I met a man with Ambition: What it means to give the religion your all

Dear Believer,

I’m sick, and while I still managed to review Quran and a few other texts I did nothing but sleep most of the day due to my illness.

Throughout the day I reflected on my recent meeting with Sh. Konate Fawzi. I wondered how that special man would be if he was sick and bedridden.

This man who has 35 other siblings was handpicked by his father, an Islamic scholar of the highest caliber to become a scholar as well. Before being sent to Cairo, Egypt to study at the prestigious Al-Azhar he had memorized the Quran, 6 books of Hadith, Riyadh Al Saliheen, Maqaamat Al Hareeree, Mualaqaat Al Ashra, the major books of fiqh in the Maliki school such as the Ashmawiyah, Akdhari, Risalah, Ashaal Masaalik and the Khalil. In the books of Grammar he memorized the Ajrumiyyah, Qatr Al Nada, and Al Fiyyah as well as others. Did I mentioned he also memorized a dictionary?

When he was 12 he made up his mind that he would be the next Imam Malik but then he realized it was impossible. Before his mother died she told him not to come home until he had become the greatest scholar, he took those words to heart.

He is unparalleled in the Arabic language. When he teaches there is a minimum of 600 students that attend his classes. Mind you, he doesn’t even consider the Arabic language to be his strong suit.

One lesson I learned from him was to study to a level of mastery. He said, “If you can’t define every word that you’ve read in a text then you haven’t mastered it. And that is why people flock to my classes because I concern myself with mastery.”

This man who even in our meeting sat with a bunch of books in front of him was a true example of ambition. His goal in life, “to revive the love of Islamic Literature and the traditional texts in the hearts of Muslims.”

I’ve got work to do.

Jumada Al Thani 6th, 1440
February 12th, 2019

Your servant,
Arthur K. Richards

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2018-05-01 11.53.49

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