Its Time We Get Our Priorities Straight by Nouman Ali Khan
The question is there is indication there might be alien life outside of planet earth, and the Qur’an might even have a hint or two about it. Yes, the ulema have talked about it under some ayaat.
My response, first of all, is: “Who cares?”
Why? Because we have such big problems right now, such really big problems in front of us, that we don’t have time to get into any of this stuff.
When people come and ask me, “What’s your opinion about the Prophet’s birthday?”, I say, “I don’t have an opinion about the Prophet’s birthday”, because that’s not an issue. The issue is our children are doing drugs. The issue is kids are leaving Islam. That’s an issue! You want to spend your energies debating whether it’s halal or haram or bid’ah or sunnah when you have people leaving the deen itself??? What is wrong with you? It’s a non-issue!
“Should we pray 8 taraweeh or 20 taraweeh?” I don’t care! People aren’t even praying [the fardhsalaah]! Pray 13. I don’t care! Come to the masjid, at least! Come to the masjid, at least!
Do you know how many sisters have come up to me - I teach Surah al-Rahman, and in Surah al-Rahman Allah talks about Hellfire, and I remind people that we should be worried to save our families from the Hellfire. Sisters [are] coming up to me, telling me, “My husband is addicted to alcohol. What should I do? I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know where to get help.” [It’s a] Muslim family. He’s in the masjid right now, sitting there, and he’s addicted to alcohol, and he gets angry if you talk to him about it. That same guy is going to debate me whether I should raise [my hands to my ears] before I make rukoo’ or not. Really? There’s nothing else left to talk about?
We have to kill these issues. We have to kill them. We have to give life to the real issues:
• Parents raising their children.
• Raising our daughters, specifically our daughters.
• Raising confident sons of Islam.
• How do we produce the da’ees (callers to Islam) in this ummah?
• How are we going to educate ourselves and the ummah in the Qur’an?
• How are we going to introduce the seerah of the Prophet (SAW) to everybody? Every man woman and child should know what this man was like and how he spent his life. How are we going to do that?
• How are we going to help our teenage students with their faith when they take an evolution class?
These are issues! This is happening right now. Other stuff? It’s very interesting. I don’t say it’s not interesting; I think it’s very interesting. One time, when I was younger, I read a 30 page paper over whether or not [you can wipe over] leather socks or cotton socks for wudhu. A 30 page paper. If you were to ask me to read that again, I would say no. If everybody else was going to read it, I’d say, “No, just follow a scholar. There are… bigger things to worry about, man. I don’t care either way, there’s just more important stuff.”
Related Article: Islam and Me by Nouman Ali Khan
The Muslim mentality has to change. Our mentality has to become “what is priority. What is the real focus.” I don’t mean any disrespect to anybody by this, but I do believe it’s hurting the ummah. I’m personally… convinced of that. It’s hurting the ummah.
What the Qur’an made a priority is a priority for us. What the Qur’an did not make a priority is not a priority for us. Did Allah make a big deal out of the question “where [is Allah]?” People come and ask, “Where is Allah? Is he up in the seventh heaven or is he everywhere?” Did Allah ask that question? Did the companions ask that question, did they repeatedly ask this question? No!
Our priorities should be the Qur’an’s priorities. The things we repeat the most are the things Allah repeats the most. What does Allah repeat the most? Taqwa. Have taqwa. Have taqwa. 200 sometimes, taqwa. What does Allah repeat the most? Don’t be like bani Israel. Don’t be like bani Israel. That’s what He repeats the most, that’s what we should repeat. This is what should become our main concern, our priority.
We have to get away from distractions. We really do, as a people…. I’m not saying any of you are like this, but I’ve seen this many times:
• There are people [that] don’t pray, and even if they pray it’s like… the fastest prayer you’ve ever seen kind of prayer. You ever seen one of those? It’s a cardiovascular exercise? It’s a workout, their prayer.
• They have no problem with riba in their life, no problem whatsoever
• They have inappropriate kinds of gatherings
• They have done nothing to raise their children
• They are engaged in all kinds of haram business
But when they sit and discuss Islam, they ask, “Well Islam, what does it say about… what is the seventh heaven? What is that? And what does Islam say about slavery? And what does Islam say about… four wives? What’s this issue with four wives?”
