By Aslan Uddin
I’m sure that many would also be feeling sad to spend their last term with those who are about to finish higher education. However I also see their leaving as an excellent opportunity to implement their knowledge and skills in positive ways for the Muslim community as Imam Shafi’i (May Allah have mercy upon him) said “Knowledge is not what one has memorized. Knowledge is what benefits.”
There are two ways in which they can advance us, either through normal contributions(like Muslim researchers, thinkers, scientists etc do currently) or through large contributions. The latter needs more elucidation and can be by starting new initiatives and organisations, establishing foundations, such as by starting Muslim peer review journals, helping Muslim universities to become world class, contributing to justice in Muslim countries and propagating new paradigms (like Islamic economics, science) and solutions to problems that have recently arisen or still haven’t been solved. Take the good that you have learnt from the current society and use it to further advance us. As for the bad from society, find alternatives or solutions to them. This is how Europe reached its enlightenment. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said “The people most beloved to Allah are those most beneficial to others” (Tabarani).
Sacrifices must be made, whether small or large, and they all count. The advancement of our own Muslim community lies on our own shoulders. The whole is greater than the sum of all parts.
There is much that can be achieved, even in serving humanity through medical breakthroughs. It is our leader, Muhammad (pbuh) who gave us hope when he said “There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment”(Bukhari). So take this as your certainty and help humanity for Allah Most High.
Nevertheless such advancement can be hastened by changing what is within us, so adopt excellent standards and manners. There is a large moral void that has to be filled (e.g avoiding obscene language, lying, backbiting etc) in this society and it can really help project a good image of Muslims if we adopt our Islamic values (i.e. pure tongues) as it will make us stand out in a positive manner. Show mercy to people and kindness without necessarily expecting people to reward you. We can reach far if we adopt the high ethical standards of Islam, and the reward is great.
It takes only one person to change an entire people for the positive, it has happened before and can happen again. Either that person will come from our generation or we must facilitate for such a person by laying the foundations for the future. Coordination and cohesiveness is important in all of this, and so is the need for working for the benefit of Islam.
Ask not what Islam can do for you, but what you can do for Islam. Soon more people will catch up to such positive initiatives and the pace will quicken and the path made easier insha’Allah. Allah Most High said in the Noble Qur’an “And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with those who do right.” (29:69)