(Text version below. For audio version, please click here): AG Welcome to Students 2017
Welcome to Students
27 Sep 2013 , 9 Oct 2015 and 13 October 2017
“A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem. Bismilláhir rahmánir raheem
Al hamdu lillahi nahmaduhu wanasta’eenahu, wanastagh-firuhu, wanatoobu ilayhi, wana’oothu Billaahi min shuroori an-fusinaa, wamin sayyi aati a’maalinaa. May- Yahdillahu fa huwal muhtad, wa may- yudlill falan tajidaa lahu waliyan murshida. Wa ash-hadu an Laa ilaaha ill-Alláh, wahdahoo laa shareeka lah, wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhoo warasooluh”
All Praise is due to Alláh, We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our own evils and our own bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Alláh, he is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no god but Alláh, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad, peace and blessings on him, is His servant, and His messenger.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem! Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, haqqa tuqaatihee wala tamu tun-na, il-la wa antum Muslimoon.”
O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, with correct awareness, an awe-inspired awareness, and die not except as Muslims.
Ya Ay-yuhal-latheena ‘aamanut taqul-laaha, wa qooloo qawlan sadeedaa. Yuslih-lakum a’maalakum wa yaghfir lakum thunoobakum, wamay yu-til-laaha warasoolah, faqad faaza fawzan atheemaa.”
O You who believe, – Be aware of Allah, and speak a straightforward word. He will forgive your sins and repair your deeds. And whoever takes Allah and His Prophet as a guide, has already achieved a mighty victory.
In the opening verse of Sura An-Nisaa’, Allah says:
O mankind! Show reverence towards your Guardian-Lord Who created you from a single person, created, of like nature, his mate and from the two of them scattered (like seeds) countless men and women;― Be conscious of Allah, through Whom ye demand your mutual (rights) and (show reverence towards) the wombs (that bore you): for surely, Allah ever watches over you.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I see a number of new faces here today. They’re young faces, and they look rather keen to acquire knowledge. They must be students. The academic year has begun, and so I’d like to welcome the new students. Welcome to our Jumuah, welcome to our community!
You should know that Rasool Allah sws, laid great emphasis on the quest for knowledge, and he urged Muslims to
‘Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. Seek knowledge even unto China!’
In a way, every student who leaves home to study elsewhere is also making a kind of Hijra, a migration, by travelling far from their homes and loved ones. And at a much deeper level, those who go forth in search of knowledge are making the Hijra or migration from ignorance towards Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom. This is a noble ambition that is very strongly encouraged in Islám…
More than fourteen centuries ago, Islam came to a land of desert nomads. When these nomads studied and applied themselves to the Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah they were miraculously transformed from wild and warring tribes into a nation of supermen. Their quest for knowledge led them to build a great civilisation, at a time when much of Europe was gripped in fear and superstition.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, as you commence this great adventure of learning at University, you should also be critically aware of any cultural bias in your study material. Subjects like history can sometimes take a rather Euro-centric viewpoint. By Eurocentric I mean presenting the entire history of mankind as if it was simply an enlarged history of Europe and its Greek and Roman origins. This is how history was taught to me in my youth, over 50 years ago. Other civilisations are often marginalised, and are only considered in the way they impinged on the history of the West.
For example, you may read that Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ America. It’s almost as if the Red Indians, or ‘first nations,’ were there, just waiting to be ‘discovered’ by Europe! But really, the truth is that Columbus was looking for India and he lost his way! Europeans say he discovered America. The native Americans say he was lost, and they discovered him! They even gave him some potatoes and tobacco which he brought back to Europe!
Be aware of any subliminal messages and hidden agendas in your study material. Sometimes unproven theories are presented as hard truths. If you are studying the natural sciences, be mindful of the pervasive influence of Darwinism. There is today, a lively debate between Creationists and Darwinists. You know, scientific theories and assumptions are there to be examined, explored, questioned and challenged. Don’t take anything at face value. Do engage with your tutors and your fellow students in a healthy intellectual discourse. This is what University life is all about. Discuss and debate, search honestly for the truth. Always do so with courtesy and respect, observing the adab, (the good manners) of a believing Muslim. Allah loves this. This is what our beloved Prophet meant when he encouraged his Companions to “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. Seek knowledge, even unto China.”
Islam is not anti-scientific. On the contrary, Islam encourages scientific enquiry and Islam puts its work into perspective. For example, the widely accepted modern scientific view of Creation is that the whole universe, all matter, energy, space and time began with a ‘big bang’ some 14 billion years ago. Secular atheists say that everything began purely by a chance. They do not accept the idea that a loving and intelligent Creator has actually put every atom in the universe in place as part of Allah’s great cosmic plan.
If indeed everything began with a ‘big bang’ then we Muslims know exactly where and when this bang occurred. It happened precisely, between the Arabic letters, Kaaf and Nuun: “Kun!” “Be!” “fayakuun!” and it “IS!” This is Allah’s decree. This is Allah’s command. The Holy Quran declares in the last verses of Sura Yasin:
Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem! “Awalaysal lathee khalaqas sama wati wal arda biqaa dirin ‘alaa ay-yakh luka mith lahum. Balaa, wahuwal khal-laaqul aleem!
Inna maa amruhoo ithaa araada shay-an Ay-yaqoola lahum, Kun! Fayakuun! Fasoob’ haanal lathee biyadihee malakootu kulli shay-in wa ilayhi tur-ja’oon.”
“Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth, able to create the like thereof? Yes, indeed! For He is the Creator Supreme, of infinite skill and knowledge! Truly, when He intends a thing, His Command is: “BE” and it IS! So Glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things, and to Him will you all be brought back.”
Here in these beautiful and eloquent verses from the heart of the Holy Qur’án we discover the simple truth about the beginning and the end of everything. I challenge anyone to take all the scientific theories and lay them side by side with the Quranic view of Creation. Compare them carefully, and you will not find a simpler, more logical and rational explanation. The whole of creation has One Master, One Designer, One loving and merciful Architect and Sustainer. The idea that the infinitely complex, beautifully and finely tuned universe, all came into existence by chance, by a random collision of matter, is very difficult to accept rationally. All the complex laws of phyics, of motion and gravity, of chemistry and genetics, they are so finely balanced. Living cells have such an intricate design, that they simply cannot have come into existence by chance. After many years of study, research and reflection, the famous British astronomer and mathematician, Fred Hoyle, came to this conclusion. He said that if you can believe that everything began by chance, without a Creator, then it’s like saying that a tornado can rip its way through a junk yard, and as it moves away it leaves behind a complete Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet: ready for take off! If you can believe that’s possible, then you can believe anything!
“Alhamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen. Was-salaatu was-salaamu alaa Khairil mursaleen. Muhammadin-nabeey-yil Ummiy-yee, wa-‘alaa aalihee, wasah-bihee, aj-ma’een.
“Innalláha wa malaaikata yusallúna alan nabi. Yá ay yuhal latheena ámanu sallú alayhi wasalli mú tas leema. Allahumma salli alá Muhammad, wa ala áli Muhammad, kama salayta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali Ibrahim. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibrahim, wa ala ali ibrahim. Fil ála meen, innaka hameedun majeed.”
“Soob’ hanallahi wal hamdu lillah, wala hawla wala quwwata illah billah yu althi yual theem”
Glory to Allah! Praise to Allah! There is no power and no strength except from Allah!
My dear sisters and brothers,
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I do hope you will enjoy your learning adventure. Remember, as Muslims and Believers, you will have a great advantage over many other students. You will have a spiritual dimension, which informs your search for knowledge, and gives it a context and meaning. Whether you are studying Petroleum Geology or Mathematics, Computer encryption or Medieval History, Astronomy or Management, you are really exploring Alláh’s wonderful world, in order to make a positive contribution to humankind. Remember always, that with every step you take on this exciting journey, with every new idea that swims into your intellectual horizon, you should say, Sub-haanalah, Alhamdu lillah, Allahu Akbar! Glory to Alláh, Praise Alláh, Alláh is the Greatest! When your colleagues say, Wow! It’s only their way of saying, Allahu Akbar! Allah is Great! But they don’t know it yet. All beneficial knowledge comes from Alláh, because we live in a purposive universe. Alláh has created everything for a purpose. Remember that every time you learn something new and useful, Alláh has lifted a veil, and uncovered another sign or Ayaat for you, from his wonderful unwritten Qur’án, which is the world of Nature.
Verse 190 of Sura Al-‘Imraan makes this very clear:
“Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem! Inna fee khalqis samaa waati wal ardi, Wakhtila fil layli wan-hah-haari, la-aayaatil li-oolil albaab. Al-latheena yath-kuroonal-laaha qiyaamaw waqu-oodaw wa ‘alaa junoobi him wayata fak-karoona fee khalqis samaa waati wal ard, Rabbanaa maa khalaqta haa-thaa baatilan, Soob’haanaka, faqinaa athaaban naar.”
“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs, for men of understanding. Men who celebrate the praises of Alláh, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the wonders of creation in the heavens and the earth, with the thought: Our Lord! Not for nothing have you created all this! Glory to You! Save us from the penalty of the fire!
Dear sisters and brothers, this khutbah offers some words of advice as the new academic year begins.
Life itself is a kind of university. This University of Life has a faculty of hard knocks. This is your coursework: everything that comes our way, day in, day out, good and bad. It’s called lifelong learning. This is the informal education we must all acquire, to complement the formal education of school and university.
When our beloved Prophet Muhammad sws urged his followers to seek knowledge he was not just talking of formal education, as we know it today. In Islám, there is no artificial barrier between formal and informal learning, just as there is no artificial barrier between secular and sacred learning. All useful knowledge is from Allah. If you pursue knowledge that leads to a better understanding of Allah’s wonderful creation, and you use that knowledge for the benefit of humankind, you are given a very high status. I urge you to follow this prophetic advice, and I pray that Allah will bless your time at University as an extended form of worship, as an ‘ibadah, for the benefit of mankind. Ameen.
Brothers and sisters, to conclude our khutbah:
InnaAllaha, Yamuru bil adel, wal ihsaan, wa eetaa-i zil qurba; wa yanha anil fuhshaa-i, wal munkari walbaghi; ya-idzukhum lallakum tathak-karoon. (Sura 16:90),
“Surely Allah commands justice, good deeds and generosity to others and to relatives; and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, so that you may be reminded.”
Fadth kuroonee adth kurkum, wash kuroolee walaa tak furoon [2:152].
(Allah says), “and remember Me: I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and do not reject faith.”
wala thikrul-Laahi akbar, Wal-Laahu ya’lamu maa tasna’oon.” [29:45].
“and without doubt, Remembrance of Allah is the Greatest Thing in life, and Allah knows the deeds that you do.”
Ameen. Aqeemus salaah