One of the great tragedies we face as a community is the loss of zeal and talent that occurs after graduation from university by many Muslim students. It is often the case that many Muslims get involved in student societies and projects, specifically the Islamic society (ISOC) whilst at university. For many of us, once we graduate, the ISOC days harken back to a life that once was. I still remember fondly my time as a head brother where I would walk into the prayer room and find brothers coming up with the craziest ideas for a halal Friday night out, planning the most epic last-minute events you could think of, and above all helping one another in the best of times and the toughest of moments. In ISOC it was a norm to come across some of the most intelligent, funny, and genuine individuals who would become beacons of light in our lives; people we would form bonds with that ran deeper than blood. If home is where the heart is, then ISOC was where a lot of us found our Īmān.
A Microcosm of Society
The ISOC is one of the greatest Tarbiyah processes for any young Muslim student – honestly, think about it! You’re dealing with students, university staff, Student Union politics, basic and advanced fiqh, long-term projects and one off events, and giving dawah to Non-Muslims and ḥisbah to Muslims. You are literally running a microcosm of a small society – everything the real world can throw at you, you’re dealing with day in and day out as a leader for the Muslim community on campus.
But how can it be that, after this intense process of personal, social, spiritual, and academic growth, the real world swallows up so many of our men and women who become just another brother or sister? Where the most that many of us will give back to society is volunteering at the local charity or attending an event here or there?
How can it be that at university we are doing so much good, raising hundreds of thousands for orphans and widows, calling people to Allāh, making the campus a better place, but in the real world, where there is so much more need of us, where we are the one who have the skills, mindset, and ability to make a difference, we take a step back? ISOCs are flourishing under the leadership of brothers and sisters. Every year we hear of new feats and achievements. Now imagine that same level of success across the board: in our masjids, schools, community centres, hospitals, and firms. How wonderful would society be? How much goodness could we bring?
5 tips on staying steadfast
Post-graduation life can be overwhelming, with new responsibilities, milestones, and priorities. But if paradise is our goal, then that destination won’t be easy. ISOC is just a name and a label – even a formality – that can be replaced or erased. As graduates of our universities and ISOCs, we must continue to learn, impact, and be impacted upon
So how does one remain steadfast after leaving university?
The following are 5 tips for the recent graduate or young professional looking to keep their trajectory of Islamic activism alive:
Join an organisation or a group of brothers/sisters who are effective!
They have to be involved in some form of Tarbiyah (development) and some form of Da’wah, not just one without the other. There should be flexibility for you to do Da’wah – teaching and calling people to Allāh, establishing aspects of the Dīn of Allāh, defending His Dīn, and so on. You can take part in Da’wah with them or a different group of brothers/sisters. Organised Tarbiyah and Da’wah are key to having a solid body. You should ensure that you have a commitment with them.
The Niyyah (intention) of the person.
If your Niyyah is sincerely to do a job that gives you flexibility in terms of your ‘Ibādah and Da’wah and Dīn in general, Allāh will give you a job like that. Be confident! You might struggle a little bit as Allāh wants to see your sincerity for that cause. As this is something intangible, many people do not put an intention to it. Therefore, make sure that you have firm and sincere intentions in such matters!
You need to change your mind from being a career-minded person to one who wants to do other things in life; be an ākhirah-minded person!
The career-minded person judges everything and uses his or her career as the criterion. This person will move from job to job and base decisions in life around career. On the other hand, a non-career person will look for the best job for the ākhirah. Note that we are not saying not to gain a job that will give a good income. Perhaps a person may do a job now that will give him beneficial skills in the future. As long as it is part of a plan for the future and the person has a sincere niyyah to have it as part of his overall plan, then it is fine. It goes back to the intention. However, if it is just for the sake of the career in and of itself, then that is problematic.
As we always say: have a plan for your life and set a vision!
What do you want to do five, ten, or twenty years from now? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail! Don’t be satisfied to live a below average life. Imagine yourself at the age of 40 or 50 and ask yourself:
1) What will be your lifestyle?
2) Where are you going to live?
Answering these two questions will help you in identifying and setting your vision. Once you have a vision, begin to plan. For example: “I want to achieve this by X number of years, so what should I do in these coming five years in order to achieve this” and so on. Take some time out and have a vision and plan for your life!
Something that is fundamental and important is marriage.
When you look for someone to marry, make sure that you marry someone who will help you achieve your vision. There are some spouses and their respective families from who it is clear that the dunya is their motive. These kind of families and spouses will be demanding and place social pressure on you based on a dunya-oriented mindset. For example, they could say: “So and so brought a car, when are you going to get a proper car?” This is in their subconscious and is what they desire. Overall, this can be detrimental to a person who wants to be an active individual and wants to achieve greatness in this dunya and most importantly the ākhirah.
May Allāh make us all active and proactive people of vision. May He make us beacons of light and imams of the muttaqīn. May He grant us tawfīq, ikhlās and qabūl. Ameen!