Ilma College, Matara has a mix of Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim students who pursue studies up to advanced level. Muslim Majlis of this College, Matara celebrated its Islamic Day at the school hall on October 7, 2018. This celebration was held in college premises to felicitate the students consequent to testing them for their skills and talents in Quirath recitals, Quaseedahs, Islamic songs, Drama, Oratory skills etc. Winners have been selected from Ilma College and schools elsewhere in Southern Province by a panel of judges comprising teachers. Certificates and prizes were awarded to the winners at this event. To mark this event, children of Ilma college displayed their talents at the concert. Chief guest Brigadier (Ret) Ishrath, Guest of honour Miss Achini Poornima De Silva (Career Guidance Counsellor), College Principal Al Hajj Mifthah, Past principal Al Hajj Rahmi, teachers, well-wishers and parents were present at this occasion.
Chief Guest including other VIPs, gave away the certificates and prizes to the winners who had excelled in their chosen field. Chief Guest speaking at this occasion remarked that he understood the hard work done by the teachers and the Majlis members to coach and prepare the contestants for this great day, to make this event a success. He said that judging by the performance of the winners, he is pretty contented that teachers have painstakingly guided the children in the ideals of Islam by teaching the core values of Islam. He observed that the best way to motivate the students is to felicitate and encourage the contestants who have won. He reiterated that the first word revealed of the Qur’an was “Iqra” which means “ Read”! Seek knowledge! and educate yourselves! and be educated. Education will decide the future of our community and our country. Knowledge is power. To seek knowledge is a sacred duty and it is obligatory on every Muslim, male and female.
Stressing on the importance of learning he said that the purpose of education should not be only to cram the pupils’ minds with facts but also to prepare them for a life of purity and sincerity. This total commitment to character-building based on the ideals of Islamic ethics should be the highest goal of Islamic education. Muslim society naturally must aim at instilling the principles of Islam in the hearts and minds of children to achieve through them the ideal of the faith and the continuity of the Muslim Umma. Elaborating further, Chief guest touched upon the historical aspect of Muslim education and highlighted that In the 18th century, eminent Muslim Leaders like late Siddi lebbe, Wappichi Marikkar, and Orabi Pasha started a movement in Sri Lanka. This was the beginning of a movement in Sri Lanka to improve education and culture of Muslims. Later, Hon. T. B. Jayah, Sir Razik Fareed and Dr. Badiudeen Mahmud took great interest and did many things to improve education of Muslim children.
He expressed his happiness as Ilma College today, stands tall in Matara. In this respect, he hailed the contributions made by the past principals including Al Hajj Ahmed Rahmi and the present principal. He pointed out that education is a human right. Since independence, Sri Lanka government has taken very many progressive steps to improve education in its development effort. Yet, he observed the sad side of the story of early school drop out among Muslim children, especially after O. levels. He urged the Muslim parents to awake from their deep slumber and seriously take up the onerous task of seeking knowledge. Children should be encouraged to aspire to enter Universities and pursue higher studies. Following the example from the glorious life and the marvelous teachings of the holy Prophet, we must build our spiritual and religious faith in Prophet Muhammad and work for the development of science, knowledge and political and social advancement along the line of the most progressive races of mankind.
He emphasized the praiseworthy and silent contribution of Muslim Majlis members by way of imparting and sharing Islamic knowledge, Islamic values and culture to children from all walks of life in the school, irrespective of the cast creed and religion on the basis of Islamic Teachings. It is his view that this action would pave the way for raising a disciplined community enriched with high moral standards and further this would also pave the way for amity and inter-religious harmony. Winding up his speech, he thanked the school principal, past principal Al Hajj Ahmed Rahmi, vice principal, Muslim Majlis teacher-in-charge Mrs. Rizana and Secretary Miss Fahma, Old boys and girls, invitees, parents and sponsors for their continued support. Finally, he extended his good wishes by enunciating the following ”May Almighty Allah give you all the strength and the vision to continue with the good work to reach greater heights in your quest for sharing Islamic knowledge to guide our future generation in the right path!”