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Saturday, 9 March 2013


A few days ago I received a text message from one of the students I taught last term at Ulum Hadith University. In a class of thirty-one, she had been one of those who either chatted or daydreamed during lessons, and mostly smiled cheekily.

She was in Mashhad, the burial place of the eighth Shi’a Imam and a favourite pilgrimage destination in Iran. The text message read, “I am standing by the mausoleum of the Holy Imam Reza (peace be upon him) praying for you.”

Another heart-warming gesture by a student that made me appreciate teaching once more. The funny thing is, she was one of the nine students who failed the exam.