Shaykh Furqan Jabbar is studying for his Masters degree in Islamic Banking & Finance in Melbourne, and is working as a contributor to Mercy Mission Australia in the Guardians’ Quran project.
Question 1: What is your favourite book that you would like to recommend?
My favourite book is, of course, the Book of Allah (swt) – the Quran. How fortunate are those who have managed to memorize, understand, and implement it. After the Quran, I would recommend others to read The Fundamentals of Tawheed by Dr. Bilal Philips and He Came to Teach You Your Religion by Jamal Zarabozo. Both helped shape my understanding of religion. Regarding Dr. Bilal Philips’ book in particular, I found it easy to read and understand as a teenager. I also found The Road to Mecca by Muhammad Asad to be an interesting read. Although I do not endorse many of the authors’ opinions and beliefs, Muhammad Asad no doubt led an interesting life. Moazzam Begg’s Enemy Combatant was also a fascinating book which I had trouble putting down.
Although I do not like to admit it, I am also a science-fiction reader. Even though it is not a perfect book, my favourite thus far has been George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four due to its powerful ideas and lessons. I have read it twice, and would not mind reading it again. I also don’t mind reading somewhat ‘sillier’ books as long as they are well-written such as Frederic Brown’s Martians Go Home.
Notice how most boys today prefer exercising their thumbs playing virtual sports rather than exercising their bodies through real life contact sports? How girls regularly bag top positions in school examinations though our boys are marked as “having potential”? Moreover boys in particular are labelling school as boring as they grow beyond their nursery class ages. Many parents assure themselves that this simply is the way boys are, and “it’s just a phase”, but step back and observe the young men of today.
An increasing number of young men cannot dedicate themselves to a single job. They are easily demotivated by workplace stress, and are unwilling to be productive members within their family circles. Is there a connection between the two? According to Dr Leonard Sax, in his book Boys Adrift, there is not only a connection but the situation is a growing epidemic.
Dr Leonard Sax, a family physician and psychologist, addresses educators and parents alike, as his book highlights five key factors negatively effecting boys today. One of them is video games; it’s not only the violent ones which are leaving a negative impact on impressionable boys’ minds. His book explains how sports games are also contributing to demotivating boys. Another factor is environmental toxins; Dr. Sax outlines the connection between the reason your bottled water tastes funny when left out in the sun, and the endocrine disrupters which are causing male fish to produce eggs like their female counterparts.
What type of men would you like to see in our Ummah, the community of Prophet Muhammad (sa)? What constitutes a man? Is it the moustache or the beard? There are so many who have both.
Manhood does not depend upon years. We can often see a seventy-year-old man with the heart of a child: he rejoices over trivial entertainment, sheds tears over petty issues, covets what he does not possess, and greedily clenches whatever falls into his small hands, so that others would not play with it. He simply is a small child with a moustache and beard.
However, by the grace of Allah (swt), there are children who, despite their young age, can be extremely manly in their words, deeds, thoughts, and noble behaviour.