Raising Curiosity and Excitement in Education
the method of raising curiosity, excitement and suspense is the first mean to catch the attention, sharpen the mind and awaken the soul. the human soul looks forward to knowing new things. when the teacher raises the curiosity of students, this makes them search and investigate with eagerness to know more enlightening information. this is reflected in the hadith (prophetic saying) which is narrated by abu said bin al-mu'alla (ra):
1- while i was praying in the mosque, allah's apostle called me but i did not respond to him. later i said, "o allah's apostle! i was praying." he said, "didn't allah say'--"give your response to allah (by obeying him) and to his apostle when he calls you." (8.24) he then said to me, "i will teach you a sura which is the greatest sura in the qur'an, before you leave the mosque." then he got hold of my hand, and when he intended to leave (the mosque), i said to him, "didn't you say to me, 'i will teach you a sura which is the greatest sura in the qur'an?' he said, "al-hamdu-lillah rabbi-l-alamin (i.e. praise be to allah, the lord of the worlds) which is al-sab'a al-mathani (i.e. seven repeatedly recited verses) and the grand qur'an which has been given to me." [sahih bukhari, volume 6, book 61, number 528]
in the hadith, it is obvious that abu said bin al-mu'alla was eager to know the greatest sura in the qur'an. he could not wait or give the prophet the chance to walk out of the mosque; instead he asked him quickly "didn't you say to me, 'i will teach you a sura which is the greatest sura in the qur'an?'"
2- narrated abu huraira that the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "gather because i will read one third of the qur'an to you." people gathered, and then the prophet (pbuh) came out and recited: "say, he is allah, the only one." (surat al-ikhlas). then the prophet (pbuh) stepped inside. so, muslims talked to each other saying that it must be a divine revelation from heaven that made him enter. then the prophet (pbuh) came out and said: "i told you i will read one third of the qur'an because al-ikhlas equals one third of the qur'an." (sahih muslim) so, what the prophet (pbuh) said to them had such a strong effect on them to raise their curiosity to listen to one third of the qur'an from the prophet (peace and blessings of allah be upon him). the method of telling them the merit of surat al-ikhlas made them listen carefully and anxiously for what was said. the whole story reflects the status of surat al-khlas and reading the qur'an. the companions’ eagerness to listen to one third of the qur'an from the prophet intensified their attention to the merit of surat al-ikhlas.
also, using the word "gather" by the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) and then stepping inside and coming out again. this technique enhances the importance of what he was telling them and establishes the situation in the minds of the companions to absorb the meaning and lessons.
3- anas ibn malik (ra) reported that he and other companions were sitting with the prophet (peace be upon him), who said: "a man from the people of paradise will enter now." and a man from al-ansar entered, with his beard dripping with water from wudhu (ablution), and holding his sandals in his left hand. the following day, the prophet (pbuh) said the same thing and the same man entered. on the third day, the prophet (pbuh) again repeated his statement and the same man entered with water dripping and holding his sandals. when the prophet (pbuh) left, abdullah ibn amr ibn al-as (ra) followed the man and said: 'i quarreled with my father and i swore i would not go to him for three days and nights. would you shelter me for these days?' the man replied: 'yes.' anas said: 'abdullah said that he stayed with this man for three nights and he did not see him praying at night, but every time he moved and changed position in bed he would remember allah saying, 'allahu akbar' until salat-ul-fajr." abdullah said: 'i didn't hear anything from him but good. when the three nights had passed i said: 'o slave of allah! i really didn't abandon my father nor was i angry with him. but, i heard the apostle of allah speaking of you on three separate occasions, the prophet had said that a man from the people of paradise would enter, and you were the one to enter on all the three times. so, i wanted to stay with you to see what you do so that i could follow you. but i have not seen you doing much. so what is that you do that makes allah's apostle (peace be upon him) say what he had said?' the man replied: 'it is nothing more than what you saw.' when it was time to leave, he called me back and said: 'yes, it is nothing more than what you saw, except that i have no place in myself for ill-intentions or hasad (envy) towards any muslim and what allah has given them.' abdullah said: 'this is what has made you deserving of the praise and this is what we cannot do." [musnad ahmad].
in the story, the motive of abdullah ibn amr ibn al-as (ra) to follow the man to know the reason for the prophet (pbuh) to say three times about this man: "a man from the people of paradise will enter now." the method of excitement and suspense is quite clear in the story.
1) using the excitement and suspense method is the strongest motive for education, research and investigation.
2) the teacher has to consider that the terms and words used in this method have to lead to an endearing and captive meaning to the soul.
such as what the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) said in the three situations: "i will teach you a sura which is the greatest sura in the qur'an, before you leave the mosque," "gather because i will read one third of the qur'an to you.” and finally, "a man from the people of paradise will enter now" three times.
3) the more excitement used in the hadith, the stronger the motives of listeners to learn the lessons included.