Please note: This can also be adapted in the style of a Khutba or lesson by Imams, Khateebs, and teachers. It can also be posted as a note on your Facebook profile to share with friends.
Congratulations! You did it! Through hard work, discipline, sleepless nights, and missed hours of fun, you've graduated. May Allah bless you and grant you success. But before you celebrate, let me ask: how will you use it?
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, once said that Allah will ask a person five things on the Day of Judgment: their life and how they spent it; their youth and how they used it; their wealth and how they acquired and spent it, and their knowledge and how they used it (Tirmidhi).
Let's focus on the last part of this Hadith: knowledge. You've spent the last couple of years studying hard, cramming facts, information, statistics, as well as some stuff you've already forgotten into your gray matter.
The goal was always to get to the next level, which you have.
This knowledge is a gift from Allah. It is also a trust from Him. While your priority may be finding a job, that is not the ultimate end of graduation. Allah blessed you with this knowledge for a reason: so you'd use it in the right way for the right things.
Remember the question: how will you use it?
Every day, whatever your profession, no matter where you end up living in the world, keep in mind that you have a duty to Allah, a duty to the Ummah, and a duty to humanity to use this knowledge with sincerity and humility to benefit others.
You may already be thinking along these lines. You may be saying, "That's why I went into (fill in your profession), to help people.” For a while, your euphoria and idealism will last. But it will hit various snags along the way.
Number one among these, and the one that will get you into the most trouble, is "busyness". A couple of years down the road, because of being occupied with your job, your family, or other responsibilities, you may forget about that deal you made with Allah: He'll give you knowledge, but you have to use it the right way. You may forget that this knowledge you spent hours of your life acquiring was meant to be about more - more than making money; more than buying a nice house in the suburbs; more than the latest model Lexus, and more than expensive tutoring lessons so your kids could ace the SAT.
There's nothing wrong with any of these things. They are all blessings from Allah and anyone who acquires them the right way, thanks Him for them, and uses them properly is completely entitled to them. But the goal of acquiring the knowledge you have today must be so much more than that.
Remember the question we will all be asked: how did you use it?
Try this: close your eyes and picture yourself in front of Allah on that fateful day. When He asks, "what did you do with the knowledge you were given?” think long and hard about what kind of answer you want to be able to give Him. It will be a time when everything we have will be gone. It will be us alone with nothing on our backs, facing our Creator. It won't matter whether we went to an Ivy League university or a community college; it will make no difference how much our net worth was in this life; no importance will be given to those letters we were often proud of adding at the end of our names in this life: "M.D.", "Ph.D.", “J.D.”, or anything else. All that will really count that day will be what we did with this knowledge we acquired, and our lives in general.
This, dear graduate, is something I hope you will remember as you celebrate. With knowledge will always come responsibility. I have no doubt you can fulfill it, because Allah never gives us a burden we cannot bear. Start thinking and planning today about how you will answer that question.
Right this moment, start asking: How will I use it?