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LANALLAH __Islamic BlogZine__
Saturday, December 25, 2004

How should Muslims Behave in a University?

When a Muslim enters an university or college for the first time, he or
she comes into contact with a community whose culture and
lifestyle are diametrically opposed to the Islâmic way of life.

The culture of Western universities can only be described as
hedonistic, nihilistic and narcissistic. That is to say, many
inhibitions are let loose and individual whims and fancies run wild.

The freshman year itself begins with orientation, which while supposed
to be a process of introduction and transition to the university for
the first-year student, is an opportunity for most participants to
drown themselves (sometimes literally) in alcohol and pursue sexual
opportunities.

This sets the stage for the school year. On any given school day, a
student can choose to go to class, sleep in and skip the whole day,
drink, party, or study, all depending on how he or she feels at that
moment.

Individual desires become the first priority and everything else takes
a back seat. The uncontested reign of individualism is also reflected
in the values promoted by student councils and governments.

All lifestyles, especially those furthest from religion, are promoted.
Illicit, unlimited sex is seen as something to be sought and a basis
for building a macho reputation (as long you can avoid sexually
transmitted diseases for which purpose condoms and condom machines
proliferate).

Homosexuality is something promoted as a viable alternative.

Student campaigns and marches are organised against those who dare to
speak out and challenge this value structure; these challengers are
regarded as reactionary, undemocratic and, of course, religious
extremists and fundamentalists.

In the university community, therefore, the self is God, and everyone
loves this God and engages in daily worship, and obeys the laws that
this God creates, and everyone adjusts as these law, change on a daily
basis.

Into this atmosphere arrives the Muslim, who may or may not be
practising Islâm to the best of their ability.

The practising Muslim (and even the not so observant Muslim) knows that
Allah is the Creator and that the Holy Qur'ân is His Word.

And according to that Word, He has created death and life, that He may
test you which of you is best in deed.' (67:2)

Also, He says, 'And I created not the jinns and humans except to
worship Me.' (51:56)

So the purpose of the Muslim's existence is clear.

The conscious Muslim makes every attempt to, while pursuing his or her
studies, increase their knowledge of the Holy Qur'ân and Sunnah, so
that they may better understand and apply the faith.

The structure of this Muslim's day is around Salâh, and this person
juggles and adjusts their daily schedule and makes every effort to
insure that the five daily Salâh are performed on time.

Similarly, this individual understands the approach of Ramadân and
prepares for it, again making the necessary adjustments in order to
make sure that they are on top of their studies, that assignments are
being handed in, that the best marks are being achieved, all while the
requirements of the daily fasts are being met.

For the Muslim, Islâm is never an excuse for slacking off, whether in
academics or with respect to other responsibilities.

As well, the observant Muslim may choose to participate in those
activities and aspects of university life that neither contradicts the
Islâmic teachings nor distracts him from the responsibilities laid down
by the Holy Qur'ân and Sunnah and do not place the Muslim in positions
where he or she must compromise the faith.

Thus, the conscientious Muslim enters the University atmosphere and
struggles constantly to maintain structured set of priorities. He or
she follows Allâh's order: "So strive as in a race in good deeds."
(2:148)

On the other hand, there is also the borderline Muslim, who knows his
or her identity but whose consciousness of Islâm, due to upbringing or
experience, is not terribly strong.

This individual is on the 'borderline' because they are pulled one way
by their understanding of Islâm and in the opposite direction by the
powerful pressures of the university culture.

Is it at all surprising that many Muslims who are on the borderline
succumb to the pressures, of the atmosphere around them and become, at
best, part-time Muslims? At the end, the challenge is great.

All the Muslims in the university community have to struggle in order
to maintain their Islâm.

Those who are practising, committed and understand the objective of
their existence have, further duties:

· They must invite the borderliners with wisdom, intelligence
and understanding but with firmness as well; and
· They must inform the university community at large about Islâm
in the different ways that are available.

Yes, of course, the challenge is great. But insha-Allâh, with the
blessing of Allâh, the reward of that will be much greater than what we
expect.

O Allâh!, save us from all the deeds You do not like. O Allâh! Save us
from getting apart from Islâm.

Ar Rasheed, Vol.: 5, No.: 3, Page 3
Jamiatul Ulama Transvaal
www.jamiat.co.za


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