| "It is indeed not my intention to discourage young Muslims from the pursuit of knowledge and learning. To learn is an obligation, which is enjoined upon us from the cradle to the grave. But what I intend to emphasize here is that however broad their learning and knowledge may be, they are bound to heed those who are specialized. The Sharee`ah has various interdisciplinary branches and Usool which these young Muslims are incapable of knowing and comprehending and for which they neither have the time nor the means. Furthermore, I feel obliged to point out that I do not approve of the tendency of some youths who abandon the colleges in which they have enrolled, and in which they have made good progress and are expected to do well, and seek to specialize in Sharee`ah. Such people ignore the fact that to pursue knowledge - and to excel in any discipline - is fard kifaayah: a collective obligation. It should also be observed that the competition between Muslims and non-Muslims for mastery of the secular sciences is at its highest. When a Muslim seeks to learn, to excel, and acquire insight into such sciences for the sake of Allah (SWT) he is actually performing `ibaadah and jihad. |
Let us remember that when the divine message was revealed to the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam), his earlier companions had various professions. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) did not ask them to give up their work and devote themselves to the study of Islam, except, of course, those who were entrusted with a special mission and who had to adjust themselves to its fulfillment. What I honestly fear is that the tendency to give up pursuing other disciplines in order to study and master Sharee`ah may be motivated by an unconscious covert desire for popularity, ostentation, and leadership, especially in meetings, debates and seminars. Such a desire is not easy to detect, because Satan has countless means and inlets into the human soul, which is vulnerable to temptation, unless that individual is constantly alert. This means that we should carefully investigate our thoughts, motivations and strategies; we should constantly try to find out whether these are impelled by mundane or spiritual goals. Self-deception is a snare, which confuses motives and blurs clarity of vision. We should never tire of reminding ourselves of this Quranic verse: "Whoever holds firmly to Allah will be shown a Way that is straight" [3:101].
By: Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi