By Aleem Zia
Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V (aba) presents academic awards to all male and female students who achieve excellence in their respective fields and studies. Prizes are awarded to students of the General Certificate of Secondary Education, A-Level, degree levels at Bachelors, Masters & PHD’s and international awards. The female students are given their awards on the second day when Huzoor (aba) addresses the ladies and the male students are given awards on the third day during the concluding session. This is done in order to celebrate the achievements of these students as well as promoting others to strive in their studies and achieve excellence so that they can be best prepared to support the community in serving mankind.
This ceremony of awarding academic excellence in the Jama’at dates back to the time of the third Khalifa (rh). On 28th October 1979, Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih III (rh) started a movement in which he announced that trophies should be awarded to students achieving first, second and third positions across the board or at university level in their respective studies. The first prize distribution ceremony took place on 13th June 1980. This ritual continues today as students who achieve excellence are appreciated and awarded by the Khalifa.
The encouragement of education doesn’t just stop there. In fact, it traces back to the roots of early Islam. Islam is a religion which heavily promotes gaining an education because this is a very powerful weapon one can use to make a difference in the world. In the Holy Qur’an we are taught the following prayer:
رَبِّ زِدْنِیْ عِلْمًا
“O my Lord, increase me in knowledge”
(Holy Qur’an 20:115)
Similarly, the Holy Prophet (sa) has encouraged all Muslims; men and women, to make great efforts to improve their education. In a Hadith it states:
طَلَبَ العِلْمِ فَرِیْضَة عَلَی کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ
‘Acquiring knowledge is obligatory upon all Muslims.’
In a meeting with an external guest after the annual convention of 2019, a lady acknowledged how the Jama’at celebrates and encourages education and how the girls are awarded in the same manner as men. Huzoor (aba) responded that “our girls’ literacy rate is better than boys.” Huzoor (aba) went on to say that “the future of the nation is in women’s hands. In light of these fundamental Islamic teachings, the Jama’at awards its achievers of excellence. The Academic Awards serve as an eagerly anticipated event of the Jalsa where people are able to see those faces who will soon be at the forefront of helping the Jama’at serve humanity.