Advice to Young Students Going Overseas – It Can Make or Break You

Shaykh Abū Idrīs

An important piece of advice for both young students studying or intending to study, and likewise for communities to understand what can happen to their young students overseas.
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In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

In the farewell admonition form the seminar: Be in this World as a Stranger, Abū Idrīs addresses the following question:

[Q]: What is your advice regarding young students who are studying overseas or will go to study, considering that ṭalib al-ʿilm (seeking knowledge) is something that seems to either make or break a person. So, either these students go over to study and are with the people of Sunnah and are united or sometimes, they are with the people who oppose the Sunnah. Due to the fact that you were in al-Madīnah for a number of years, what can you advise?

Abū Idrīs reflects on his time studying overseas, how so many students went over, sometimes with good intentions but then something happened, such that these students connected with the wrong people (at the onset), those who appeared to them to be upon the truth but instead (slowly and subtly) turned them against the Salafis, then, later on, they go to war against their teachers and communities. He discusses the patterns of this calamity and how a young student can be safe from this. Abū Idris hammers home to the importance of being with the scholars, their students, and the upright students from the West (those well known and recommended by the scholars).

He continues by discussing the fitnah that some students endure when they finish the al-ʿArabīc program at the university, that once they comprehend some al-ʿArabīc, they become cocky, over-confident, independent, focusing less and less on the scholars. Then they turn their attention back home, they observe the people and see them beneath their feet, that no one is more knowledgeable than them! That the students of knowledge (in the West) are no better than them! In fact, they may be better than them! Self-amazement and deception. Then the method becomes to acquire as much certification as possible (valuing this over actual tazkiyāt by sitting with the scholars and working under their directive).

Published: June 11, 2016
Edited: September 8, 2022

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