Education

Rose-garden of Knowledge and Virtues

During this spring season, I can see another set of flowers that bloomed after fiver years in the Chosen One’s Rose-garden of Knowledge and Virtues.
 
Hail to the roses and kudos to the gardeners and cultivators!
 
For your journey ahead, these three can be your alimentary provisions: (1) visionary mindset, (2) working attitude, and (3) moral aptitude. In my understanding, these provisions may also be among the needed qualifications of the distinguished
builders and citizens of the ‘Compassionate Government’ (dawlatin karimah) which we refer to in a supplication (du’a).
 
May the neighborhood benefit from the garden’s greenery and the roses’ scent of knowledge and beauty of virtues!
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It Needs Much Editing!

Yesterday afternoon, out of the blue, I received a message via Telegram app:

“Salamun ‘alaykum. I’m _____ _____, one of the lecturers of _____ _____ University. I have a question for you.”

I replied, “‘Alaykumis-salam Shaykh. I’m at your service.”

“I teach using Shahid Mutahhari’s book ‘Islamic Training and Education’ which is translated into English. As I browsed online, I have learned that it’s your translation, and we’re provided a copy of it in our university.”

(Actually the book’s title is “Training and Education in Islam”.)

“Yes. it’s my translation. https://www.islamic-college.ac.uk/…/training-education-isl…/
Any problem with the translation?”

“Yes, professor. It needs much of edition!” (He then attached two photos of a text with his alleged corrections.)

      

“Is that the actual page of the book, or something retyped from the book? If it’s retyped, then typographical errors might have occurred. Kindly scan so that I can properly read it.

“Do you have your translation file? If yes, send it please to compare both.”

(As can be noticed, he refuses to answer my question, but instead asked for the softcopy of the book for FREE.)

“You can’t expect me to give you my copy because it’s violative of the contract I have signed with the publisher. I’m asking, is it the actual page of the book, or something retyped from the book?”

“I don’t have the book.”

“That’s what I was expecting: it’s something retyped from the book, not the actual book! I do suggest you to do two things: (1) to get your copy of the book, and then (2) compare the text of the actual book with the sheets in your hand. And if you discover that they are not exactly the same with the text in the book, then tell those who are responsible in typing the modules in your school to type the text
correctly!”

“What is the name and address of publisher?”

“It only shows that you have not checked the link I have given you. Please check my earlier messages.

“I checked but couldn’t download the file.”

“You are asking me about the name and address of the publisher. It’s mentioned there in the link. Or, are you really looking for the name of the publisher, or for the electronic copy of the book to download IN GRATIS?”

“This part (attaching again the photo) is the same in your link. Also there is (sic) some differences in some parts. You are somehow right, mistyped some parts, but as you saw again there is (sic) some to be edited.”

“It’s clear now that the text of the book is not exactly reflected in the sheets. We will talk about your claim that my translation requires editing once you have already a copy of the book.”

“Surely my professor. Is that publisher in London?”

“Please read again the link.”

“It was written that the publisher is in London; just to be sure my professor.”

“You are addressing me as ‘my professor’ and yet you are saying that my translation requires editing!”

“Some teachers have talented students than themselves. Humbly I am your student. Waiting [for] the right copy of your translation. I have heard of you here as a professional translator.”

“Wow! Then you have the audacity to say that you are ‘humble’ and at the same time saying that you are more talented than your teacher.”

“So finding that copy in your name shocked me. So I decided to make you aware of this. Thanks for beautiful chat.”

“Wow, you are saying that you are shocked [due to my poor translation], and yet you haven’t read my translation as a whole.”

“Bravery is our heritage… at same time being humble to the teachers. That was what I had in my hand and find it for your name. Anyway it was a good start for our relationship if you want.”

“Three things you can do: (1) Get your copy of the book, (2) and then enumerate the errors to the publisher and (3) to Dr. Muhammad Mutahhari, the author’s son who manages the Mutahhari Foundation (the repository of the author’s extensive works).

