Bismillah ArRahman ArRahmeem

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatallahi wa Barakatu

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We’ve all done it before. We all have sat in a class with a teacher lecturing in a monotone voice that just kills. If its not the voice, it’s the sound that some how reaches your ear and tracks an annoying pattern in the sound waves of their voice. “Take out your work books. Turn to page 134. Pass your worksheets up to the front.” In this example, the pattern dictates an emphasis on the last word of each sentence. For anyone to even notice such little defects, he must be really bored. Then there are those teachers who give you the “eye” while you put your head down. Lord help you if you fall asleep! I’m telling you, they will tap, poke, or hit hard on your desk purposely! Teachers don’t hold back on that type of stuff. And if you skip a class, they get all up in your business like they know the last time you actually “went” to the bathroom and really “used” it. Oh yea, and the “no cell phone” rule. No cell phones out during class time, and I shall quote a teacher of mine who once said, “Put that cell phone away or I’m taking it. You kids think you’re soo slick these days trying to text under the desk as if I can’t tell what your doing while your leaning back in the chair with your hands under the desk. Now there’s only one of two things you could be doing down there and I’m hoping its the texting!”

The first few months move on fast, but the last few…man! Seriously, those last three months just drag on. I’ll be staring at the clock just watching the seconds go by. No, not minutes or hours—but by seconds. That’s how much it sucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I mean I do love school; it’s just not all the time. Often I think that a lesson should be taught a certain way, rather than spend three weeks on the same subject. Other times we would have the most hilarious and interesting conversations. For example, in my Spanish 4 class, a Puerto Rican mentioned how white people always have food in their refrigerator. Then it just goes hilarious. The African-Americans were agreeing and backing a brother up. We even had a small “raise your hand if” poll asking how many of the white kids had their refrigerators full, and some even said that they had two fridges! What did this have to do with Spanish? Absolutely nothing. But I did learn about stereotyping.

Looking back at all the memories of high school, there’s one thing I regret most and it’s not using my time more efficiently. Sometimes I’d look at my transcript and find that I had a B+ in a class when I knew that if I had just pushed a little bit harder or spent a few more minutes studying, I could have gotten that A, or even when I look at some of the classes I’ve taken and I realize that I can’t remember much from what I learned in that class because I studied last minute just to get ready for the tests forgetting it later on after the test. It was worse when I needed to know everything from the beginning of the semester to the end of the semester, but I always counted on those last few days of review. And it worked. It worked every time, but I wasn’t learning anything.

One beautiful piece of advice that my uncle said to me was that there were two types of people in this world: (1) those that memorize and (2) those that learn. I find that learning is connected to your heart somehow. If you memorize something, its up in your head, but you wont have the backup: the heart. One day you may hit your head and forget your past and many parts in your life, but when you see something you love, it restores your memory because they are parts of knowledge that you applied to your life daily.

In Islam, we have to take care of our hearts and minds. With the mind comes knowledge, and with the heart comes wisdom. Now that I know all of this alhemdulilah, and also now that my mind has expanded much more than before, I am able to sit in a classroom and no matter how bad it gets, I can always find something beneficial in whatever it is we’re doing and still if I find myself that there’s just no absolute way I can find something to learn that is beneficial, I use that time to do something beneficial, like writing for instance, or reading.

The most beautiful hadith I read pertaining to knowledge is as follows:

“If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, Allah will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge, the inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned man over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave neither dinar nor dirham (money), leaving only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion.” [Sunan of Abu-Dawood Hadith 3634].

A friend of mine sent me this hadith when I became frustrated in teaching myself the basics of Islam, and I never forgot it ever since. I mean how could I? Subhanallah wa Allahu akbar!

Allah also says to us in the Holy Quran:

“Verily We have created man into toil and struggle… Have We not made for him a pair of eyes; and a tongue, and a pair of lips; and shown him the two ways (obedience and disobedience)?” [90:4-10]

It is important to use all that we have to help ourselves be successful in this life, and to prepare ourselves for the hereafter. The seconds on the clock that we waste watching are worth years on the day of resurrection.

Living in the west, or a prosperous country, we don’t realize the importance of knowledge therefore we lack the effort to advance in it. Often I used to wonder, why is it the world is so corrupt? Being Muslim, automatically I’d think its because the Ummah (Islamic Nation) is corrupt and disunitied, therefore the true message isn’t reaching the youths and nonMuslims correctly, but that’s not what it is. Out of all the years I’ve lived in this world, it seems that the killing of people is increasing, the destruction of the health and body is increasing, and the lack of knowledge is increasing. Why? Because we fail to teach each other and when we fail to teach each other and in result to learn about one another, the communication and tolerance barrier becomes extremely thin and weak. The world becomes an “Us” v.s. “Them” conflict . When this happens, it leads to kibr (pride/arrogance), and when this happens, we start to create importance in material objects. As you can see, one thing leads to another:

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How many of us truly would like getting called stupid, ignorant, or slow. No one would. From personal experience, I find it that those that don’t do well in school, or in life generally, try to cover it up in materialistic objects such as expensive clothing and jewelry. If they can’t have knowledge, they want status or power. Where’s that going to take you after you die? You can’t take any of it with you anyway! Can you imagine someone passing your grave and going, “Dude had like the best cars, the cutest hotties, and the tightest clothes, but brotha couldn’t read.” It might not be to the extreme that you couldn’t read, but how much of our life do we use to impact other people’s lives positively?

