Did you know that in our wonderful religion (Islam), knowledge and learning is so very important. We are encouraged to search far and wide to gain a better understanding of the world and all that’s in it. The Prophet Abraham, left his own family and homeland to struggle and search for the correct way of life. What do you think he gained? He became the most successful man in the world. He is the light for the rest of humanity and the father of us all.
Our beautiful teacher, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) spoke about learning and its importance. He (pbuh) said: “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.’
Learning and education began in the Mosque and along the years the advancement of learning flourished and increased to higher education. Today, we know this higher education as one that can be achieved at Universities. Universities are not a new thing in Islam. Actually, just the opposite. When we look at our history, we find that one of the first Universities ever built and still running today is the Mosque and University called Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt. It is over one thousand and three hundred years old.
In Islam, education has always been made available for both boys and girls as well as the rich and the poor. A student should not be turned away for lack of funds. The expense needed to run a mosque, school or university was taken care of by endowments from wealthy families. Students have also been given monetary allowance for food and a place to stay. This meant that every possible effort was made for education to be available for all who were willing to learn. SubhanAllah.
In the early years of 841 CE, a very pious (religious) and highly educated young lady named Fatimah Al-Fihri spent her entire inheritance in building a mosque/university for her community in Fez, Morocco.
It is no coincidence that the Arabic word for Mosque and University both come from the same root word.
‘Jamiah’ is the masculine word for University. The feminine word of ‘Jamiah’ which is ‘Jami’, is the word used for Mosque. In Arabic, the place of advancement in learning and knowledge is interconnected with the place of religion. This is not so in any other culture or language.
God taught all His Prophets many wonderful and important things. The very first thing which God taught the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) was to read (‘Iqrah’), emphasizing on the importance of learning. Our mosques have always been a place of learning. Worshiping Allah(swt) and being enlightened go hand in hand.
As a student myself, I know that it can sometimes be scary to learn something new. But, remember that as long as you are pursuing to accomplish something good and meaningful, you should have no fear. A beautiful verse which gives me comfort at the sign of fear is:
Allah (swt) said “I am as My servant expects Me to be and if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length; and if he draws near to me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him running.”
This tells me that if I’m struggling in doing good, in learning something that can help humanity and will ultimately make Allah proud, than I should not worry at all. I should put my trust in God because He will help me. He will make things easy for me. He will hold my hand and guide me. It may seem hard at first, for ease comes only after some hard work. Ease will come after I take the first step. Before taking that first step, I say the following 3 things:
- I Say: “Bismillahi-rahmani-rahim”- beginning anything with the remembrance of God, places blessing in that thing.
- I make an intention to do something and say: “I intend to try to struggle and learn how to write or ……..“
- I ask God for help by saying: “Oh Allah, please help me, ameen”
When following these 3 simple Sunnahs, my struggles become light and I’m able to accomplish things which I never imagined. I am an average student. Some might say, a very lazy one. But, when I put my faith in God, He takes care of the rest, SubhanaAllah. You need to give it a try, it really works!