“How can I get the proper copy? Please give me a number or address to contact directly to (sic) the publisher. Thanks a million.”

“How to get a copy? Very simple, borrow from a library, or buy your own copy.”

“U mentioned that the same in the link has mistyped. So which library has the authentic copy?”

“The issue here is not which copy is authentic. The fact is that you have not yet read the whole book and yet you claim that it needs ‘much editing’.”

“Ok.”

—– 

I just hope my fellow interlocutor above would soon meet Dr. Muhammad Mutahhari, who himself had personally given his feedback to me some years ago on my translation of his late father’s two books, namely, “Training and Education in Islam” and “The Theory of Knowledge: An Islamic Perspective”.

Now, let me ask those who have read the whole book: Does it really need ‘much editing’?

This translator and the book’s editor, Dr. Amina Inloes, will surely be very grateful if you can let us know of the errors in the translation. As the Indonesian proverb goes, “Dimana gading yang tida retak,” which means “There’s no ivory without a crack.”

=====

Even after this post of mine, he did not stop notifying me of the alleged errors in my translation: “Here are some I noticed in your given link…” (Actually, I didn’t give any link to him.)

            

Thereafter, I replied to him: “After bringing your list of the alleged errors in my translation to the attention of (1) the publisher and (2) Dr. Muhammad Mutahhari, the Director of Mutahhari Foundation, please let me know their reaction. Thanks 

Then he responded thus, “Don’t you feel that this is your own business and responsibility? A book is distributing worldwide via your given link in your name full of errors! You yourself referred me to that university site for your translated book, And in a little glance l encountered this mistakes again there! Just in some available parts there. I saw and feel some non religious and non Muslim scholars worldwide are more receptive to my comments and critics even for misprintings. While YOU evaluate that as ALLEGED! While they are of your link!! Instead of begin thankful. Again maybe I will hear it’s for mistyped copy:blush: No time for looking publisher or the man without address or phone.Or writing down the list which will be named ALLEGED! Nice chat Bye my professor:pray:”

(He’s lying in saying that I referred him a certain university site.)

Naturally, I was smiling while reading his message, and then I replied. “Salam. ” I hope that will be our parting message – salam. 

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Community-based Religious Education and Preventing Violent Extremism

Parallel 1.B COMMUNITY-BASED RELIGIOUS EDUCATION ROLES AND PREVENTING VIOLENT EXTREMISM: EXPERIENCE FROM VARIOUS COUNTRIES

1. How is community playing role in religious education across various context?
2. How can community play bigger role in shaping religious education to prevent [and counter] violent extremism?

Parallel 2.B PROMOTING RELIGIOUS LITERACY EDUCATION

1. How important is religious literacy in our current context?
2. How can religious education increase religious literacy?

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Two Questions

During the second plenary session on “Religious Education and Violent Extremism: The Southeast Asian Context” on the second day, the four speakers from Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines endeavored to address these two guide questions: (1) What are the roles of state and community on religious education and PVE in Southeast Asia? (2) What are the differences and similarities, for example, in terms of
pedagogy and curriculum?

During the open session, somebody from the participants ventured to pose these two questions:

Question to the 3rd Speaker: Considering your proximity to Marawi City in more accurately analyzing the conditions on the ground as well as the ‘recapture’ of the city by the government troops and the deaths of Isnilon [Hapilon] and Omarkhayam [Maute], the top two leaders of the group/s that occupied Marawi on May 23, do you think we cannot expect another Marawi in the near and medium-term future? Why?

Question to the 4th Speaker: You have made mention of the ARMM Darul Ifta’s religious edict (fatwa) against terrorism – a courageous move which is really worthy of appreciation. But I’m just curious: Since the ‘fatwa’ was originally written and issued in Arabic language, which the overwhelming majority of the youth in the ARMM cannot understand, is it already translated into languages and vernaculars of the common people – Filipino (Tagalog), Visaya (Cebuano), M’ranao, Tausug, Maguindanaon and others?

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Why Religious Education Matters?

