These are the words read on behalf of Brother Ashfaq at the Community Wide Graduation Celebration
Graduation and commencement mark the end of a phase in our lives, but more importantly it is also the beginning of a different, and hopefully, challenging phase.
For many of our high school and college graduates, this potentially is a very important juncture and a time to determine the next facet of their lives. As they prepare to meet the future challenges, I am taking an opportunity to offer a few words of advice.
As Muslims, we have a dual responsibility towards our community and to our nation. First, as Muslims and second as Americans. Despite popular propaganda, there is an inherent conflict between Islam and American values. We can, without compromising on the tenants of our faith, be good Muslims and patriotic Americans. This phenomenon must be reflected in all aspects of our lives, be as an employee, neighbor, coworker, student and the list goes on. We must proudly declare our faith and more importantly our actions must manifest our Islamic and American values. My experience is that we get more respect, when we stand for our values and not shy away from our religious duties, as it relates to our worship or promoting our moral values.
In this digital age, it is very easy for us to fall in the trap of information overflow. We need to learn the difference between information, education and knowledge. Knowledge is what makes us a superior creation and distinguishes us from angels despite the better element used for their creation.
Information and education should be treated as tools that can lead to knowledge.
As you explore careers, pick one that is your passion and not just financially rewarding.
We desperately need American born and raised scholars of Islam to serve as resident scholars and youth leaders. The Fiqh for the American Muslims is not the same as overseas and we need fatwas that keeps our culture in mind.
Muslim communities need civil rights lawyers, journalists, educators, and psychologists.
Sisters, if you want to be a physician, consider the area of OB/GYN.
Lastly, I want to thank the committee that organized the community wide graduation celebration. It was wonderful.