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Responsibilities of an Muslim Chaplain in a University

Question: What are the responsibilities of an Imam or a Muslim Chaplain in a non-Muslim university with a growing population of Muslim students?

Answer: 

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

The general responsibilities include leading ritual prayers, giving general Islamic advice to students, and helping Muslim students find answers to their questions from reliable sources.

On a deeper level, a chaplain is to give spiritual advice on interpersonal relations and help Muslim students navigate their studies and careers in an Islamic way.

The chaplain also must help the Muslims carve out a separate yet balanced Muslim identity that is welcoming and that provides a clear safe haven for students that struggle to find themselves and their Islamic identity in a tempest of ideas and social pressures.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language

Can I Study at a University to Become a Professor?

Question: I wish to study at a university like Harvard and become a professor of Political science or History. Is it permissible to study there political science? Is it halal for me to become a professor of political science or history and teach at a university? Will my earnings be halal?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum,

1) Yes, it is permissible to study at Harvard if they only take student term-time work from you. This is part of their financial aid package.

2) It is permissible to pursue a degree in political science or history. Muslims educated in all subjects are needed around the world and systems of government must be understood by Muslims so we can make a difference. With this intention, the degree is considered beneficial and praiseworthy.

3) If you teach as a university professor, your earnings will be permissible (halal). The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “This world is cursed and what is in it is cursed, except the remembrance of Allah (dhikr) and what is conducive to that, and the teacher and the student” [Ibn Majah]. Teaching has a great honor in Islam, and with good intention, your reward may be magnified.

May Allah give you success in all your endeavors.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Should I Study Islam or Start My Post-Graduate Degree?

Question: I am graduating but I doubt my decision to study veterinary medicine for six years. I really want to study Islam, which I know shamefully little of. There’s no place here in the UK to study Islam and my dad won’t let me travel alone. What should I do?
Answer: 
Assalamu alaykum,
Thank you for your question.Sister, I commend you for your devotion and desire to fulfill Allah’s commands. Learning Islamic knowledge and teaching it is a communal obligation on both men and women, and there are not enough women filling this void. May Allah reward you for your intention whether you get to study or not.Options

Studying Islam is possible in a variety of ways. 1) Studying online at SeekersGuidance.org is the easiest, most accessible, most flexible, cheapest, and most eco-friendly option. It also provides  reliable traditional scholarship. 2) Studying overseas is difficult on the ego, finances, comfort of living, and twice as hard on a woman alone. However, the immersion in the culture, language, and religion is very rich.  3) Studying somewhere in the UK. You might find that you can study abroad within your country, in another city where I am certain that Islamic knowledge is rampant. Of course, your father’s permission would be needed to travel.

Plan it out

First, pray istikhara about studying abroad or not.

1) Ask others who have done it and get a general idea about the different places to study.
2) See if you can find someone to travel with, as there are many women who travel abroad with their mahram (i.e. father, brother) who help them set up to stay abroad.
3) Consider getting married before you go, especially with someone who has similar interests, or marry a student who is already studying abroad.
4) See if you can delay your vet study for a year or two. You will be surprised how much Arabic, tajweed, and basics you can pick up in just two years.

If all else fails, there are more options

Consider studying after your vet degree, there is certainly no time limit here. You have until you are in the grave to study knowledge. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Whoever goes out seeking knowledge, then he is in Allah’s cause until he returns.“  Studying vet medicine is also a form of worship because you are seeking a halal livelihood and helping Allah’s creatures through it. You can also study online as I stated earlier. And last but not least, start reading, memorizing, and understanding the Qur`an every day. My teacher once told me that everyone wants to come to the Middle East to study, but no one is reading enough Qur`an every day.

If you study medicine

If you end up studying medicine first, do it with ihsan (excellence). Trust that Allah has put you in the situation that is best for you and be grateful for it. Allah increases those who are thankful. Take courses during your holidays and make the Qur`an your best friend. Save money to able to study later.

May Allah give you the best. Ask Him to send you what is good for you, at the right time, and ask Him to help you fulfill your obligations towards Him  and to the ummah. See the links below.

