During my trip this past few weeks I had one primary message to my community, we need guides.
We discussed the traditional path of studying Islam and how scholars wrote on how to grow a student from being a beginner to an expert. A curriculum existed and was followed, and practices such as rote memorization (which some despise) were never meant to be the end goal.
We discussed how Islamic studies are split up into sciences we study as tools (such as language) and sciences that we use the tools to understand (such as Exegesis.)
With all of that discussion, we came to the conclusion that it’s not as simple as many make it seem to speak on the religion.
A righteous guide gives us a standard, they help us grow spiritually, and the reality is, without them we can fall terribly.
One of the first people I made a point to see was Imam Tariq. An individual who hails from a family of scholarship and has been in the community for over two decades.
There is a lot that I’ve learned from him, but the most significant lesson I’ve learned is when I’ve seen him commend others.
Several years ago there was a particular organization that many in the community didn’t like, but he worked with them under a single pretense, that the executive director had a guide and teacher that they took religious direction from.
I remember seeing how at peace he was knowing that this individual valued the advice and guidance of the people of knowledge.
Imam Tariq never had to say anything else to me except that I understood on that day the importance of having a guide.
Now I teach it because I’ve seen so many beautiful people in their moments of comfort believe that their well-intentioned actions were sufficient.
They led themselves and others to their demise when all it took was a bit of patience, wisdom, humility, and a guide to hold their hands.
You have so much to give to this world, and so much that you can accomplish. You probably will achieve a lot, but you’ll be even greater with a guide.
May God surround you with guides so that you never become lost.
Sha’ban 19th, 1440
April 25th, 2019
Arthur K. Richards