By Taha Ghayyur
Whether you are a young Muslim, a new Muslim, or a student of Islam, these tips will help you enhance your Islamic learning and understanding in a wholesome and balanced way.
It will not only help you learn beneficial and practical knowledge, but will also develop a caring and contributing citizen of this world.
What are the priorities of the Muslim community today? What is required of me? Is it essential for me to spend 4 years isolated in a desert or some foreign country to study Islam or is it more beneficial for me to use my skills to benefit the community, while learning Islam in Canada?
Young minds and scholars need to do research on contemporary issues such as entertainment in Islam, Islamic banking, media studies, etc.
3. START WITH THE BASICS
Don’t be overwhelmed by the hundreds of books and dozens of Islamic sciences to choose from. It is better to start off your journey by focusing on and mastering three things:
i) Tafsir (commentary and understanding) of the Quran,
ii) Fiqh (analysis) of Sirah (life of the Prophet and the first generation of Muslims), and
iii) Our Society (the history, culture, political system, demographics, and current events of the country).
4. BE A SCHOLAR IN YOUR PROFESSION
Look for Islamic institutions that offer workshops and training programs that train Muslim professionals on Islam, in their respected professions. Professionals need to learn the ethical issues related to their work. We rarely see Muslims sharing Islamic knowledge at their job. For some reason we feel that Islam only needs to be applied in our personal life, and not in our professions.
If you are approaching your final years of university, try doing a research project, a thesis, or internship that incorporates Islam or issues concerning Muslims.
5. USE BOOKS/CDS/INTERNET/E-MAIL/SOCIAL MEDIA
We are blessed with resources such as books, magazines, websites, CD’s, email, youtube, etc due to the advancement of technology. We shouldn’t ignore or underestimate these beneficial resources if we do not have regular access to Muslim scholar to learn from. By using these resources, when an opportunity arises to spend a day, a week, or a year with a knowledgeable Muslim, we will be better prepared to benefit from their learning.
Don’t underestimate the power of books and articles! These resources let you analyze the information most effectively. Many people come to Islam because of ONE book.
6. PARTICIPATE WEEKLY, IN A HALAQAH
Organize and participate in a Halaqah (study circle). Even if you have very few people available, just be regular. Halaqahs are interactive group studies where people learn from the Quran and other books together. Halaqahs are more informal and focus on real life issues.
Keep it Simple. Sometimes people get discouraged by looking at our complicated and ambitious syllabi for classes or Halaqahs. We should keep it as simple and practical as possible.
7. BE DYNAMIC!
Any class or Halaqah you join, find out if it trains its students or members to provide leadership in the community. Does it revive the Muslim mind and spirit? Or does it focus primarily on secondary issues? Does it dwell on trivial differences most of the time? The process of gaining and imparting Islamic knowledge should be a dynamic one.
8. TAKE GOOD FROM EVERYONE
Stop using labels. No scholar has monopoly over Truth. As Ali bin Abi Talib, may God be pleased with him, used to say, “don’t judge the Truth by a scholar (i.e. who’s saying it). Know the Truth first and you will find the scholars that belong to it.” Don’t stop listening to a scholar because another scholar or a book says something bad about them. Be critical of everyone. Question the content and sources of your own scholar. When in doubt, resort to the principles in the Quran and Sunnah.
9. DON’T JUDGE SCHOLARS BASED ON MEDIA
Don’t believe media reports about a Muslim scholar or leader in our community. The media loves quoting scholars who are vocal or controversial. Very often journalists misquote or partially quote people. Just because a newspaper has a statement by someone, doesn’t mean they are either good or bad. Try to verify a controversial statement directly from the scholar or leader before launching your own criticism.
10. LEARN A LITTLE EVERY DAY OR WEEK
Doing a little bit regularly is the real way of learning our Deen! For example by learning one Hadith per week at a Halaqah, you can memorize 52 Hadiths a year!