Back to School
Beginnings are times filled with promise and possibility. As summer melts into the fall, our families arrange for the beginning of the school year. Students prepare to move to higher grade levels, schools, and new stages of life during this transitional time. Parents offer what support they can in the form of encouragement, advice, and Duaa. It is essential to take advantage of this new beginning, so the academic year is as productive as possible.
Islam has a long tradition of supporting education and the pursuit of knowledge. This tradition dates back to the very first words of this great religion when Allah ﷻ revealed the expression ‘Iqraa’ (Read) to Prophet Muhammed ﷺ. This powerful word signaled the opening of communication between the Heavens and the Earth. To read is not just to gloss overprinted words, but it is to understand and question. Reading involves reflection and tenacity to test ideas and push them to their limits, accept what is sound and abandon what is built on weak foundations. Allah’s ﷻ call to read was a call to question the beliefs that the people of Makkah inherited with no thought. He ﷻ calls repeatedly in the Quran on those who read, observe, think, and question as to the best of people. It is these people who can inhabit faithfully. The return to school is a return to sharpening the mind and training the intellect that is a religious obligation for each of us.
As Americans, we also have a responsibility to be educated citizens. This democracy is built on the populace’s ability to decide which representatives to elect. To make informed decisions, we must work hard at school and supplement schooling with surveying current events. We as Muslim Americans need to be well educated to join the national dialogue on topics that are important to us as a minority community and as one with global roots.
I would advise our students to go back to school with a clean slate. Do not return with negative thoughts regarding subjects or people. Be diligent in your studies and keep close to your faith, and Insha’Allah, you will find success. This success will not only be an achievement for you but your family and community as well. It will also be an asset to the Muslim Ummah at large, Insha’Allah. I advise parents to be involved in their children’s education and always be available for their kids, even if it is to listen to their frustrations.
May Allah ﷻ bless our students and educators and make this year a profitable one for them all.
Sh. Jamal Said