This is all their Islam is. You know why? Because they’re so deeply drowning in sin they don’t want to address that issue. That’s the real issue. So they don’t want to address that, but they want to talk about Islam, so [they will] talk about something other on the side in Islam that doesn’t have to do with my real life, so bring that up to me. “Let’s talk about that. How come the Qur’an says this about Jannah or that about Jannah.” Or, “I need to understand what’s going to happen to Christians on Judgment Day.” Bro, what’s going to happen to you on Judgment Day? Forget the Christians, what’s going to happen to YOU?
People come and ask, “What do women get in Jannah?” Allah will take care of them. Don’t worry about it. You get there. Your ticket is already purchased and you’re worried about the women?….
We have to be realistic Muslims. Realistic. We deal with reality on the ground, and we look at our religion, and we look for solutions for the problems we’re facing right now.
You remember I told you we need a revolution in Islamic studies? This is what I meant. We have to study the issues that are afflicting the ummah right now. Not the old issues. Not the issues that nobody will benefit from. Not the issues that will not make any of you a better Muslim. If it won’t make me a better Muslim, if it won’t make me a better worshipper, a better slave of Allah, a better father, a better husband, a better son, a better daughter, a better citizen, a better contributor, a better donator - if it won’t make me a better any of these things, I don’t want to know about it….
I have a friend, a really smart guy. 4.0 GPA [perfect marks] out of Harvard University. Smart , smart I mean, I talk to him for two minutes and I feel so stupid. He wanted to do Islamic studies, so he went to Syria and he studied hadith, and he went somewhere else and he studied under some scholar…. Incredibly intelligent person. Finally, he did his PhD thesis. He did his PhD thesis on the life of a scholar [who was] one of the students of Imam Al’Shafi’i…. 400 page thesis. I picked him up from the airport one time, and I’m talking to him. “So what was your thesis?” He tells me about this scholar and his life, and he’s a very interesting person, he wrote this book and that book. And so I [said], “So what happened to your thesis?”
He said, “It’s been published.”
I said, “Where is it published?”
He said, “In the University.”
So I said, “Where is it sitting?”
“In the library.”
“So who’s read it?”
He smiles and [says], “I don’t think anybody read it.”
I said, “You’re telling me you spent 12 years studying Islam, with the intelligence that Allah gave you, and you studied something that nobody’s reading? Is that their fault, or your fault? You went into a subject that you found interesting. Why didn’t you go into a subject that the ummah needed? Why didn’t you think about it that way?”
What do the Muslims need? What does this deen have to give the Muslims? Where are the people who are studying Quranic psychology so we can get psychological counseling? Where are the people who are studying Prophetic healing? Mediation? Conflict resolution between husband and wife? Conflict resolution between Muslims? Do we need [answers] to those issues? Yes! But we’re not even studying those issues. We come up with a thesis on some obscure topic and we’re going to study that to the depths. And who’s going to benefit from that? I don’t know [except] some other scholar who will only read it.
So the scholars are pushing people to become scholars in this bubble that doesn’t affect the society. Now, alhamdulillah, some scholars are coming out of that, and they’re starting to deal with issues that actually have to do with Muslim life and what’s happening in the world. But we have to push that and propel that further. We have to push our ulema to give us solutions. They’re the ones that are leading us; they’re our shepherds. But sometimes they become so in love with their books that they don’t know what is happening on the ground.
I sat with a Mufti [and I was] so honored to sit in his company, and I said, “I want to ask you something. If a young person does x, y, and z, what do you say about him?”
He says, “It’s haram, you can’t do that, etc. etc.”
I said, “OK, let me give you some background. This happened, and this happened, and this situation.”
He says, “That’s impossible! That would never happen.”
I said, “It’s happening every day [to the] Muslim teenager.”
This [Mufti] is shocked. He cannot believe Muslim youth can be like this. That’s not his fault. That’s our fault. Our ulema, they know the book. They know the Qur’an and they know the Sunnah. What don’t they know? What’s going on around them. We have to give them that so they can give us the right guidance. We have to verse them in that….
Some of our ulema know what is going on around them. They really do. But a lot of our ulema don’t, and so the way they address issues is not in connection with what’s going on in reality. It’s a problem.
We have to build that generation. We’re going to build a generation of young people that learn their deen and are connected with reality, that benefit from the scholars that are able to be that connection between the scholars and society. Our young people are going to teach our scholars, “This is what’s happening in society; you help us out now.”
This is the healthy state of the ummah, where the ulema are connected with the people, and the youth are in between. The youth are the connection. We’re going to raise that generation of youth inshaa Allah.
May Allah (SWT) help our ulema do their job and make us truly benefit from them.