or those of us who are blessed with children, this week begins the start of the new academic year for our children.
It’s another year where they will learn new topics, gain knowledge and equip themselves with life ahead of them.
However, we need to balance the academic knowledge with knowledge of this religion of Islam.
Allah SWT said in Sura Mujadala, ayat 11:
Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is acquainted with what you do.
Dear brothers and sisters, this ayat outlines the importance of gaining knowledge – both academic and spiritual – as a means of seeking His pleasure. Therefore we need to place importance on education, acquiring the right knowledge and lastly passing that knowledge on to others.
The following hadith of the prophet SAWS backs this up in which our Prophet SAWS is reported to have said:
Whoever has left to seek knowledge then he is gone in the path of Allah until he comes back.
Dear brothers and sisters, both acquiring knowledge and applying it is an important skillset to have.
Especially as Muslims, we need to be aware that there is a real danger of raising a generation of children that may be strong academically but have little knowledge of their faith.
After all, our children will be the leaders of tomorrow. We ought to encourage them to become leaders in their chosen fields and all the while, balancing that with the knowledge of their faith.
It is the ultimate opportunity for dawah. We live in a time and a place where our faith has so many misconceptions, so many mis-quotes or misunderstandings that the average person has a false impression of Islam.
We need to understand that the workplace is a primary delivery method of the correct knowledge on our faith. The canteen at the office or the rest room is often the topic of conversation on news and current affairs.
It is in places like this that as a Muslim we will be quizzed on what they have digested from the news and media sources.
It is therefore our responsibility to have the knowledge to be able to answer their questions on Islam.
However, if we are not equipping our children with the mindset of acquiring knowledge then either they will not be in the office or worse still, they will be ignorant when it comes to these conversations in the office.
Dear brothers and sisters, we have a responsibility to be actively involved in the education of those around us learning and we ourselves must never give up the act of learning.
Nobody can ever say that they know enough and so make it a habit to consistently be learning on both our faith and on world matters. Our children as a result will inherit such habits. Failure to do so will render any opportunity to learn as a wasted opportunity.
Let’s not fall into the habit of thinking that we have a career or a job or that our opportunity to learn on Islam is over. We should always regard ourselves as students of Islam and strive to add to our knowledge of our religion.
The Prophet SAWS warned us of this in the following hadith in which he is narrated to have said:
The guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me are like abundant rain which fell on a land.
A fertile part of it absorbed the water and brought forth profuse herbage and pasture; and solid ground patches which retained the water by which Allah has benefitted people, who drank from it, irrigated their crops and sowed their seeds.
And another sandy plane which could neither retain the water nor produce herbage.
Such is the example of the person who becomes well-versed in the religion of Allah and receives benefit from the message entrusted to me by Allah, so he himself has learned and taught to others.
And such is the example of the person who has stubbornly and ignorantly rejected Allah’s guidance with which I have been sent.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Prophet SAWS has eloquently warned of becoming ignorant. By seeing our young go back to school this week should be a reminder that in front of Allah SWT, we are all students and that the opportunity to learn should never stop.
May Allah SWT give us knowledge. May Allah SWT enable us to pass on knowledge and may Allah SWT reward us for our knowledge.