The word of first revelation sent by Almighty Allah on His beloved Prophet (PBUH) was none other than ‘IQRA’, which means ‘READ’ (in the name of Allah). These words underscore the importance of reading. We can see through this revelation that the religion which we follow emphasizes on the importance of reading, knowing, and getting literate. The words of first revelation are:
“Read! in the name of your Lord who created
Man from a clinging substance.
Read: Your Lord is most Generous,
He who taught by the pen–
Taught man that which he knew not. (AL-QURAN 96:1-5)
In Surah Zumar Ayat 9, Allah says: “Say: Are those who know and those who do not know alike?” Those who don’t know anything can’t be like those who know, and the knowledge is only got through books. The best book we got, as the biggest blessing and a gift of Almighty for the mankind, is AL-QURAN. It is indeed a beacon light and the right direction for its readers.
Fourteen hundred years ago, we were told about the importance to read, to write and to know. Prophet (PBUH) and AL-Quran have quoted many times about the importance of knowledge. When we look at our present state of education and book reading habits of the people of Pakistan, we are astonished to see the decline. The religion, which preaches the importance of book reading, is ignored by the followers. But when we have a look at the book reading habits around the world, we come to know that Finland is the world’s most literate nation. If we rank nations only on their reading assessment results, Singapore would come on top, followed by South Korea, Japan and China in the descending order clearly indicating the difference between the priorities of the developing and the developed worlds.
When we talk about reading habits of the people of Pakistan, we can see a dismal state of affairs. According to a survey conducted by Gallup at the start of 2019, “3 in 4 Pakistanis (75%) claim not to read any books at all; only 9% are avid readers”. A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the four provinces was asked, “How many hours do you spend in a day reading books (course books, religious books, novels, magazines, poetry, etc.)?”In response, 16% said that they spend an hour in a day reading books, 3% said 2 hours, 2% said 3 hours, 2% said 4 hours, 2% said more than 4 hours, and a staggering 75% said they did not spend any time reading any kind of book.”
We need to encourage our citizens follow what the Prophet (PBUH) and AL-Quran emphasized. We must sow the seeds of book-reading in the little minds of our children so that these seeds can turn into fruitful trees.
Ms. AAMINA BADER
(Coordinator primary section)
Air Base Inter College Mushaf, Sargodha