Assalamualaikum Wrt. Wbt.
My mum wanted to enrol me into a Madrasah when I was in primary one. However, I failed the test. So for the rest of my 10 years compulsory education plus 3 years of college and 1.5 years in a local university, I can safely conclude that my thoughts were largely moulded by the secular education received. I believe any type of education is good, except that what I was lacking of spiritual guidance.I’m quite sure many are/were in the same boat as I was. For me, I’d say I received hidayah at quite a late age and I’d say where I am now is unintended. SubhanAllah.
Thanks to technology, Islamic messages are much more accessible making da’wah activities much easier and Alhamdulillah this results to people realising the importance of Islam at a much younger age. Teenagers despite coming from secular educational background can be seen filling public Islamic talks and lectures. Alhamdulillah we are seeing progress in our Ummah.
There is a new phenomenon arising from this. There has been a trend whereby secular education students going into a totally new field in the Islamic studies when they have the opportunity to do so and leaving their “secular” life totally. So at the age of 17-20, after ‘O’, ‘N’, ‘A’ Levels or Diploma, they join Islamic centres and start learning Islam and Arabic from scratch. I am not at all saying this is a bad thing. In fact, I believe it is born out of pure intention to compensate for the years loss not knowing Allah SWT. However, insyaAllah I have a suggestion that we can look into together.
I have been passionate about Islamizing our knowledge for the past few years. My passion fires even more after I have gone through a module in my university called “Introduction to History and Civilization”. We learnt about the Golden Age of Islam and also the amazing Muslim scholars whose intellectual capacity were really totally out of this world. When I say Muslim scholars, I do not mean Ulama’ who specialised in Qur’an and Sunnah only. Who I meant were those scholars who studied religion alongside with philosophy, medicine, astronomy, geometry, mathematics, geography, psychology, sociology, history, physics, chemistry, art and architecture, agriculture, etc. SubhanAllah. Let’s take for instance the eminent scholar al-Razi (Rhazes) from Rey (in Iran) who lives in the Islamic Golden Age era. His main interests were medicine, chemistry and philosophy. During his lifetime, he produced lots of works on his interests, and he also wrote an immense medical reference in Europe for 600 years such as in the areas of gynaecology, obstetrics and surgery. MasyaAllah.
In the first paragraph, I’ve said that any type of education is good and yes, that includes our 10-13 years of secular education. That should serve as a basis for something greater instead of turning our back against it. Our world is in need of the truth. If every person who is passionate about Islam becomes a religious teacher, then someone who is in the human sciences field will never find the ultimate truth and still stick to theories and assumptions. Becoming a religious teacher is indeed a commendable role and I am not at all belittling them. Of cz I won’t! My husband is one. Hehe. They are in fact the backbone of our Ummah.
Although it might be impossible to replicate even 1/10 of what our scholars had achieved during the Islamic Golden Age, that does not mean that we should not try. What I am trying to advocate here is that, there is wisdom why Allah SWT placed us where we are now. I have faith Allah SWT did not put me in a Madrasah 19 years ago because He wants me to do something else. Islamizing our current knowledge is the first step to reaching our Golden Age again. Allah SWT says in the Quran:
“Read in the name of your Lord Who created.” (al-‘Alaq:1)
We believe our Lord is the truth. Hence when we read in the name of our Lord, we are reading to seek out the truth. How are we able to search for the truth if we are not exposed to the Qur’an and Sunnah, if we are blinded by only the Western perspectives of a certain issue? At the same time, we believe Islam is a way of life, and resources and information Allah SWT has given us are sufficient for us to lead our life. Therefore, I feel that in order for us to progress further as an Ummah, we should explore the different fields that we are in now, be critical with what we are being thrown at, and sift out all the lies and falsehood that we have been exposed since we were young.
If you have not known yet, I love my university. I am obsessed with the environment, the curriculum, the lecturers, the facilities (ok, can be improved a bit more. hee.), everything I’d say. Alhamdulillah currently I am pursuing my degree in psychology at International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM). IIUM, just like any other universities, offers various courses. However, what makes IIUM different is that IIUM provides both Western theories and Islamic perspectives on every course that IIUM offers which means IIUM students receive a more holistic view of a certain issue. I am not sure of other places which offer similar programmes as IIUM. Even if there is, maybe it might be far from Singapore.
I know it looks like I’m promoting my school, BUT YES, I am shamelessly promoting IIUM. Hehe. But I am not paid for it laa… Hmm.. I should demand for royalty for every person enrolled through me eh. Hee.. So here I am going to advertise to you Association of Singaporean IIUM (ASIIUM) very first Open Day which will be held next week, insyaAllah! There will be seminar and Q&A session, sharing session with alumni and current students, booths on the various courses that IIUM offers, etc. So if this is your first time hearing about IIUM or you are not really sure if IIUM is the place you want to be, be sure to join ASIIUM’s Open Day, okie?
Here are the details:
Date: 18 June 2016
Venue: MUIS Academy Training Room
Time: 2pm – 6pm
Click here to register and get your ticket! 😀 Bring all your friends along so that all of you have one more option open in making your decision to pursue your studies. This also applies to those who wish to pursue Masters and PhD. If you are still 50-50 whether to attend or not and you are still able to read another lengthy blog post, hehe, then do read Muslim Coming From Secular Education? Join IIUM!.
I hope no one takes me wrongly. I am not belittling anyone here. I am not judging you if you choose to leave your past and start anew with Islamic studies. I am also not referring to people with secular education background only although they are my target reader for this post. If you are from from a Madrasah and you are also looking out at IIUM as one of your options, then you are warmly welcome too! It’s time we integrate and share ideas despite coming from different backgrounds, yeahhhhh… Let’s progress together for the betterment of our Ummah, insyaAllah!