The first plenary session of the Regional Workshop on Violent Extremism and Religious Education in Southeast Asia which kicked off yesterday dealt with the question “Why does religious education matter for preventing violent extremism?” The speakers who dealt with the subject were a Buddhist monk directing a monastic high school in Myanmar and a member of the advisory board of an Islamic university in Indonesia.

My personal take on the issue is as follows:

Before directly answering the question of ‘why’, stating two hypotheses here is in order. First, religion can either be a bridge or a wall. Like a kitchen knife, it can be used to prepare a very delicious food and it can also be a tool to commit a heinous crime. Second, in the context of violent extremism, religion can either be a driver or a diverter.

Given these two hypotheses, it can then be stated that religious education really matter for preventing [and countering] violent extremism due to the following reasons:

1. Some violent extremist groups use religious narratives and symbols.

2. Religion can be powerful enough to stimulate people to action, for good or bad.

3. Religious education provides political authority and moral ascendancy to any ‘messenger’ of any ‘message’.

4. A ‘messenger’ of violent extremism, as in many instances, may capitalize on this religious education-rooted political authority and moral ascendancy he/she acquires in addressing his/her audience.

5. Such a ‘messenger’ who capitalizes on religious education-rooted political authority and moral ascendancy can only be competently combated by an alternative and superior ‘messenger’ whose political authority or moral ascendancy also emanates from the same religious education.

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To Kindle Fire

“Today, it is also considered a defect for a teacher to think his or her goal is only to supply the mind of the student with pieces of information, facts, and formulas, and to make it like a pool which is filled with a certain amount of water. The goal of teaching must be higher and that is to train and grant independence to the mental faculty of the learner and revitalize his power of innovation. That is, the teacher’s job is actually to kindle fire.” ~ Murtada Mutahhari (1920-79)

Murtada Mutahhari, “Training and Education in Islam,” trans. Mansoor Limba (IHCS, 2011), http://mlimba.com/portfolio

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Interfaith and Intercommunal Practices: The Case of Ateneo de Davao’s Al Qalam Institute

MasterPeace Leadership Summit:
Theme: “Filipino Youth at the Forefront of a Peaceful Future”
Organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Sept 29-Oct 1, 2017, Crown Regency Hotel, Davao City, Philippines

Presentation Outline:
Interfaith Dialogue
University Vision-Mission
Al Qalam Institute
University’s 4 Main Thrusts
Formation
Instruction
Research
Engagement
Future Trajectories
Concluding Remarks

   
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Peace Journalism in Mindanao

MasterPeace Leadership Summit:
Theme: “Filipino Youth at the Forefront of a Peaceful Future”
Organized by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Sept 29-Oct 1, 2017, Crown Regency Hotel, Davao City, Philippines

Presentation Outline:
Introductory Questions
The Media Today
War Journalism
Peace Journalism
War Journalism vs. Peace Journalism
Sample Cases of Reporting in Mindanao
Editorial Policies Relevant to Covering Mindanao Events
Conclusion

      
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Tougher to Negotiate With

The second module we had studied during the Asia-China Peace and Leadership Training-Workshop (Jinan University, Guangzhou, China, July 14-23, 2017) was about International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, and for this two-day module, we were lucky enough to have PROF. GUY OLIVIER FAURE as our facilitator or resource person.

Dr. Faure is currently a Visiting Professor at CEIBS, Shanghai, China; Professor of Sociology Emeritus, Sorbonne University, Paris; and Director of International Conflict Resolution Center, The Hague, Netherlands.

Having done extensive works in international negotiations and conflict resolution, particularly in the domains of Long-term Strategic Forecast, Terrorism, and Business Security, Prof. Faure has lectured in a number of renowned universities and institutions including the Harvard Law School and the New York University.

He has authored, co-authored and edited 19 books and over a hundred articles, and one of those books is entitled “Negotiating with Terrorists: Strategy, Tactics and Politics” (Routledge, 2008).

