Please read yesterday's post: Bringing the Sunnah Back: The Proper Steps to Seeking Knowledge

Sometimes you can't fulfill your dreams, but you find yourself fulfilling another calling instead.

That's the position I find myself in. After many years, many dollars, and many books lining the shelves of my hallway and office, many books overflowing from my desk, many books in a language I can't fully comprehend (yet), I have come to grips with the fact that I can't fulfill my dreams, but I might have found something that's better for me.

I think it's fair to say that most of the people I have met, who have begun studying Islam to any extent (I count here even listening to a few CD's or reading a couple of books) has dreamt of becoming a person academically in tune with his or her religion. Maybe not necessarily a scholar in its proper right, but dreamt of being an advanced student well-versed in the minutiae of Islamic theological and jurisprudential issues.

Personally, my dream was to be a scholar of hadith, knowing the ins and outs of the Sunnah of the Prophet (sal-Allahu 'alayhi was-sallam) and the authenticity of different texts, and so on. It didn't happen.

Before I continue, it's important for me to highlight an incident that happened to me a couple of years ago. I was attending a class with Shaykh Yaser Birjas, and it was a class I had been looking forward to for many months. I couldn't get out of being 'on-call' at work that weekend, but I wasn't worried as we normally didn't get paged on weekends. Well, I got paged. And it wasn't any run-of-the-mill issue, but the kind of call where I had to get out my laptop and sit on a 3 or 4 hour conference call to sort out the issue. I was thoroughly bummed out, assuring myself that this was some kind of a punishment and that I wasn't fit for the knowledge I was seeking. After talking to Shaykh Yaser, he told me to flip the way I looked at the situation. Allah (swt) was testing me to see how dedicated I was to learning, and if I was going to let this prevent me from it, or if I was going to try harder and find another way to learn what I missed.

When giving khutbah, I often mention that everyone has a role to fulfill in the ummah. Allah (swt) blessed us all with different strengths and talents, but all of us have the ability to dedicate our lives to serving him and helping the community around us. Whether that contribution is humanitarian, environmental, academic, familial, communal, social, medical, technical – you get the idea – we have the ability to serve our Creator while helping those around us.

So while for me the dream of serving the ummah was academic in nature, I got tripped up. Learning Arabic? Way behind schedule. Memorizing Qur'an? Same story. Age? Getting up there. Time? Diminishing exponentially.

It was time to reassess what my contribution to the ummah is/was going to be. While I think I might be on the right track of doing what I can try to do best for the ummah [still a long way to go], another series of tests has popped up. How do you balance your time between projects and family? How do you maintain a balance between service and personal development? These are all issues I struggle with, and I'm quite sure the struggle will continue, as I know I haven't always made the correct calls in regard to these issues.

There's not much advice to give here, as I'm still struggling to find my way, but there are a couple of essential lessons I have learned from my mistakes that I hope others can also learn from before making similar mistakes.

1) Learn to say no. First to yourself, and then to others. You can't save the world, we can barely save our own selves. Don't overextend – especially when that extension comes at the price of family. Say no to others and don't get bogged down. It's better to say no to someone than to say yes and not be able to live up to your end of it. Don't let anyone hustle you into “fee sabeelillah” work when you know it's too much for your plate.

2) Keep priorities in order. I'm quite certain that my hadith scholar dream fell apart because of lack of prioritization. Worry about the 5 pillars. Worry about memorizing Qur'an, worry about pronouncing that Qur'an correctly. Worry about being good to your parents, your spouse, your children. Worry about staying away from looking at what displeases Allah, listening to what displeases Allah, and taking part in what displeases Allah. Then worry about the finer issues of academic Islam. We have a long way to go, and we sometimes lose the 'forest for the trees'.

