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 Ibn 'Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori

During one of our lecture programmes, the major issue discussed was how Muslim youths, would improve in their pursuit of Arabic and true Islamic knowledge (Sunnah). There is no doubt about the fact that many of us are lacking behind in this regard. We still have a very long way to go on this. How many of us can recite the Qur'an fluently with tajweed theoritically and practically? How many of us are able to speak and write simple and correct Arabic language? How many of us can deduce ahkaam (rulings of shari'ah on different issues) from the main sources (Qur'an and Sunnah)? 

Our noise is more than the level of knowledge we have acquired. This calls for serious concern. If we have the opportunity of meeting those that are capable of being called "shuyuukh" (scholars) in the context of the shari'ah, we would realize that we have a very long way to go. 

In Abuja and many other parts of the Northern Nigeria, the awareness for the revival of the learning of Arabic and the real Islamic teachings is on course. That is where you will find old men still striving very much to learn Arabic, tafseer, hadith and fiqh. Even the women there are not left out. They are competing relentlessly with their husbands and children in this wonderful exercise. They do not feel ashamed of wearing Arabic school uniform along with their children. You will see Directors, and Permanent Secretaries in the Federal Civil Service still striving to know more about their religion. Those of us who have resided in the Northern-Nigeria in recent time are reliable witnesses to this development.

But in our own community here, the prevailing slogan is "it is too late for me to learn Quran, Arabic and Islamic studies". Some people would even say "I dont have the time, I am too busy". Ooh! You are too busy to learn what would benefit you in this world and the Hereafter? But you are not too busy to watch football for many hours (both weekends and during the week), you are not too busy to watch as many movies (both foreign and indigenous) for as many hours as possible, you are not too busy to sit at the devilish assemblies where frivolous issues are discussed. Our women are not too busy to attend wedding events every weekends where sins of various kinds are committed. This only shows how poor our society is in matters of our faith. 

The truth of the matter is that we can only deceive ourselves, we cannot deceive Allaah. Allaah is aware of our activities and He created us for nothing but to worship Him Alone. If we fail to learn how to worship Him, how is it possible for us to worship Him? Don't deceive yourself, you can never be a religious person except you know the deen properly. You can never understand Islaam without understanding the Sunnah, you can't understand the Sunnah except you create time to learn it from qualified persons. There are lots of Muslims today who have the strength to engage in acts of worship (e.g qiyamu lail, nawaafil etc, ma sha Allaah!). But unfortunately, they lack basic knowledge of the deen. That lack of knowledge can easily put them into trouble and the acts done without following the proper procedure in deen (Sunnah and the methodologies of the salaf) may become futile. That is why knowledge is the first thing before any act of ibaadah.

The task of searching for Islamic knowledge is fard ul-'ain (individual responsibility). All of us may not be experts in the field of Arabic and the shari'ah, but we are duty bound to know atleast the elementary aspects of the deen. We should be able to open the Qur'an, know and understand its messages. Regarding that which is not clear to us, we can always ask those who know better.

Instead of engaging in those frivolous activities, if we can dedicate a part of our leisure for Arabic and Islamic studies (upon Sunnah), with prayers and dedication, Allaah would make it easy for us. The practice by which old men attend Arabic classes is not unknown to our society. As young as I am , I personally met some old men in our community who used to attend Arabic schools conscientiously. This is one of the best example we can emulate in the people of the past and not their mistakes in the practice of Islaam. Our big problem is that we tend to leave the virtuous practices of our fore-fathers and take their areas of mistakes. 

Many of the Sohaabah رضي الله عنهم who attended the Madrasah of the Rosul صلى الله عليه وسلم were old people. So, we do not have any excuse to neglect the Arabic and Islamic education, no matter how old we are or the kind of work we do. We must endeavour to create time for it. 

The halqoot where the Hadiths of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and matters of 'aqeedah are discussed are very much important to this society. Our society is so rotten and the only lubricant is the gatherings of discussions of the deen based on the Kitab wa Sunnah. You cannot feel the lubricants except you attend the halqoot with us. The joy the people of Sunnah derive while learning the Sunnah, discovering the truth about the deen is so much. Sometimes, when you are in front of a real scholar of Sunnah, hearing what he says, you will never feel hungry. You will always hear what you have never heard before that can improve your eeman and relationship with Allaah. It may be once or twice in a week depending on your schedule. If a whole week should pass without you understanding one or two ahaadeeth, you are not a serious Muslim. Personally, I feel so bad when a day passes me by, and I am unable to pinpoint what I have added in knowledge of the deen. The salaf (righteous predecessors) used to hold that seeking of knowledge is better than superogatory prayers. This shows the importance of knowledge before ibaadaat. Then, we should exert more effort on practising whatever we are able to learn. 

On the importance of gatherings where knowledge of the Kitab wa Sunnah are being disseminated, Abu Hurairah and Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri رضي الله عنهم reported: The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said,

"When a group of people assemble for the remembrance of Allaah, the angels surround them (with their wings), (Allaah's) mercy envelops them, Sakinah, or tranquillity descends upon them and Allah makes a mention of them before those who are near Him'' [Muslim].

Such is the kind of honour Allaah has bestowed on those who participate in gatherings where the words of Allaah and His Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم are being taught. By the time you start attending halqoot on Kitab wa Sunnah, you will get used to many principles of the shari'ah and there will be limit to the manner by which you argue blindly on matters that had been concluded by reputable scholars in the deen.

We pray Almighty Allaah makes it easy for us.

First written on Al-ithnain, 26th Rabi'ul Awwal, 1435 AH

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