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Knowledge Without Barriers: A Heartbreaking Story About A Student in Need

I just wanted to share a quick story that reflects the importance and blessings of SeekersGuidance and the Knowledge Without Barriers initiative.

This is a short story about one of the sharpest students in our class, who always looked exhausted. Every half an hour or so, he would stand so that he wouldn’t doze off in class.

Every chance he got, he would ask me about the ‘ulema in Pakistan and Canada. He would lament about the state of his people but was hopeful that one day they would reclaim the legacy of the likes of Imam Bukhari, Baha’udin Naqshaband and Imam Tirmidhi.

One morning, I saw him sitting on a bench outside the masjid waiting for Fajr to come in. As I greeted him and saw the exhaustion on his face, I wondered how many nights he had spent on a park bench, and if that was the reason he was always so tired… That was also the last day I saw him in class, he stopped attending.

I ran into him today, and asked him where he’s been… He smiled and said he’s been attending a reading of Sahih al Bukhari. I asked him when he’ll be returning to class… Sadly, he informed me that he wouldn’t be able to, and that he plans to start at another mahad(institution). Why? I asked, ‘this mahad is known to have a much better program and teachers’… He looked down and said ‘I know, but its too much money.’ I asked, how much? ‘200 lira per month ($35 USD), but the other one I can study for free.’ I told him not to worry, let’s figure something out’, he just smiled and said ‘it’s difficult.’

Often times I hear people referring to programs that cost thousands of dollars. It’s not a lot of money! If people really valued knowledge they’d make it a priority!

This brother left his country to seek knowledge, he likely often sleeps on a park bench, doesn’t own a cell phone.. $35/month is his barrier to entry… $35/month. We may lose a future ‘Alim, one who shows deep concern for the umma, loves the ‘ulema and the tradition, and is more than capable, for just $35/month.

Knowledge Without Barriers is critical.

SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund

Please note that this article is out of date.

For an updated Islamic Scholars Fund report and more information about how this fund works please visit: https://seekersguidance.org/articles/prophetic-guidance/how-does-the-islamic-scholars-fund-isf-use-your-zakat-and-charitable-donations/

Support the Islamic Scholars Fund

Help raise $2,000,000 to support the most deserving students and scholars.

The SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund helps deserving Islamic scholars and students dedicate themselves to studying and teaching Islam.

Give your zakat and charity to support the Prophetic legacy. Help the Islamic Scholars Fund raise $250,000 by Ramadan to support the most deserving scholars and students around the world.

Your support will enable these inheritors of the Prophetic legacy spread clarity in these times of  chaos and confusion. In times of chaos it is our duty to preserve this legacy and fulfill our trust. Give to the Islamic Scholars Fund

“What better thing can you do than to support SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund? Its a no-brainer! But yes its harder to have a sound heart – to really have a passionate commitment to knowledge, to scholarships, and to supporting the scholars and supporting the students of knowledge.”

Imam Zaid Shakir 

 

 

“It is through our diversity and our distinct and diverse perspectives that we are enriched through knowledge and understanding and experience. We cannot leave the incredible potential that lies within 50% of our community to the side.”

– Dr Ingrid Mattson

 

Give your zakat at seekersguidance.org/donate

Review of “The Rise of the Scholarly Gig Economy and Fall of Community Development” – Nurulain Wolhuter

In a recent article in Muslim Matters, Shaykh Osman Umarji highlights the plight of many scholars of sacred knowledge who give up their careers and livelihoods to study abroad and subsequently return to the West to teach the Muslim community. Instead of being honored and respected for their sacrifices, they face criticism and complaints. Instead of being compensated generously for their services, most of them do not receive a living wage. They are not able to provide sufficiently for themselves and their families, many living in cramped one-bedroomed apartments. As a result, many of them are forced to forsake their teaching and service to the community. They retrain, take up secular work, or brand themselves as the providers of specialist services to the community, usually in exchange for a considerable fee. So spiritual growth and religious knowledge become the domain of the elite of the community, and the poorer members are marginalised.

