The influence of a teacher never stops…

At an official function, the dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”
To stress his point he said to another guest; “You’re a teacher, Sheela, Be honest. What do you make?”
Sheela, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, and then began…)
“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents CAN’T make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.
You want to know what I make? (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)
I make kids wonder. I make them question.
I make them apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding ISN’T EVERYTHING.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in maths. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life (Sheela paused one last time and then continued.)
Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant.
You want to know what I make. I MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
What do you make Mr. CEO? His jaw dropped, he went silent.


Teaching will unfit anyone to be a Slave

Frederick Douglass tells a remarkable story of learning to read as a subversive activity. As a slave, Douglass had no rights and meager opportunities. Reading among slaves was strictly forbiden as it could open worlds and create unimaginable mischief. Besides, according to their overlords, slaves had no need of reading. They could be trained in the necessary menial and backbreaking work. Yet his master’s wife, believing him to be an intelligent youngster, undertook to teach Douglass how to read the Bible in hopes that he would come closer to God. When the master discovered the crime, he exploded:”It will unfit him to be a slave!”

Education will unfit anyone to be a slave. That is because education is bold, adventurous, creative, vivid, illuminating_in other words, education is for self-activating explorers of life, for those who would challenge fate, for doers and activists, for citizens. Training is for slaves, for loyal subjects, for tractable employees, for willing consumers, for obedient soldiers.

Education tears down walls; training is all barbed wire.

Taken from Beginning Again: The Mystery of Teaching. William Ayers (1993)

A reminder for Ayaam al Beed by Dr. Bilal Philips

Salaam Alaykum,


I would like to remind you and myself that fasting, in general, stands out from the other religious obligations and recommendations. According the Prophet’s statements, it is done only for Allah and He will multiply its reward without measure (Bukhari). Furthermore, there is no other act of worship equivalent to it. (Al Nisaa’i). Let us remember the exceptional benefits of the voluntary fast based on the Prophet’s statements: 1. The du’aa (supplication) of a fasting person will be answered (Al-Bayhaqi), 2. It will be a source of intercession on the Day of Resurrection (Ahmad), 3. It is also protection from the Hellfire (Ahmad), and 4. Allah has dedicated a special gate of Paradise, ar-Rayyaan, for those who fast regularly (Bukhari).


Consequently, we should try to fast at least 3 days every month, as it was narrated that ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to me: “It is sufficient for you to fast three days every month regularly, because for every good deed you will have the reward of ten like it, so that will be like fasting for a lifetime.” (Bukhari & Muslim).


However, the best 3 days for monthly fasting are the days of the full moon (Ayyaam al-Beed). Abu Tharr related that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) informed him: “If you fast any part of the month, then it is preferable to fast the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth .” (at-Tirmithi & an-Nasaa’i).


So let us benefit from this wonderful spiritual opportunity and, by the Mercy and will of Allah, let us step onto the path to ar-Rayyan together by fasting on Monday, Tuesday andWednesday of the coming week (12th, 13th and 14th May).




Dr. Bilal Philips

Founder and Chancellor of

The Islamic Online University