Investing In The Future The Education Of Youth: Part 1
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editor's note: The following address was delivered June 14 at graduation ceremonies for Sister Clara Muhammad School in Chicago.)
As-Salaamu-Alaikum. Bismillah ar-Rahman, ir-Rahim. With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. We pray the peace and blessings be on the last Prophet and Messenger of God, his descen¬dants, companions, the righteous and all. Amen.
We are grateful for the opportunity to address the 1986 high school graduates of Sister Clara Muhammad School. First, I would, like to express my sincere appreciation to all of you and the staff of Sister Clara Muhammad School for your sacrifices and dedication.
I fully express a special appreciation for our principal, Dr. S. Mumtaz Ansari, who assists me in the direction of education for Clara Muhammad Schools throughout the nation. He joined us as an immigrant before he had received his papers for residency in the United States: he had approached us to see if he could be of service to this community. So, we thank Allah for those who contacted him and told him of our needs here. We pray that he will have a long stay here and accomplish much at Sister Clara Muhammad School.
You deserve congratulations
To the high school graduates of Sister Clara Muhammad School, you deserve first of all to be congratulated because many failed to stay in school and they lost the opportunity to have this exciting event in their life — graduation. I recall myself as a high school student: classes did not excite me anymore as they had in my earlier years and I dropped out of high school. I had the opportunity to make very good money as a youngster so I took that opportunity. But I decided that to make it I had to go back and finish high school in order to live at peace with myself.
I returned to high school and earned my diploma from the school of the Temple of Islam under the leadership of the late leader, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, along with several others of my classmates. But I didn't stop there. I made it my business to try to acquire knowledge of my religion and to acquire knowledge of the world that I live in.
I followed the instruction of our leader, the Great Prophet Muhammad, who said, "Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave." And, my advice to you tonight is that you do the same —never give up the spirit and mind of the student. The best leaders, the best professors are those who still consider themselves to be students.
A pattern of knowledge
There are many references in the Qur'an, our Holy Book, to knowledge, the value of knowledge, the place of knowledge in the scheme of things created by God. In addressing this high school graduate class, the main point that I would like to establish is that a person's life is restricted to a pattern of knowledge.
I quote the Holy Book, "Allah is He who created the seven firma¬ments and of the earth a similar number. Through the midst of them all, descends His command, that ye may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah comprehends all things in His Knowledge."
Graduates, try hard to see that your life conforms to a pattern of knowledge. The pattern of knowledge for us is Al-Islam, as found in the two main sources of knowledge for us — first the Qur'an. the Revealed Book, and second, the sunnah of Muhammad the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him.
It is very important that the sunnah of the Prophet has been given to us as a means of securing ourselves, our life and remaining in the path of success.
The Prophet, peace and blessings on him, says, "I leave with you two things: the Revealed Book. Qur'an, and my sunnah." “The book of Allah and my sunnah.” he said.
Knowledge is not enough
In these modern times we find that knowledge is not enough. That is, a religion, or philosophy or ideology is not enough to keep people's life in order. We live in a society in which education abounds, wonderful institutions stand strong and firm and the greatest teachers in the fields of knowledge, and science can be found.
Yet, for all of this existing here in society, most of the people cannot get their lives in order, they cannot have or sustain achieve¬ments. They achieve today and fail tomorrow. They are successful at a job today and unemployed tomorrow. They are successfully mar¬ried today and divorced tomorrow. They can't rely on or sustain accomplishments.
The greatest thing that I can say to you is that the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad will give us a situation for sustaining accom¬plishments in our lives. As students I'm sure that some of you have imitated your teachers, parents or someone else that you admire. While we all have our distinct personalities, the great majority of us are impressionable.
Others that we admire have left their impressions on us. Our personality is very much a mixture of what has rubbed off on us in our association with others. This is going to be. This influence is stronger than the spirit or the will to pursue our objectives in life or our aims in life.
The influence coming from our associates or from someone we admire seems to penetrate us: it seems to permeate our spirit, our soul, our makeup, and before we know it, we are unconsciously imitating or following the life of a very strong personality.
We should study the personality of the Prophet, peace and bles¬sings be on him — in his hadith or sayings, and we should study his character as revealed by God in Qur'an. We should study his character, because, his character was created by God as a model for all people.
Muslims are obligated to study the life of Mohammad the Prophet (peace be on him), and to follow his tradition, to follow his lifestyle. His lifestyle is perfect and in that it is perfect, it is safe and best for all people to copy. It is universal.
The Prophet was an all-around person. He was head of state: he was a soldier, a general in the army, he was an educator, he was a statesman, orator, professor, teacher; he was husband, father, and he did everyday chores that the poor person has to do because he can't pay someone to do those things for him.
So, the full scope of the Prophet's life is the best example for all of us to follow. Allah (God) has said. "Indeed you will find in him the most excellent example to follow, for any who believe in God and the Last Day."
The discipline of knowledge
The wisdom that I have pointed out to you is this: that life is bound up in knowledge. If you allow your behavior or your conduct to leave the discipline of knowledge, you leave life itself. That is because a person's life is held in the context of knowledge. For everything, then, is a knowledge context. You should seek to know the knowledge that your life is structured upon.
We will differ as to our aspirations — one student may go into science, another may go into construction and another may go into art, or business. However, no matter what you aspire to go into, you need to know that knowledge you have to live by. First of all, if you are a Muslim, you seek your direction from the Qur'an, and from the Sunnah, the tradition of Prophet Muhammad, then apply those principles—that knowledge—to the situation in which you find yourself. Have that awareness that God gives us in the Holy Book and through His Messenger that He has not created the heavens and the earth in vain. Allah, Most High, says in the Qur'an, our Holy Book, that "Surely We were not playing when We created the heavens and the earth." That's God speaking!
Allah Most High also says in the Holy Book, "Our Lord, can reach out to the utmost recesses of things by His power. In Allah is our trust." These words are found in the Qur'an and they tell us more than what readily comes to mind.
The faithful who obey God and put their complete trust in Him have been shown a way by God. They say in the words of our Holy Book, "Our Lord can reach out to the utmost recesses of things by His knowledge. In Allah is our trust.