Happy Teachers Day 2021

You open the doors of wonder to lands and near and far. You inspire ideas local and global. You instilled life values and skills and prepared me for challenges. You gave me what I need to seek further knowledge on my own.

I remember the conversations, the times you cared about my well-being, doing your best to protect me. To every teacher who goes over and beyond for their students, you leave indelible memories. To all teachers who show up in spite of war, pandemics and barriers, I hope that your contributions are appreciated more. In every space, I find teachers ready to propel me towards greatness, pushing through as I rise above difficulties and helping me pass this on to others.

To the teachers of my best subject. It was fun applying mathematical concepts to real life. All of the quizzes and intercollegiate competitions were among the best experiences of my life. You helped me be the best and I still find your foundation a solid place to stand on today.

I drink a glass of water and hear my physics teachers talking about refraction. I see flowers and am taken back to those afternoons learning pollination and the Venus flytrap image in Modern Biology. I see my kitchen as a big chemistry laboratory and marvel at all of the reactions going on at the same time in the universe.

I still remember Mrs Obe reciting these lines in poetry class: He that is down needs fear no fall•He that is low no pride•He that is humble ever shall, have God to be his guide. || I am content with what I have•Little be it or much•And Lord contentment shall I crave• Because thou savest such” (John Bunyan). All of my English teachers built me to be the IELTS coach I am today.

Thank you to my Islamic Religious Studies teacher for telling us the story of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, meaning of Surahs which I still remember today, story of the Prophets and the Caliphs.

I learnt about Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Salawa Abeni, Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from my music teachers. Learnt how to make recipes, soap, household cleaning products, embroidery and fashion design from my home economics teachers.

Budgeting, market forces , law of diminishing returns etc were beautiful concepts to absorb thanks to my economics teachers. My geography teacher gave me National Geographic issues to read and we will spend break time talking all about them. He could go and on about climate, forests, oceans, rocks, anthropology. It is no wonder it became one of my favourite.

Quiz and debate teachers taught me how to handle competition and imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship. PE teachers brought the history of the Olympics alive and made me understand the intricacies of football as a sport.

To all who taught me the Quran, supported me in reciting, memorizing, learning Arabic , helped me understand my faith and serve humanity. To my aunts and uncles for teaching me to love reading, for giving me an upper hand in the science and arts, helping me ace school assignments and believing I could conquer the world.

To my father for teaching me about faith, politics, finance, the corporate world, how official things worked, strategy, overcoming challenges, philanthropy, leadership, service, integrity, agriculture, cars, security, focus and discipline.

Most of all, my dear mother, who set me on the path to being a multilingual by teaching me French as my third language, for the nights spent by the lantern teaching me how to put àmí ohùn as I was having challenges in Yoruba class. For making sure I aced English and Literature with ease. For exemplifying kindness, faith, dignity, hardwork, diligence, self-confidence, beauty and being an exceptionally amazing woman. For teaching me psychology, early child development and all of the wealth of knowledge possible for any human to pour into another.

Thank you all very much.

TheRamadhanBaby 14: Cradle to Grave

Civilizations throughout history have flourished on knowledge. Today, countries regarded as developed in which there are better prospects for citizens are those who place high value on knowledge and thus enjoy advancement.
The first revealed verses were a command to read, with references to teaching, writing and the pen (Q96:1-5). This and many other verses talk about books, and Him being the source of all knowledge thus showing the great importance of knowledge. The Prophet always had scribes to record revelations, his narrations, political affairs and various treaties and agreements.

The companions and those who came after them spent their lives constantly gaining knowledge, with much sacrifice and going through great lengths of time and distance to do so. Gender and age were no barriers. It is how we have the Qur’an in written form, collections of Hadith and treatises on many other areas like medicine, genealogy, politics, algebra, astronomy, commerce, and other sciences and arts. Much of this is still relevant today. Try doing some research on the first university in the world, Al- Jabr, Al- Khawarzmi, the libraries of Baghdad and Damascus centuries ago. It is saddening how we have trivialized and even destroyed our own heritage.

