DATU UNSAY, Maguindanao (MindaNews/14 July) — They teach at daytime, but after classes in the afternoon they themselves would take on the role of students, their routine for the entire month of Ramadhan.
Since June 16, teachers at Datu Unsay Elementary School in Datu Unsay, Maguindanao, have been learning Arabic and the correct pronunciation of verses in the Qur’an under Islamic teacher Sarah Zailon.
The lessons will end on July 16, eve of the Eud’l Fitr” which marks the end of the holy month of fasting and abstinence.
“We used to stand before our students sitting in front of us in school. After regular classes, our teachers take their seats as Arabic students,” Zailon said, adding that Arabic class focuses on the alphabet in Arabic and its correct pronunciation.
While almost 100 percent of the pupils are Muslims, some teachers were non-Muslims and they too study Arabic under Ustadza Zailon’s class.
“It is important for teachers to teach students the correct pronunciation of Qur’an verses; we cannot teach what we cannot pronounce correctly,” Zailon said.
She admitted that even Muslim teachers have difficulty correctly pronouncing Arabic so there’s a need for special class.
Arabic language is used in Islamic prayers.
“I want my co-teachers to learn the correct way and correct pronunciation of verses in the Qur’an so I am taking this extra work, free of charge, for my co-teachers,” Zailon, who spends an hour or two as Arabic teacher, said.
Rakma Saway, a teacher at the school and Zailon’s student, lauded the efforts of her co-teacher. In return, she has been trying her best to learn the language.
“Mam Zailon’s extra efforts for us teachers are of great help for us; we consider this a blessing,” Saway said, admitting she lacked enough knowledge in Arabic reading and understanding.
Zailon said she intends to continue teaching Arabic to her co-teachers even after the fasting month as her way of serving God. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)