"You Are Flowers of this Generation"
As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh. It is an honor and pleasure for me to be here today in this school. One can see how much effort they have put into making this a nice place for you students, and it is also air-conditioned. Alhamdulillah, it is a very nice place. If you look at the side of the building you can see the previous shape and how it is today.
As you know, we are very proud to see these young girls studying. You are studying both the Islamic and secular sciences. Therefore, you are holding the two sciences of dunya and akhirah: in one hand the secular sciences which are important in this time, and in the other hand,the Islamic Sciences which are very important for akhirah. So, I will recite some of the hadiths of the Prophet (s), about the importance of studying.
You know that Allah (swt) revealed the first verse of Holy Qur’an, Bismillahi 'r-Rahmani 'r-Raheem:
اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ
Iqra! bismi rabbika 'l-ladhee khalaq
Read in the Name of your Lord, Who created. (96:1)
So you see that the beginning of the revelation for Prophet (s) was to read. He said,
أطلبوا العلم ولو في الصين
Utlubu 'l-`ilma wa law fi 's-seen
Seek knowledge, even if it is in China.
I think we are near China here, and I too am learning and seeking knowledge in this country, learning more about the different cultures and how you are all united in one pot, so to speak. Mashaa-Allah, you are a great and large community! Anyone one who says that Singapore lacks anything in this world should come and visit here.
In an authentic hadith from Bukhari and Muslim, Prophet (s) said:
كما أخرج البخاري في صحيحه من حديث أبي سعيد رضي الله عنه: قالت النساء للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم غلبنا عليك الرجال فاجعل لنا يوما من نفسك فوعدهن يوما لقيهن فيه فوعظهن وأمرهن فكان فيما قال لهن ما منكن امرأة تقدم ثلاثة من ولدها إلا كان لها حجابا من النار فقالت امرأة واثنتين فقال واثنتين
Qaalat an nisaau li 'n-nabi salallahu `alayhi was-sallam ghalabna `alayka 'l-rijaal faj`al lana yawman min nafsik.
“The ladies said to the Prophet (s)...”
What does that mean? That means there was a very strong relationship, that the ladies were authorized and given opportunities to speak to the Prophet (s). So it is not, as some people say, that ladies cannot speak with a man. Today there are restrictions between a female student and her male teacher, they (are not permitted) to speak with him nicely. But look, the ladies were speaking with Prophet (s) directly, without knocking on the door and asking permission.
They said to him (s), complaining that, “The men are always with you and we never have an opportunity to sit with you.”
The Prophet (s) did not get upset. He said to them to go ahead and ask their questions.
They said, Wa ja`al lanaa yawman min nafsika. “You give them days, so give us a day to be with you.”
They wanted to be with the Prophet (s) whom they love, so they wanted to be with him. What did they want to do? They wanted to learn!
So this hadith is about learning; they wanted to know what the men know. What did the Prophet (s) tell them? Did he say, “No! Go home and cook! Sit and do the laundry,” or, “Come to me, I will give you one day.” What did he say? "Sit at home, "or, "Come to me I will give you one day?" Of course he said, Fa wa`dahunna yawman laqiyyahunna feehi fa-w`aizhhunna wa amarahunna. “I will give you one day. I will teach you privately, I will give you one day.” That is what he promised them.
So all the ladies used to gather in Madinah and go to the Prophet (s) to learn from him and to study one day with him.
Look! Can you sit today with a chairman, minister, or with a president? Prophet is the Seal of Messengers (s), the one who went for Mi`raj, and he said, "I will sit with you and teach you." He (s) sat with them, he met with them, he advised them, he ordered them, he taught them, and he said to them, Maa minkunna imaatun taqaddam thlaathatun min waladihaa illa kaana lahaa hijaabun min an-naar. “If one of you will give up three of her children for Islam, Allah will protect you from the Hellfire.”
