“Bad effects” if Dhivehi and Islam made optional, warns State Islamic Minister

State Islamic Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed has warned on the Adhaalath Party website that making Dhivehi and Islam optional subjects at A-Level would risk “bad effects” to the country.

Shaheem said that changing the subjects from compulsory to optional was one of the biggest disputes regarding the new developing school curriculum.

”In my view it would wiser to instead revise the school curriculum and keep Islam and Dhivehi as compulsory subjects,” said Shaheem.

He recommended that A-Level Islamic studies be improved through the inclusion of topics such as ‘human rights in Islam’, ‘freedom of expression in Islam’, and ‘the Quran and science.’

”It would prove to the students that Islam is a religion fit for all ages, and will lead students to understand how developed it is,” Shaheem said.

He said that changing Islam and Dhivehi to optional subjects was like ”breaking down a good habit attached to the country.”

He said the school curriculum should be designed in a way that would make Islam an interesting subject for students.

”We do not have to demolish mosques because people do not pray,” he said.

The controversial decision to make Dhivehi and Islam optional subjects for A-Level students has sparked a series of protests outside the home of Education Minister Dr Mustafa Luthfy.

Dr Luthfy recently said the decision was not finalised and was ”just a suggestion proposed by the Education ministry’s steering committee.”

The move led Independent MP Ibrahim Muthalib to push a no-confidence motion against the Education Minister over the decision, while the Adhaalath Party meanwhile warned that Dr Luthfy “has put the final nails in his political coffin.”


45 thoughts on ““Bad effects” if Dhivehi and Islam made optional, warns State Islamic Minister”

  1. Dr. Musthafa Luthfee should stand up to these bullies. After all he is not suggesting that they do not teach Islam and Dhivehi at A-Level but just give the students a choice.

    But I can go one further than Mr. Know-it-all Shaheem and suggest a better compromise.

    Cambridge Board teaches Islamic Studies A Levels.


    By switching Islamic Studies to the Cambridge Board, we would be killing two birds with one stone. The students would then be taught a subject that would be recognized internationally and will contribute to their score in getting to a university unlike now at the same time continue studying Islam.

    Please Dr.Luthfee, switch it to an internationally recognized exam. And please dont give in to these bullies.

  2. why cant mdp remove these idiots from coalition instead.

  3. Why waste students valuable time for religious studies, every Maldivian is a Muslim by birth, the parents should teach them how to pray and be honest and teach moral conduct which is all about religion. If Islam is Science than why these guys are worrying to teach students Quran as science subject.
    By studying science the students are learning Quran itself. What a pathetic people are these. They think everyone in the world has same viewpoint as themselves.

  4. Mr.Shaheem, please don't give in to these...these...these..you guessed right!

  5. If you corrupt religion with Science people will start laughing and this will lead the people to go away from religion. How much these guys try to entwine religion with science you cannot prove a religion through science.

  6. @Jambe

    NOR can science disprove religion.
    All sciences point to one fact; Creator


  8. this is insane. its not gaumee ithihaad who should be removed from coalition. the adhaalht has been bullying government over and over but these people with a dubious agenda to turn this country a new Afghanistan remains,


  10. You cannot force any subjects on students. It is because of our desire to be a strong Islamic nation that we have Islam being taught in our earlier grades. But this is what I don't understand...

    Why can't we teach topics such as ‘human rights in Islam’, ‘freedom of expression in Islam’, and ‘the Quran and science’ in Grade 10??? Or Grade 9??

    An introduction could easily be given to these subjects over the course of two years, and those who want more specialized knowledge can continue with it during their A Levels.

    So few students actually go on to A Levels that it won't affect that many students. And Adhaalath and Shaheem are simply missing the point.

    A Levels is not about core values or life values or anything else. It is about two things:
    1. Getting a job, or;
    2. Getting into University/College

    So unless they want to get into government, they DO NOT NEED DHIVEHI. Unless they're going into an Islamic Studies Major, or the Ministry itself, they DO NOT NEED A-Level ISLAMIC STUDIES. The are options that people should be allowed to choose or allowed to forgo.

