“Read in the name of your Lord who created, He created man from a clot of congealed blood. Read and your Lord is most Bountiful – Who taught with the use of the pen (to write), Taught man what he knew not.”
The Qur’an – Surah Al ‘Alaq (96) : Ayat 1-5
These words revealed over fourteen hundred and thirty-one years ago from Allah to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reminds us that reading is of utmost importance in a Muslim’s life. Back then the society was based on oral traditions and recitations of poetry was deemed the highest form of art. The Qur’an, the name which means (among other meanings), the Reading, exemplified the best form of recitation. And we know that not long after these words were committed not only to the memory and in the hearts of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions but also written on bones and leaves. By the time of the Uthman caliphate, the mushaf or book form of the Qur’an was compiled and this launched the spread of the Qur’an as we know it.
Today the need to be able to read and to be motivated to read is more urgent than ever. When we read we become informed and gain knowledge so that we are better able to function as Muslims, as citizens and as human beings. Reading benefits us here, in this world and the Hereafter, since it informs our actions and intentions.
Teaching a child to read, therefore, ensures that a firm base is being set on which to acquire knowledge and understanding of their life as a Muslim individual. When we read we set an example for our children/students and show them that reading is an important part of our lives.
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