The parting words of teachers to their students are expected to be remembered long after Steinbeck’s themes, spoken language styles and DAFOREST are forgotten. We’re usually expected to give academia related advice, tell you how to succeed in college, the secret to surviving university and how to pass those essential exams, however, all of that comes secondary to, what I believe, is the biggest and most important umbrella: your Islamic identity.
Islamic identity is your utmost possession. It is the only identification that really matters. It is your faith, your religion, your moral values, and your whole life. This identity is the one that makes you wake up before sunrise to pray. This identity is the one that makes you kind, sincere, responsible, and thoughtful when you deal with people. This identity is the one that stops you from any immoral behaviour. This identity is the one that makes you realise and understand that Islam is a way of life.
You will leave this school and begin the next stage of your journey. You’ll change trains. You’ll catch your next flight. You’ll move houses. You’ll lose touch with many friends and end up with new friends in new places doing new things. You will be faced with times when difficult decisions will have to be made based on the sort of people that accompany you. Your friends will help to either make or break your identity. Ask yourself, do you ever feel uncomfortable because of their habits? Their character? Their suggestions? Their outlook on life? I’m not telling you to judge their lifestyles but simply gauge the level of influence they have on you.
‘A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend’ (Abu Dawood/Tirmidhi).
Be strong, be vocal and learn to make your own decisions based on your Muslim identity.
I wish and pray for success in all your endeavours but at the same time, I want to say that should you ever fail at anything in life, do not let it demotivate you, do not be afraid. Failure at some point in life is inevitable and healthy. Use your failure as stepping stones to success and strive even harder. Failure is not fatal and learning from your mistakes and refining your techniques is how you grow in life.
‘A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice’ (Bukhari/Muslim).
It is vital to be aware, conscious and perceptive and not to repeat the same mistake twice, whether that is in your personal life or academic; learn from your bad experiences.