Muslims Should Rethink the Value of a Religious Scholar

Shaykh Osman takes the view that we must “rethink the value of a religious scholar in our community as an investment, not a charity cause”. Scholars should be regarded as professionals who bring specialist skills to their positions. They should be paid a market-related wage that takes account of their levels of education and experience, as well as differences in the cost of living in different areas. They should also be given medical insurance and retirement plans. In addition, consideration should be given to the establishment of a scholars’ union that provides guidelines for remuneration.

He concludes by pointing to the spiritual and intellectual crisis that is besetting the Western Muslim community, with the incursion of un-Islamic world-views, and emphasizes the importance of sound scholars. If the community is not willing to value its scholars by paying them a reasonable wage, this crisis will cement into a permanent dearth of sacred knowledge.

Commendable Work By Muslim Matters

Muslim Matters is to be commended for highlighting one of the most fundamental challenges facing the contemporary Muslim community in the West. The community’s lack of support for its scholars, at an individual level, is replicated by its lack of support for organisations and initiatives that seek to raise funds to support such scholars. The Islamic Scholars Fund at SeekersGuidance, and many other organisations like it, struggle to raise funds for their scholars precisely because they are not valued and respected. A change of attitude is necessary to protect the community from sliding into the secularism and materialism that is the fabric of the broader American society, and which is at odds with the Islamic way of life. May Allah Most High transform all our hearts and open our hands this Ramadan to give generously to those without whom the Muslim community cannot continue to exist.

 

To read the Muslim Matters article, click here.


The Islamic Scholars Fund at SeekersGuidance aims to create an infrastructure to support the scholars’ efforts to attend to the community’s pressing needs: by researching, writing, teaching, and responding to questions. Please take a moment of your time this Ramadan to make a generous contribution to the Zakat fund at SeekersGuidance.com/donate. Whatever you give is worthy. As God reminds us in the Qur’anic verse, “…whatever good you may spend will be repaid unto you in full, and you shall not be wronged” (Qur’an, 2:272).


 

Support SeekersGuidance’s Islamic Scholars Fund – Ibn Ali Miller

Ibn Ali Miller urges you to support SeekersGuidance’s Islamic Scholars Fund.

He laments that many people only donate in Ramadan, while the Fund supports scholars and students work year round.

Ibn Ali explains that if we donate now, these scholars and students will be able to do their jobs during the holy month. “You should never make the teachers ask,“ he reminds, “and you should never make the students beg.”

If we can keep the dignity and honour of the scholars and students, our deen and the message of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) will continue to move forward.

Ibn Ali closes calling on all of us—before the distractions of Ramadan set in—to donate today.

Knowledge Is Only Spread Through Sacrifice – Shaykh Yahya Rhodus

At SeekersGuidance’s annual benefit luncheon, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus explains how true knowledge is only spread through sacrifice

Shaykh Yahya begins by reading a letter from a female scholar, explaining why she can’t attend his event, as she she is drowning in her community tasks. Few people are truly willing to help, she says, as they desire the deen but are unwilling to truly give what it takes.

Shaykh Yahya says that we live in a difficult time, and the way forward will only be through true giving and sacrifice.

“You and I are going to have to make a conscious decision: are we going make knowledge a priority or not? If we understand the priority of knowledge, then we will make knowledge a priority, not only in terms of you and I seeking it, but by supporting the organizations that have dedicated themselves to disseminating this knowledge, that brought qualified and as blessed teachers.”

“Make knowledge a priority. Make the support of educational institutions that are teaching the upcoming generations and all Muslims–how it is that we can live the realities of this deen—make that a priority. The survival of Islam is dependent on us. But I do not want to talk about it solely in terms of survival. What happens when you set before these great people, and you expose yourself to this knowledge, everything else starts to fall into place. You entire being starts to be oriented, and you start to experience what it is that an human being was meant to experience… This is the true life. The life of learning and putting knowledge into practice and experiencing its fruits. It is worthy for you and I to support it and I that hope you do.”


 

Dr. Hadia Mubarak Urges You to Support the Islamic Scholars’ Fund

Dr. Hadia Mubarak speaks about the systematic destruction of religious institutions and Islamic scholarship, and urges us to contribute to the Islamic Scholars Fund.

