There are 365 days in a year. It is estimated that on a yearly basis, there are more or less 110 vacations (i.e. 30%) for students who spend them apparently away from educational environment. Considering an eight years course of study, if these yearly vacations are multiplied by eight, it will turn out that there will be a period of 2 years and 5 months. Normally, during these vacations, no considerable and important tasks are achieved. A famous Arabic saying goes ‘خَزَائِنُ الْمِنَنِ عَلَی قَنَاطِرِالْمِحَنِ’ ‘The treasures of bestowments and favours are attained only after crossing the bridge of trials’. In other words, ‘No pain no gain’.
Dear students! This short period of vacations is extremely important and may play a vital role in your future, enabling you to gain great skills and knowledge. So, given here are some suggestions about how to spend vacations gaining knowledge as well as practical skills:
To have a grip on textbooks should be the first priority of every student as these few books will set foundations for the acquisition of knowledge throughout his life. Therefore, in order to acquire sound knowledge, it is necessary for the students of junior levels to study the textbooks of the current academic year during vacations while senior students must study the textbooks of previous classes besides those of the current academic year during this period.
Mufti Amjad Ali A’zami رَحْمَةُ اللّٰهِ عَلَيْه has stated, ‘Even the completion of Dars-e-Nizami only develops the ability to gain knowledge by working hard and studying books. We sincerely advise students to keep studying Fiqh, Usool, Kalaam, Hadees and Tafseer after the completion of Dars-e-Nizami.’ (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 3, pp. 199-200)
So, in addition to textbooks, make a reading list of booklets to be studied during vacations. These booklets should include various subjects such as Hadees, Tafseer, Sufism, Islamic jurisprudence, Seerah of Islamic scholars and pious predecessors. You should have books on variety of subjects so that you will not get bored of reading the books of the same subject. It will keep you fresh and you will also enjoy reading them. It is stated that after teaching Quran and Tafseer, whenever Sayyiduna Ibn-e-Abbas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْـهُمَا felt boredom, he would get poetry collections of different poets and would start reading them. Similarly, Imam Muhammad رَحْمَةُ اللّٰهِ عَلَيْه would always stay awake at nights with various types of books placed beside him. When he got tired of reading a book on a particular subject, he would start reading another book on any other subject. (Ta’leem-ul-Muta’allim Tareeq-ut-Ta’allum, pp. 101)
There are two types of good deeds. One is the type in which the deed benefits only the doer; and the other is the type in which the deed benefits others besides the doer. Obviously, the good deeds of the second type are superior to those of the first one. Therefore, for the purpose of reforming the Ummah as well as gaining personal benefit, one should also gain writing skills.
Each time in the beginning of vacations, choose a booklet while keeping the number of total vacation days in mind. Then do any work, which is easy for you, on the chosen booklet like research, paraphrasing, translation or referencing, etc. If the task remains incomplete the first time, you ought to complete it the 2nd or the 3rd time. No matter how you do the work, keep it up and never give up. اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه This way, the treasure of knowledge will be unearthed from the great works of our pious predecessors and will be brought to light. Here is an excellent piece of information for your encouragement and motivation. Mufti Amjad Ali A’zami رَحْمَةُ اللّٰهِ عَلَيْه wrote his world-famous book ‘Bahar-e-Shari’at’ in the period of around 27 years. It does not mean that he continued to write the book all the time during those 27 years. Rather, he would write this book in the time spared from other activities during vacations. That’s why, this book was completed in such a long period of time. At the end of part 17, he has stated: ‘It usually happened that the time spared from other activities during the vacations of Ramadan-ul-Mubarak was spent in writing some text of this book.’ (Bahar-e-Shari’at, preface, vol. 1, pp. 37)
4. Dars and speeches
Dars and speeches are also a form of the good deed that benefits others as well. So, keeping in view the total days of vacations, make a schedule of delivering Dars and speeches on moral and reformatory topics with full preparation at various places during the different days of the week. Impart the real teachings of Islam to common people in an easily understandable and positive way. This is better.
To contact the responsible Islamic brothers of Dawat-e-Islami in your locality will prove to be very useful and will make it pretty easy to achieve this task. But keep it in mind that you should not forget yourself while reforming others and you must also fulfil all Fard and Wajib actions so that you may persuade and motivate people to follow Islamic teachings not only through your words but also through your character.
5. Short courses
This is an age of competition. Every department is progressing by leaps and bounds. Therefore, Islamic students should also improve their skills according to the levels of their studies. They should attend such short courses that will help them achieve their career ambitions and aspirations. اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه they will see benefits in future.
Majlis Jami’a-tul-Madinah has been offering different courses at different Jami’aat-ul-Madinah for last few years. Participation in these courses will enhance your knowledge and improve your skills.
Dear students! Satan may whisper to you that spending the entire period of vacations in reading and writing is a mistaken idea because this means there will be no vacation at all. In actual fact, students should develop the mindset that there is no vacation. Those acquiring religious knowledge cannot even think of missing studying even a single day. You know that there are different kinds of greedy people. Someone is greedy for wealth, someone for power, someone for fame, etc. Similarly, some are very eager to gain religious knowledge. And, those who enjoy the acquisition of religious knowledge cannot be kept away from it but rather they aspire to get more and more of it. The Seerah of our pious predecessors are a proof of it. They would devote themselves to the acquisition of knowledge and would spend most of their time in book reading. Sayyiduna Imam Hasan Bin Ziyad Kufi رَحْمَةُ اللّٰهِ عَلَيْه has said, ‘I spent forty years in such a way that there was always a book on my chest whether I was asleep or awake.’ (Jami’ Bayan-ul-‘Ilm-o-Fazala, pp. 1231)
Hauslah past hay kyun, ‘azm-e-jawan payda kar
Uth zamanay mayn qiyamat ka sama payda kar