During the second and last day of the module, as the time for lunch was approaching and everybody seemed to be already imagining to hold a spoon, instead of ballpen, I posed a question:

“Sir Olivier, taking into consideration your wide array of experiences in negotiation, both as a theoretician and a practitioner, which do you think is tougher to negotiate with: the ISIS, or MISIS (“wife” or “madame” in Filipino)?

After an unprecedented laughter, Sir Olivier retorted, “Of course, it’s the MISIS because they personally know our soft spot!”

How I wish, Sir Olivier’s next book project will be entitled, “Negotiating with MISIS: Strategy, Tactics and Politics.”

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Searching for that Etymological School

The etymological school

A screen shot from the film “3 Idiots”

Mansoor L. Limba on February 10, 2017

MAKATI CITY (MindaNews / 10 February) – The other day, I attended a convocation program of a high school student.

It was the third in the series for this school year.

As usual, it was a gathering of students, parents and teachers in which ‘top’ students were given recognition. Implicitly, their parents were accorded that recognition, as well. The names of the ‘best’ students in each academic subject were announced, too.

Such a scenario is known to all and sundry, I’m sure. And there are no limits to its concomitant clichés.

Perennial School

At the back of this gathering are the indescribable pressures to all stakeholders – the students, parents, and teachers. The students have to burn the midnight candle in order to keep their respective ranks or even improve the same. The ‘mediocre’ among them have to strive hard so as not to fail in each periodical examination. The parents are so religious in monitoring their kids’ nocturnal rites of studying their lessons, and even in becoming their own kids’ instant tutors. The teachers have to check the test papers and compute the students’ grades most meticulously, for even less than one percent grade difference between that of the ‘first’ and the ‘second’ rank matters a lot.

In this typical set-up, there are the ‘first,’ the ‘second’ and of course, the ‘last’ rank. These ‘lower’ ranks will be seated in front rows, but in public roll call, they would be called last. There seems to have common acknowledgment that the ‘honor’ students are ‘brilliant’ while the ‘average’ are intellectually ‘poor’. The former are impliedly deemed ‘famous’ while the latter ‘infamous’.

Etymological School

This educational setting, regrettably, is too much alien to the etymology or origin of the word ‘school’. Dictionary indicates that the word ‘school’ is derived from the Greek word σχολή (scholē), which originally means ‘leisure’ and also ‘that in which leisure is employed’. In turn, dictionary also tells us that ‘leisure’ means ‘free time when a person can choose what to do’.

Etymologically, therefore, a school is supposed to be a place for play and joy. It is a playground where learning and leisure are rolled into one. It is a tryst for the lovers of Sophia and logos. It is a rose-garden where the learners are jolly bees, untiringly sipping the nectar of knowledge and wisdom.

In that ‘etymological’ school, Dr. Howard Gardner’s 1983 theory of multiple intelligences is truly acknowledged not only theoretically, but more importantly, in practice. It is duly recognized there that every student is talented; that he or she is ‘intelligent’ with respect to the subject or activity he or she is good at and passionate about. In the end, the student will be advised to follow his or her own calling.

Moreover, that school is an arena where the teacher is a ‘leisure-giver’, and not as a ‘lecturer’ and ‘terror’. Far from being pedantic or doctrinaire, she is a provider of free time and breathing space for her co-players who are conventionally called ‘students’ or ‘pupils’. She is a motivator, rather than an intimidator. She is a mentor, rather than a dictator.

Simply put, in that school, pedagogy is playing.

This is why while still perennially searching for that elusive school, I do not find any motivation to post by myself in any social media platform the ‘honors’ of that high school student I mentioned above, who graduated Valedictorian in pre-school, Salutatorian in elementary, and is the consistent Rank 1 this school year.

For me, every student is Top 1 in his or her way.

Whether that etymological school exists or will exist, or not, and whether my quest for it is an exercise in futility or not, only time can tell.

 

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy, intra-faith and interfaith relations, cultural heritage, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at mlimba@diplomats.com, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com.]

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