Chapter 15: Peaceful Demonstration in SMAASZA

The custom of giving tazkirah during recess or when there is a teacher’s absence continues till Year 4 Thanawi. The veil hung to separate the male and female students will be pulled back during these brief sermons. The male and female students aren’t supposed to look at each other. Discussion between male and female students are done with the veil separating them. It’s impossible to see any male student talking with a female student face to face without a veil separating them let alone just the two of them alone. For Thanawi students in SMAASZA it is a grave violation!

Among the senior students in SMAASZA, Zul is among the best speakers. His talk when giving a speech and sermons is just like Tuan Guru Haji Abdul Hadi Awang and this amazes everyone in SMAASZA. Every word that he uttered, his speech style, as well as his body language, is a copy of the Tuan Guru. Zul is the spitting image of Tuan Guru Haji Abdul Hadi. Regardless of whether he is competing in Arabic or Malay public speaking, Zul will always be in the lead. Not to mention Zul’s prowess in academic achievement and manners, Zul is loved by all his teachers.

Zul, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Haji Leman, Wan Shohor’s father asked him one day. At the time, Zul was stopping by Wan Shohor’s house to finish his homework. Zul has always had a close relationship with Haji Leman. Since he was young, he is good at flattering the elderly and loves to talk and spend time with them whenever he meets them.

Zul smiled as he turned and looked at Haji Leman, grasping both his hands and said, “…I want to shake Malaysia!

Allahu akbar…!!” Those words promptly left Haji Leman’s mouth praising Allah SWT. He was surprised and proud of the response he got from the young man in front of him. In early teens, one’s passion and spirit are high. Such is the nature of young men. Allah SWT states:

إِنَّهُمْ فِتْيَةٌ آمَنُوا بِرَبِّهِمْ وَزِدْنَاهُمْ هُدًى

“Indeed, they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.” [1]

When referred to Mukhtar al-Siḥḥaḥ, the word fityat (فِتْيَةٌ) originates from the root word fa ta ya (ف ت ي) or its plural form fityān (فِتْيَانٌ). Al-fatā (الْفَتَى) synonym is al-shabb or adolescent.

Imam Al-Qurtubi, a well-known mufassir when commenting on the terminology (لْفُتُوَّةُ) cited the definition of al-Junayd which wrote its meaning as doing good to others (bazl al-nada), do not burden others (kaff al-aza) and do not complain about others (tark al-shakwa). It is also said that the meaning of al-futuwwah is avoiding the haram and hasten in doing good. [2]

Rasullullah PBUH once appointed ‘Attab bin Usaid as the leader of Mecca when he was just 17 years old. ‘Usamah bin Zaid was appointed as the leader for the expedition to Syria when he was 20 years old, although at the time there are others who were older and experienced. Abu Bakr al-Siddiq himself chosen Zaid bin Thabit to lead a project of the al-Qur’an bookkeeping even when Zaid was just 22 years old. Such is how great the honour and appreciation Islam has for youths and their spirit.

It’s even more beautiful if the spirit is based on the wisdom of the elderly. The greatness of the “elderly” is their invaluable experience in life. With their wide experience, usually, their opinions are accurate or nearly always right. The consideration from the elderly is usually more greatly appreciated for their mature thinking compared to the youth who may sometimes get overwhelmed with their emotions and anger.


Zul, what do you think we should do? You know how our English teacher does not cover her awrah properly. What is the right way for us to tell her? It’s obligatory for us to tell her. If we continue to keep quiet, we will be sinful!” Zaini asked. Several other students also agreed with what Zaini is saying.

You’re right. I have an idea. Let’s make it so that all of the male students do not look at her. All of us should only look down when she’s teaching. It’s a sign of us protesting her actions of not covering her awrah.” Zul instructed who acts as a leader for the peace “demonstration” and also the SMAASZA’s Head Prefect.