My hope is that for those of us who have gotten involved in something and gotten burned out, finding your focus will help you get back in the swing of things. By refocusing my goals on how I want to contribute to the ummah, it has also refocused how I approach my study of Islam. I know, for example, that it is safe to say that I will not be named a senior scholar to AMJA's fatwa committee anytime soon. I'm also fairly certain that I won't be authoring any books of fiqh, teaching sarf/nahw, or doing tahqeeq or sharh of any major Islamic work. But I do know that I have a future in helping to work administratively with Islamic organizations (or even websites), and therefore it behooves me to bolster these skill sets to help whoever I am working with. Even if I cannot be a scholar, I know that I can work to provide support to them. I also know that I may be in the capacity of giving khutbah, or working with the youth. Therefore I know that when I study Islam, I need to focus on issues of general concern to the community at large in order to help myself and the average Muslim committed to the basic teachings of our religion that we so often neglect.

A focus on the basics is much needed in our times. My heart still aches at some of the comments on the post I made with an appeal for Haiti where some people raised issue with my supplicating to Allah to alleviate the pain and suffering of those harmed by the devastation there. Although I understand the technical argument some people may make (we should pray for their guidance instead), I do not think that argument is correct. We are commanded in Islam to help those in need, to help the poor, to help the orphan – no matter what their religion. But what this “academic” argument indicates to me is not a lack of understanding of the technicalities and intricacies of Islamic law – but that we are facing a bigger problem. Namely, the lack of compassion and mercy in our hearts, a direct consequence of our abandoning the practice of the real precepts of our religion, and instead devoting our time and attention to finer details in a vacuum devoid of reality.

I have forgotten which scholar said this (I believe it was Shaykh al-Albani), but it was said that our society faces an issue of adab (manners) moreso than an issue of knowledge. Many of us who have embarked upon the path of trying to “learn” more and be “students of knowledge” can surely recall having arguments with our parents. These arguments would usually result in things like, “if you are so religious, why don't you…..” and we would often scoff at those remarks thinking we were focusing on some greater issue of good and concern. In hindsight though, the remarks from our parents were most likely correct. We have not served the ummah in the best manner by paying more attention to researching a hypothetical issue of fiqh that does not apply to us than in practicing the basics such as being good to our own families.

So think about what is important to you, and think about what your strengths are. Then set out to utilize those strengths in the best way that you can. Keep your priorities in order, and always remember that Allah(swt) has placed us in situations and given us talents for a reason – use them, but use them wisely.

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36 Responses

  1. Megan Wyatt

    Bismillah

    I thought this point was spot on:

    “but that we are facing a bigger problem. Namely, the lack of compassion and mercy in our hearts, a direct consequence of our abandoning the practice of the real precepts of our religion, and instead devoting our time and attention to finer details in a vacuum devoid of reality.”

    Thanks for the reflective article and really speaking from the heart.

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  2. Amatullah

    Jazaak Allahu khayran, terrific advice and thoughts.

    Learning how to say no and keeping your priorities straight is so crucial. I’ve found that both of these tips is what will benefit you most in any matter these days..from learning to teaching to community work.

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  3. abu Rumay-s.a.

    Masha`Allah, astute reflections…

    Also just to remind, there are a few good booklets by Shaikh Salman that further adds to this thread, they are as follows:

    -PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT IN ISLAM AND ITS EFFECTS ON NATIONS AND CIVILIZATIONS
    – PITFALLS IN THE QUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE
    – ISLAMIC WORKS AT HOME

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  4. Ameera

    I. Am. Shocked.

    What you’ve written sounds like something I was saying to myself… or had been wanting to say to myself all this time! When you mentioned that part about arguing with parents, it was eye-opening because that’s what I’ve been through (and, unfortunately, sometimes still do) myself. You’re right – regarding lack of manners… also known as Hikmah… we’re facing a real epidemic in our communities. And what we see is just the ‘tip’ of the ice-berg.

