Sunday, 10 July 2011

The nation of Iqra does not read!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I've been thinking and reading about this matter for a while now, we are the nation of "Iqra", which is an Arabic word meaning "read", it was the first word the angel Gabriel (Jabreel) told prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who was sent by Allah (God). But are we really a reading nation,(talking generally about Muslims and Arabs specifically). 

Sadly the answer is no. we are a nation that has been attracted to video games, football, movies and other non-productive materialistic entertainment and forgot the importance of reading and learning from a book, plus enjoying it. I once read somewhere that that our population reads around half a page per person per year!!!..if this is true, than this is so scary.

A shocking news: A recent UN report suggests that less than 2% of the population in the Arab world reads even one book a year and that one-third of Arabs are illiterate. 

of course some of the problem will be due to the lack of financial ability to feed a family let alone buy a book (which is not that cheap in the Arab world). Moreover, the lack of public resources that can encourage reading (such as public libraries and so on). In addition, a high percentage of the Arabs don't have internet access nor they are literate which means that there is a lack of resources again and knowledge as well.

Moreover, talking from the aspect of my culture and my place. I can't remember if we have a public library where I live, there might be few in the whole of Oman. I am ashamed to say that I don't think we have over three public libraries (if they reach this number anyway-there might be less than that!).

I know of some very devoted readers in Oman, they can't spend a day without reading. However this come from your own personal interest and otherwise, we lack the encouragement and resources that help people and specifically children to read!!.

Read, a word that has deep meaning, a crucial word that will either prosper a nation when it is followed, or lead it to be ignorant and collapse.

I was thinking of doing a campaign on this subject, I want to make changes, even if it was a minor change. Any suggestion?