Who are these people? Living examples of our illustrious forefather? Simply dressed, shalwars above their ankles, caps upon their heads, gleaming foreheads, shining eyes, beards gracing their faces, modesty embracing their foot-steps, humbleness dripping from every word, respect from every action. With sleeping bags upon their shoulders, suitcases in their hands they’re making their way to and from the railway stations. Who are they? Ah yes, they are the talabah of deeni madaris.
Shawwal is the first month of their academic year. Having spent two months of vacations they are now on their way to their Alma Maters. Oh wait! O most fortunate people in the world, wait! Give me the honour of few words with you. Your love and prayers just might become a means of deliverance for this uneducated, unworthy one. For it is you, yes you, for whom angels in the skies, ants in their ant-holes, fish in the seas, birds in the air pray day and night. Of the peoples of this world, some are the successors of Fir‘oun, some of Qaroon some are disciples of Abu Jahal, some of Shaddad. But how lucky are you that upon completion of your studies you shall become the heirs of ambia `alayhissalaam! It is to acquire this very legacy that you have left your homes. For what had Rasool ullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam) left behind except some weapons of war and a wealth of knowledge? When he left this world, neither dirham nor dinar, neither lands nor houses did he leave behind. But yes! He had left behind him a vast, never-ending wealth of knowledge.
This wealth is being distributed among the people since the last fourteen hundred years but it doesn’t seem to come to an end. Remember what Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu ta`ala ‘anhu) had said in the market place of Madina one day? “O people” he had cried aloud, “you are busy in buying and selling in the market – place where while there in the Masjid-i-Nabawi, the legacy of Rasool ullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam) is being distributed”, everyone had run to the Masjid-i-Nabawi (alaihe salaatu wasalam) but nothing was being given out there. There was only a group of Sahaba busy in teaching Hadith. The people came back and asked Hazrat Abu Huriarah (radhiallahu ta`ala ‘anhu) why he had said such a thing. “When you went there what did you see?” Asked Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu ta`ala ‘anhu). “We saw some Sahaba busy teaching Ahadith and ayaat of the Quran to each other”, they replied. “So what else is the legacy left by Rasool ullah (sallallahu ‘alaihe wasallam)? It is the knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah. That is the inheritance he has left behind”. O respected talabah! You have left your homes in search of this legacy. You have preferred religion to materialism, poverty to riches, traveling to staying at home.
You have preferred trouble to luxury, plain fare to new and rich dishes, being alone rather than being in company, living in a foreign land than in your own country, trial and tribulation to comfort and luxury. You have left your homes for a great aim. Don’t lose sight of this aim. There is no dearth of people who study for ten or twenty years but their goal is nothing else but a handful of gold or silver, a lucrative job, a grand house, a shining car and false pomp and show. Between you and them lies a distance as of the East and West. You belong to the East while they belong to the West. They are seekers of livelihood, seekers of this materialistic world while you are in search of Aakhirah. Your aim is the world of your inner self, their object is the world of their carnal selves. Don’t let this difference of aim and intention come to an end otherwise there will be no difference left between a ‘maktab’ and a school, a ‘madrasah’ and a college. It is this intention which is the very base. (by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani Sahib)