Making the most out of our education
Sikander Ziad Hashmi, sunniforum.com
The summer is on its way out, and before we know it, countless kids, teens, and young adults will soon find themselves at their desks and tables in classrooms around the world.
With that as a backdrop perhaps this is a good time to reflect on our academic pursuits and our objectives.
For the most of us, hereís how it goes: We enter the educational system at the tender age of 4 or 5, continue through our teens and into our 20s, sometimes well into our 20s. Thousands of dollars and countless person-hours are spent on making the journey a success.
Quite simply, itís all done as an investment into our future, where the return is a good, steady, well-paying job so that we can enjoy a peaceful life of joy and happiness.
To put it into perspective, a good 15-20+ years of our life are spent on securing a good future, which usually lasts no more than 75 years.
However, a good education doesnít automatically secure a good future. In order to maintain that good future, we usually have to work for approximately 45 years. So that means that close to 15-25% of our life is spent studying and building up a good future, close to 45% is spent on maintaining that future, and the other 30-40% (or less) is spent either as an innocent child or as a retired senior.
Is that how itís really supposed to be?
Allah (SW) says in the Holy Quran:
ďI have only created Jinns and men so that they may serve Me.Ē (Quran, 51:56)
Now of course, that doesnít mean that we should stop studying, grab tasbeehs (prayer beads), and sit in the masjid all day.
In fact, itís quite the opposite. Studying is strongly encouraged, as we are in need of Muslim professionals and businessmen (for which Muslims obviously have to study).
So how to strike that balance between study and worship?
Itís quite simple. Just turn the study into worship!
As we have probably heard countless times before, the Prophet (SAW) has said:
ďThe reward of deeds depends upon the intentions and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended.Ē (Reported by Bukhari)
First of all, we should try to find a field of study or profession thatís useful and helps Islam, Muslims, or humanity in general. Law, social studies, journalism, medicine, social work, and policing all come to mind (among others).
Secondly, when pursuing our studies and working as a professional, we should try to do it with the intention of a) helping Islam, Muslims, and humanity and b) seeking the pleasure of Allah (SW).
Letís face it. Most people who study well end up earning well too. Therefore, if a person studies and works so that they can help others and please Allah, itís probably not going to have a negative effect on their income. In fact, it might very well be the opposite.
After all, it is Allah who provides.
ďFor Allah is He Who gives (all) SustenanceÖĒ (Quran, 58:51)
ďAnd no (moving) living creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah.Ē (Quran, 6:11)
Thatís not to say that we should become couch potatoes and sit at home, hoping to catch some food and money falling out of the sky. Supporting oneís family is the responsibility of every able-bodied man, and as such, one must work and earn a lawful living.
Yet, itís not the goal of our life.
The goal should be the worship and pleasure of Allah (SW), which can be done through a number of ways, including, but not limited to the obligations such as praying, fasting, etc.
As we head back to school, college, and university, letís do it with the right intention and the right focus. That way, we can study and eventually earn a living while helping Islam, helping others, and most of all, helping ourselves by building up our savings account for the Hereafter (Insha-Allah)!
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