The new generation of Muslims being educated across North America has a unique opportunity and the great responsibility of playing a crucial role in the incipient Islamic renaissance of our era. America, with its great economical and political strength, with its thriving scientific and technological knowledge, with its guarantees of religious freedom and speech, offers vast possibilities and resources that the Muslim community must learn to efficiently employ in the pursuit of its goals.
Our ultimate goal as Muslims is achieving eternal bliss in the proximity of our Lord. We must keep in mind that this life is but a fleeting journey and a testing period. At the same time we are called by Allah to fully engage the challenges of this world, to actively partake in the affairs of this life, to energetically strive for the spread of His truth. We are called to struggle against ignorance and intolerance, to fight injustice and oppression, to help the needy and feed the hungry. Indeed, it is through the tribulations and trials of life that our souls can be tempered and enabled to reach new heights.
This striving must begin within ourselves, in our own heart and mind, by fulfilling the basic religious duties, by seeking religious and secular knowledge whenever possible, by constantly imploring Allah's guidance, help and forgiveness. Our conduct and demeanor should speak louder than our words. Within the family we must cultivate an atmosphere that nurtures the learning and practice of Islamic values. Then we must join hands with Muslims across America to coordinate and solidify our efforts. "Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in ranks, as if they were a solid cemented structure" (Quran, 61-4). Only then we will be able to more effectively bring the message of Islam to millions of sincere and thirsty souls eagerly searching for spiritual guidance, and to promote positive change in the Islamic world itself.
We must plan for the future, and this implies taking up positions in a wide array of fields from where to project a positive intellectual, economical and political impact on our community and society as a whole. In a series of articles we will review some guidelines to assist students and parents in making informed career decisions, and we will examine the occupational outlook for the next decade for a number of different careers, highlighting those that have a stronger projected growth and offer better opportunities.
Whatever the trade or occupation we are blessed with, we must not forget our duties to Allah, our families, community and society. Wherever we are, our conduct and dealings must be guided by piety, equity and kindness, yet with the assertiveness and perseverance that the occasion may require. Whatever the task or endeavor we undertake, we must perform it to the best of our abilities, but remembering that no job is important enough to compromise our faith. We are ambassadors of Islam wherever we go, and many may initially judge our religion by our conduct and words.
Never be discouraged by the obstacles that lie ahead, rather rejoice in them. Allah can certainly change the world with the strike of a pen, but in His wisdom and mercy He offers us the opportunity to attempt to do it ourselves. With Allah's help and guidance, with knowledge and will, may we rise to the challenge of this critical historical juncture and leave behind a legacy that will benefit our souls and those of many generations to come.