Malappuram: If you ask Mohammed Basith M about his favorite sloka in the Ramayana epic, this young Muslim without any hesitation would recite the verses from “Ayodhya Kanda” which describe Lakshmana’s wrath and Lord Rama’s consolation to his brother explaining the Uselessness of the Kingdom and Power.
He would not only render the verses of ‘Adhyatma Ramayanam’, the Malayalam version of the epic written by Thunchathu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, with ease and melody. Yet he would also explain in detail the meaning and message of the sacred lines.
This in-depth knowledge of the great epic helped Basith and his fellow college friend Mohammed Jabir PK emerge as winners in a recent Ramayana quiz competition held online by leading publication DC Books.
Basith and Jabir, fifth and final year students respectively of the Wafy programme, an eighth year course at the KKSM Islamic and Arts College in Valanchery in this northern district of Kerala, were among the five winners of the quiz held last month to mark the ‘Month of Ramayana’.
The victory of the Islamic students in the Ramayana quiz attracted media attention, following which people from various walks of life began to congratulate the duo.
The students said that although they knew the epic from childhood, they started to read and learn deeply about Ramayana and Hinduism after joining the Wafy course, the curriculum of which contains the teachings of all major religions.
The college’s extensive library, which has a huge collection of books on other religions, helped them read and understand the epics.
“All Indians should read and learn the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata as they are part of the culture, tradition and history of the country. I believe it is our responsibility to learn and understand these texts,” Jabir told PTI.
Emphasizing that Lord Rama is an embodiment of righteousness, patience and serenity, student Wafy said these noble virtues should be part of every human being.
“Rama had to sacrifice even his kingdom to fulfill the promise made to his beloved father Dasaratha. While living in a time of endless power struggles, we should be inspired by characters like Rama and the message of epics like Ramayana,” the 22-year-old student explained.
Basith felt that a thorough reading would help to better understand other religions and people belonging to these communities.
No religion promotes hatred but only spreads peace and harmony, he said, adding that winning the quiz gives him extra motivation to learn the epic more deeply.
The eight-year Wafy course is offered at 97 campuses under the Coordination of Islamic Colleges (CIC) combining religious and temporal education for students after passing the exam.