We had the greatest night on Tuesday last week when we attended imam Suhaib Webb’s lecture in Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam (KGPA) in Damansara. It was a pleasant surprise to see that most of the people who attended are professionals of ages 25-35 years old. The only setback of the night is that there were not enough space (which is actually a good sign because so many people attended the lecture), otherwise it went smoothly.
The lecture topic was given by Young Muslims Project, the organisation that arranged the lecture that day. Imam Suhaib mainly spoke about akhirat in the Quran, and the lessons that I managed to get are as follows:
1. You can find no page in the Quran, except with akhirat being mentioned in it.
2. Al Quran is a miracle sent down to our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW. The contents has never been changed, abridged, altered in its 1400+ years history, the care of its contents has been promised by Allah SWT, meaning that it will never, never be altered. It is a miracle because it remains relevant to all human beings of all ages for all time.
3. There are contents in the Quran that’s fixed, rigid, for example about our daily solat, sawm, performing hajj, aurat, and zakah. To name a few.
4. There are also contents in the Quran that is open to interpretation. For example, Allah SWT has ordered us to be nice. We are told to be nice to our parents, our family, partners, neighbours, animals. But He didn’t tell us how. It’s up to us to find out how to be nice to people/animals/trees around us. Of which the issue of relevance come to play.
5. A da’ie, religious teachers, parents, everyone, in fact, need to be relevant. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW approached different group of people differently; the educated intellectuals, the business people, the labourers all have different levels of intelligence and experience and views of life, hence need to be handled differently. It has been also stated (for this, I’m not very sure whether it is Prophet Muhammad SAW who said it himself, or was it someone else), that we are not to raise our children the way we were raised. Because their time is different from our time.
6. Obviously there were no televisions during my grandmother’s time, the world was at war, the country was at war. My parents grew up when the country was developing. I grew up during Mahathir’s time (which is an era of its own), and my sister? It’s the age of Blackberries and iPhones and iPads and Justin Bieber, K-pop etc. The challenges are different.
7. Hence the need for relevant scholars and teachers who do not ponder about the time when there were no this and no that. Who do not wish to go back in time but instead tackle the current problems, current issues. Hence the need for scholars who do not judge us youngsters just because our life is more comfortable. They need to understand that, although, yes, our lives are more comfortable now (and so are theirs); yes, we need to be thankful for that; we do have our own challenges.
8. He quoted the surah Al Layl and taught us the meanings behind the words, the arrangements, the meanings. Not just literal translations. About the fact that surah Al Layl comes before surah As Shams. The fact that everyone in this whole wide world faces their own challenges. EVERYONE. The challenges are as different as night and day. Different, but in essence, they are challenges. It’s a jihad, a fight, for ALL of us. Nobody is excluded. Hence, again, the importance of being relevant.
9. Allah SWT has reminded us again and again and again about akhirah, for which we could find no pages in the Quran that doesn’t mention about it. Akhirah is the target, the aim. Dunya, life, is the means. Dunya is NEVER a target, always a method to achieve the target. It is by focusing on the Hereafter, that we could achieve happiness in this world and there too. It is by focusing on the Hereafter, that we could really live in peace in this world.
10. Which brings me to another lesson: promotion. Allah SWT has promoted akhirah so much in the Quran, showing us how important it should be in our life. How important it is to be focused on our success in the Hereafter. By reading the Quran, we are reminded daily, and therefore work hard daily, for our success.
So if we were to guide our children, our siblings, family, friends, junior workers, we need to promote the important points, the things that matter. Remind them daily, frequently, showing them how important a certain thing is. Be it about littering, about needle-stick injury, about prayers before meals, taking wudhu’ before sleep, aurat, tying up your hair when you’re in the kitchen….anything at all. Allah SWT has taught us about persistence.
11. To be a good Muslim, we must not isolate ourselves from the world. We should not think that for fear of ruining our iman, we shall not mix with other people. We should have faith in Allah, faith in ourselves. How do we know our iman is strong enough without being challenged? If we have knowledge about Islam, then we have to spread it. How do we spread our knowledge without mixing with others? How relevant are we if we only stick to ourselves?
12. Being all about current issues and problems doesn’t mean not appreciating old ideas. Of course we learn from, and about, old scholars too. There are problems in the past which may and still have relevance at this day and age.
13. Be nice to your parents. Imam Suhaib had problems memorizing the Quran when he first started in Al Azhar. His teacher told him to be nice to his parents. So he did. Only after that he was able to absorb the Quran, page by page. Only after being nice to his mother that things became easier. Yes, even though she’s a Catholic. She’s still his mother.
14. Americans, and many others in the world these days, think that parents are not so important after the age of 18. People move out of their houses, staying with parents are frowned upon, parents’ opinion is not saught after when choosing a life partner, when one is getting married, and sometimes aren’t even invited to the wedding. In Islam, parents are the 2nd most important people in a person’s life (first is our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW). Mothers are three times more important than fathers because of her sacrifices in pregnancy, giving birth and raising the children with love. Imam Suhaib has shown that parents are still relevant, still important, even in the US. Parents still feel touched by their children’s kindness to them. They may not want to be suffocated withtoo much care and concern, they may need their own space, but still, kindness from their own offspring is always appreciated. It is human nature.
He has shown that the Quran reveals words of truth, and our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW delivers only the truth. The truth that remains until the end of time.
I don’t know much of his biography. I was introduced to him by Wardina Safiyyah via her tweets. All I know about him is that he hails from Oklahoma, studied Education for his diploma, converted to Islam at the age of 20 (or 22?), graduated from Al Azhar, and married a Malaysian lady. He hosts the programme Reflection in TV Al Hijrah (channel 114 on Astro).
I guess the fact that Imam Suhaib Webb is so popular among younger generation is because our population is so Americanised. We watch too much TV, we spend too much time online (which is not really a bad thing), we dress like the Americans. Perhaps we do need an American imam who could guide us on how to face the world, which is, without borders. We live in our own country, our own coccoon, but we could see the whole world from where we are now.
I know, this summary is not good enough to explain the contents of his lecture. It doesn’t do him justice. But this is it.
For more, check out http://www.SuhaibWebb.com.