By Maryam Spahic
What does it really feel like being in an Islamic institution? Truth be told, it’s not far different from any other institutions. We don’t only focus on the textbooks and computer screens. We aren’t locked up in classrooms, glued to the chair as all eyes stare at the whiteboard all day. We’re not restricted to only certain activities. We study as hard and have as much fun as all other institutions. The only difference is that there are certain guidelines to be followed, strictly not compromising the Islamic values.
Established in late 1990s, the International Islamic School Malaysia (IISM) emphasises on a balanced student development; intellectually, physically, spiritually, morally, emotionally and socially, based on the Islamic worldview revolving around the unity of God, also known as Tawheed. Its vision is “to develop a Muslim generation capable of analytical and critical thinking who become Muslims by conviction and who will strive to fulfil their role as Allah’s vicegerent on earth”.
With the Cambridge academic curriculum, the school offers all the mainstream subjects such as mathematics, sciences, geography, history and information technology. Additionally, to fulfil its vision, the IISM offers Islamic subjects such as Arabic language, Islamic studies, Hikmah thinking programme, Qur’an recitation and Tahfiz (memorisation).
Apart from the academic studies, extra-curricula activities as well as events play a significant role in moulding and building the character and personality of an individual. Hence, being involved in activities outside the classroom is as crucial as acing the exams written on paper. Many clubs and societies are offered in IISM, and students are free to choose to be a part of any, according to their personal preferences. Among the societies available are debate, entrepreneurship, photography, red crescent, and many more.
The events organised by the school serve the purpose of enhancing and challenging the skills and knowledge acquired in classrooms and clubs. These events aim to help students get out of their comfort zone, improve communication skills, and strengthen bonds between students and teachers.
International Day, being one of the most anticipated annual events by the students and teachers, is a several-day programme where students gather with their country mates to showcase anything and everything related to their country – traditional clothes, food, dances, music, etc. The Malays, for example would bring special traditional dishes like nasi lemak and rendang. The Pakistanis and their biryani, the Arabs and their sweet desserts, the Bosnians and their coffee. The Palestinian and Jordanian students cheerfully perform the dabke while the Chinese perform the lion dance. The Indonesian students beautifully dressed in their batik outfits, the Japanese in their kimono. Being part of an international institution, students have the advantage of building relationships with students and teachers from all around the globe like Saudi Arabia, Germany, Nigeria, Thailand, India, to name a few.
A heartwarming fact about IISM worth to be noted is that there is a special kind of bond between students, teachers and staffs. There is no major gap between them, giving the school a very positive vibe and friendly environment. Teachers and students happily sit together during their free time, having friendly laughs and conversations. At the same time, teachers are always there to assist the students in any way possible, and give advice and reminders for the benefit of everyone.
Students who have graduated constantly make a return to the school, to visit their beloved teachers and friends, and to reminisce their good old days. Many of the graduates are still constantly in touch with their fellow friends and teachers, making occasional reunions in and outside of the school. Both parties would gladly invite one another over to their houses or events to celebrate occasions such as weddings and Eid open houses.
The school is heavily involved with tournaments organised by outside institutions such as inter-school and national competitions. Be it sports or academic, all students are encouraged to join these competitions to unleash their potentials and talents they may have never known. Among the most anticipated events are the inter-school football and basketball tournaments as well as the International Mathematical Olympiad. Students and teachers work hard to prepare for these tournaments all year round, to make the school and families proud. Each year, more and more students are determined to join these competitions as it is a great platform where they are able to socialise, acquire knowledge and make everyone proud, not forgetting their chances of bringing home great prizes, or merely experiences that are just as valuable.
School institutions play a significant role in the lives of individuals as they spend over a decade there. Thus, schools have a major responsibility in ensuring that students receive the appropriate and adequate knowledge and skills to bring with them into adulthood as they are the hope for the future generations.
International Islamic School Malaysia offers the whole package; a holistic one. Besides offering the best education by competent teachers, IISM also ensures that students acquire the appropriate knowledge on the responsibilities of the vicegerent of God which is a crucial guideline for their character-building which will help them here and the Hereafter. Apart from that, IISM is a great platform for relationship building with people from all around the world, creating unforgettable fond memories and going through life changing experiences that will be cherished for a lifetime.***
Photos credit: Zulfan Haidar, Beenash Amjad, Hanna Qistina