It is not something to be slack about. We should not live our lives content with what we learnt as children or worse, the knowledge of our ancestors. We also need to stop giving excuses as the early Muslims had greater challenges. It is a lifelong duty.

We must always seek answers to our problems and learn more about our religion. Through that can we truly make our existence on earth a worthwhile one and be of benefit to others whether they share our beliefs or not. For it is a lack of correct knowledge that would make a person destroy innocent lives ostensibly to defend Allah, His Prophet and the religion. What they achieve instead is harming everyone regardless of creed.

Learn the aspects of Iman, how to perform Salah as the Prophet(peace be upon him) said, “Pray as you have seen me pray.” Learn the conditions of fasting, Zakat and Hajj. Learn about family life in Islam, treatment of relatives, neighbours, men , women and children. Learn the Qur’an, Hadith, stories of the Prophets. For we would find nought in this except goodness.

Learn whatever skills you have a flair for, are good at or are interested in and seek to be the best at it. Support and carry out research. Use this knowledge to benefit humanity. Just think where we would be in the absence of vaccines, aeroplanes, cars , trains, satellites, the Internet and countless other aspects of the modern world we take for granted.

If we do not know, we can not teach. The best thing we leave after we die is our body of knowledge.

20 Facts to a Score

To all the wonderful people that take time out to read this blog, I say thank you. For some reason, the facts were held up for a while. I sincerely apologise for the uneasy suspense.

FACT 7
I enjoy reading.

I became fascinated with books early on in life. At first, I couldn’t make out the big words but I still read them anyway.
It was a normal thing for me to exhaust all the school books in my English Literature list before the term began. At the sound of Father’s car horn, we all would rush outside screaming excitedly,”Daddy! Oyoyo!” in anticipation of goodies. I always found a way to outsmart the others and run off with the newspaper. Then I would spend the next two hours poring over each page. My favourites were the articles about politics and science.
Schoolbooks were not my forte. I studied them just enough to earn good grades. However, I read novels long into the night by the light reflecting from the hallway. This opened the doors to an enchanting world where I shared adventures with the numerous characters in my novels.
It was kind of weird reading ‘big books with no pictures’ while others read illustrated children books.What many of my peers didn’t know was that Father discouraged me from watching too much television. When I was eight, he gave me a present – Collins’ Children’s Encyclopaedia. I learnt a lot about the world and was imbued with so much information. Thus at a young age I could reason along with adults.
Often, my teachers would catch me reading novels in class. I only found more clever ways to read them in class. There was this informal book club in school. You get to borrow a book only if you read fast. It didn’t take long for me to get any book I wanted.
Any time I came across a good book, I wished I could write like the author.
Reading became a form of relaxation and a source of comfort. It widened the horizon of my imagination and made me think a lot about things around me.This made schoolwork less boring and easy to understand. The books, articles and magazines I read were about art, culture, science, adventure,religion, politics,romance, business,detective stories, geography and many other topics. As I grew older, I lost interest in romance novels and read more of religious literature.

At breakfast, I would peruse the tin of Milo and milk or the packets of cereal. Till today, all the vitamins and minerals are stuck in my head along with their metabolic functions.

The first part of the Qur’an revealed was, ” Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). {Q96v1}. There is an Hadith(saying of the Prophet {S.A.W.}) that goes thus, ” Seeking knowledge is mandatory upon every Muslim male and female.”
Sadly, almost nobody reads anymore.I think more leaders should read books with children. Let’s learn to love reading . It is the key to national development. The government should budget a lot more for education and revamp our libraries. Parents should make their children see that reading can be fun. This is essential as the literacy level of a people determines their level of development.
Readers become leaders, writers and thinkers. As Father rightly said, ‘The mind that reads retains the sharpness of youth’. Let’s join hands to revive the reading culture. We’d be better for it as a nation.