if the place of learning is far away from his country and even if the required knowledge is available from non-Muslims. A Hadith states: “Go even to China to seek knowledge.”
In this regard, as an example, my daughter, Munirah, who did a 4-year course at the National Institute of Education (NIE)-Nanyang Technological University (NTU) graduated with double majors in Mathematics and Physics, and who taught Mathematics and Physics at Chung Cheng High (Main), is always learning.
Munirah, who also has a master’s degree from NIE and was seconded to NIE for four years, is now in Sydney pursuing her third of the four-year PhD programme in Physics Education under the Australian Catholic University International Postgraduate Award. She is married to Allen Dula, an American from North Carolina, and has a son but marriage and having a young child did not deter her from pursuing higher studies.
Teachers always have to keep up-to-date with their teaching and attend various enhancement and upgrading courses. We immensely value their effort and commitment to teaching. They deserve our highest respect.
Straits Times reader, Dr Patrick Liew Siow Gian, in his letter to the Straits Times Forum, praised teachers for their effort and commitment. He wrote: “As we celebrate Teachers’ Day today, let us continue to be grateful to our teachers, as they are the invisible hands that mould and shape society.” (“Continue supporting, encouraging teachers”; 2 September 2016) (http://www.straitstimes.com/forum/letters-in-print/continue-supporting-encouraging-teachers)
This short article is meant to inspire our Muslim youths by the personalities, indulgence in continuous learning, efforts and commitments of teachers as well as those who had pursued education at higher levels.
It is hoped that they will be motivated to pursue education as far as they could go to eventually serve the society, nation and humanity towards peace, progress and harmony.
2 September 2016