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					Surviving at uni Before you is a short and concise step-by-step guide into surviving at uni. All I write is based upon my very own experience which includes the issue and my advice in dealing with. Its worth noting that (as I write) I am a first year and in no way have experienced all the problems and due to the nature of the problems mentioned, my advice is not the only advice available. I recommend you to stick to the advice of the scholars and students of knowledge. So in otherwords, its just an introduction into surviving the first year. Its split into two main sections: general advice which includes advice on handling the workload itself; and Islamic advice which highlights the main problems faced by every Muslim and some advice on what to do also. A. General advice Step one- know your role! The first step is to actually understand why you are at uni and what you want to get out of it. Whether you want to go to uni or your practically being forced to go, make sure you have aims & objectives and actually work towards it. Have an idea of what field (roughly) you wish to go into. Carefully study the course description and individual module description so that you know what to expect and what you should achieve at the end. If you don’t like it, its not too late to switch courses or individual modules. Many students switch within the first semester (term) and the Unversities expect this. Step two- your surroundings! As soon as you start uni, its important that you have a good circle of pious Muslim friends- a maybe a non-muslim you can all give Da’wah to. SubhanAllah this is so important as you’ll find within a few weeks the majority of non-mulim students heading to the pubs and clubs drinking a few pints and then heading of to the library to do some work. Alhumdulillah many unis have ISOCs & a dedicated prayer room where you’re more then welcome. In fact, Isocs have a dedicated group to bring people to the prayer rooms and also start of their talks and jumma’ah khutbah with short and sweet naseeha of surviving uni. The prayer room should be your refuge without distracting you from your purpose (to work). So make sure you have good friends, be a regular prayer room user and have a separate place to study. Step three- do your work! Its really easy to be distracted from doing your work. Many students suffer from the whole Uni-cliché lifestyle of going out, partying, having ‘fun’ and plenty of brothers and sisters organise events or invite you to eat with them at restaurants. Its very easy to just give up and leave your work for later and join them. Quite frankly, if you don’t do your work… you will fail! Uni is very independent and its up to you to do everything. I found that Dedicating the day for work and evening for maybe extra/remaining work and going out worked best. Time schedule and try sticking to it. Step four- Do your best

Remember that the result is always with Allah SWT. You just have to try your best to do as good as you can. Be sincere in what you do. Do it to help Muslims up the society ladder so that we can have an impact on the world again. Be the best (or one of the best thereafter) in your class so that you have good prospects and also so that you can use your position to give da’wah. Its not that hard. A few words here and a few there. People will automatically flock to you to ask for help. Just do your best and rememeber that the result is with Allah SWT as goes the Hadith in Imaam AnNawawi’s 40 ahadith (collected by At-Tirmidhee): “Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. Get to know Allah in prosperity and He will know you in adversity. Know that what has passed you by was not going to befall you, and that what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship. Step 5- make the most of it If you have any problems with your work, go to your lecturers and ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask during or after the lectures and don’t pretend to understand. If something is explained to you and you still don’t get it, tell them i.e. pound them till you finally get it. If it’s the lecturer you cant understand then find a PHd student or someone in the same or year above and ask- theres plenty of them in the prayer room. Use the library, internet, lab sessions, revision classes, etc. Find a few brothers and sisters who have been through the course who can help and sell you their books for proper discount prices. I bought a £40 book off a brother for £10- bargain!

B. Islamic Advice Uni is literally a buzzing with fitnah. From the people who go there to some of the buildings and books in the library. Its used as an excuse to propagate false ideas and brainwash the masses. So there must be a few things to beware of: 1. The prayer room Although (generally) the ISOC is not the problem, the prayer room is always buzzing with people with twisted views and next ideologies. You meet Muslims from many different countries and backgrounds which have influenced the way they think and many of these sects and named-groups operate in the prayer room such as: Hizb-utTahrir, Sufis, Shia’s, ‘Super-Salafis’, Blind-followers, etc. Some even call to their beliefs and love to argue and will spark the argument with everyone and anyone. Despite this, you meet the most amazing and sincere people you’ll ever meet who really help you in everyway possible. Not everyone who has a slightly difference in mentality to yourself is your enemy. Uni is a good platform to verify all the slander you hear about these named-groups. If you really want to know what they’re upon… just ask them! 3. The debates

Just as we’ve mentioned, there are those who really love debating whether its about Islam or worldly things. Some named-groups and sects even debate over things that are not only out of their own capabilities of understanding as a layman but also in matters that a Muslim must not go into whether a layman or the greatest scholar. Therefore, it becomes necessary for you to learn your deen from trusted sources and be sincere in gaining that knowledge. Learn with evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah as this not only increases your general understanding of Islam but also creates certainty and it is certainty that eradicates doubt. Many sects like Shi’as create doubt in people’s minds and destroy. Also, beware of speaking without knowledge. Its easy to fall into Shaytaan’s trap of disagreeing with someone based upon the fact that they belong to one of these groups or sects and not because you yourself know that. You might be arguing on an issue in which they are correct about and you are wrong. However, seeing as everyone in uni (especially Muslims, sociology, history, philosophy, etc students) begin to act like philosophers they will be more open to ideas. Alhumdulillah this is a great platform to give da’wah especially collectively like writing for the student magazines, entering writing competitions and relating it to Islam and its merits and Muslims and their positive impact to the world. Many Muslims do this and win essay competitions and have their articles publicised. It really does work. 2. The Pubs, etc Don’t be fooled by the fact that some Muslims hang-out in the pubs staying away from drinking alcohol only playing pool, snooker, table-football and other fun activities like watching the football premiership. Stay away from the pubs and clubs. Otherwise there’s no doubt that eventually you will either start to ‘loosen up’ in established matters of Islam or maybe even reject it and commit kufr (disbelief). 3. The library The more philosophical the subjects at your uni are, the more ‘random’ the library materials are. Recently I found the whole set of Salman Rushdie’s books including ‘Satanic Whispers’ and even more recently I found a shockingly western-biased account on Islamic Spain. Much of the books and History are anti-Islamic although we do see a slow emergence of Muslim writers being recongized in the west and having their works published and investigated in Unis. Know your religion with certainty. Make sure you are grounded in Islam if you bother with such books. I hope that this advice helps but again I recommend you to the advice of the people of knowledge and the Islamic Societies. They know how to help and go out of their way to help. Or, go uni for the lectures and do your work at home. Make the most of all that’s available to you and enjoy your time at uni. It really does open up your mind and isn’t as bad as some people say. May Allah SWT Raise your rank and Bless you in this world and the next and may He change our condition for the better and allow us to be the forerunners in this blissful task, Ameen

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