By Dr. Mohammad Akram Nadwi and translated by Hala Akram and Aisha Akram
Faith, submission, righteous deeds, piety, benevolence, patience, gratitude, asceticism, humility, contentment, truthfulness, trustworthiness, compassion, encouraging in good deeds etcetera are the true values that we will be questioned about on the Day of Resurrection. Based on these, the decision to enter heaven and hell will be made. This worldly life has been given to us so that we may adopt and develop these qualities in ourselves.
The correct way to attain these qualities is found in the Qur’an and Sunnah. In order to gain knowledge of these qualities, we apply to study in institutions such as Darul Uloom, Deoband; Mazahir Uloom, Sahahranpur; Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow; Madrasatul Islah, Saraimeer; Jamiatul Falah, Azamgarh; Jamia Salafia, Varanasi. And after spending some time, we acquire an ‘Alimiyyah and Fadilah degree.
Going to madrasahs and obtaining ‘Alimiyyah and Fadilah degrees is one of the means, while the realisation of the aforementioned attributes is the goal. Means are important only when they achieve the desired goals. If one opens a shop but does not earn anything, or goes to the gym but does not maintain good health, or wanders along and does not care about the destination, his actions will not be commended by anyone.
If a person becomes a Qasmi, Mazahiri, Nadwi, Islahi, Falahi or Salafi, but does not have the attributes of piety, patience, gratitude, and his speech causes harm to people, then on the Day of Resurrection, his titles will not benefit him. Being a Qasmi or a Nadwi will be of no absolute use to him.
On the other hand, if one is not a graduate of these institutions but fears God, adheres to the Sunnah, is foremost in good deeds, and treats everyone with humility, then he will easily answer the questions that will be asked on the Day of Resurrection. His Lord will be pleased with him, he will enter Paradise, and will be safe from the torment of Hell.
Therefore, we should refrain from exaggerating the titles obtained from these madrasas and educational institutions. We must understand the difference between means and ends, and focus on attaining the attributes that will come in use on the Day of Resurrection. The same attributes for which the divine scriptures were revealed; Prophets were sent, and we were given the gift of life.
Titles awarded by madrasahs are similar to identities based on genealogy and race. Their status is merely a means of identification and introduction. No one attains any superiority from them, nor does one become closer to the divine court, and nor is one entitled to paradise.
The fact is that pride in these titles is a sign of ignorance. The Prophet peace and blessings of Allah be upon him condemned pride in lineage and status. He said: “Leave it as it is a detestable thing.” That is, refrain from such arrogance because it is an appalling trait.
The wise ones are those who know the difference between the means and ends and apply it in their lives. They seek knowledge from Madrasahs, but they do not stop there. Rather they make the attainment of true attributes their goal. May Allah grant us righteousness and piety.
Disclaimer: Translations have not been checked by the author and represent the work of the translator