Talk at a student function at Surau al Zahrawi on 8th October 2004 by Professor Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr.


Students are a very important segment of the society. They are intellectually alive, are dynamic, idealistic, and can afford the luxury of looking at issues without being under the pressure of being in the field. Skills and convictions acquired by students are a valuable investment for future community leadership. Work among students helps not only to identify potential leaders but also to train and promote their leadership potential.



Students have the following characteristics: idealism, openness, strong convictions, taking strong actions on convictions, tendency to take extreme positions. Students have a wide range of issues that affect them both inside and outside the institution. Most student activists tend to gravitate to controversial issues. Within the institution students are concerned with the following issues: academic policies, physical facilities, and services. Outside the institution students are concerned with the environment, social issues, economic issues, and international affairs.


Students may have social apathy or social dynamism depending on their socio-economic background. Students in affluent free societies with no pressing social problems tend to be satisfied and difficult to organize because of apathy. Students in societies with social repression are apathetic because they have little hope of changing their fate.


Students are most active where there are issues that affect them as students or as citizens and there is reasonable chance of meaningful change. Too much idealism can cause some students to back away from social activism when they realize the imperfections of 'real life'.


A balance needs to be established between social activism and academic achievement. You however should never forget that the main purpose is to learn and study. Student extracurricular activities should never interfere with studies. Students have to be good students first before they are anything else!



Students face many challenges: academic, ideological, and cultural. They are also concerned about ummatic issues: economic development and human rights. Students grow up in homes and communities where they receive Islamic knowledge and culture to varying degrees. They attend educational institutions that impart euro-centric disciplines of knowledge some of whose paradigms are contrary to what they learn from their communities. Students are acutely aware of the gap in science and technology between their societies and the industrialized world and many of them are aware of the reality that their education may not equip them to ‘catch up’ or even if it did there are forces that will not allow them to make their societies stronger. Students are bombarded daily with ‘isms’




According to the late scholar, Abu A’ala al Maududi, students have a major role in Islamization of knowledge. They have to learn and transmit Islamic heritage to the next generation. They have to engage in an intellectual struggle against other ideologies. They have to fight corruption to preserve their morals and those of society. They must get practical skills needed to succeed in an increasingly technical society.



Student programs may be social or dawa oriented inside or outside the university campus. Programs for students on the campus include: worship, tarbiyat and training, academic support, entertainment, career or study counseling, counseling on social life, protection of Muslim student interests, and dawa. MSAs should receive and initiate new students on arrival or if possible even before coming to the University or college. Routine activities of MSA include: lectures, question forums, study groups, competitions, projects, drama, exhibitions, visits to hospitals, charitable visits, Islamic newsletter/magazine, video shows, practical demonstrations. The usra type of training is the best for students. A specific plan must be followed to ensure that there is continuous and balanced tarbiyat all through the course of study at the university.

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. October 2004