Money to Learn Islam–Say WHAT?!

Note on Pocket Greens, Knowledge & Shaytan’s Campaign

Rarely are our thoughts clouded by doubt when we invest thousands of dollars on college tuition; nor are we hesitant when we extend our hands, sealed with cash, to purchase the latest version of the iPhone (_insert alternative technology here_); and when we indulge on the occasional trip to the mall, that outfit adding up to $80 seems to us like a basic necessity. These are things we need to have, we convince ourselves, because we just do.

But when we are told that attending a full-weekend Islamic seminar requires $85 from our own pockets, we recoil, and the question is then posed: why would an Islamic Institution charge for knowledge? Our concerns here are valid, especially amid the rise of a recent “Mass-Information Age,” where volumes of Hadith can be uncovered by the mere click-of-a-button. While AlMaghrib Institute recognizes the default ruling that Islamic knowledge is and should be free, AlMaghrib Institute does not represent the ideal tuition-based model. And living in a society devoid of a Muslim treasury doesn’t help our case either.

So what’s AlMaghrib Institute’s defense, anyway?

  1. VALUE: In a materialistic, consumer-driven society, our minds are trained to associate price with value. Had AlMaghrib Institute charged $1000 per student, no doubt we would attach more presumed value to the seminars they offer. Had they been free, the seminars would carry a fate like every other free Halaqa: classes would be abandoned with time and attendance rates would plummet. The affordable fee we’re expected to pay represents our financial commitment to educate ourselves; therefore, every penny of worldly sacrifice we pay only amplifies our dedication to the Islamic seminars.
  2. FINANCE: Without our financial contribution, how else can AlMaghrib–a non-profit educational institution–afford high quality course books, classy venue and top-notch education? It was either an affordable student tuition OR sending their Instructors off to conduct cute bake sales in between Khutbas at their local Mosque. Take your pick.
  3. OPTION B?: Can’t afford an AlMaghrib seminar? AlMaghrib Institute accommodates for potential students under this category: “It is never our intention,” AlMaghrib headquarters states, “to turn away someone if he or she genuinely wished to learn, but whose financial circumstances do not permit. For such parties, an AlMaghrib financial aid initiative was established. To enquire about this program, you may email info@almaghrib.org.”

It was only after much discussion, scholarly consultation (better known as “Shuraa”) and consideration of all possible options that this affordable tuition model was adopted.

Is it worth it?

Of course it is. Can you put a value on knowledge? On Islamic advice to improve your marriage? On a three-day opportunity to extract wisdom from our Shuyookh? On a single weekend with our brothers and sisters, surrounded by Angels, tranquility descending on us and blessings bestowed upon us, all for the sake of Allah?

Accompanying every step on our path to Jannah is a torrent of excuses for why we “just can’t do it.” Saying that “$85 is just too much for a whole weekend to learn about Islam” is only one of those excuses. You see, Shaytan’s campaign to pull us away from this Deen, to drive us away from Islamic knowledge, is anchored in our love for this world—for this Dunya. Some of us may succumb to these excuses and turn our backs from this opportunity, but it bid fair to open up the portals to Jannah for others.

We end with an inspiring narration by Abu Darda’, radi Allahu ‘anh, and a pearl of wisdom by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw):

A man came [from Medina] to Abu Darda’ while he was in Damascus. Abu Darda’ asked him “What has brought you here, my brother?” He replied, “A hadith which you relate from the Prophet (saw). Abu Darda’ asked, “Have you come for some worldly need?” He replied, “No.” “Have you come for business?” He said, “No.” “You have come only to seek this hadith?” He said, “Yes.”

Abu Darda’ then said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say: ‘Whoever travels a path seeking sacred knowledge, Allah will place him on a path leading to Paradise. The angels lower their wings for the student of sacred knowledge, pleased with what he is doing. The creatures in the heavens and earth seek forgiveness for the student of sacred knowledge, even the fish in the water. The superiority of the religious scholar over the devout worshipper is like the superiority of the full moon over the other heavenly bodies. The religious scholars are the heirs of the prophets. The prophets leave no money as a bequest, rather they leave knowledge. Whoever seizes it has taken a bountiful share.” (Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawood, at-Tirmidhi, ibn Majah)

The price of life increases exponentially with time, but Jannah—the most valuable thing we can ever possess—is still waiting to be purchased. So go ahead, let those $165 towards the path to knowledge be the first you spend in exchange for an eternal bliss.

Repel those nagging doubts: Renew your appreciation for ‘Ilm & register for Light of Guidance today.

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