Archive for June, 2011

Life lessons from Islamic Studies

When I was in primary school I had a class called Islamic Studies in English. I think we had one in Arabic, too, but I probably flopped that one. I remember that as part of our homework we were supposed to have read chapters from the course textbook (stuff like when you walk you should not display haughtiness, or be rude by spitting on the ground, but be humble for being a creature of Allah).

We were supposed to get the chapter or something signed by our parents. I don’t recall my father ever testing my knowledge or understanding of the chapters, but he would often sign it anyway.

There was a hefty punishment for not getting it signed. I think, but can’t say for sure, that corporal punishment was involved. Certainly, from the one vignette I can remember, students who hadn’t gotten their books signed were being sent to the front of the class. Perhaps to have their hands slapped with two of those foot-long wooden rulers that had been rubber banded together, the rulers would be pulled back and then released on the palm of the hand — snap. I do remember having been punished with that ruler at other times, and I do remember that it stung.

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