Sunday, December 12, 2004

the quran class

In the old days, a Malay child is sent to the Quran teacher with two items and a pledge. The items being a cane and a 'buah tangan' be it 'gula sekati' , beras secupak' or 'pisang sesikat'. In giving away the child to the teacher, the father normally remarked 'Ustaz, saya serahkan anak saya untuk ustaz ajar biar jadi pandai. Buatlah macamanapun asal jangan buta jangan cacat sudahlah. Rotan ni buatlah pukul anak saya kalau dia jahat.' (I gave you my child for you to teach till he's good. Do whatever you have to, so long he's not blind or disabled. This cane is for you to strike him if he's bad.) That was a legend even in my time.

I remember my father sending me to read Quran at the house of 'Tok Bilal M'bong' just a short distance from my house in Kampung Padang Polis. I can't recall the cane or the pledge, but the 'gula' was there. I was not a good student, a regular 'kaki tuang' (truant) - always finding all sorts of excuse to miss the lesson, prefering to join in the game of 'petik-mate', 'main to' or 'bedil'. There were other games too, 'galoh panjang', ...... To these days, I regret not attending those quran class properly. I end up not completing or 'katang' the Quran until I was much older. Not even the 'jehama' (juz amma) or Al-Baqarah despite being promoted to read 'Quran besor' rather early. That too after realising my own children were growing and in need of a good example.

I remember the day my father chased me around the kampung with 'lidi n'yapuh' when report came that I was often playing truant. The cane was there any other way.

When Tok Bilal M'bong moved to Kampung Feri, near the Masjid, I went to a new teacher I recalled as 'Che' Jah' at Kampung Feri. I remembered her for she was making 'paung' (pau) that my father sold at the school canteen then. I also remember her for crying the day P. Ramlee passed away.

Unlike now, there was not a standard fee for Quran lessons. My kids even have an Ustaz coming to teach at home. The fee then was 'ikok panda' depending on the ability of the parent. Paying with money was unheard of. Often it was with gifts mentioned earlier or whatever parents can afford to spare. For us kids, there were other fees though. No one can read the Quran until they have completed a chore. At Che' Jah it was either 'akuk air' (taking water from the well) or 'beloh kayu' (chopping firewood). Ocassionaly one or two were selected to accompany her husband to look for 'daung palah' (daun palas) to make ketupat. The older and better-behaved girls got the easier work of 'ayok tepong' or cutting 'daun pisang'. The 'paung' were normally prepared in the day time and cooked at dawn to be just ready for breakfast. I guess that was why we never get to 'rase' otherwise there would be little 'paung' left to sell.

Of the Quran lessons, I can't recall more. I must have 'tuang' so much.

To my Quran teachers, and all other teachers for that matter, thank you. You were the first light in my days of ignorance. To all of you Al-Fatihah.

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