ISTANBUL – Hürriyet
Some parents bought “a salawat-counting machine” called Zikirmatik, which is sold for 2 Turkish Liras (around 1 euro). Hürriyet photo
A teacher in Istanbul has allegedly ordered his students to say God’s name 50,000 times and “prove it” for homework.
The teacher of a Religious Culture and Moral Knowledge class at Sancaktar Hayrettin Primary School in Istanbul’s Fatih district set fifth grade students the task of repeating “salawat,” meaning “peace be upon him” in Arabic, a phrase often used after the name of the prophet of Islam. The task was to be completed as homework during Islam’s holy week.
Students told reporters that the most difficult part of the homework was “proving” that they had completed it. Some parents bought “a salawat-counting machine” called Zikirmatik, which is sold for 2 Turkish Liras (around 1 euro). Zikirmatik is a counter for people who have difficulties counting beads.
One parent said he had gathered his whole family and tried to reach the 50,000 prayers. “I calculated that every salawat lasted three seconds. This means is would take around 40 hours to reach the limit,” he said.
Some students found another solution by marking their notebooks once for each salawat.
The same parent, who asked to remain anonymous, said that during the same holy week time last year, the school’s English teacher had set students the homework task of buying roses and delivering them to their loved ones.
Fifth grade students take classes in Religious Culture and Moral Knowledge for two hours per week, classes on the life of the Prophet Muhammad for two hours per week, and Quran education classes for two hours per week, which are all given by the same teacher.
The teacher said he had not given the salawat repetition task as homework, but rather as a suggestion for students and their families to do together.