Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Muslim Students in Universities - Part 1 - Intention and Acceptance



Alhamdulillah, by the grace of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, many of us are studying in various universities across the globe in widely varying fields. Whether these studies are purely Islamic or seemingly unrelated to Islam, irrespective of our field of education, as Muslim students (or soon to be students) of universities, we have our own unique set of responsibilities which separate us from the rest of the flock. Recently I've been listening to some lectures by respected scholars of Islam about the duties and responsibilities of Muslim university students. I'll share some of the things I've learned in this post. 

  • Intention matters most:  First point is to make a firm, pure intention (Niyyah) for the studies. Intention is what sets apart a true Muslim student, from an average student who doesn't understand Deen. 

    • We should always keep in mind that the studies that we're doing is not our goal, but only a means to achieve the goal, which is the pleasure of Allah (SWT) in the Duniya and the Hereafter.  Zaid ibn Thabit Radiyallahu 'anhu narrates, I heard Rasulullah Sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam saying, "He whose objective is the world, Allah (SWT) scatters his affairs (he faces worries and anxieties in every aspect) and places the fear of poverty before his eyes; and he receives only that which has been preordained for him. And he whose intention (objective) is the Hereafter, Allah makes all his affairs easy, and  enriches his heart, and the world comes to him humiliated." (Ibn Majah) 
    • The best intention -  to benefit all humanity. 
    • Intention to provide for self, family and neighbors.
    • Our intentions must never be to earn respect from people. Abu Hurairah (R) narrates that Rasulullah (S) said, "He who seeks worldly things, though in a lawful way, to boast, to acquire too much, and to show off, will meet Allah (SWT) such that Allah (SWT) will be very angry with him. And he who seeks worldly things in a lawful way, to keep away from begging, and striving for his family and behaving kindly towards his neighbours, will meet Allah (SWT) on the Day of Resurrection with his face shining like the full moon. (Baihaqi) 

  • Seek acceptance from Allah (SWT): Some of us maybe studying in a field in which it doesn't seem possible to benefit humanity like some other fields like medicine. If we make a strong intention to benefit humanity through the knowledge Allah (SWT) has given us, but we don't know how to use it in a beneficial way, we must keep praying to Allah, and be steadfast on Deen. Allah will make a way for us Insha-Allah. 

    • Two things (words) come from the same root, Qaabiliyyah (ability) and Qubooliyyah (acceptance). We must strive to achieve both, but the latter is more important. 
    • The Pharaoh (during the time of Prophet Musa 'Alayhis Salaam) had the ability, but he didn't have acceptance, so he was humiliated. 
    • Prophet Muhammad (S) prayed to Allah (SWT) so that Allah serves Islam through one of the two 'Amr's, meaning Hazrat Umar (R) and Abu Jahl, which shows that they both had ability. But Umar (R) also had acceptance, so he was chosen by Allah (SWT) for the service of Islam, while Abu Jahl was defeated and humiliated, like the Pharaoh. 
    • We must pray to Allah (SWT) that He accepts our abilities. The proof of acceptance would be that Allah (SWT) would make it possible for us to use those abilities for the benefit of the world surrounding us. And that includes ourselves, our families, neighbors, general muslims, non-muslims and even animals.

  • Insha-Allah we will discuss about the importance of productivity in the life of a Muslim student in the next part. May Allah (SWT) give us the Tawfique to practice upon whatever we've learned, and also to spread the message to our brothers as well.