I would like to take a moment of your time today and ask you to support a very worthy cause: the Islamic Scholars’ Fund by SeekersGuidance.

In the span of the twentieth century, the Muslim world witnessed the demise of its last religious empire, imperial governance and occupation, the dismantling of religious authority, the creation of modern nation-states, and the forging of new national identities and sources of legislation. The loss of Muslims’ global political power was accompanied by a collapse of the authority and power once held by the ʿulama.

The newly bureaucratized state created modern courts, appropriated legislative processes, previously the purview of the ʿulama, restructured traditional religious seminaries, and took over their financial wellspring, the awqāf, thereby depriving the ʿulama of a major source of economic power and independence.These significant changes, among others, lead to the gradual marginalization of the ʿulama class, who previously enjoyed unparalleled social authority and prestige.

Despite the marginalization of religious scholars, their knowledge remains as pertinent today as it has ever been in Islamic history. On a daily basis, 1.8 billion Muslims around the globe seek reliable answers to urgent questions they are facing: how to bury their dead ones, how to divide up their inheritance in a proper and fair way, how to get married. Despite the continuous need for reliable religious scholars, the lack of infrastructure and financial support for scholars coupled with escalating political turbulence in the Muslim world has forced many of them to resort to menial jobs to make ends meet.

The Islamic Scholars’ Fund seeks to create an infrastructure to support scholars’ efforts to tend to the community’s pressing needs by researching, writing, responding to questions, and teaching. Please take a moment of your time today and make a contribution to the Islamic Scholars Fund on SeekersGuidance. Whatever you can give is worthy. As God reminds us in the following Qur’anic verse, “…whatever good you may spend will be repaid unto you in full, and you shall not be wronged” (Qur’an, 2:272).


Dr. Hadia Mubarak is an assistant professor of religious studies at Guilford College. Previously, Mubarak taught at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Davidson College. Mubarak completed her Ph.D. in Islamic studies from Georgetown University, where she specialized in modern and classical Qurʾanic exegesis, Islamic feminism, and gender reform in the modern Muslim world.


Islamic Scholars Fund Appeal

If you saw a poor person on the street who is genuinely desperate, would you say: “You know what, I’m not going to help you now, come back in Ramadan and I’m going to help you.” Of course you wouldn’t!

If you saw someone hungry and you had food you wouldn’t say: “You know what, I’m not going to feed you now, I’m going to feed you three months from now in Ramadan.”

If you had a friend who had some urgent need and you could help them, you wouldn’t say: “You know what, I’m not going to help you now. Come back to me in three months and I’ll help you then.”  Of course you wouldn’t do that!

We need your help to raise $250,000 in Zakat and charity for the Islamic Scholars Fund

Similarly we shouldn’t delay our zakat. We shouldn’t delay our charity till Ramadan.  At the Seekers Guidance Islamic Scholars Fund we support scholars and students who are in need; who are deserving; and who are inheritors of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him. These scholars and students are benefiting communities because we are able to support them so that they may dedicate themselves to teaching and to studying.

 

 

However, with the growth of the Islamic Scholars Fund last year (we raised over a million dollars in supporting scholars and students), we have begun 2019 with the Islamic Scholars Fund repleted. There are so many cases that we cannot turn away, that our fund right now is repleted. We support scholars and students who are needy and deserving at $75,000 a month, but we need your help. We at present funding level will not be able to make it till Ramadan supporting those whom we are supporting, let alone addressing new cases that are coming up.

The best of good deeds are those that are hastened; that address a need; and that have the greatest benefit.

So we need your help to raise $250,000 in Zakat and charity for the Islamic Scholars Fund to support these scholars who are in need now.

The best of good deeds are those that are hastened; that address a need; and that have the greatest benefit. The Islamic Scholars Fund addresses a genuine need.

It is shameful for us as an Umma to have inheritors of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, and future inheritors (students of knowledge) who are not able to support themselves and dedicate themselves to knowledge and guidance (its spreading and its acquisition).

