How to make a Generation of Productive Australian Muslims?

Speech By Manzur Ashraf, PhD, Dec 20, 2020

(SEERATUN NABI 2020 AWARD CEREMONY SPEECH)

Allah (SWT) says, “The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves” [Quran 33:6] and the Prophet ﷺ said, “None of you will be a true believer until I am more beloved to you than yourself”. [Bukhari]

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What can we learn from the Life of the Prophet (PBUH)? How can we transform ourselves, and how can we make a generation of productive Australian Muslims – both in this Dunya and in the Akhirah or the Hereafter?

This question is linked to the following fundamental questions that we must ask ourselves:

  • Can we be the KEY TO GOODNESS?
  • WHAT CONTRIBUTIONS CAN WE MAKE TO MANKIND?
  • WHAT LEGACY will I LEAVE BEHIND
  • How MANY PEOPLE will CRY after I die?

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:

Indeed from amongst the people are those who are keys to goodness and some people are keys to evil. So glad tidings for the one who Allah has made him a key to goodness.

(Sunnan Ibn Majah Hadeeth No.237, Shaykh Al-Albanee graded the Hadeeth Hasan)

What are the ingredients to becoming the ‘key to goodness’? I have outlined four such qualities below:

1.Knowledge & Actions:

You would want to enrol your child in the best school or university to gain a better education, right?

If you go to the shop, you would want to buy the best and freshest foods. You wouldn’t want to buy the rotten and expired foods.

When you’re unwell, you would want the best medicines and treatment.

But what about learning Islamic knowledge?

Do we search and seek for the best Islamic knowledge?

Do we search for the best and the most useful teacher to teach us about our beautiful religion?

When Allah holds us accountable for seeking knowledge about our deen, our religion, how will we answer His question?

We spend hours searching on the internet for the most suitable house, car, clothes, foods or doctors and more, BUT how much time do we spend searching for the BEST AND CORRECT ISLAMIC EDUCATION? How much time do we spend in giving ourselves and our children the correct Islamic education and the ability to practice our religion accordingly?

IF WE MISS OUT ON THE BEST EDUCATION, HOUSE, CAR OR FOOD, WE’LL PROBABLY SUFFER IN THIS WORLD FOR A FEW YEARS.

BUT IF WE MISS OUT ON THE CORRECT AND THE BEST ISLAMIC EDUCATION, WE MAY SUFFER INFINITELY FOREVER IN THE HEREAFTER…

WHICH ONE IS A MORE SEVERE LOSS?

Do we seek to acquire knowledge that will help us attain success in both the DUNIYA and the AKHIRAH?

What is the most frequently recited DUA by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)?

“Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!”

The first step of acquiring knowledge is to learn the Quran, the Book of Allah.

THE VIRTUES OF PARENTS’ TEACHING THEIR CHILDREN HOW TO READ THE QURAN:

“The parents of whoever reads the Qur’an and acts upon what is in it will be crowned on the day of Judgment, the light of which will be greater than the light of the sun

(Abu Dawud, Witr, 14).

THE VIRTUES OF LEARNING THE QURAN

“Verily, Allah has friends among mankind.” They asked, “O Allah’s messenger, who are they?” He replied, “The People of the Qur’an;

(Ibn Maja, Muqaddima, 16).

Who are the most virtuous people??

“The most virtuous among you is he who teaches and learns the Qur’an”

(Bukhari, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 21).

These hadiths above emphasise the equal level of virtue of those who teach the Quran and those who learn it.

“One who sets off with the intention to gain knowledge, Allah facilitates for him (to orient himself toward) the path to Heaven. When a group of people sit in a mosque, read Allah’s Book and discuss, sakina (divine serenity) descends on them, mercy covers them and angels surround them.” (Tirmidhi, Qiraah,3).

“Read the Qur’an! It will be such a wonderful intercessor on Doomsday.”  The rest of the hadith shown above tells us how the Quran will intercede:

“On Doomsday the Quran will speak (for those who read it), ‘Lord, adorn him with honor’. That person will be adorned with honor. The Quran will say, ‘Lord, dress him in honor.’ The person will be dressed in honor. He will be crowned with the crown of honor” (Timidhi, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 18).

2. Good Manners:

‘The best among you are those who have the best manners and character.” (Surah Al-Baqarah)

There is a beautiful story when it comes to the importance of good manners:

An old lady was once offered help, by a man when he saw her struggling with her baggage. As he walked with her, she warned him of another man who claimed to be a new and final Prophet, who wanted to get rid of their idols and polytheistic religion. She threw insults at this “Prophet”, cursing his life and his message. When she reached her destination, she turned to the man and thanked him for his assistance. “What is your name, young man?” she asked. “Muhammad (PBUH),” was the reply. “I am that Prophet you spoke of.”  The lady was shocked and surprised.  Subhan ‘Allah, what an amazing act of kindness and humbleness can come from a man so great who helped the very woman who criticised and cursed him. And how sad is it that so few follow his (PBUH) true example. Despite being insulted, he (PBUH) remained patient and polite. He (PBUH) did not react to the old lady but was tolerant despite her words. Allah Almighty (SWT) says in the Qur’an, “It is because of mercy from Allah that you (Muhammad) have been so kind to them, for if you had been harsh and cruel-hearted, they would have left You (3:159)”.

