Published on June 1st, 2016
What brought you to Darul Qasim?
A dream brought me to Darul Qasim. In my first year as a PhD student at the University of Chicago, Dr. Choukri who is currently the chair of the Arabic department and was also a PhD student at the U of C at the time said that in a dream I shouted at him. I asked why. He said that in the dream I shouted at him because he did not bring me to Shaykh Amin. So once he told me the dream I asked him who Shaykh Amin was, and he told me. I asked him to bring me to Darul Qasim. That was in 2005 when I first came to Darul Qasim as a student.
What do you hope Darul Qasim will become in the near and far future?
InshaʾAllah I hope that Darul Qasim will become an Islamic university that teaches both sacred Prophetic knowledge that is based on revelation and the empirical sciences.
You are teaching 4th year bachelor students Theology (al-ʿAqāʾid al-Nasafiyyah) throughout the Academic Year of Fall 2015 & Spring 2016 – can you share what your focal point is of this high-level theology text for the students?
Currently I am teaching Sharḥ al-ʿAqāʾid (al-Nasafiyyah) of ʿAllāmah Taftāzānī. My focus is that students understand every word and every statement within the work so that they can translate it to and explain it in English.
You are dedicated day and night throughout the week at Darul Qasim – can you walk us through a typical day at Darul Qasim?
In the morning when I come to Darul Qasim I study Qurʾānic Recitation with Mawlana Arif, who is an expert in that discipline. Then I either prepare for my classes or correct assignments. Then I teach Sharḥ al-ʿAqāʾid in theology. After that I attend Mawlana Bilal’s class on Mishkāt al-Maṣābīḥ. Then I teach Imam Birgivi’s advanced Arabic syntax text, Iẓhār al-Asrār. On Thursdays I attend Shaykh Amin’s class on Hujjat Allah al-Bālighah of Shah Wali Ullah, and on Sundays I attend his lectures on hadith and tafsīr. Darul Qasim is special in that it allows not only the students but also the teachers to increase their knowledge.
What do you expect from the students once they graduate from the bachelor’s level program?
I expect the students who complete the undergraduate program to have a firm grounding in Qurʾānic Arabic and Islamic theology, so that they can further increase their knowledge under the light of the Prophetic creed.
What is an issue in the ummah today that you feel strongly about and can you share your insight on how to resolve the issue?
I see that there are two extremes in the Muslim community today. One extreme is to reject the ʿUlamāʾ, so that people who do not even know basic Arabic interpret the Qurʾān and the Sunnah on their own or based on what they gather from the internet or from people like themselves, which can have tragic consequences. The other extreme is not to engage in any form of Islamic learning and to completely obey someone else in religious matters no matter what he says, even if it is contrary to the Islamic creed and Farḍ al-ʿAyn (what is obligatory for every Muslim). Then there is the middle way which is that every Muslim should strive to learn the Islamic creed and law that is necessary for salvation from the ʿUlamāʾ and consult the ʿUlamāʾ concerning issues they do not know.
DR. MUHAMMED STODOLSKY
Chair, Department of Islamic Law