Sensitive to the issue, Ustazah Sri Nurayu Mat Aris said the madrasah today had taken various learning approaches that could provide students with certain skills in an effort to guide them to become useful Muslims and religious leaders who are ready to guide the community in the context of plural life.
For example, at Madrasah Wak Tanjong Al-Islamiah-where she is a teacher teaching tauhid, tasawuf and hadith-Ustazah Sri Nurayu said her party emphasized the development of three key skills; understanding religious texts contextually, sensitivity to cross -cultural, and societal.
“The situation in the world and Singapore has changed. Madrasahs need to prepare students not only with appropriate knowledge or content, but also with the special skills needed, ”said Ustazah Sri Nurayu, 32 years old.
Explaining further on the three main skills, Ustazah Sri Nurayu said, understanding the main backup texts of the Muslim community, namely Al-Quran and As-sunnah, is important because “the context and reality of life is always changing, so it is necessary for us to understand it correctly.”
Regarding cross -cultural skills, Ustazah Sri Nurayu said:
“In today’s life, we cannot think we are enough with ourselves or with people like us alone.
“On the other hand, we need to learn from many people. We need to collaborate with other races, other religions and we need to have the skills to talk to them and the skills to respect them. ”
“Most importantly, I often stress to my students to have a loving attitude, and respect for each other, regardless of race or religion.”
To give an example, Madrasah Wak Tanjong held a cooperation program with Dunman High School, where students could mingle and exchange views with students of different races, religions and opinions.
The third skill, said Ustazah Sri Nurayu, touches on the latest issues in society, such as mental health issues and so on, and students “should know how to approach these issues in an appropriate and effective way.”
“All these skills are important for today, and may even become more important and needed in the future,” said Ustazah Sri Nurayu.
In fact, he added, with the availability of information technology (IT) tools such as mobile phones that allow students to get a variety of information easily, they should also be provided with the skills to filter the information obtained.
In addition to screening, the social skills he mentioned are able to “teach students to appreciate diversity of opinion and show good morals as shown by the Prophet s.a.w to people who do not agree, or who are of different religions.”
“It is always because of these differences that there is tension. So madrasah educates our students now, when they go out into the community they can be the ones who can guide the community in the right direction, towards noble morals and can unite the community to good things, ”said Ustazah Sri Nurayu.
An alumnus of Madrasah Wak Tanjong-from primary to pre-university-Ustazah Sri Nurayu pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Usuluddin (Hadith major) at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, before returning to teach at the madrasah.
Touching on the community’s support for the local madrasah institution, Ustazah Sri Nurayu thanked the Singapore Islamic Religious Council (Muis) together with the community has helped the madrasah a lot, both in terms of finance and training programs and expertise.
“We must see the madrasah as belonging (to us) together. Madrasahs do not belong only to teachers and madrasah leaders, ”said Ustazah Sri Nurayu.
Article was first published in Berita Harian on 15/11/2019.