Success in Secular Studies
24 August, 2015
What can a person learn from Islam in order to achieve good marks in secular studies?
There are a few things that come to mind:
- The general statement of Allāh, "Have taqwaa of Allāh, and Allāh will teach you." This is a general statement which covers teaching you all that will benefit you, in this world and the next. The word taqwaa indicates protection, since linguistically it is protection from that which you fear. In a practical sense, it means to do as many good deeds as you can, and to avoid as many sins as you can; with the right intention, and in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ.
- Don't focus on secular studies completely, so that you do not become from those about whom Allāh said, "They know what is apparent of the worldly life, but they, of the Hereafter, are unaware." 30:7. This is the example of the person who is focussed upon the worldly causes that Allāh has created, and has forgotten the one who created those worldly causes in the first place.
- Keep the intention of using the information that you gain in secular studies to benefit the religion. This is called iḥtisaab, and it is a way to get rewarded for something that in its essence is a worldly action, but you are using it for the benefit of Islam, or to help you to be a good Muslim. For example, you have the intention to study, so that you can earn money, and support your family and give zakaah. The last two things are acts of worship, and the fact that you are intending to study so that you can perform two acts of worship is what is meant by iḥtisaab.
- Don't allow your secular studies to lead you to that which is forbidden, either in the way that you learn, or the job that you hope to have, since Allāh has removed blessings from that which is forbidden. This includes taking ribaa (such as interest or usury) for the purpose of study, because Allāh said, "Allāh destroys [and restricts] ribaa and gives increase for charity. And Allah does not like every sinning disbeliever." 2:276
- Apply the skills that you have learnt in your Islamic studies to your secular studies, such as memorisation, applied understanding, and methods of study.
Allāh knows best.