In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Have you ever asked yourself, "When will I be able to learn my religion?" I have been Muslim for a year, five years, fifteen years now, but I still can't read the Quran! I still don't know much about the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah! I can't read or understand Arabic! I see no real progress in this journey that I have embarked on! I am still working on the basics!
You are not alone when it comes to these thoughts. Many Muslims find themselves in the same dilemma. Many converts, upon entering the faith of Islam, find themselves reading the Quran in their language, searching for knowledge at their local mosque, watching videos online, but then they reach a point where they feel like they hit a wall, because perhaps, their local mosque only really provides classes in Urdu or Arabic.
The weekly khutbah (Friday sermon) is in a foreign language and the mosque provides a very subpar translation, which lacks the true vibrance and delivery of the khateeb (the Imam delivering the sermon). You enter at times in need, empty spiritually, seeking for your soul to be shaken and moved, but week after week you leave the way you have entered, because you are not able to comprehend the message in the language in which it is being delivered.
That fills you with stress and anxiety because you want to dedicate yourself to Allah. You want to listen, learn, and implement what you have heard, because you yearn to please your Lord, Glorified and Exalted is He.
Many years ago, I found myself in the same situation. I was striving to go overseas to learn, because at that time it was the only available method. I applied to every University you can think of: The University of Medinah, Ummul Qura, Muhammad ibn Saud, Al Azhar, etc.
I found myself always reading, traveling, and listening to lectures, but I wanted to learn the traditional way, under the guidance and tutelage of a scholar, so that I was sure that my comprehension and application of this blessed way of life, was proper and correct according to the book of Allah and the sunnah of His Messenger (sAws).
After being accepted to the University of Medinah in August of 2001, I left America to what in my mind was the Harvard of the Muslim world. A month later, the horrible occurrence of 9/11 happened and my dreams of remaining in the blessed city, the city of our beloved Prophet (sAws) was now going to come to an end. I had the choice of staying there to learn about this religion, or to come back home and take care of my family, thereby assuring their safety during this very trying and difficult time.
Being from NJ, I decided to return back to the states, because as I understood, that as a Muslim man, I was responsible for the safe keeping of my family. I came back distraught, overwhelmed emotionally. When the Athan (the call to prayer) would go off on my alarm clock, tears would flood my eyes, emotions would overtake my soul and spirit, and I began to think that I would remain ignorant for the rest of my life.
I soon realized, that Allah is the one who grants whom He wills knowledge of this religion. I realized, that as long as I was sincere in my pursuit of knowledge, and that it was done seeking solely His pleasure, that He could, and would, Insha Allah (if He so wished), open the doors once again for me to traditional learning.
After five years of struggling to continue learning this religion, Allah opened the door to Mishkah University for me. It was an online University that taught all of the different sciences of Islam under the tutelage of scholars of this faith. I was amazed that such a University existed and I immediately began to take classes while thanking Allah for granting me a second opportunity.
Even then, it remained challenging because I was now a full-time father, husband, and employee who wanted to study Islam full-time. I committed myself to this task, with the help of Allah first, and then with the help of my amazing wife and family.
I graduated 6 years later with my Bachelors in Islamic Studies. Yes, it took me 6 years to finish my degree, but the key for me was not to get a degree in 4 years, rather, the key, was to learn Islam and to implement what I have learned.
That is why today, I want to tell you that you no longer have to stress or worry about how you are going to learn this religion. We live in a time where many options are now available to you. The only thing you need in order to commence upon the path of knowledge are two important things:
If you have these two things, then I give you the glad tidings of many great things to come. Many are still under the impression that you have to go overseas to learn this religion, but that is not the case. Is it the best method? Yes, hands down it is the best method of studying this faith. If you can be totally immersed 100% on a daily basis while not having to worry about anything but learning this religion, then that is truly a blessing from your Lord.
But if you are like many of us, who have a family, have to work, and cannot just up and leave to go overseas to study, then do not be sad, for Allah has solved this problem by allowing the creation of technology and online institutions of higher learning.
There are many options that you have right at your finger tips. I will provide you with just a few options so that you can start upon this journey of seeking knowledge, thereby making your journey towards paradise easier as taught to us by our beloved Messenger (sAws). Here are some options:
And there are many others that I have not provided. The ones I have given you are well known to me. I am confident that within any of the above mentioned resources you will find what your heart, soul, and mind have been seeking, knowledge of this blessed way of life, Al Islam.
In conclusion, I just want to remind you to never stay stagnant. There is no need for not developing yourself, your relationship with Allah, your relationship with the Messenger of Allah, and for you not to pursue making your path to paradise easy by means of knowledge.
Remain sincere! Remain sincere! Remain sincere! Never learn to become famous. Never learn to be known, recognized, and praised, rather gain knowledge to get closer to Allah and if you do this, you will find success at the end of that road.
Start your journey today and do not leave it for tomorrow as no one is promised tomorrow. Leave the doubts! You can do it! Take it one step at a time and you will definitely find success!
May Allah bless you all,
AbdurRazzaq Abu Sumayyah Lebron
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