    In taking up responsibilities also, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I’ve found myself in situations where I told myself I should exert myself and make that promise to someone, “for the sake of Allah(swt)” but found that the disappointment, stress and other outcomes of not keeping that promise are far worse. Saying “no” shouldn’t be a reason to feel guilty later on – it’s okay if you genuinely don’t have time or temperament for something. It’s actually worse when other people try to push you into that position where you have to take that responsibility on to your shoulders quite unwillingly, even if those people had good intentions. For example, going to a certain study circle because so-and-so insisted you must volunteer to help out, knowing you wouldn’t be able to easily do it and while making your father or mother drive you over with inconvenience caused to them!

    Again, that part about Hikmah is indeed all the more important today! When I first “started out” in practicing the Deen consciously about five years back, I didn’t have that sense of how to really put matters into the right sort of actions. Alhamdolillah, going through a Qur’an study circle taught me a lot about the fine interplay between Allah(swt)’s commands, interpersonal relationships and how to go about different situations. Where I would strictly maintain a poker face on a benign joke… I understand how laughing for the right reason is just as important as crying. That’s how you win peoples’ hearts… not by rattling off a list of Ayaat and Ahadith and going through life like a robot – which contradicts with the Seerah in the first place!

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  5. Siraaj Muhammad

    Salaam alaykum Omar,

    I have one disagreement with this awesome article =) Not about saying no, I agree with that 100%. I simply disagree with what you’ve said yes to, and what you’ve said no to.

    You’ve said, “Yes” to being an administrative assistant, though your passion is seeking Islamic knowledge. Your dream is to become a hadeeth scholar. Yet due to logistical reasons, you found you do really well as an administrative coordinator for the orgs you run.

    And having worked with you, I know it to be true, but here’s the thing – the reason you do well is because you possess skills that translate into amazingly positive results where ever applied, whether for MM or elsewhere. And I have no doubt you take a lot of satisfaction knowing that you contribute at such a huge level on the projects you’re on, but from what you’ve written above, I have the impression that if you said no to these projects and focused your efforts on relentlessly cutting all of this and other logistical “fat” out of your life, and made it your life’s focus to gain Islamic knowledge at the level you and I both know you’re capable of, the impact of that time off for knowledge coupled with your knowledge of the detailed workings of admin work will insha’Allah be far greater.

    The orgs and projects you leave behind will have to cope, but that’s life – focus on removing your own ignorance, and don’t feel guilty if they struggle a bit, or come back to you with puppy dog eyes saying, “Please, things aren’t the same without you.” You’ll have a far greater cause in mind, saving yourself first as Amatullah mentioned in the comments section yesterday, and then providing that benefit to the community.

    Siraaj

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      • Ibn Masood

        I don’t know you like Siraaj does bro, but read mine too inshaAllah.

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    • ahmed

      as salaamu alaikum,

      jazakum Allahu khairan for this excellent article Omar and the above response Siraaj,

      just my 2 cents:

      Sometimes it might be a good idea to leave an organization / activity if you’re very good at what you do. You become the go-to person for everything, and people start to think they don’t have to do anything or train anyone because you have it covered.

      You become an enabler for the dysfunctions of that organization.

      Setting: A local masjid that has been running for more than 10 years, has 2 full time Imams, and has been running summer school every year.
      The imam called me into the office and said – i need to see what classes you will be teaching for the summer school this year. I said i wasn’t available because the timings conflicted with my job.

      He said, so who’s going to do the work?

      His response completely shocked me because not only are there 2 full time imams – somehow neither of them decided to teach summer school expecting to use the same volunteers as last time. And after 10 years in operation one would think that some of the graduates of the summer school and weekend school might be given the responsibility of teaching. He didn’t even pressure his own teenage son into teaching, but thought nothing of pressuring older brothers who have lots of other responsibilities.

      Recently i have found myself in a similar situation where an Imam schedules himself for khutbah at other masajid, then calls me up to say – you’re giving khutbah at my masjid in my absence, right?

