|29 The Essence of
now, I am over with my days of delivering school speeches such as this:
In the name of the
Almighty, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
1 Read! In
the name of thy Lord and Cherisher who created -
2 Created man out of a mere clot of congealed blood
3 Read! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful -
4 He Who taught the use of the Pen -
5 Taught man that which he knew not.
lines from the Quran go on to talk about embarking on the road of Guidance and about
enjoining Righteousness and upholding the Truth: about education and the lack of education
and its dire consequences.
words, for those who do not know, were the very first divine revelation received by
Prophet Mohammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him. The word Read! was like a key
which unlocked and spawned an entire civilization, an entire philosophy, a universal way
was any stronger confirmation of the value and power of education, it is embodied in these
nothing more and nothing less, has brought us all together in this school. And tonight, we
give due recognition to the efforts of our students in pursuing education with excellence.
In so doing, we also give due recognition to the efforts of their parents and teachers who
have guided them all throughout.
everybody therefore, and most especially to our dear students, my hearty congratulations!
shall have received the awards tonight, your efforts, my dear students, do not end here.
In fact it never ends even when you finally graduate from college. Education, as you might
think all the grade levels of preparatory, elementary, primary, secondary, college,
graduate education are simply what we call formal schooling.
however is much, much more than formal schooling.
is about seeking and acquiring knowledge. And knowledge is so vast, while man, as the
Quranic verse aptly describes as but a mere clot of blood, is so small, that one
cannot expect to learn everything through formal schooling and then say, Im
realize that learning is a lifelong occupation, and it is best for you to realize this as
early as possible so you do not waste your time NOT learning, or worst, UN-learning what
you have already learned.
As you go
through this process of learning, let me offer some guidelines which I hope will be useful
to your development as better children, better students, better parents, better leaders,
humility. Learning is not about a piece of medal or a framed certificate that you can brag
about. Learning is about improving your skills, your character, your worth. Always
recognize the fact that you can be in error and, when that happens, accept the error and
learn from it so you may avoid repeating the same error. This is how you improve and
progress and develop into a better person.
uphold the truth. Knowledge, I can assure you, just like anything else, can be white or
black, with all shades of gray in between. One learns not only the good things but as well
as the bad things, and your success in this learning process depends on how well you can
distinguish the good from the bad, the truths from the lies, and then uphold what is good
in that knowledge and avoid what is bad. Only then can you truly say that you are
benefiting from your education.
brings me to the next guideline : learn to be useful and of service. When one learns to
detonate an explosive device, that knowledge becomes useful when you use it to flatten a
hill to pave the way for the construction of roads to a remote area. This is being useful.
What is not useful is when you use that knowledge to blow up a bank and rob it. When you
use knowledge to become useful and of service to others, then the world becomes a little
bit more rich because of the fact that you have acquired and made good use of your
keep these lessons in mind, your outlook transcends the limitations of yourself and you
become a useful part of a larger being, your community, your society, the entire
humankind. When you realize this, you will understand that the real strength of any
community lies in each one of you as educated members of the community. The strength of a
community lies in how well each one of you can harness your education, your abilities,
your characters, with regard to each other, with regard to an objective, with regard to
any problems at hand.
strength of a community does not have to wait or depend on a leader outside yourself. Each
one of you is both that leader and that follower. When you shall have fully grasped the
meaning of being both a leader and a follower, only then can you learn to respect the
people who are following you just as well as you can learn to respect the people who are
leading you. The strength of your community depends on how well you can respect each
other, and how well you can impart the goodness of your education to one another.
As you go
on your vacation, think about what I have just told you tonight. Wherever you go, whatever
you do, in whichever community you choose to join, always keep this in mind : you will
always be that essential and significant unit. Always strive to be useful, to be of
service, to contribute positively. This is the essence of being educated.
congratulations to everbody, the students, their parents, the teachers and staff of this
school. It is my honor and my pleasure to be able to speak to this community tonight.
Thank you so much and God bless us all.