    Some of these Islamic teaches go around Male' telling students not to study other higher level subjects. Many say that if a girl becomes a Lawyer, she'll go to hell! (It was a seventh grader who asked this question) Instead of worrying about forcing students to take subjects they don't want to, why doesn't the Ministry start tackling the issues that matter! The people who're actually distorting Islam in the first place and destroying young people's vision of it from an early age.

    This is now the President's decision as much as it is Dr. Luthfi's. Are ya'll wiling to stand up for what's right, or just make another concession?

  11. Shaheem and his saykun can go to HELL. Is it a must that everyone become a HAABI or a Mullah. Adaalath should be given a choice SHUT-UP or settle down in Kabul. We can even finance their migration.

  12. Mr. State Minister,
    Only 1500 sits in A levels. What about the rest of our population? How about forcing these two subjects on every human being in order to save the world and the human race?

  13. I was reading the comments below and could not help but laugh;

    The question is; are you a man of god or a man of science?

    I for one, would gladly choose the latter and would encourage others to do so. The success of our nation can be better served by teaching our youth to embrace globalization and plot their career path.

    For many, Islam and Dhivehi should not be seen as an academic curriculum, but common sense. Unfortunately these subjects are necessary for those with poor English standards, and minimal understanding of the Arts and Sciences. The aspiring and ambitious should ditch these two subjects.

  14. Can science prove the rationale behind compulsory beard, burqa, stone the devil, circumambulation a black stone, drink holy water , marry any number of woman, face five times a day a black stone. These are all rituals, for some people these are taboos.

  15. Totally agree with Sh. Shaheem. Instead of giving the options we should be improving the curriculum. Dhivehi & Islam must be taught at CHSE. These two subjects are very important subjects.

    We should not let the three Gaumee Iththihad Ministers decide on this issue. The secular extremists should not be allowed to spread their fundamentalism in our country.

  16. shaheem, kaleyakah neyngeyne education ministry in kanthah kuran vee gotheh. ekamah vakin bayaku thibey dho? hurihaa dheythereyakah boa koppan noolhey. kaleyah verikan dheykah nuthelhey mi gaumuga thibi hama jehey meehun kure ekaku ves

  17. we don't need to be scholars in islam in order to be muslim. we don't need to have an exam to learn islamic history. there is no point in making islam compuslory in a level, we get enough in the o level. those that have an interest can pursue it further and others can focus on other subjects.

  18. @ unknown student

    Did you realise you hit the caps lock key sometime in the beginning of your outburst? lol

  19. Are we so insecure in our beliefs that we feel the need to force Islam as a subject into A level students curriculum? And if Shaheem is so worked up about this, why is he only trying to force it upon A level students? Why not make it mandatory (as in the case of Malaysia) for all tertiary education courses as well?

  20. It is an issue that has to be given due thought before making a decision. Interesting comment which 'Aisha" has made. "Why not make it mandatory............as well". Are we Maldivians any less in terms of our capacity to learn or what is it that......... Definitely the teaching hs to undergo so real good changes.... I remember when I was studying in Majeediyya and some lecture when questioned about "masturbation" stated that "the hand would, excuse me in his own words "Aiy ban'du boduvaane, adhi heki dheyneyey". And guess what, the whole 10th standard broke out in laughter and the lecturer fumed out of the hall and lo, end of class. This is not what we expect our kids to be taught.

  21. Maybe I should go read the finer details of religion. I could swear I didn't read anything about not going to heaven coz I chose not to take up Islam during A level.

    More to the point, this isn't about Islam or Dhivehi, this is pure politics.

    And oh, how many students skip going to CHSE coz they teach during prayer times?

  22. "He recommended that A-Level Islamic studies be improved through the inclusion of topics such as ‘human rights in Islam’, ‘freedom of expression in Islam’, and ‘the Quran and science.’"

    I am no "sheikh", but I speak with absolute authority of a persecuted dissenter that Shaheem doesn't know peanuts about Human Rights or Freedom of Expression.

    If indeed these topics exist in Islamic studies, then Shaheem has skipped the class on it.

    The 'Religious Unity' regulation designed by him and his ministry couldn't have come out from any person with even a primary school understanding of the concepts of freedom or rights of others.

    So shaheem, you're not fooling anyone with your bogus pretensions.

    What Shaheem really wants is the continued radicalization of students in CHSE that will hopefully become his power base and soldiers in the future Caliphate to be run by him.

