From a lecture given at MIST Nationals 2006 by Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi
Friday July 21st, 2006
“I am here in front of you today, and if I were to choose again, I would go back and do the same thing and do religious studies. I can’t even remember what courses I took when I was at UH. My main motivation for choosing to do Islamic studies was that I realized I needed to do something for the ummah. As we speak, we have a crisis going through our ummah. We all know, we don’t need to talk more about it, it is all over the news and everything. I know some of you won’t leave what you are doing, and I don’t expect you to, and I don’t want you to. This ummah needs the doctors, engineers, and lawyers. Not everyone in this ummah needs to be an ‘alim or scholar. And Allah (سبحانه وتعال) definitely doesn’t ask everyone to be a scholar. If you are not going to be a scholar, then you should at least know your religion. To me, I was ashamed that I knew so much about physics, chemistry, and mathematics compared to what I knew about my religion.
Our communities are in need of scholars though. We see it in our communities often, where we have an imam who is from another world practically and doesn’t understand what we are going through. It is true, they are from another world, because they haven’t grown up here. We need to stop importing imams because our communities can’t respect them. We see it in our communities that these moulvis and maulanas give fatwa and people don’t respect them, and we can’t blame the imams nor can we completely blame the community. There is a big gap between them, we need homegrown scholars and students of knowledge to bridge this gap.
Like I said before, not everyone here is going to be a scholar, and nobody expects everyone here to become one. The least everyone should do is learn your religion. Each and every one of you can read a book a month–it’s not that hard and it only requires you to make some time for it. All you need to do is cut back on some of the things we do. I know all of us have things that we can cut back on. I am not saying stop hanging around friends, or going to movies, or whatever it is you do. All I am saying is cut back on some of the things to make time for learning your religion. Our elders came here for whatever reason they came here for, we are growing here, we understand the psychology of Americans, but if we don’t have knowledge of religion how are we going to make them understand our religion? How are we going to make da’wah to them and call them to Islam? There is a need for homegrown scholars and fulfilling that need starts with you.
How to study your religion?
- Study the Qur’an – If you can memorize US History and the 50 States in alphabetical order, then surely you can read the book of Allah (سبحانه وتعال), you can understand what the book of Allah (سبحانه وتعال) is saying. Make sure you pull the Qur’an down from that shelf for 10-15 minutes a day and read it. If you don’t read Arabic, then read the translation at least. The Qur’an is the most blessed thing to read there is so much barakah in it. It is so blessed; it is the Speech of Allah.
- Book of Hadeeth – The best statements were the statements of Rasoolullah (صلي الله عليه وسلم). Riyadh As-Saliheen is a very good book for everyone. Read at least one or two hadeeth a day. The book is written for the laymen and thus it is very easy to understand.
- Study basic theology. We all need to study a little bit of aqeedah. Each and every Muslim needs to know what is the Islamic belief or creed. We need to know the difference between us and them. We need to know what is the difference between God and Father.
- Another very important area of Islam that we need to study is fiqh. Each and everyone of us needs to know how to worship Allah (سبحانه وتعال). How many of us can list the factors that break your wudoo. Forget the differences of opinion, just know at least one opinion from the madhabs–what it is, and how to do it. This is the least everyone should know.
- Basic Laws of Islam that govern our everyday life or that determine our everyday decisions.
As the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) said, “Learning knowledge is obligatory on each and every Muslim!”
This the least we need to do, and with everything else we do, it isn’t that hard at all. Allah (سبحانه وتعال) doesn’t require you to become a scholar, but at least learn your religion a little bit, and this way you will learn to respect the imams and ulemaa. And form personal experience, let this knowledge come to you from someone who is older then you, but not too old.