“Whoever travels a path in search of knowledge, God will make easy for him a path to Paradise.”
With these words, our Prophet Muhammad emphasized the vitality of treading a path of knowledge, however far that distance may be. The Prophet’s words strengthen my resolve and commitment to continue and persevere in my quest to seek knowledge.
You see, I live exactly eighty-nine miles away from my school. Each time I share this with anyone, I see a similar chain of events unfold; their jaws drop, a blank stare takes over their expression, and finally, I get the stuttered question of “Why?”
And it’s a valid question. Why wake up at 6:00 a.m, bleary eyed, and sit in a car for an hour and forty minutes to go to school? After all, there is no shortage of schools around us. In times of difficulty and fatigue, I often ask myself this very question. Is it really worth it, all of this struggle and strife?
However, then something happens. As I stand in line for prayer with my peers, shoulder to shoulder, foot to foot, I feel a sense of clarity and commitment to my decision. I don’t have to pray alone in the back of an empty classroom, thus training myself to see it as an inconvenience. Rather, I have centered my entire day around the prayer itself. I am immeasurably blessed to have like-minded friends, with similar goals and aspirations, instead of being in a place where I may be asked to compromise who I am as an individual.
Islam shapes who I am, and informs each and every choice that I make, and that’s only possible because of the environment I’m in.
I am extremely thankful that religious education is an integral part of my school’s curriculum. Islam shapes who I am, and informs each and every choice that I make, and that’s only possible because of the environment I’m in. Therefore, how could I possibly ever fall into the trap of considering Islam an afterthought, when all of my daily decisions revolve around it?
Though some may claim that I am “living in a bubble,” and not seeing the world as it truly exists, I view it as quite the opposite. As a school, we are exposed to the true nature of society, but we approach the world with our identities firmly rooted, so that we can more easily navigate the challenges of modern times.
I am currently a senior, meaning that I will soon set off for college. From my experiences here at my Islamic school, I have gained vigor, determination, and a strong moral compass, which I hope to foster and bring to fruition in college. Through my experiences at my Islamic school, I have truly seen firsthand that all things worth attaining do not come easily, and must be fought for with determination, whilst remaining rooted in my religion. And for that, I am truly grateful.