  23. What does Shaheem want to teach? Human rights in Islam? Will he hide from the students that the penalty for apostasy in Islam is DEATH (or the "mild version" in Maldives: loss of citizenship) - or... ??

  24. Yaamyn:

    He's just throwing those words in there to both justify his ulterior motives and make the Ministry sound progressive. I think he used similar words in the pres statement about the Unity Regulations as well.

  25. @ Marina

    Don't tell me you are Richard Dawkins in disguise. lol

    I am all in favour having these two subjects as compulsory subjects.

  26. What a joke and embarrassment this guy is! He doesn't understand even a letter of the concept of FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

    1. The basic values of the religion can be taught in primary school and can be further elaborated in secondary school. Everything you need to know about a religion can be covered in 10 years surely!

    2. It's more logical to offer optional subjects of Cambridge religious studies in A'Levels as some people have suggested here. You can get university credits for them also this way.

  27. @Jefrey Salim Waheed, Your so-called absolute freedom cannot practice in Maldives. Freedom for the student to stand against school, to remain silence in exam, just to protect the international human rights.
    And Some people are unaware of the Meaning of the Translation of the Quran. Why? Because they are being misguided, and were among the anti-Islamic pagans.
    Dhivehi is our national language. Islam is our Religion, the state Religion. Our culture and everything is depend on Islam. If Islam stand against any cultural event, such as Ziyaaratha Nadhuru Bunun, that are to be regarded as void ab initio.

  28. As a parent I would like to teach my children how to dance, sing and ... karate' fighting skills.

    The dancing and singing are for perfecting the Arabian belly dance, and Karate to kick off the Jews.

    i'm sure that with my intensions ... i shall get the blessings from Adhaalath, Salaf, Shaheem, Baaree and Osama as well.

  29. no point of been cynics here. we should stand up against shaheem trying to make Maldives in a intolerant extreme state

  30. What we are experiencing is something that we cannot stop. This phenomenon is expected. People like Salim Waheed who grow up in overseas without any knowledge of Islam are now returning to Maldives to lay their eggs. I do not think we have any other choice, but to give in to these people. But the good news is that after couple of decades, people will again come and embrace religion. This is exactly what is happening in Turkey.

  31. Raees nasheed has to give in to whatever Adalath demands. Do you guys who bark here against Adalath know what happened to Reeko Moosa? He saw someone in white robe in his dreams, this man said to Moosa "Ey Moosa, Kaley haruge thakuga adah baaru laafa Adalath Party aai dhekolhah thi vaahaka dhakkanee, balaalabala kaleyge va aiy faraai. Moosa balaali iry fenunee, naraka varah bodah aga hulhuvaigen, gini thah burussamun dhaathan. Hudhu hedhumuga huri beykalu vidhaalhuvi, dhen thigothah Adaalath ah furassaara kuraanama, aakhir natheeja thifennanee. Moosa dhennevi, Alhugandu dhuvahakuves dhen Adalath ah furassara eh nukuraanan, emeehunge faraathun maa'f ah ves edheynan. Dhen ebeykalaku vadaigenfi"

    So Moosa came out the next day an apologise and said No PDP without Adalath and No Goverment without Adalath.

    They lived happily ever after

  32. I am also a Muslim, and know lot about Islam and the teaching of Islam. But some time I feel what is all Hajj, tawaf, stone the devil, facing a black stone while praying, shave the heads and wrap white robes. This does not make us any different than Buddha’s, Hindus, they have same rituals. But it does not make me to deviate from Islam but have more tolerance to other belief systems. But one thing is sure Sheiks cannot control the world today, people have access to the whole world, and the free flow of information has no limit. Why These Sheiks are wasting their energy and trying to make a big issue out of Islam. Is it to show that they know something others don’t know? But one thing is sure, they are not rocket scientists, All the sheiks should try to find other profession. Sooner than later you will be out casted. May be this is what worrying them.

  33. this is just ridiculous! next thing we know, they'll be advocating making islam a compulsory subject in the faculties too! too bad we don't have enough qualified professors of the subject.

    i finished school recently and i honestly don't see the necessity of studying islam in A-levels. the knowledge i have acquired about religion were not primarily taught by my school teachers, but rather by my parents and my own research fuelled by my own interest in the subject. any perusal of my islam text books, especially during A-levels, were for the sole purpose of passing my exams.

    also, its important to keep in mind that only a minor percentage of students go on to do A-levels, and a lot of students who have the financial capability are skipping CHSE and going abroad because most students think its a waste of time.