      I find it continually hilarious that people will gather funds, build lots of small masajid, going through all the permits processes etc for months and months, but then run around frantically looking for khateebs at the last minute. Whenever i get calls thursday night from random brothers who never talk to me otherwise, i know exactly what’s going on :)

      It’s very cynical and abhorrent for me to say this, but all these organizations have no plans for volunteers’ personal growth or development. They will use the people until burned out, then find someone else to do the job, all the while whining about how much they miss all the good work you did.

      If you dream about studying, then that’s what you should do. Even if you never get to the level of an AMJA scholar, inshaAllah you will get close. As the old time-management advice goes: aim for 100%. Even if you fall short, it’s still in the 90s or 80s. But if you never try, you’ll absolutely never get there.

      Plus, if you dream about something, even the smallest victory is a huge boost. If you have already achieved something that you don’t dream about, then working in that same field is just boring and tiring.

      just some suggestions. I hope i have not offended anyone

      was salaamu alaikum,

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      • ibnabeeomar

        jazakallahu khayr for the comments. definitely an interesting take :)
        i got another article next week on the 5 dysfunctions of muslim organizations inshallah so watch out for it :)

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  6. Abd- Allah

    JazakumAllah khayr for those great points which you bring up.

    This reminds me of the issue that we have in many Muslim countries and even here in the west to an extent, where everyone is trying to become a doctor or an engineer and no one ends up doing any of the other roles in society which are needed just as much. This seems to be the current trend that everyone wants to become a ‘scholar’ that we leave all the other positions empty and their work without being done. Yes, seeking knowledge is important and is an obligation on every Muslim, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fill other positions as well. If the people around the scholars don’t do their job, then the scholar wouldn’t be able to do anything on his own.

    I admire your dream to be a scholar of hadith akhi, don’t give that dream up, because actions are by intentions, and if you have the intention then Allah will reward you for it even if you never get the chance of doing that work.

    Alhamdulillah, it is good to see that such issues are being openly discussed rather than buried and neglected like they always have been, this way we can be aware of them and try to find a solution inshAllah. My only suggestion regarding this set of related articles is to try and keep a balanced view of the bigger picture in terms of how it shows knowledge and being a student, because even though I can relate to many of the things being mentioned, a lot of brothers and sisters might not understand the message behind those articles if they haven’t had similar experiences before, and so the only view that they will get on these issues is through the information which they read here in those articles.

    Allah knows best.

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  7. Joyhamza

    Excellent article, bro Ibnabeeomar.

    I am really loving these series firstly from sister Amatullah and now from you. I have faced this same problem myself but I am beginning to settle down and looking at things from newer and more logical perspective.

    Looking at the way I used to think I can tell how important these articles are. The importance of level headed daee’s who will lead the young generation so that it stay in the balance dictated by the shari’ah. May Allah bless and reward the authors of these articles and us.

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    • Amatullah

      Ameen, may Allah accept it from us. inshaAllah there will be one more tomorrow from brother Siraaj as well :)

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  8. DE

    “A focus on the basics is much needed in our times. My heart still aches at some of the comments on the post I made with an appeal for Haiti where some people raised issue with my supplicating to Allah to alleviate the pain and suffering of those harmed by the devastation there. Although I understand the technical argument some people may make (we should pray for their guidance instead), I do not think that argument is correct. We are commanded in Islam to help those in need, to help the poor, to help the orphan – no matter what their religion. But what this “academic” argument indicates to me is not a lack of understanding of the technicalities and intricacies of Islamic law – but that we are facing a bigger problem. Namely, the lack of compassion and mercy in our hearts, a direct consequence of our abandoning the practice of the real precepts of our religion, and instead devoting our time and attention to finer details in a vacuum devoid of reality.”

    Ok well since it was my post you are referring to, please go back and read the follow-up comments.

    The way I see it is that to ask for their guidance (note: I never said INSTEAD of asking for relieving their pain, but rather I was emphasizing that we shouldn’t abandon the greater good of asking for what will help them in the hereafter) is the ultimate compassion and mercy. I NEVER said not to help them, but instead I hope that helping them lets them see the compassion from Muslims and let that soften their hearts towards Islam, and further we should not neglect our brothers and sisters who are still suffering in other parts of the world because THEY are always priority, and their suffering is still real. Does that sound like lack of compassion and mercy to you? May Allah forgive you for your assumptions. Ameen.

