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Open letter to students
By: Hujjatul Islam wal Muslimeen Hasan Zafar
Duties of College Students
"We have to take lesson from history while moving forward. Never think that you are not a religious student. Where you are studying if you love your religion and nation, if you want to serve them if you have the courage to fight against evil forces, if your hear cries out for oppressed, then you are religious student."
"You should work hard in your field and try to achieve expertise in your department, this is the best way of serving your nation and religion. Try to stay out of grabbing hands of self-serving political and religious forces; avoid being used by incompetent people. You carry a great burden." by Hujjatual Islam wal Muslimeen Sayyed Hasan Zafar.
Dear Friends! You have complaint against us (Religious priests). You do not trust us. And I am sure a large number of you have lost faith in us. Well in these writings I am not going to justify our behaviour, but the suggestions that I am going to present might satisfy you a little bit.
Keep in mind that since the advent of Adam good and evil has always existed together and fought with each other. Evil people are evil they do not belong to any group. To hide themselves they appear amongst different groups. To explain my point I will relate an incident which one of my teachers in Qum narrated to us. During the period of Ayatollah Barojardi many thefts occurred in a religious school. Students came and complained to Ayatollah suggesting that some other students are thieves. Immediately he checked and said that never again call a religious student thief, instead say that a thief has entered the school in the guise of religious student.
So dear friends, I have already said that I will not justify our group, the only suggestion I give is to recognize evil but do not condemn the whole group of religious scholars. Keep in mind that all the students of your class do not have same capabilities and neither do they score same grades, nor do they all clear their exams. So remember that religious students are from amongst us. They have same nature as our's. Some get influenced by their studies and their nature changes completely. But the others remain the same; they only wear their dress of religious scholars their inner selves are not influenced by their education.
Were all the companions of Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.) of same degree of piety? During Uhad and Hunain fights the ones who left Prophet alone and ran away were not his companions? Can there be any school higher in piety than Imam Jaafer Sadiq's a.s. School? Did all the students of that school achieve the same standard of piety, as Imam wanted? Surely this did not happen. In fact even during the times of Imams their preaching could not change all the people. So how can we expect today that all religious scholars will fulfill their duties? But during every period there have been God fearing and genuine scholars. Even if they are small in number compare to materialistic Mullahs, they have always helped the true searchers of light. If these scholars had not offered sacrifices Shia-ism would have died.
We have to take lesson from history while moving forward. Never think that you are not a religious student. Where you are studying if you love your religion and nation, if you want to serve them if you have the courage to fight against evil forces, if your hear cries out for oppressed, then you are religious student.
You should work hard in your field and try to achieve expertise in your department; this is the best way of serving your nation and religion. Try to stay out of grabbing hands of self-serving political and religious forces; avoid being used by incompetent people. You carry a great burden.
It is true that emotions, feelings and will die immediate action, are stronger in youth compare to others. They want immediate solution and result for every problem. It is because of these youth that some self-serving forces, be in religious or political guise, use them. And when these youths realize their mistakes, they cross the limits in fight against these sources.
You will also have to look at your faults and improve, political affairs of the country.
This dangerous thinking along with pseudo Mullahs helped a lot in deteriorating the condition of our nation. It has been observed during the last few years that with great planning it is being installed in the minds of youngsters that all religious scholars are useless. They do not understand our problems and have no solution for them. The result is that youth have distanced themselves from scholars. This is not a good omen. We should realize that every scholar couldn’t be Khomeini or Bahishti. For many years thousands of students came to the Howza, only then a Khomeini was born. Whereas in our region even in the past no shia revolution took place. We have to start from zero. If today seeds of revolution are sown than tomorrow we can expect some results.
Instead of blaming each other for the worsening situation, we should start working together for the education revolution. Pen is the biggest weapon. Work hard in your field and promise yourself that all your skills will be devoted to improve condition of your nation. Study yourself and impart your knowledge to others. Keep in touch with religious students, so that you have a constant contact with future scholars and develop a rapport with them. You can be a great source of inspiration for each other.
This relationship is necessary to develop your inner souls. This will make you cautious in every field of life. You will look at everything in a realistic way. Imperialist forces have not suddenly started working against you; in fact the condition of today's Muslims is the results of many years of imperialist planning against them. You must also start planning now. Devote more time on concentrating on problems and their solutions. The imperialists took advantage of your drawbacks, now you should find their drawbacks and use them against your enemy.
Be in the deteriorating morals or decadence of society, these are all found in your enemy. How you project these to expose your enemy depends on your planning.
Up to now we have spent our energies against each other and we are all a part of it. After twenty years of infighting we should look for the outside influence, which is involving us in these fight. Lebanon is the best example of this.
Do not wait for an outsider to come and save you from this storm. Imam Khomeini sent a message to all oppressed people of the world, that they should not wait for others to bring about a revolution, instead every nation should fight for their own rights.
Supporting a revolution does not mean that we expect them to help us also. We should try to follow the path of Imam Khomeini keeping in mind our own situation. We should appreciate the character of revolution not individuals. Each region has its own problems. Rules of Islam do not change, but adapting them to cultural values of each area is permissible.
In the beginning when Islam was spread far and wide, those cultural and regional values, which did not clash with Islam, were not changed. That is why today though Muslims have same faith, but everywhere way of life is different. Of course those customs, which clashed with Islamic faith, were immediately prohibited or a way of adapting them to Islamic rules was found.
I hope that these few requests of mine will make the youngsters think and open up new doors for them. With a new spirit they can prepare to fight their enemies.
(Extract from "MILESTONE" by Hujjatul Islam Wal Muslimeeen Sayyid Hasan Zafar translated by Sister Huma Hasan}
composed by Hashim Okera - Toronto September 5th, 2002.