  34. Only bad effect, the country will have by making these subjects optional is creating morons like this Saheem.

  35. What next? A call to stop teaching biology and evolution because of the manifest conflict between the theory and the Islamist interpretation of Creation? After all, the Constitution proscribes the practice of any act that goes against the so called tenets of Islam. And what could be more blasphemous than the concept that life arose on earth through natural forces and thrived through the mechanism of evolution?

    The uncritical proclamation of "bad effects" made by Shaheem and his ilk on making the two subjects elective are representative and reflective of the form of education they receive in Religion School. Institutions like Medina University do not meet the fundamental requirement expected of an academic institution in that they fail to impart to their students the intellectual toolkit necessary for critical review of issues. Dogma are accepted without question and on the basis of faith. They can never the concept of free speech or the plurality of ideas. They will fall back on censorship and curtailment to access to information. That is the tyranny of an Islamic education.

    This fact becomes clear in their religious pronouncements. They will never make a cogent case on why making the subjects elective will lead to "bad effects". Their is no persuasive argument on how, and through what mechanism, making the subjects elective is linked to the "bad effects." In every cause the Islamists champion, the effects are given as an undisputed outcome of an action, and any further inquiry would be silenced.

    The Education Ministry cannot permit Shaheem and his motley crew to dictate the educational agenda. The education system of the Arab countries, which Shaheem wants to emulate, is not remarkable for their intellectual or technical pursuits. The whole Arab world, comprising of 350 million people, produced a mere 17 original research publications in 2007, compared with 2684 papers from the State of Israel, containing 8 million people. The Education Ministry should focus on producing the techincal and academic competency necessary for national development, so that it can do its part on where the country needs to be five, ten or twenty years hence. Please do not let these Islamomania distract you from role to develop well rounded and competent people that can proudly stand up as citizens of a globlaized world.

  36. Salim, where were you, when we stood up for our rights.

  37. Hani:

    True. I'd rather move in with Hannibal Lecter than seek 'Human Rights' from Shaheem or his ilk.

  38. Formaru Moyamoon,

    I was right there. During the campaign I was at Red Grass (MDP Campaign Headquarters), I went on campaign trips, attended gatherings, and was present at every MDP meeting. I spent my days talking with the International Media, helping to coordinate the national campaign, and liaising with the other coalition partners. I spent my nights printing t-shirts and distributing leaflets. When you ask where I was? I was right there. I was there when we started the campaign, and I was there when the sun rose at Artificial Beach, for when those rays of light hit our nation after that historic vote - those rays fell upon my face drenched with tears for what we had accomplished. The chance for a democracy.

    And if Salafi, Hanbali, or Wahhabi ideology continues to be propagated by the various scholars within Adhaalath, then the democracy we fought for will drown. Slowly, but surely it'll be eroded under the guise of protecting our Islamic Values, when they are doing anything but.

    Yasin Fikry,

    I believe in democratic responsibility as well as democratic rights. We have a responsibility to provide a save environment, to participate, and protect each others rights. I do not believe that anyone should be silenced unless they impinge upon the freedoms and rights of another. None of us should do harm and we must protect those who are unable to protect themselves.

    And Ahmed,

    Being abroad has given me perspective. You think what is happening in Maldives is unique? Its happening all over the Muslim world. There is a gradual steady shift towards salafi based ideology which is an abboration to what 90% of Muslims call Islam. The difference is that the rest of us believe in TOLERANCE as a fundamental aspect of our religion. Salafies, Wahhabies, and Hanbalies all deny this fundamental truth. To them there is only THEIR way. These fallible human wanabe demigods interpret a perfect sacred text and then expect the rest of us to believe that their interpretation is perfect as well. Make no mistake that even taken at their so called literal meanings, these are still interpretations. And because they are brought to us through human agency (these so called imams and sheiks), they are fallible. And they advocate their Islam. Not Ours.

    I may not have been allowed to grow up in my home nation, but I will not have my children be robbed of the same opportunity i was denied. I will not allow those who lust after power and prominence to destroy our nation and bring about such repression as we spent half a decade trying to overcome.

