By Ruhaifa Adil
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Every student strives to achieve academic success through perseverance and hard work. A Muslim student, however, has the unique opportunity to achieve success in the next world along with his or her efforts for academic achievement in this world. Here are 5 beliefs that can enable a Muslim student to excel in this world and the next!
1. Starting with the Name of Allah – Bismillah
When the Angel Jibreel came to Prophet Muhammad for the first time in the Cave of Hira, he commanded him with “iqra (read).” When the Prophet (sa) replied he could not read, the angel repeated his command again, and then again for the third time. The fourth time the angel said: “Iqra bismi rabbikal-ladhi khalaq (Read in the name of your Lord who created).” (Surah al-Alaq 96:1)
Nothing befits the beginning of any work, particularly one which requires us to read, more than beginning it with “the Name of your Lord”. Every time you sit down to study make sure to begin with Bismillah!
2. Setting the intention
The beauty of Islam lies in the fact that if an intention is made for the sake of Allah, we will be rewarded for it, regardless of whether or not we achieve the goal. By making an intention to please Allah, the Muslim student can turn studies into a form of worship. If a person studies with the intention to gain knowledge for the sake of Allah, to learn about His creations and the beauty of how He has designed the world, every word that is read is counted favourably and leads the student closer to Jannah (paradise).
3. Applying the highest level of Ihsan
The word ‘Ihsan’ in Arabic means to do something perfectly and sincerely. Ihsan comes with the awareness that Allah is always watching you. When a student bears this in mind, every action of his or her will be done with utmost sincerity. They will realize that Allah knows whether or not they have given their best to achieve the task at hand. This belief will always help Muslim students make the best use of the time that has been granted to them by Allah to pursue the encouraged act of gaining knowledge.
4. Tying the camel and leaving it to Allah
One day, Prophet Muhammad (sa) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered: “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet (sa) then said: “Tie your camel first, and then put your trust in Allah.” (At-Tirmidhi, 2517; reliable)
Trust in Allah does not absolve us of working and striving towards our goals. Allah has provided us with the ability to work for our goals as it says in the Qur’an: “And that man can have nothing but what he strives for” (Surah an-Najm 53:39)
A Muslim student neither falls into this trap of leaving everything to Allah without putting in some effort nor does he or she believe that all results are dependent on the individual’s own hard work. Instead, a Muslim student puts in the best effort and also remembers to trust Allah for the best outcome.
5. Believing that whatever happens is for the best
Sometimes the results of this world do not match the effort and the sincerity one has channelled into it. If a person has made sure to begin with the name of Allah, intending His pleasure, working to the best of his or her ability whilst knowing that Allah is watching, and has tied his or her camel by leaving no stone unturned before leaving the outcome to Allah, then at this point it is important to also remember that whatever happens has happened by the permission of Allah. According to Islam Helpline: “The good and the bad happenings are our test to see whether we are thankful and grateful to our Lord in all circumstances. There is wisdom in everything that happens. We might not comprehend it at that time, but in hindsight one will understand its true consequences and results. History is a witness to this.”
Ruhaifa Adil is a mother of four, a practising Muslimah, an avid reader, and a passionate writer. She works primarily as a trainer for mothers and teachers, advocating a multi sensorial, learner-centred approach, which she has learnt through her work as a remedial specialist for children with dyslexia. She is also an author of English textbooks, based on the teachings of the Qur’an (currently under editing), and creative director of a Tafseer app for kids (soon to be launched Insha’Allah).
© IIPH 2015