Fa qaalat imra’atun. "And one of them was clever. She said," wa ithnatayn, "Can it be two?" Because she did not have three children, she only had two.
Qaal wa ithnayn, Prophet (s) said, “Of course, it may also be two."
In Islam, how is this meant? It does not mean to send them to fight. It means to be like you: to study Islam, to study religion, to compete with each other and compete with what men are learning; to learn like them. That is the advice of the Prophet (s). This shows us that the Prophet has a great wish for ladies to learn and study. He did not tell them to go and sit at home, no. He met with them and gave them lessons; he taught them. And what did `Ayesha (r) say? This is also a hadith from Bukhari and Muslim:
قالت عائشة رضي الله عنها: أنها كانت لا تسمع شيئاً لا تعرفه إلا راجعت فيه حتى تعرفه!
Qaal `Ayesha zawjata 'n-nabi anahaa kaanat laa tasma` shayyan laa ta`rifahu illa raaji`at feehi hatta ta`rifah.
`Ayesha throughout her life whenever there was anything she did not know, she had heard it but she didn’t know about it, Sayyida `Ayesha, the wife of the Prophet (s), would ask him, “Yaa Rasoolullah, teach me about that which I don’t know the answer.” She did not keep quiet, so you should not keep quiet. Bother your teachers! If you do not bother them, they will not answer you! (Sorry, teachers!) But do not keep quiet, bother them. Say something if you do not understand.
Sayyida `Ayesha (r) went to the Prophet (s) and he was not bothered. He was happy to answer her, because Sayyida `Ayesha gave most of the ahadith concerning women. She transmitted them for people to study, and to the Sahaabah (r). The Sahaabah (r) were studying and learning with her; you too can study and learn from Sayyida `Ayesha. She taught about so many issues concerning women in Islam. So be like her, learn from her, follow her, and inherit her studies! Go to your teacher and say, “I am learning about Islam and I do not understand this.” This is an Islamic school; therefore they will teach you and answer you because they are not running after dunya.
Wa 'n-nabi qaal man husiba `udhdhib. "And the Prophet said, 'Yes of course, ask me! I do not want you to make a mistake, because if Allah accounts the `amal of any human being, you are going to be punished.'” Because all of us sin, so it is better not to be called on the Day of Judgment. Let us say, “Yaa Rabbee, yaa Allah! Bestow Your Mercy upon us, forgive us, make no accounts.” If Allah (swt) wants to take account, most of us will fall into punishment. All of us have made mistakes in our lives--me, you, teachers, everyone.
So she answered Prophet (s), “Allah said in the Holy Qur'an,” and she answered .
Prophet said to her, “Try not to be judged; let us run from judgment by doing well.”
And she said, “In the Qur'an, Allah says it will be a nice, simple judgment,” like in your school. Look, she argued and the Prophet (s) did not say, “No, why are you arguing?”
So Muslim ladies, the new generation in this country and all overseas, you are the flower of this generation. You are the new mothers, you are going to teach your children. Men, with my respect, are not going to sit at home. Women have the patience to sit and raise their children, and to work. Be a pioneer in your class and ask your teacher whatever you do not understand and Allah will inspire your heart.
Sayyida `Ayesha said to Prophet (s), “O my husband! Why are you praying so much?” Because she wanted to see him, and Prophet was always praying. “Allah has already forgiven you, and your feet are so swollen; is it not enough for you that Allah has forgiven you?”
And Prophet (s) said, “Don’t you want me to be a thankful servant to Allah (swt)?"
Therefore, O Muslims, what is your duty as young girls? To thank your teachers and to thank Allah for providing you with this school. If this school were not here where would you study? Thank your teachers, thank your supervisors, thank those working behind the scenes in the offices. Be a thankful servant to Allah (swt) and He will give you happiness in dunya and akhirah.
It is a short address because they said to me do not talk too much here, because they are ladies and they will get upset with you! (laughter)
(Thanks from organizer and request for du`a.)