A non-Muslim parent’s view on Imam Al-Nawawi 40 Hadith

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Recently, the nation was rocked with controversy about the plan to teach “Imam Al-Nawawi 40 Hadith” in schools nationwide.

As a mother of three children in Standard Five, Form Two and Form Five, I was naturally concerned. Why is the Ministry of Education teaching this in schools? Will my kids be affected?

But upon closer examination, I think we are just making a mountain out of a molehill. Frankly, I don’t see what the fuss is all about. More likely than not, it’s just politicians trying to stir up sentiments to score political points.

First of all, the teaching will only involve Muslim students and have nothing at all to do with non-Muslims. Even then, it does not involve all Muslim students. According to the Education Minister, this only affects selected national religious schools nationwide.

Why should non-Muslims worry about what’s taught to a small group of students? As it is, all Muslim students must take Islam as a subject in schools. We non-Muslims do not kick up a fuss over this, and why should we get overly worked up over the teaching of “Imam Al-Nawawi 40 Hadith”?

And let’s look at the optics of this. If we oppose what Muslims can learn or not learn about their own religion, then wouldn’t this invite them to do the same? It’d only lead to an endless tit-for-tat. Do we want that?

Let’s not forget that we have freedom of religion in Malaysia, subject to the provisions of the Federal Constitution. If what is taught to students of a particular religious group is beneficial and does not promote division, we should not oppose it.

Similarly, schools also allow students and teachers to take part in non-Islamic activities. Surely we do not want others to tell us how to run these activities, as long as these activities do not adversely impact others. Back in the day, Bible Studies was a SPM subject and I didn’t see non-Christians kicking up a fuss about it.

Let’s live and let live. There is no need to get excessively worried about the teaching of “Imam Al-Nawawi 40 Hadith” in schools to a small group of Muslim students. Similarly, Christians in this country do not like to be told how they should practice their faiths, much less have the government clamp down on their freedom.

In the spirit of Merdeka, let’s all embrace our diversity and do not allow politicians to drive a wedge between us.