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Can I Study What Interests Me Against My Parents’ Wishes?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 21, 2017

Question

Can Muslims study to get good marks in their exams? I know that Muslims can only acquire knowledge to help humanity or to earn a livelihood. I don't feel like studying in my MBBS because I will not be practicing after it. When I started it I intended to practice. If I don't study I will fail, but I can pass in mum supplementary exams. I wanted to quit but I didn't want to make my parents angry. Please tell me whether I should study or not. Please give me the opinion if the majority of Muslims scholars or a fatwa so that I can practice it.

Consultant

Answer


study interests

Wa alaikum ussalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.

Thank you for sending in your question to our website, sister.

Beneficial knowledge is regarded as a very precious blessing in Islam.

To answer the first of your questions, yes, a Muslim is prescribed to gain any beneficial knowledge that is of interest to them, even if it is not geared towards earning a livelihood.

For this purpose, they may study for their exams and aim to get good marks.

Acquiring any knowledge or skill that brings benefit, and contributes to the greater good of humanity, is deemed permissible to pursue in Islam, e.g. scientific research, gardening, or programming.

Islam endorses effort geared towards excellence

It is a general guiding rule in Islam that Muslims should try to be serious about, give the due of, work hard at, and excel in whatever work or pursuit — worldly or religious — they undertake, at any point in life.

Our intention should be to use the blessings we have, such as innate talents, time, youth, skills, health, wealth, and knowledge, as a means to become better, more productive, and successful individuals, who are a source of good for mankind, insha’Allah.

For this reason, gaining any worldly knowledge that allows a Muslim to become more productive is advisable. It is also permissible to try to get good grades in studies, for this reason.

That being said, a righteous Muslim should strive to maintain a healthy balance, and not allow their worldly studies to adversely affect their religious obligations & worship.

Over-rated hype around medicine in some cultures

It is clear that you have no interest in the degree that you are pursuing.

This is sad, because a lack of aptitude or interest makes it all the more harder for a student to get good grades, or even enjoy what they are studying.

However, one thing that I want to point out is that the competitive race for educational degrees is not always about a youngster’s career, money, or future success.

Many a time, it is about their parents saving social face and boosting their own repute.

Since I hail from your culture, I know that in our ethnic region, a very high “social prestige” tag is attached to having a son or daughter qualify as a doctor.

Among Pakistani’s, it greatly boosts a couple’s reputation in society if their son or daughter successfully completes an MBBS degree, even if this hard-earned degree and a subsequent medical career ends up getting shelved for life.

Pakistani parents also tend to believe that their daughter will have a higher chance of attracting “better” marriage proposals (i.e. from high-earning male doctors themselves) if she, too, possesses an MBBS degree.

Nevertheless, success in life as an adult does not always depend upon getting good grades.

Many people who are very successful today did not get good grades back in school or college. In fact, many of them do not even possess a college degree.

Study medicine just to practice it?

I would strongly suggest that you go through with this degree. Without stressing yourself out too much, try to get good grades as well, but don’t get too disheartened if you don’t.

The reason for this is that we should try to complete whatever project we start, as this boosts our sense of commitment and self-discipline.

Even if, right now, it seems to you that your efforts will supposedly “go to waste”, since you no longer intend to practice medicine later on, it is highly probably that this education will benefit you in some other ways that you do not fathom right now.

Besides, giving up and leaving this degree midway might bring on a social backlash that could be even more tough for you to handle!

So, try to pass your exams and finish your MBBS, even if just to make your parents happy, since that is a good intention.

Also, follow this simple routine: before you begin studying every day, pray two nafls and make dua to Allah to make these exams easy for you; to place barakah (benefit & growth) in it for you; and to make it a means for benefitting others in the future.

Remember to maintain a healthy balance whilst studying, by engaging in cyclical leisure, rest, and family bonding activities.

Seeds sowed today, reap benefits later

Who knows, sister, even if you cannot or will not practice medicine in the future, Allah might bring about some other kind of good through your studies, later  on.

For example, you could teach premedical subjects to girls, or volunteer for social welfare, or do medical transcription writing.

For a Muslim, acquisition of money and professional practice should never be the primary goals for seeking an education.

In the end, I would like to mention that I know of a few people like you who qualified as doctors, but for different reasons, they went on to pursue other occupations in life, and became successful. So hang in there, and see this through!

Allah knows best. I hope that this answers your questions, sister.

Salam. Please stay in touch.


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About Sadaf Farooqi

Sadaf Farooqi is an author, blogger and freelance writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. To date, Sadaf has authored over 300 original articles, most of which can be accessed on her blog, "Sadaf's Space" (sadaffarooqi.wordpress.com). She has recently started self-publishing her past articles as non-fiction Islamic books, which are available on Amazon and Kindle (www.amazon.com/author/sadaffarooqi)

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