Surely, if the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) can display such amazing manners, then we too can try and act similarly. Yet, these days, very few people would give a helping hand and even less, display such forbearance. Allah (SWT) says:

“Be kind as Allah has been kind to you… “(28:77) and

“Tolerate patiently what (unbelievers) say and part from them in polite manner” (73:10).

Al Bukhary narrated that Rasulullah said: “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of joking; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.”

  1. Good Companions

Abu Musa Al Ashari (R) said that the Messenger of Allah said:

“The example of the righteous companion and the evil companion is like that of the Perfume seller and the Blacksmith.

To the Perfume seller, if you stay with him, either he’ll give you some, or you’ll find a pleasant smell from him.

To the Blacksmith if you stay with him, either he will burn your clothes or you’ll find a bad smell from him.”

On the Day of Judgement, the bad people will bite at their hands – ‘Woe to me, Would that I had not taken such and such as my friends / companions. He indeed led me astray from the Reminder of Allah. ‘(Al furqan 27-29)

Seek companions who are seeking Paradise in the Hereafter.

What do you wish for?

Nowadays, people search for institutions, wealth and buildings; not human resources. Many people do not even give any value in developing human resources and generations, and do not want to develop them by investing time and money in them. On the contrary, many individuals are very interested in develop institutions,  buildings, mosques, wealth and a high bank balance.

But, what did Umar Ibn Al -Khattab (R) wish for?

‘Umar Ibn al-khattab was sitting with a group of companions and he asked them, “Let each one make a wish!”. Someone said, “I wish that this house was filled with gold and I would happily spend it in Allah’s path.” ‘Umar asked the people again, “Make a wish!” Someone else said, “I wish that this house was filled with pearls and with every kind of precious gem that I would happily spend in charity in Allah’s path.”

‘Umar asked again, “Make a wish!” They replied, “O Amirul Muminin, we truly do not know what to wish for.”

‘Umar (R) then said, “I wish that this house was filled with men like Abu ‘Ubaidah Bin Al Jarrah (ه عنه ).”

So, he wished for a productive human resource. He valued people, not buildings and institutions. Sahabas, themselves, were like entire institutions.

What do you wish for? Do you wish for a productive human resource?

Most of the Sahabas, or the companions of the Prophet (PBUH), ended their lives as a Ruler, a Governor, an Army general or as a Teacher. For instance, Abu Hurayra (R) was one of the poorest individuals during the Prophet’s time but later on, he became a Scholar of the Hadith and taught thousands of Tabei.

What an amazing contribution to this world!

And what about their success in the Akhirah?

Now, coming back to us.

WHAT CONTRIBUTIONS CAN WE MAKE TO MANKIND?

WHAT LEGACY SHALL WE LEAVE BEHIND?

How MANY PEOPLE will WEEP after WE die?

Can we make ourselves and our generations PRODUCTIVE AUSTRALIAN MUSLIMS?

  1. Always keep in mind the Day of Judgement

We need to remind ourselves of the day when we will all stand in front of the Lord of the Worlds; when He will reward all the goodness with His goodness; when he will recompense all the evil with its consequences.

ON THAT DAY, THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ENDING THAT WE WILL WISH FOR ourselves and for our Parents and for our future generation:

Allah (SWT) says, “Those angels who carry the Throne and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, have faith in Him, and seek forgiveness for the believers, praying: “Our Lord! You encompass everything in Your mercy and knowledge. So forgive those who repent and follow Your Way, and protect them from the torment of the Hellfire.

Our Lord! Admit them into the Gardens of Eternity which You have promised them, along with the righteous among their parents, spouses, and descendants. You alone are truly the Almighty, All-Wise.”

(Surah Ghafir: 7-8)

The most bliss in the hereafter is to stay in Jannah with our parents, our spouse and our children. It must be the end goal. We need to acquire knowledge and act accordingly to achieve this goal.

This is exactly what Learn Quran & Arabic Centre is executing to produce a generation of Goodness and to make them Productive Australian Muslims:

  • First, the Seeratun Nabi Program is a way to build our generation in a successful manner for both worlds.
  • Second, we teach Quran and Tajweed lessons and good manners to allow the young generation to be productive Muslims.
  • Third, our Islamic Studies Course is vital, is designed very carefully and is well-planned to make our generation well equipped with Islamic knowledge.

One request to my Quran Students: Please read the Islamic book that has been gifted and I’d be happy if you can email me with your favourite line or lines from the book.

PS. Thanks to Dr Humayra Ali for her suggestions regarding this talk.