    And let me add something here; an academic argument does not necessitate that it is devoid of hikmah. A true academic argument, based on the sunnah, is one that has greater hikmah than the argument that is based on a one-dimensional view of things.

    As for the rest of the article, good points. Jazzak Allahu khair.
    Assalamu alaikum.

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    • ibnabeeomar

      there’s a time and place for each academic argument, i don’t think the immediate aftermath of a disaster where thousands upon thousands of children are being orphaned is necessarily the best time to debate it.

      but in any case, that part of the article wasnt directed at you particularly, i should have been more clear in the article, but we did receive direct emails at MM in response to the article that went very much to the other extreme – not to mention that a lot of this type of talk is also heard elsewhere as well.

      jazakallahu khayr

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      • DE

        The debate only began after assumptions were made. Otherwise, it was just a reminder that we should not forget to make duaa’ for what will benefit them.

        In short, just imagine, if the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam) were alive today, what would he supplicate?

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    • Kamran

      as salamualaykum DE

      I did not read the comments posted on the Haiti thread so apologize if this has already been addressed….but I’ve been thinking about this…should our intention to helping the needy and the suffering in Haiti be just because we want to “show off” islam so they could be impressed into guidance? I’m just asking this because unfortunately, this is sometimes how I think as well. Would it be wrong to have the intention that we just want to help them out just because our heart is truly aching seeing all the suffering?

      wassalam
      Kamran

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  9. ZawjatuSaid

    Great article, mashaAllah. I hope you are one day able to work towards your dream goal too inshaAllah! May Allah swt put barakah in our time and efforts. Jazakallahu khairan for the reminder.

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  10. Ibn Masood

    SubhanAllah. This post has great relevance to me as I am thinking over the exact same issue.

    In fact, your post sounds like an exact reflection of what’s going on in my mind right now, and I’m going to tell you the same thing I’m telling myself right now:

    Why are you denying yourself the right to follow your dreams? A time off for study may even give you the chance you’ve been looking for to increase your acts of worship and focus more on them! Not to mention the adab and manners you would learn from the scholars abroad. Knowledge is not the only thing to be gained by focusing on studying.

    Yes it is true that most of the Madinah/Studying abroad wannabes don’t even know what its like to study Islam good and proper yet… but it seems that you do. And you know now that this is really what your dream is to do. So why stop yourself?

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  11. Kaltham

    Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

    Many of us are reading this great article and going like “Yes, I feel the same the way!” Alhamdulilah, this only means that we are monitoring the process in which we are trying to manage our lives. We are identifying the bottlenecks that are holding us from reaching the great potential we are capable of and then figuring out ways to overcome them.

    For the past few years I’ve been trying to figure out what my ultimate purpose in life was. Yes, it is true our purpose is to worship Allah, but I was so anxious to figure out the unique way in which I was going to worship Allah. To figure out the answer I had to do a lot of self development, self reflection, and self discovery. This led me to identify my true values, my strengths and weakness, and true passions in life. At the end; I realized that I have already been doing what it is that I love; but I was so longing for something else because what I have already been doing was so part of me; I took it for granted and I took its power for granted.

    How did I figure it out? I wrote down a credo for myself, my ideology in everything that is important to me… my personality and character, my ebada, my health and finances, my family, my career and contributions to the ummah and finally why it was all important and what I needed to know to overcome the inevitable obstacles.
    When you are clear about what it is that you ultimately want and value, you will not be hesitant about the actions that you need to take to pursue that goal. Hence, when you are asked to do something, you will easily be able to figure out if it is an opportunity that gets you closer to your purpose or a distraction from the ultimate purpose.

