I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“And We have revealed the Book (the Qur’an) to you as an explanation for everything, a guidance, a mercy and good news for the Muslims.” Qur’an 16:89
I begin by congratulating all the men, women and children of this great and magnificent fold of Islam, for Indeed, it is a great blessing to have the opportunity to serve Allaah under the auspices of al-Islam using Qur’an and Sunnah as a guide, because Islam is the only religion that you can learn everything from as far as success in both worlds is concerned.
In order to be liberated from the darkness of ignorance and backwardness into the glorious light of enlightenment and progression, from the deviation of worshipping the creation to the guidance of worshipping the Creator (Allaah) alone (Tauheed) and from the confusion of the world to the certainty of this world and the Hereafter, the Muslims nay humanity need religious tools to shape them. Safe to say that humanity has all it takes to achieve this greatness if only it will pay more respect to religion. For Muslims, religion is what Allaah approves of, Allaah Exalted be He says regarding religion in Qur’an 3:19, “Truly, the religion with Allaah is Islam”
I am particularly impressed by the effort of some Muslims who have set up and are setting up institutions to mould the younger ones into becoming excellent future leaders especially those efforts aimed at educating the girl child. These are noble initiatives full of insight especially in an era where girl-child education is becoming a necessity.
We are inundated with reports of the high percentage of out-of-school children in Nigeria with girl child being more disadvantaged. I believe bold steps like this will offset the effect of illiteracy and/or godlessness among educated group and will conveniently usher in hope for the next generation. I want all the Muslims to see this as a great opportunity, a stepping stone for the next generation to attain excellence in life in order to have their names written in the Noble Hall of piety. It is to be understood that it is not only the girl-child that is disadvantaged but many young boys roaming the streets without having educational values imparted on them.
Notably, the greatest appreciation comes when one understands the opposite of what has been gained. There are many girls out there, probably as intelligent as those opportune to be in school or even more intelligent but societal challenges and life realities have left them out of school, hawking on the streets with many finding themselves in IDPs because of terrorism and anarchy, a manifestation of ignorance and disregard for education and religious values. Those in the IDPs are victims of the deviation of some groups that have chosen not to be well educated; this is the burden of lack of education. The world today is in turmoil, there is no peace largely because of the surge in the population of uneducated groups and in the injustice and disregard for religious values by the educated groups. The future is bleak but with efforts directed at integrating religious values into whatever step taken to mould the future generation, there is hope.
The Qur’anic verse referenced above is apt in this regard, Allaah Exalted be He says: ““And We have revealed the Book (the Qur’an) to you as an explanation for everything, a guidance, a mercy and good news for the Muslims.” One of the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (may Allaah be pleased with him) said that Allaah made it clear that in this Qur’an there is complete knowledge and about everything. Ibn Katheer stated that the Qur’an contains all kinds of beneficial knowledge, such as reports of what happened in the past, information about what is yet to come, what is lawful and unlawful, and what people need to know about their worldly affairs, their religion, their livelihood in this world, and their destiny in the Hereafter.
Part of the challenges of the modern world or simply the 21st century civilization is the relegation of religion and religiosity to the tail end in favor of man’s desire and thought, the promotion of misanthropic freedom slogans, the desperation to equate man and woman under misleading slogans like ‘feminism’ and ‘women’s right’ which can all be grouped under what the Arabs will refer to as “Kalimatu haqq Urida biha batil” (noble slogans with evil agenda) with little or no regard for religious institutions and a drive to have the gender barrier broken such that man marries man and woman marries woman.
I wrote on this topic sometimes back entitled The slippery slope of a Muslim feminist on my website http://penabdul.com/post.php?id=36 and part of my arguments was that the word “equality” which the proponents of these slogans latch onto as opposed to “equity” which the Muslims believe in, means having the same quantity, measure or value as other, while “equity” is the quality of being fair or impartial and that Islam calls for the latter while feminism calls for the former.
Know that the world out there is not as friendly as assumed, especially to women determined to make a change within controlled religious values. With a modern woman’s excellence and academic progression, come more challenges between her and her religious values and material progression but if moulded using religious tools then needless to say that they will stay focused and maintain their stringent religious ideals. The same is true for men (but this article seeks to encourage women). There are some many organizations and interests out there with a lot of money and resources determined to have full control over the minds of religious people; be they Muslims, Jews and Christians as long as they are religious they want to brainwash them just to further their agenda of alienating religion and promoting unethical, unconscionable and evil agenda. Life, religion and health have no value as much as profit making has, so out there it is all about profit making and not humanity. Beware! We now live in a world where scientific facts are manipulated to change the way I think, the way you think. Remember, you can only succeed by adhering to the teachings of the religion. Everything must be viewed from the prism of religion, al-Islam.
I believe that one day those women nay men pursuing academic excellence while being shaped by religious values will make the religion proud by creating a balance between their career choices and marriage with an identity deeply rooted in their Islamic heritage.
Conventionally, marriage is a game of choice but in Islamic context, it is an important necessity strongly encouraged for every Muslim, regardless of status and power. In short, it is raised to such a pedestal as half of faith. It was never about a woman that is financially independent being free from marriage, it is for her and all, after all, Khadijah (may Allaah be pleased with her) was financially independent yet got married to the Prophet (peace be upon him).
As a result of the twist in the understanding of the role of an educated or financially independent woman in marriage, the traditional institution of marriage is being threatened by other priorities, which have opened doors for excessive career pursuit at the detriment of promoting blissful marital life and ideal homemaking. As women and potential wives and mothers, do not forget your primary role as homemakers but understand that this does not in any way hinder your progress in life as a trained professional or entrepreneur to make a positive impact in the society. We have amazing examples of how women have excelled materially without compromising on their role as homemakers.
Late Walin Katsina Alhaji Muhammad Bello Kagara of Government college Zaria (later Barewa College) was said to have made this statement to his students that: “Remember, Islam is your religion, learning is your tradition” meaning your learning and academic excellence must never detach you from your religion.
In conclusion, we all aspire for success in this world and the Hereafter but we often forget that this success has a price just as everything has and its price is Taqwa (piety, fear of Allaah). The very second verse of the second chapter of the Glorious Qur’an states that: “This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allaah.”
Islam is not an obstacle to progress, rather it provides all the necessary tools to attain the highest level of civilization while bonding man with the Creator (Allaah). Qur’an has science in it but it is not a Book of science – it is a Book of Signs and Islam was not dated to be outdated, hence, it must be referenced at all times. Parents, scholars, rulers, school administrators all have a duty and even responsibility to mould the future generation to become ideal husbands, mothers and leaders of industries with each proud of his or her Islamic heritage.
Mr Abdul (Penabdul), an architect, teaches at the Baze University, Abuja. He is also the Chairman/CEO of Sustainable Project Works (SPW) Ltd. He can be reached on Twitter: @Penabdull and Instagram: @Penabdul