Hi students, good morning!” The English teacher walked happily into class just as she usually does. “All stand. Assalamualaikum teacher.” The voices of the Year 4 Thanawi class echoed as they greeted their teacher. All the male students immediately look down.

The teacher was quite astonished by the reaction she’s getting from her male students, which is out of the ordinary. As the class starts, all the male students continued to look down.

Zul, can you answer what type of question is this? Is it simple present, simple past or simple future tense?” She asked smiling as she beckons towards the sentence on the blackboard. Zul raises his head and looked at the written sentence, reading it and then quickly looking down again. “They will be here in two hours. This sentence is a simple future tense, teacher.” He answered confidently while keeping his gaze on the table in front of him.

They remained focused on the lesson being taught, answering their teacher’s every question, however, they keep their eyes on their respective tables. The female students are just as bewildered by the situation. After a while, she can no longer hold her feelings back, her face turned sombre. She tried her best to keep her tears from falling. She puts the chalk in her hand back and swiftly picked up her bag.

“I am very sorry. I can’t handle this. I know I’m not as religious as you all are!” She blurted out in a trembling voice, trying to contain her sadness and walked out, leaving the class.

Zul and his friends’ actions genuinely broke their teacher’s heart. The matter was then informed to Ustaz Nik Wan, SMAASZA’s headmaster. Zul as the leader of the peaceful protest was called to the Principal’s Office. “Come with me,” Zul whispered to his friend, Zaini. Previously, Zul has already been called to the Principal’s Office for attending a PAS sermon delivered by Ustaz Mahmud Libya, the brother of Ustaz Ibrahim Libya. Yet, here he is once again called to the Principal’s Office for the boycott he conducted against their English teacher who didn’t cover her awrah properly. He’s kind of used to it now!

Zul, Zaini. I want to offer you a piece of advice. In Islam, dakwah is a wide field. Being strict and hard is not always the solution. Sometimes, a gradual approach is better. It takes time for people to change. It’s better than being strict with something, but the mad’u [3] ends up getting further from the religion. Yes, not properly covering the awrah is wrong and sinful. However, our actions of furthering a person from Islam is also wrong. It will be our loss. Both of you should take some time to refer to the hadiths as to how the Prophet PBUH advise others of their wrongdoings. There is no one way, there are many ways. It depends on the mad’u. There is the explicit and implied way. There are soft and there are strict ways.” Ustaz Nik Wan exhaled deeply, repositioning his songkok.

He then continued, “Minding our manners in a class in front of our teacher is important. Ahmad bin Sinan narrated that during a class by Abd al-Rahman bin Mahdi, Imam Ahmad’s teacher, none of his students will talk, stand, sharpen their pens or even smile. [4] I’m proud that all of you have a high awareness of dakwah. However, the implementation must be mindful of the manners we are taught. We aren’t allowed to hate, admonish, or hurt our teacher, whether physically or emotionally as well as raising our voice or insulting and even being sour-faced to our teachers.

His fatherly yet strict advice touches the hearts of Zul and Zaini. That is the wisdom of Ustaz Nik Wan, their beloved headmaster. He will counsel his students for he cares and get angry due to his love. Just like his words before in front of the other teachers, “If there’s ever a person that will surpass me one day, Zulkifli will be the one to do so…” Such is the tremendous hope he has for Zul.

That very same day, Zul and all the male students went back to class and apologize to their English teacher for their recent behaviour. He realized that no matter what happens, his manners as a student is obligatory to be prioritized.

Imam Nawawi once explained: “A student should view his teacher with respect. He should be certain of his teacher’s competency above all else. For this will lead for a teacher to gain great benefit from the teacher and will move his heart when listening to the teacher’s lessons.” [5]


[1] Surah al-Kahfi: 13

[2] Al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Quran, 10/364

[3] Person we are doing dakwah to

[4] Siyar A’lam al-Nubala’, 17/161

[5] Al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 1/84

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