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Hindu student teaches Qur’an

Agra: Pooja Kushwaha, a girl student of class XII, becomes a teacher in the evening when she teaches the Qur’an free to about 35 small Muslim children. In a courtyard this temple in Agra serves as her open-air class room. All her students are children of poor parents who are neither able to pay the tuition fees nor is she interested in accepting fees from her students. She has a good knowledge of Arabic language and is able to teach the Qur’an to these children without any difficulty. In reply to a question about how she acquired knowledge of Arabic language and Qur’an, she says that many years ago there lived a woman in her locality, Sangeeta Begum of ‘mixed faith’ i.e. her father was a Muslim and mother a Hindu. She used to teach the Qur’an to children. She (Pooja) developed a desire to learn the Qur’an and Arabic which Sangeeta taught her and in a few years she acquired good knowledge of both. Sangeeta however could not continue her classes for long because of some personal problems and she had to discontinue it but she requested Pooja to continue her legacy of teaching the Qur’an to children. Sangeeta also taught Pooja an important tenet of teaching of Islam, that acquisition of knowledge has no meaning if you don’t share it with or spread it to others. Hence, Pooja started teaching the Qur’an to children. In the beginning she took Qur’an classes at her residence but as the number of children began to increase, more space was needed, and to meet this need for space, temple authorities agreed to allow her to teach the Qur’an to children in the temple compound. This shows the magnanimity, large-heartedness and catholicity of temple authorities and other people who raised no objection.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 October 2016 on page no. 14

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