This is how we preserve our Deen. It is our responsibility to support them, so give generously to the Islamic Scholars Fund.

Don’t wait till Ramadan, hasten to the good now. Be of those whom Allah describes as those drawn close to him, al-Sabiqoon al-Sabiqoon .Those who rush to the good before others because they are drawn close by Allah. So give now, and give generously. Give to the Islamic Scholars Fund and make a tremendous impact by supporting true inheritors of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him.

Barak Allah Feekum


 

A Beauty Most Sublime: New On-Demand Course by Habib Muhammad al-Saqqaf

SeekersGuidance is happy to close the year with a new On-Demand course, taught by Habib Muhammad al-Saqqaf. The course covers the science of Shama’il, or the description of the Prophet based on the famous hadith by Hind ibn Abi Hala.

Recorded in Cape Town, South Africa at the Mahabbah Foundation’s Annual International Spiritual Retreat 2018, and taught by Habib Muhammad al-Saqqaf with translation provided by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan.

Habib Muhammad introduces the science of Shama’il, which is a subject obligatory for all Muslims to know. By knowing more about the Prophet’s character and his daily, life, it increases our love for him. When we send peace and blessings on him, he responds back, which solidifies our connection with him.

The famous hadith was narrated by Hind ibn Abi Hala, who was the stepson of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace. He was a master of the Arabic language, and was extremely skilled at describing people. Furthermore, having being raised in the house of the Prophet, his hadith conveys a lot of love for him.

Benefits of Studying Shama’il

There are many benefits of studying the Shama’il, gathering to remember the Prophet, and reciting his life story. Firstly, it increase our love for him, which is the greatest cause for attaining perfection of faith. Secondly, knowing more about his life helps us understand his biography. Thirdly, we are able to call to mind his image when he is mentioned, which is the greatest way to see him.

For FREE registration, see A Beauty Most Sublime On-Demand Course.


Help us build a support system for Muslim scholars to attend to their most important duty bu donating to  SeekersGuidance and the SeekersGuidance Islamic Scholars Fund, which is at the of its mission.

Share with us our concern for Muslim scholars and allowing them to carry on their mission to spread the prophetic light of guidance and knowledge; despite all the economic burdens that they shoulder.

Give now! Whether it is your zakat or sadaqa, it’s not too late to give your end-of-year charitable donations to a worthy cause, one that pleases Allah and supports the heirs of His prophets in our time.

Islamic Scholars Fund: Make an Impact With Your Zakat

In this video Shaykh Faraz Rabbani emphasizes the importance of having an Islamic Scholars Fund.

 In our times…

In traditional Muslim societies endowment supported the best and brightest young minds to become Islamic scholars. Islamic scholars were supported, so that they could dedicate themselves to teaching and providing religious guidance and clarity to the community. Unfortunately, in our times, we don’t have such institutions, as a result, the best and brightest young minds don’t pursue the path of Islamic scholarship, and Islamic scholars, even the most capable are not very often able to dedicate themselves to teaching, guiding and providing clarity.

An urgent area of need

A few years ago SeekersHub started collecting zakat to support students of knowledge in need, to support deserving Islamic scholars. Very quickly we discovered that this is an urgent area of need, we found many cases of scholars in the most dire of circumstances. Scholars like a leading Arab scholar with disabled children whose medical bills meant that he had to work long hours and was unable to teach actively, was unable to write or research. With your support this scholar has been able to teach thousands of students around the world, and has authored many really beneficial religious works.

Lost, now found

Your support has also helped students dedicate themselves to study, students such as Sufyan, living in a suburb of Paris, who was dismayed, lost and confused about how he could study, how he could serve the community by becoming a scholar of Islam. With your support, Sufyan is now well on the path to becoming a capable teacher and scholar of prophetic guidance.

Female scholarship

Students like the many female students of knowledge whom we are supporting, mentoring and guiding to become future female scholars of Islam. How can we celebrate the great history of female scholarship in Islam, the thousands of female scholars in 9th century Baghdad if we’re not committed now, to support present day female students of knowledge?

The scholars tell us that the best charity is the charity that has the greatest impact.