    The time is now to show our dissatisfaction of the stauts quo. The time is now to push for true rights, and true change. If not now. Then never. The time is now.

  39. Shaheem
    Please don't try to force on students the subjects they hate. Islam and Dhivehi are subjects that are most disliked by the students. Do something else to promote your Adhaalaath party!

  40. Mr. Shaheem. I respect you as a Muslim scholar, BUT did you for minute think about what all the students are studying in the primary and secondary grades Islam? If the students are taught well,in the proper style, students would be very much aware of the religious aspects, which in turn would create their love and respect for the religion. This is what learning about religion means isn't it? Our youngsters need to love and respect the religion more than learning the whole Islam text by heart. Go round the schools and talk to the students on your own, before making such remarks. That is what your job actually should be. You can't teach religion by being inside an air-conditioned room. You need to mix with the normal citizens and not just to give sermons.
    Hope Mr. Shaheem will move himself out of his office and into the schools when he gets this message. Especially go round the secondary schools.

  41. The first thing I noticed after reading these comments is how many agnostic are in this country. A bit shocking.

    I think instead of making the subjects optional you need to revise the Islam and Dhivehi syllabus and textbooks.
    The Dhivehi Syllabus has 2 papers. If I remember correctly paper 1 is the writing paper and has 2 questions, the essay and the creative writing (play, autobiography etc). Paper 2 has the comprehension Passage, the Lhen/Raivaru Sharaha and the literary component.
    Other than the essay everything in the paper is completely useless. They need to change the syllabus so that it includes things like letter writing, grammar, translation etc. Because these are things the students will need to know when they start working. I sit at my desk every day and wait for my boss to send me a lhen to sharaha kuran instead of stacks of letters to be written and documents to be translated. I mean that’s what I was taught not letter writing! May be they can introduce a new subject, Dhivehi Literature as an optional one for those who want to study poems and literary works.

    As for the Islam subject they whole text book needs to be re written and the syllabus completely revised. Instead of trying to cram vast subjects such as hadith, shariah and Vaarutha mudhaa in to a couple of pages and confusing the students it’s better to teach the basics of Islam cause honestly most students still don't know them.
    Topics such as The five pillars of Islam, marriage, which food to eat and other basics would be better and more interesting than trying to figure out who gets the Ferrari when dad dies! (I know bad example but you get what I mean.)

    For the students who are whooping in jubilation if these subjects are made optional and you don’t study them those who studied them will get all the scholarships because it seems the more subjects you study the more points you get. This phenomenon was seen recently in the selection of students for the IGMH ITEC scholarships, students who studied CAE/CPE (which is optional) and those who did extra subjects got more points. Even when the subject was economics which has absolutely no relevance when doing MBBS.

  42. Compulsory education in this country stops at grade 10. It's only logical that compulsory subjects stop then too. Especially considering that out of the 15,000 students who complete o'levels, only a around 500 go on to do a'levels, while several sit it privately and it's not compulsory for them. But I wouldn't be surprised that that adhaalath suggest that those who sit a'levels privately should complete islam and dhivehi as well. what next? introduce it at faculties? or when students go off to study abroad for undergraduate and graduate studies, it becomes mandatory for them to take islam and dhivehi then too? or what, maldivians can only attend universities acceptable to adhaalath? where does it stop??
    islamic education isn't the sole responsibility of the education system. it is a responsibility of the family, the society, the community, and the individual.

  43. this is freakin outrageous! :S what is this so called 'badd effects' this is one of the main reason i didnt even bother go to CHSE, i went straight to study for the career i chose.was difficult, bt im doin fine. so i think for the future . or education minister is doin the right thing. islamic principles and morals should be taught at O levels. not A levels. and dhivehi. which i didnt do any work until O levels. is a pain in the ass for my friends who are in CHSE.

  44. Hey ppl. Maldives being a muslim country and dhivehi speakin country it is better to have these subjects as compulsory subjects.
    This is the case in almost all the countries. In india also one has to study atleast one language while doin degree but no religious studies unless we are doin a course in a particular religion. It's the case in india but the indians never worry about it.
    Y fight against it? we are in Maldives. We are Muslims. More Islam classes means better knowledge about it. It will keep us refreshed and keep our imaan.


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