National Educationists



            Books are one of the best sources of knowledge and information. A good book always plays a very constructive role on a reader. It elevates spirit and thoughts and broadens the vision. Books help increasing morality, give awareness and enhance the wisdom as well.

            Particularly in this era of computer, when the world has become global village, people seldom have any time to attend meetings and symposia, the best source of acquiring religious and general knowledge are books that can be browsed whenever a person finds some time to spare. It is possible that the reading of book might have a deeper impact on the minds of the readers than the other sources of acquiring knowledge.

            Sometimes, reading brings about a revolutionary change in the outlook of a person. The habit of reading is the best pastime. It can keep a person busy when he has nothing else to do. The persons who are in the habit of reading, not only make the best use of their spare time but they will keep their minds away from the worries that might chase them if they sit idle, doing nothing. A good book, for a reader, is better than visiting the best of gardens and scenic places.

            Books are always proved to be good friends of readers. Reader has a diversity of options and choices to choose according to his aptitude and tendencies to be complied.

The Prophet of Islam says:

“Search for knowledge is the duty of every Muslim. Allah likes the seekers of knowledge.”

“Barring two types of persons, there is no reward for anyone else; First the erudite scholar and then he who is busy acquiring knowledge.”

“Search for knowledge is the duty of every Muslim man and every Muslim woman.”

            It is the duty of the parents to send their children to schools for acquiring knowledge of reading and writing. Islam has very clear directions in this regard for the followers of the faith:

‘Hazrat Ali (RA), “Bab-ul-Ilm”, says:

“A person, who keeps himself occupied with books, will never lose his peace of mind.

“Obtaining fresh knowledge removes the tiredness and cloudiness of your hearts; because the hearts, like the bodies, too experience exhaustion.”

            We can gauge the development and refinement of thoughts of a nation by weighing the quality and quantity of books and libraries under use of them. We have to follow the wisdom of our forefathers and past iconic personalities by reading their preachings, history and biographies.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq says:

“Even if my companions are motivated to acquire knowledge at the threat of a whipping, I would approve of it.”

“Persons are of three types: 1. The erudite scholar, 2. The seeker of knowledge, and 3. The others are mere a heap of garbage.”

“Search for knowledge in all conditions is absolutely necessary“. If I spent one day without adding to the store of my knowledge, I would consider that day unlucky for me.”

“If the people knew the uses of knowledge, they would have tried to acquire it even at the cost of their very lives. For this purpose they would have undertaken hazardous sea voyages.”

Luqman, the Prophet, told to his son:

‘Spare some time in the day and night for reading and acquiring knowledge. If you stop reading, your knowledge will dissipate.’

            Before the child goes for formal education to the school, he should be introduced to books. In the beginning the parents must read out books to the child. They should read small and interesting stories and fables to make the child interested in books. Give the children books with lots of multicolor pictures and illustrations.

            Every day, the parents or the elder siblings should read to the child a part of the book to keep his sustained interest in the contents. They should explain to the child about the illustrations in the book. Then the child should be asked to recount the story and tell about the illustration printed with the story. In this informal education, the parents should not make haste in teaching and should not give to him any books that are beyond his comprehension. They must first make the child interested in listening to stories, and then bring the process of reading out from the books.

            Continue this process till the child learns to read himself. Then leave the work of reading the books to the child. Sometimes ask the opinion of the child about a new book that he has read. Discuss the contents of the book with him. .Continue giving attention till the child becomes habituated of reading books.

Here the parents must be reminded of certain points:

1.         The children like stories so the material provided to them on any subject should be in the form of stories.

2.         Bring the books to suit his requirements. Don’t thrust difficult and boring contents on them. This might have negative impact on the child’s reading habit.

3.         Care must be exercised to see that books with appropriate content are chosen for him. The parents should first read the books themselves, and then decide about their suitability for the child’s reading.

4.         Avoid allowing reading about crime and adventure.  Similarly books that give vent to the sexual instincts in the child should be kept out of his reach.

5.         Occasionally, parents must ask the child to give the gist of a book he has read. They should derive their conclusion if the child has understood the contents correctly or not. They should correct the child, if his understanding of the contents is not correct.

6.         Children generally like books with imaginary stories. Some intellectuals encourage reading of such books. They feel that such book will encourage the imaginative faculties of the child.

7.         It is true that a child prefers to read stories than other reading matter. But care must be taken that he is given a carefully selected mix of books on various subjects and not just the story-books. The child must slowly develop interest in reading and understanding intricate subject matter of serious literature.

8.         It is not true that the children are fond of only fictitious stories. They will definitely show keen interest in reading the stories of great personalities, their lives and achievements. They can have their role models in these personages and aim to model their own lives on the lives of the great personages.

9.         Above all, create traditions to gift good books to each other.