    You know what was the sweetest part of all this? Knowing that being sincere to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gets you the best results. Knowing that you will face obstacles but because of the mercy of Allah you will be able to get through them. Knowing that Allah will for sure answer your duas simply shows you the light at the end of the tunnel. Now all you have to do is put your trust in Allah and put some effort in your accomplishing your goals. Our ummah is in desperate need for people that work with passion and true dedication; let’s be of the sabiqoon bi idhni Allah.

    Fi Amaani’Laah

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    • FearAllah

      You know what was the sweetest part of all this? Knowing that being sincere to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gets you the best results. Knowing that you will face obstacles but because of the mercy of Allah you will be able to get through them. Knowing that Allah will for sure answer your duas simply shows you the light at the end of the tunnel. Now all you have to do is put your trust in Allah and put some effort in your accomplishing your goals. Our ummah is in desperate need for people that work with passion and true dedication; let’s be of the sabiqoon bi idhni Allah.

      Beautifully put sis, subhanAllah!


      And another amazing post masha’Allah … the personal touch really hit home for me.

      JazakumAllahu khairun MM for the enlightening articles

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  12. N.A.S.

    As Salamu Alaikum,

    MASHALLAH you hit the nail on the head. It is so common to see young muslims worried about technicalities of the religion and forget the big picture. Often you’ll find students rude to their parents so they can make it on time to a fiqh class. I think morality is on the brink of being lost in our community. How can a person be a true muslim with no sense of morality?

    May Allah guide us all, and grant us the TRUE understanding of His religion.

    Jazakum Allahu Khayer

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  13. mystrugglewithin

    Abu Bakr RA – an expert in genealogical lore
    Imam Bukhari – specialized in Hadeeth
    Jābir ibn Hayyān – considered by many to be the “father of chemistry.”
    Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Awf RA – exceptional business skills made him the wealthiest companion ..
    Khalid Bin Waleed RA – undefeated sword of Allah, one of the most successful commanders ..
    Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi – the father of modern surgery

    ..

    Today, we either see full-time dedicated shaykhs who’ve abandoned innovation in their respected area of secular study; or, a bunch of full-time dedicated, richy rich entrepreneurs, a.k.a. Muhammad-turned-Mike.

    IMHO, religious scholars have the ability to show a direction to ummah, but that’s the best they can do. We already have enough whitepapers, but implementation demands a breed of Muslims willing to do best in their respective academic domains, BUT ONLY, for the sake of Allah SWT.

    In short, we always dream of an ideal islamic state – in today’s era, are we qualified enough to run the affairs of such a state? I bet we are not.

    Ibnabeeomar, jazakallah khayrum bro for sharing your experience.

    p.s. “A computer science guy who doesnt actually do real IT work” .. what ?!?

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  14. Kamran

    I still think we need more scholars with strong academic backgrounds. I know that Sh Suhaib started studying at al-Azhar pretty late in the game……mashaAllah he didn’t give up.

    ibnabe, i reckon you’d be an awesome scholar inshaAllah and I have no doubts you’d be able to do it. Heck, I’d even by your CDs (without copyright ofcourse :P )

    -Kamran

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  15. Abd- Allah

    Brother ibnabeeomar, just look into the life of Shaykh Al-Albani rahimahullah, you will find plenty of inspiration there for your journey to become a scholar of hadith inshAllah.

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  16. Holly Garza

    SubhanaAllah! Great points and very well put…. I couldn’t agree more with many parts especially…

    “but that we are facing a bigger problem. Namely, the lack of compassion and mercy in our hearts, a direct consequence of our abandoning the practice of the real precepts of our religion, and instead devoting our time and attention to finer details in a vacuum devoid of reality.”

    I see it ALL the time, especially online. There is at least 2 places I can think of that do share Islam in a true manner but neglect to teach human emotions, compassion, forgiveness, and empathy. How can we share the site if they are teaching people to make Dua against others? To dislike and judge others openly with other seekers of knowledge, to argue peoples’ religion instead of how to help them?! This is an illness in our Ummah and sadly I see it everywhere.

