I would like to share with you the news of completion of my Islamic studies that has taken me about 20 years while maintaining an engineering career.
I recently finished my PhD in Islamic Studies at the University of Birmingham in England. I chose this university because of its stronger Islamic studies department among the western countries that I could identify. It took me four years to complete it as a full time student. My thesis topic was: A comparative review of some widely-used English translations of the Qur’an.
While working as an engineer, I started my Islamic Studies in a serious way about 20 years ago. After a few years, I felt that I must learn the Arabic language. Almighty God arranged for me to go to Saudi Arabia thru my engineering job and to study the Arabic language in there. After 4 years in Saudi Arabia, I moved to Washington, DC area because of the Islamic universities that had opened up in here. I completed the equivalent of a BA in Islamic studies, first. Then, I did an MA in Islamic studies after which I went for my PhD. I quit my engineering job (at Boeing) so that I can concentrate on my studies and finish my PhD.
Now that my Islamic studies are completed, I would like to transition my career from engineering to teaching Islamic studies in the universities. I have done these studies because that is where my heart and mind has been all along. Further, because I have felt a severe need in this field and I have felt that that I can better serve the cause of Islam and Muslims, in this way.
This accomplishment can become a model for other Muslim youth in the western countries that they can do serious Islamic studies besides their professional careers. Yes, it requires a lot of sacrifices, but it is possible! If approached with the right intention and some genuine efforts, not only it would bring them closer to God (Allah), but they can better serve the cause of Islam/Muslims, such as struggling against the misinformation and misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims, and reaching out to bridge the gap between the various communities of faith.
It should be noted that the completion of some university degrees do not make a person a real scholar in the vast field of Islamic studies and the Qur’an, but it is only a step towards it. For example, my own knowledge in the ocean of the Qur’an and its English translations is like a person who has just made his feet wet in the shore while dreaming to swim in that ocean. In fact, these kinds of degrees can be a real burden on a person if not used and practiced properly.
May God guide me to use this accomplishment, which has been achieved only with His guidance and support, in the service of Islam/Muslims and the rest of the humanity in the most effective ways!
By the way, I am originally from Afghanistan and I have lived in the United States for the last 26 years as a citizen. I have been living in Northern Virginia for the last 10 years.
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