Madrasah Life Through The Eyes Of A University Student
By Ridwan Basith (Year 2)
Before I started studying at IZA I had never really experi-enced what it had meant to study my religion in a traditional environment. Since I started to take my Islam more seriously, I realised the urgent need for me to understand my faith and to actually look beyond the image that is often painted in the me-dia. Thus, just before I started my second year of university I enrolled onto the alim course at the Imam Zakariya Academy. Life at University and Madrasah are often seen in contrasting lights. The former is seen as a way of getting away from the rigidness of the latter. My time in madrasah has shown me that this could not be further from the truth. Perhaps one of the strangest things Ive experienced since Ive started studying the deen is the awesome tranquility that fills your heart whilst you are in the madrasah. I often ask my fellow students regarding this and I nearly always get the same response. Quote if the rulers knew the peace we had they would take their armies to conquer our musullasFor me, the peace and serenity which seems to surround madrasah is as a result of the pious inhabitants of the school. I am in awe of the character of many of the brothers who attend class here. As mentioned earlier, traditional Islam is often viewed as being very rigid and stern but the students here while they dress according to the sunnah, they also adorn themselves with the prophetic character of gentleness and com-passion. And indeed you are of a great moral character Surah Qalam Verse 4 One example of this is a football match I recently played with the brothers here. Despite being on the losing team I was amazed at the etiquette that was shown. This feeling of brotherhood is rarely found in this day and age but on that day I truly felt like I was amongst brothers. The other aspect of madrasah that I have yet to mention is the actual knowledge that is acquired whilst studying here. In the first two years of the alim course a heavy emphasis is placed on the learning of Arabic language. The main purpose behind this is first and foremost to understand the words of Allah.
At the start of the year I was quite skeptical as to how we were learning Arabic. I really could not fathom how all these differ-ent rules were supposed to allow me to understand the Quran. SubhanAllah, now I am approaching the end of the year I am able to appreciate the wisdom in the way our teachers were teaching us. It is a completely different experience when whilst standing in salah you are able to comprehend the message that is being presented in front of you. What greater joy can there be when you start to understand the words of your Creator directly without the need for an English translation. Finally, I have left the most important part of madrasah till last; our teachers. Under their guidance and tutelage Allah swt has truly blessed us with being able to learn under men who have attained their knowledge through their effort and sacrifice over a number of years. What has truly humbled us as students in front of our teachers is by witnessing the way they have internalized this knowledge of Quran and Sunnah and have developed their hearts to truly reflect the prophetic way. Every single teacher is a gem in their own right and over the course of the academic year you start to appreciate the different qualities of the teachers. I will leave you with just one example of what this relationship means. During a salah, one of our teachers started of his recitation with a particular verse.All believers are but bothers, therefore seek reconciliation between your two brothers, and fear Allah, so that you may be blessed with mercy- (Surah Hujrat Verse 10)As he was reading we could hear his voice breaking as tears started to flow down his cheeks, and instantly the emotions within his heart was transferred into the hearts of the students. After salah we had felt that we had been taught such a deep lesson regarding the importance of maintaining good ties with all our fellow believers no matter what differences there are and most importantly not to allow any bitterness to grow within the hearts regarding any dispute. SubhanAllah! How blessed are we that we have such teachers who teach us such lessons even within salah!
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Smoking - Time to pack it in?By Maulana Muhammad Patel
On average, each cigarette shortens ones life span anywhere from seven to eleven minutes and decreases overall life expectancy by approximately ten years. In the UK, an estimated 40% of Bangladeshi and 29% of Pakistani men regularly smoke cigarettes compared to the national average of 24% and smoking is highly prevalent amongst the Muslim youth too. As Ramadhan approaches, this is an ideal opportunity to consider relieving oneself from this addiction for good inshaAllah.
The detrimental effect of smoking on health is renowned. One of the most famous definitions of health is by the world health organisation (WHO) which states that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. In this article, I aim to explore the effects of smoking based on this holistic view of health. This will hopefully serve as a reminder for those who are not yet contemplating quitting or to further encourage those who are already intending to quit. This article, however, will not discuss any Shari ruling regarding the permissibility of smoking, but will merely address the issue from a health perspective.
Physical healthThe adverse impact of cigarette smoking on physical health has been published extensively and is well known. Cigarette smoking is the greatest single cause of illness and premature death in the UK. There has been a strong link found between cigarette smoking and heart disease,
lung disease and a number of cancers. Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, including over 50 known carcinogens (causes of cancer) and other poisons. Smoking also affects male and female fertility and can increase the risk of bone disease. In fact there are very few medical conditions that are not affected by smoking, either directly, increasing susceptibility to certain diseases or by making an existing condition worse.
Mental HealthNicotine (in cigarettes) creates an immediate sense of relaxation so people smoke in the belief that it reduces stress and anxiety. Research has shown the opposite to be true over the long term; smoking actually increases anxiety and tension. This feeling of relaxation is temporary and soon gives way to withdrawal symptoms and increased cravings and does not deal with underlying causes of stress. A complex relationship has also been shown to exist between smoking and depression as well as the risk of developing dementia.
Social HealthSmoking not only affects the individual smoking but is harmful to those around them too that are exposed to second hand smoke, especially children. In the UK alone, it is estimated that more than 10,000 people die from diseases caused by passive smoking every year. Whenever someone smokes, toxic particulate matter gets into that persons hair and clothes. In addition, a smoker exhales toxins for several minutes after extinguishing the cigarette. Therefore babies are particularly vulnerable even if one smokes outside or while in a car, even
if the window is opened. Smoking can also have a negative effect on social interaction and relationships and can hinder ones self esteem.
Financial HealthSmoking is an expensive habit. If we assume a person smokes 10 cigarettes a day, if he was to quit completely, he would save approximately 548 after 6 months and 10,950 after 10 years. This will be coupled with better health which is priceless. Imagine having this much more money to spend on yourself, your family or to donate in sadaqah.
Spiritual HealthIslam, as a complete way of life, has prescribed guidelines regarding preservation of ones health. The human body is an amanah (trust) from Allah c and a great bounty for which will be questioned. We should therefore strive for optimum health and avoid all health damaging activities.
... and do not put yourselves into destruction. [Quran; 2:195]
The above verse directs us to avoid those things which may harm us. The Quran also explicitly mentions that one must not be extravagant and reckless in spending such as spending on things which have no benefit:
And do not squander recklessly. [Quran; 17:26]
The Quran and Sunnah encompass both physical and financial health as above, as well as social health:
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