Shukran to Sheikh Yusuf for sharing his thoughts online – ‘The Silent plea of Ulama’ (http://nawadir.org/2015/10/11/the-silent-plea-of-ulama/)
I wanted to share some of my own thoughts. It is by no means exhaustive and there is always room for more. I pray that Allāh Almighty grants us all the correct understanding which can then translate into some form of concrete action.
No doubt, there is an overemphasis on structures and buildings. Too much money is being spent wantonly. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against buildings that give great aesthetic pleasure (and lets be honest here, most of them look painfully out of place), but its time we pivoted our focus on what really matters, our people. In our context, I am referring to our teachers (this includes Imāms and Ulamā).
The view some people hold that the quality of teaching is something that needs looking at it reeks of hypocrisy. What I mean by this is that we bemoan the standard of teaching whilst systemically refusing to put our money where our mouth is. At such a critical age of our children’s development, children are being sold short. Many of our labouring teachers need to find another form of employment to supplement their roles simply because they can’t make ends meet. Not to mention the sheer exhaustion that comes with the job. Imagine after finishing a 9-5 shift, that you then had to teach in the evening for a few more hours. Oh, and don’t forget the small matter of their family time being sacrificed to teach our children. It’s no wonder some of our most talented graduates are pursuing alternative routes. Can you blame them?
Anyone who comes from a teaching background will appreciate the demands of this role; the sheer amount of planning and preparation that is required to deliver an engaging and wholesome lesson. If our teachers, dedicated and fatigued as they are, are struggling, one can only imagine how this is going to ‘trickle down’ to our childrens education. In a time where our institutions have been placed in a central role in securing the future of our faith, we are failing. If our wallets are more important to us than the future of our children, then we’ve forfeited the right to demand anything from our institutions.
I’m not advocating for huge salaries. What I am advocating for is justice and equality. Many of us would certainly shiver at the idea of being paid wages equivalent to what some of our teachers (and Imāms) are being paid. Such is the hyprocisy.
Its time we valued people, not just bricks and mortar. Our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) worked on the hearts of people. He wasn’t really interested in fleeting structures.
And only Allāh knows best.