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Approaching University Education: The Additional Step Every Muslim Should Take

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Asalamu Alaykum


Hope you are all in the best state of health and Imaan....


I was just reading this article and thought to share with you all, specially for thoses brothers and sisters who may be starting university now.


There is a lot of advice that high school students can receive from their teachers and guidance or academic counsellors regarding how they should prepare for a university education. Application instructions can be obtained from the university website or at the registrar's or the student affairs office. In addition, attending the orientation sessions of the Muslim Students Association or other appropriate organizations of the particular university that a student has planned to attend is beneficial. The specifics of how to prepare for a university education depend on where one wants to study and in what field (although some things are common like maintaining good grades in high school and submitting complete applications by the university application deadlines). However, there is one step of preparation that all of us, as Muslim students, should take and that is common for all Muslim students regardless of where we may be in the world. Unfortunately, teachers and guidance counselors frequently ignore this step when giving advice to their students, even in Muslim majority countries. That step is to have the proper intention for pursuing a university education.


Actually, we should have the proper intention for pursuing any form of education, whether it be high school, undergraduate, postgraduate or any other type of education, just as we should have the proper intention for pursuing any activity in our lives. However, most students make a decision regarding their career choices around the time they start university (perhaps a few years before or a few years after) so it is best for us to purify our intentions at this stage if we have not done so already.


We might be tempted to neglect our intentions when preparing for university. After all, there is more important and pressing work to be done, right? We have to study hard for our high school examinations, fill in all of the (sometimes complicated) application forms and prepare application packages and so on. In reality, however, having the proper intention is the most important step. This is one of the reasons that the first hadith that is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari is about the intentions. Narrated 'Umar bin Al-Khattab:


I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for."


Our intention for pursuing anything should not be to gain worldly benefits such as living a luxurious life or attaining fame. It should be to gain the pleasure of Allah(swt) and hence, to become of those who are successful in both this life and the Hereafter. Allah(swt) has said in the Holy Quran:


"Say: 'Truly my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are (all) for Allah the Cherisher of the Worlds: No partner has He: this am I commanded, and I am the first of those who bow to His will.'" (6:162-163)


We must remember that both religious and secular knowledge are important but that secular knowledge should be pursued with the intention of benefiting humanity. Whatever program we are pursuing in university, we should be doing so with the intention of using the skills and the knowledge that we acquire to help the Muslim ummah and to help humanity and our ultimate purpose for doing so should be to attain the pleasure of Allah(swt). Some of us might find it a little difficult to relate our program of study to benefiting humanity. There are some fields of study that are directly related to service to humanity such as Medicine and Law. There are others that are not so directly related such as Mathematics, perhaps. We should remember, however, that most fields of study will give us the ability to help humanity and the Muslim ummah in some way. (For example, it took some applied Mathematics to determine the direction of the Qiblah from a North American city like Toronto!) Also, we should remember all of the great Muslim scholars who were not only well-versed in the Islamic Sciences but who were also well-versed in other fields such as Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Geography, Sociology, History, Medicine and so on and they were able to contribute a lot to humanity through their knowledge.


There is another aspect of helping humanity and the Muslim Ummah that all of us can relate our program of study to, no matter what field we are pursuing and that is to support just causes and to help our Muslim brothers and sisters around the world with whatever wealth Allah(swt) provides us with after we have finished studying and go on to apply the skills we have learnt in the 'real' world.


Narrated by Abu Khudri(RA): The Prophet(SA) said: "How excellent the wealth of the Muslim is, if it is collected through legal means and is spent in the way of Allah's cause and on orphans, poor people and travelers. But he who does not take it legally is like an eater who is never satisfied and his wealth will be a witness against him on the Day of Resurrection."


In summary, we should purify our intentions and keep checking them throughout our academic careers (and, indeed, throughout our life) no matter what field of study we choose. InshaAllah, there will spring up from amongst us Lawyers, Computer Scientists, Economists, Engineers, Scientists, Mathematicians, Doctors and so on but we should not aim to be all these things for the sake of fame, wealth or some other worldly benefit; rather we should aim to be all these things for the sake of pleasing Allah(swt). If this is our intention, then since deeds depend upon intentions, InshaAllah we will be rewarded for every minute we spend studying and pursuing our education and for every minute we spend burning the midnight oil to study for exams and to complete assignments.

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Thanks for that Muna_Muslimah222, Jezekelah kheeran. It carries a Very important message MashAllah.


The Glorious Qur’aan, Sura: 11. Huud


Verses: 15-16



مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا وَزِينَتَهَا نُوَفِّ إِلَيْهِمْ أَعْمَالَهُمْ فِيهَا وَهُمْ فِيهَا لَا يُبْخَسُونَ (15) أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَيْسَ لَهُمْ فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا النَّارُ وَحَبِطَ مَا صَنَعُوا فِيهَا وَبَاطِلٌ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ (16)


Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter, to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein. (16) They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire, and vain are the deeds they did therein. And of no effect is that which they used to do.

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