The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “He who follows a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will make the path of Paradise easy to him. The angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon to the rest of the stars (i.e., in brightness). The learned are the heirs of the Prophets who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.“ [Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi]

I Want to Study Islam Abroad But Parents Insist on Me Staying at Home
Reflections from the SeekersHub Retreat: “I Want to Study to be an Islamic Scholar”

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Why Learn? – A Conversation with Dr Recep Senturk

Following is an excellent podcast from ImanWire. In this podcast Dr Recep Senturk reflects on the higher purposes of learning and the importance of cultivating independent, critical thinkers.

 

Click for the audio: https://soundcloud.com/almadinainst/ep-40-why-learn-dr-recep-senturk

 

Please subscribe to the podcast and visit www.imanwire.com for the latest articles and podcast episodes. Send any questions or comments to @imanwired on Twitter or [email protected].

Doubting My Ability to Suceed Due to Insults from Family and Friends

Answered by Shaykh Rami Nsour

Question: Asalaamu Aluykum

After failing to excel at school growing up, after a 2 year delay, I managed to get into a top ten University. Recently I failed one unit due to not studying something that was forced on me.   I have suffered a lot due to stress. The University acknowledged my situation and has allowed me to carry on and pick a suitable subject.

However i have doubts whether I should carry on. I am the only member of my family that has had problems with education. Ever since the age of 16 strangers, friends, and family have told me I am slow and stupid.

My self esteem is very low and I doubt I can do well at University after listening to what others say.  I feel sad and lonely at times. I want to study and do well so I can work for the ummah.  I regularly send blessings on the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) at night to help with feelings of sorrow and loneliness.

Answer: May Allah make things easy for you my dear brother. The situation that you are dealing with is not an easy one. When insults come from those who are closest to us they can hurt and damage us the most.

Rights of Parents

My advice to you first and foremost is to remain humbly respectful to your parents no matters what they say to you. Ibrahim alayhis salam had a father who told him that he would stone him. Yet in response, Ibrahim alayhis salam spoke very respectfully to him. You should consider taking our course on the Rights of Parents to help you guide your way through dealing with your parents.

Deen vs. Dunya

Another thing that you should be sure to train yourself to think about, is the difference between the knowledge and work of the deen (religion) and that of the dunya (worldy affairs). As long as you do not fall short in your religious affairs, then others do not have a right to blame you. The only exception is dunya that serves the deen, like working to support ones self and their family.

University Studies

In terms of carrying on with your university education, why would you stop it? As long as it does not take you away from studying the knowledge of this deen, then you should keep going with it. It will give you a standing to support yourself throughout your life and make learning and practicing the deen easier.

Insults

In terms of people insulting you in various ways, you do not have to stand for it. You should politely tell your parents that those words harm you. For others who hurl the insults, you can be more assertive in letting them know they have hurt you. You should also remove yourself from the place where you are being insulted.

This is a type of hijrah (immigration), even if it means just going to to another room. Do not sit there and take it. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him, taught us to not allow ourselves to be belittled. So you must do whatever you can to protect your honor.

Dealing with the Pain

You have found a wonderful way of dealing with the pain that you are experiencing Sending prayers on the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is a healing for the hearts. I would also encourage you to increase your reading of the Quran as well. Reading Sura Yusuf has been found to help heal sadness.

Abu Dom Dom

You should also implement the practice of Abu Dom Dom. He was a man in Jahiliyya (Days of Pre-Islamic Ignorance) who used to say every morning, “O Allah, I give my honor as a charity to the people.” He would intend that everything that he was owed, in terms of people slighting his honor, he would give away as charity. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings upon him, said, “Are any of you incapable of being like Abu Dom Dom?” This practice of “giving up” things is a time-tested healing.

As long as we hang on to the hurt that others have caused us, it will continue to hurt us. Even physiologically every time we think about the hurt our body releases cortisol and other hormones that cause stress similar to when we first experienced the pain the first time. Thereby leading to a perpetual hurt. The practice of Abu Dom Dom, approved and encouraged by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) can break this vicious cycle.

Please keep in contact with us here at Seekers and take our courses. There is healing and guidance in seeking knowledge.

Your brother,

Rami Nsour