Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
I want to become more religious. Currently I do not feel that I am very knowledgeable, but have a thirst to learn and implement my learning. Where should my priorities lie? Should I begin on myself, my family, my brothers and sisters in Islam, or the non-Muslims?
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful Praise be to Allah, and may His peace and blessings shower upon our Beloved Messenger
May Allah reward you for your intention to seek knowledge.
My first piece of advice to you is not to overwhelm yourself. Insha’Allah, Allah will facilitate this process for you in the best way possible if you proceed with consistency and sincerity.
To answer your question about where your priorities should lie, I would say that you should start with yourself. This is not selfish. Rather, if you work on yourself, you will be in a better position, Allah willing, to work on those close to you.
As to what you should begin with, keep in mind that any type of sacred knowledge, whether tafsir, hadith, or fiqh will benefit you. It’s up to you to decide what your special area of need is. If you would like to know more about the integrals of worship, then by all means concentrate on that. It’s better to be consistent in one area of study than to pile on three, four, or five different topics and feel totally overwhelmed. Since you mentioned that you’re in your final year of studies, then focus on doing that well. Insha’Allah, with sincere intentions, even your studies at college can count toward worship (ibada) if done for the sake of Allah. If you’ve set aside some time to study your deen, then take this time to concentrate on something you can immediately put into practice. The fiqh of worship and tahara is a good thing to learn first. Here at SunniPath, you can sign up for a variety of classes on fiqh, aqida, tafsir, hadith, tasawwuf, whatever your interests might be.
Also, why not try to find a study circle to meet with? That way, you can sit with like-minded Muslims and learn and share ideas together. The most important point to keep in mind here is that the best learning is accomplished with a teacher. So if you are fortunate enough to have an imam or scholar in your area, then by all means go to that person and learn. We can benefit so much from sitting with someone who has traditional knowledge. Picking up a book and trying to figure out things on our own is no substitute for learning from someone who has a direct link to our living tradition.
Also, you might want to consider going to a Deen Intensive, which is usually held in the summertime. If you go towww.deen-intensive.com, you can get information about the next Deen Intensive. This is a great opportunity to study with qualified scholars of sacred knowledge and get a feel for what you might like to study.
Once you’ve started learning, don’t be afraid to share what you have with your family and friends. The Prophet, peace be upon him, commanded us to share his message, even if it’s just one verse of the Qur’an. As to dawah and non-Muslims, keep in mind that there are many forms of dawah. Your Islamic behavior, modesty, and good character are an excellent form of dawah.
Finally, here is an additional link on SunniPath that is very helpful.
What is the knowledge obligatory upon those morally responsible?
May Allah facilitate your way for you and increase you in beneficial knowledge. And Allah alone gives success. And Allah knows best.
Umm Salah (Zaynab Ansari)