No Need for a Second Opinion – My reflections studying at the Madina Institute.


By Dr Yusuf Patel

When questioned why I wanted to take a sabbatical from medicine, my instinctive generic response was that I needed to fulfill an ardent responsibility that was brewing inside of me for many years. After six years of tertiary study and after some time working in the state health sector I knew it was time to redirect my focus on something more important. As my planned decision of commencing full time Islamic studies become known, many of my colleagues in the medical fraternity were extremely muddled that I was obviating from the norm of continuing in the pipeline of specialist training.

In the modern context, success is fallaciously measured by progression on a professional hierarchy in the shortest amount of time. As someone who became dissonant with such spurious postmodern paradigms, this was the very reason why I needed to leave the "system".

After six months of studying at the Madina Institute I can safely say that I have no regrets in the decision I made. In fact what I have acquired academically and intellectually in these six months was more than I could have ever envisaged. I must admit that beyond the appropriation of the fundamental theoretical sciences my greatest acquisition at the institute is the epistemological framework and lens that was imparted to me from day one. This has allowed me to appreciate the holistic nature of life and what it means to be human being and how to interact with others as human beings. As a doctor working in challenging and stressful environments it's easy to erroneously see patients as mere statistics and numbers. The unfortunate permeation of reductionism in society is allowing such pejorative paradigms to exist and nascent. This desensitization is extremely detrimental in the short journey of life as it causes an insidious "death" of the soul and conscience.

Having the correct outlook on life based on authentic knowledge is extremely vital and what I have gained from my six months at the Madina Institute has definitely redirected my path to a more meaningful goal.

"A little Learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep,or taste not the Pierian Spring" wrote Alexander Pope in his Essay on Criticism. This line summed up the very reason why I felt it was absolutely necessary to take the next step in my religious development. By pledging to study I knew that I would be fulfilling a salient obligation of having a more detailed exposure and understanding of knowledge that was compulsory for me to know as a Muslim. Layered on this foundational base would be pertinent supplementary and auxiliary knowledge that would help me negotiate my role as a positive contributor within society.

I can confidently say that the Madina Institute is providing me with the requisite tools to challenge the complex obstacles and dilemmas that are plaguing our society. Information is one thing but transforming information into knowledge through sincere and dedicated service is a station that we should all aspire to reach. This is the ethos that the institute is trying to imbibe into its students.

For those who may not have the time and capacity at the present to begin full time studies in the religious domain, let me assure you that there are many part time avenues and platforms of learning that will prepare you for when you are able to make a full time commitment. I personally benefited and continue to benefit from the phenomenal learning opportunities, online classes and relevant services SeekersGuidance provides. Our teachers such as Shaykh Faraaz Rabbani and Imam Afroz Ali have ensured that authentic knowledge is now available free to seekers across the globe through online platforms and local visits. The innovative concept of "Knowledge Without Barriers" has assisted many Muslims throughout the world with accessing essential, crucial and beneficial knowledge. If I had not been exposed to the opportunities and teachers of SeekersGuidance during my tertiary years of study I do not think I would have ended up making the decision of committing to full time and long term studies in the religious sciences. For that I am ever grateful to my teachers of SeekersHub Global.

I strongly urge anyone who wishes to gain perspicacity in the religious sciences to consider the one year intensive that the Madina Institute is offering. Having direct access to erudite scholars such as Dr Shaykh Muhammad Yahya Ninowy and Dr Shaykh Seeraj Hendricks is a blessing in itself and I can assure you that after a few months you will taste the fruits of your sacrifice. You definitely will not need a second opinion on your decision.

May Allah grant us success in this world and the hereafter.