Did you know out of all the religions in the world, none places such an emphasis on education and seeking knowledge as Islam? None! Look it up if you don’t believe me. After all, the first revelation of Islam began with the word “iqra” meaning read or recite.

“Read in the name of thy Lord who created man from a clot and read thy Lord is the most bounteous who taught you by the pen, taught man that he did not know” [96:1-5].

Even the Arabic word “iqra” is so flexible and important in its meaning. Reciting and reading both go hand in hand. Both are also vital in assisting with memorization and the spreading of knowledge.

Back in the day, the Muslims were highly knowledgeable, Mashallah, and it’s mostly because they educated themselves in deen (religion) and not just secular education. When one understands his religion and finds his place in the world, his priorities fall into place because his life is together, or rather, he’s striving to put his life together.

So an important question arises. If Islam places such an emphasis on knowledge and education, why aren’t the modern-day Muslims perceived as an educated whole? Sadly, the answer to this question doesn’t lie within Islam; rather it lies with the Muslims themselves, with society. Many Muslim populated countries are in extreme poverty. Some can’t even afford to go to schools, and if they do attend a school, it’s not in a suitable educational environment. However, if you look at the prosperous Muslim populated countries such as Saudi Arabia and Spain, they have some of the best schools there are. Even so, there are enough educated people in this world to spread knowledge despite whether there are schools or not. Many of the current issues of why education is not spreading can be easily solved, but we are too into ourselves to really care, right? That’s really sad.

The second most important push is the desire to want knowledge. If one doesn’t want to learn, you can’t really force knowledge on to them. One can lose hope in everything. He can say that he doesn’t have money to learn, that he doesn’t live in a place that has a suitable school, or even that he hates to learn, but information is all around us. We have our five senses-the five wonders of the world to use so that we may take in all that we can to adapt into the world, and that we may live prosperous and die prosperous.

“There can never be a spoken or written word from which the wise cannot derive benefit.”Luqmaan (radiulallahu ‘anhu)

Quote from Knowledge by Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah bin Baaz (highly recommendable book, dowload by clicking here):

“Knowledge should be sought for the right reasons and for its
implementation (acting according to the knowledge) not for the
sake of ostentation (riyaa’), fame, or for the sake of any
other gain from the ephemeral gains of this world; rather, he
learns it to be acquainted with his Deen, to have insight into
what Allaah has made incumbent upon him, to strive to take
the people out of darkness and into the light, so he seeks
knowledge and acts upon it and teaches others about the good
that a Muslim is ordered to do.

Every path that he takes in search of knowledge is a way to
Paradise; this is true for every path, literal or otherwise: his
journey from one country to another; going from one circle of
knowledge to another; and from one mosque to another for the
sole intention of seeking knowledge. These are from the ways
of acquiring knowledge, likewise memorizing and studying
Islamic books of knowledge, perusal and writing are also from
the ways of seeking knowledge.

A proper student is concerned with all these paths that lead to
knowledge. He seeks it, desiring the Face of His Lord, the
Mighty and the Majestic. He wants to seek Allaah’s pleasure
and a home in Paradise; he wants to understand and reflect
upon His Deen; he wants to know what Allaah has made
incumbent upon him and what He has prohibited him from,
then acts accordingly; he wants to know his Lord with insight
and cognizance; he wants to rescue people (from the Fire of
Hell); he wants to be amongst the guided callers striving for the
truth; and he wants to guide people to Allaah through
knowledge. So wherever he turns he is in great excellence with
these correct intentions – even his sleep is from the paths to
Paradise – if he sleeps in order to strengthen himself to seek
knowledge, or to commit a book of knowledge to memory, then
his sleep is regarded as worship, contrary to the one who has
an evil intention, for he is in great danger.”

One last word before I end this. We often blame the media for spreading lies about how we live, act and what we believe in, but if we strive to spread the truth through educational means, not even the richest and most powerful influencers will be able to influence human kind with what they themselves perceive and witness.

Remember:

1. Just as easily as one can spend time, one can replenish it through some of the most beneficial forms e.g. spreading of knowledge, charity, deeds, prayer.

2. The Messenger of Allah sallahu ‘alayhi wa salaam said, “A person who follows a path for acquiring knowledge, Allah will make easy the passage to Paradise for him.” (Muslim)

3. Have nothing to do with the at work or school? Spend it through the dhikr (remembrance) of Allah and du’a (supplication)

4. Teach someone what he does not know or remind him of something he may need constant reminder of.

5. Ignorance kills, really it does, but you can kill ignorance. How? With a question.

Allah subhana wa ta’ala knows our true intentions. Spread knowledge with a clean heart and may you be rewarded with a deed that will out value all the wonders of the world ameen.

May the Ummah increase in knowledge and wisdom. May we spend our time efficiently and have the strength to develop our countries with our own hands. May we spread the knowledge and wisdom we have to others and illuminate the light of hope, which has been long neglected. May Allah subhana wa ta’ala forgive our sins and reward us for our deeds. Ameen.

fi aman Allah
w’salaam

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