    No one wants to admit they are wrong, I know it’s hard for me…I overacted online and in person before but I had to swallow my pride and apologize because I was wrong. Anyhow getting off topic so just wanted to say thanks and great article

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  17. abu Rumay-s.a.

    regarding the point about an individual wanting to scholar about a particular branch of islamic science…

    my take is that if it is truly and sincerely your goal to achieve your ultimate means and you “objectively” feel you have what it takes, then you should continue on this quest. However, we have submit ourselves to Allah’s decree, if it was not written for us and we tried, then it will not be. Perhaps in Allah ta`ala’s infinite wisdom, he may wish to use us in different ways but at the end, insha`Allah attain the same status…

    we should remember that knowledge in and of itself is not going to raise our ranks for it may be that a person with a lot of knowledge will not benefit others as opposed to a another person who has less knowledge but his /her goodness reaches multitudes of people. In such case, it may elevate the latter person to higher degree than the former. And subhanAllah, this is from Allah ta`ala gracious mercy and blessings…

    wallahu a`lam…

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  18. Omer

    I agree a bit with Siraaj, ibn abee omar should focus on something that is needed, nobody else has taught it effectively, and figure out a way to teach it in a unique way yet interesting way. I say islamic finance :)

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  19. melati

    Bismillah. Assalamualaikum. What you’ve written rings so true in my life currently. I am on leave from teaching high school now. A 6 month no pay leave. 21 years of teaching while juggling the roles of being a mother, a wife etc has become absolutely impossible!About 150 students to teach each year and quite frequently (until 2 years ago) my Saturdays were also for school activities. I began to look up the Quran wtih the help of an Arabic – English dictionary , Tafseer books etc. Have always been an avid reader of Islamic books eg Maududi & Syed Qutb. Ibn Taymiyyah, Sayyid Abdullah Azzam etc , as well as a book or two by Karen Armstrong and John Esposito. Said “No” to three promotion offers. “No” to higher pay, “No” to better work space. Simply not interested to carry on in schools that heavily bleed secularism & promote malodorous nationalism. Hope to memorize surah tul mulk, as sajdah and yassin along with meanings. A reminder to self: the minor surahs too- the ones normally recited during prayers. Insya allah.

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  20. Lnahrawi

    Jazzak Allahu Khairan for the reminder.
    I definitely need it, especially during “burnt out” times like these.
    May Allah continue guiding us, keep us patient and give us the strength to realize our dreams/potential.
    Ameen.

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  21. abrar

    Asalamualaykkum,
    I AM DISAPOINTED WITH THIS ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    dear brother may allah reward you and your service in this religion, but you should not give up so easily in seeking knoweldge, it is possible to reach high levels of knowedlge and still have a job and family, yes you will have to make sacrifices and what not, but its definatly possible,
    put your trust in Allah that you can do what your doing and still gain the ilm at a high level.
    just dont waste your time!

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  22. Umm Bilqis

    Thought provoking and from the heart and I agree with much. What does one do when faced with choices, responsibilities and duties and they have dreams. These dreams however are noble and worthy.

    Everyone faces choices and the choice with the Most Reward is always the best choice.
    No matter what the obstacles no matter what comes in your way. Pursue the pleasure of Allah in the manner that you want, and do not settle.

    The gut talks or the heart whispers why not listen, it helps you discriminate for the better Insh’Allaah. ( if it is upon correct guidance).
    This quote helps me put things in a meezan. “One who is unsure of his/her destiny in life torn between this world and the next is like one with 2 feet on separate boats and is then thrown off balance.” Alhamdullilah your situation is better because it involves 2 good deeds, by all means go for the better.
    But first pray Istakhara and ask He who aids and is the Best of Helpers.

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  23. shiney

    masha’allah! thank you for writing this article-i am sometimes in the same situation as you and this helped me a lot. may Allah reward you.

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