By Mohammad Shajiuddeen (IOU Global Representative Director)

“A special student visited the Islamic Online University (IOU) India office in Hyderabad recently. Aged 70, he was a retired army officer from Tirupati, a prominent pilgrimage city for Hindus in the southern part of India. He introduced himself as Syed Ismail and that he was an IOU Diploma student. I was intrigued as I had never met an IOU student of his age before.

The questions he asked were very basic, showing that his computer skills were lacking, however, his interest in learning was high. I clarified his doubts but speaking to him was not easy as he could not hear from his left ear and his right could grasp only about 5%, and for that, he used a hearing aid.

He said that listening to videos was therefore difficult and he studied as much as he could from  online textbooks. He also prepared his own notes to grasp the topic in depth. He visited again after few months with more questions, which were very simple. Though I appreciated his interest, enthusiasm and his commute from a place so far away to clarify his doubts, I was unable to attend to his queries with care due to my primary job responsibilities. I showed some signs of frustration. Alhamdulillah, I realized that I should have attended to him with more care. Allah SWT made me remember the first verse of Surah ‘Abasa:

The Prophet frowned and turned away.” (‘Abasa, 80:1)

I then made sincere du’a to Allah SWT asking Him SWT to send the old man again; and soon, my prayers were answered. I was out of office when one of the staff called saying someone had come to meet me. Upon inquiring, I was told it was brother Syed Ismail. A feeling of joy enveloped me as I realized that I could play some role in helping him continue his studies. However, I was very far away and it required a 3-hour commute to reach the office.

Although it took a long time, he patiently waited for me. When I reached the office and met him, alhamdulillah, his enthusiasm to study was the same as before and I now took great pleasure in answering his questions. Allah SWT opens up many paths for us to achieve His pleasure, and there is no path more worthy than helping a Muslim learn correct knowledge.

Allah opens up many paths for us to achieve His pleasure, and there is no path more worthy than helping a Muslim learn correct knowledge.

I believe IOU’s success is due to the blessings from facilitating things for such students and providing free authentic Islamic education throughout the world . Mr. Syed Ismail comes from a part of India where there is a lot of shirk and misunderstanding of the Islamic creed. Upon embarking on his quest for knowledge, he is eager to put into action the lessons he is learning. I remembered in his first visit, he greeted me with salaam but folded his hands in the typical Indian style as many non-Muslims do. I told him that this was not correct Islamically, after which he abandoned the habit. 2vgJXDg

When I asked him what he has learnt at IOU so far, the first thing he said was tawheed as he never knew the three categories of tawheed, i.e.,
(1) Tawheed ar-Ruboobeeyah,
(2) Tawheed al-Asma was Sifaat,
(3) Tawheed al-Ibaadah.

Alhamdulillah, he grasped this part from the course so well, Allahu Akbar! This is indeed a major achievement considering he comes from a place where Islamic knowledge is greatly distorted. He has positive plans for the future. He wants to build a mosque from his pension money and has also mentioned that he wants to open an IOU center at his place of residence. We ask Allah SWTto grant him the highest ranks in Paradise and make his plans a success for both this life and the hereafter.”

For more inspiring stories, download the latest IOU Insights Magazine for free.

Islamic Online University Diploma courses are completely free and anyone from any part of the world can join at any time. Admission for Islamic Online University Bachelors of Arts in Islamic Studies is underway. For more details, you can click here. 



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21 replies on “A 70 Year Old Man’s Thirst for Knowledge”

  • Islamic Online University
    August 13, 2015 at 9:08 am


      Ram Cy
      August 21, 2015 at 8:43 am

      Ma shaa Allah. We are somewhat similar in situation but I know Allah (SWT) is always with us. He guided those He who wills. Alhamdulillah! 🙂

    August 13, 2015 at 10:46 am


    Indeed the story of brother Syed is an inspiring one. May Allah continue to guide us towards making the most useful of intentions. Ameen

    Sister Aamilah
    August 13, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    As salaam alaikum,
    This story revives my faith in islam. My dedication in learning all I can to please is my goal in my life. I ask Allah (swt) to my mind and hands to retain all I need to please him eternally! Ameen

    MUHAMMAD Al'ameen
    August 13, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Alhamdillah, may almighty Allah helps our brother and also a father syed, his story was inspiring.

    August 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    MashaAllah! This is really an inspiring story, Allah has guided him to the path of seeking pure Islamic knowledge. Age was not a barrier for him to take the right decision.This reminds us the sayings of our Prophet that seeking knowledge is mandatory on every Muslim irrespective of categories. May Allah make us among those who seek knowledge from cradle to grave.

    Abdullah Farah
    August 14, 2015 at 5:20 am

    MashaAllah! This story really inspired me, and soon iA I myself is planning to join IOU.

    Faiza Khan
    August 14, 2015 at 8:55 am

    May Allah give me enough hidaya that I take more knowledge of my deen and may our worldly obligation not become a hindrance.I have deep faith in Allah and I am sure he will make it easy for me soon May Allah give every Muslim a zeal to tread on the path of knowledge and become a Talib ul Ilm and spread it among others to make them a Talib too.

    August 15, 2015 at 9:38 am

    indeed it is great that he has dine such a great work

    August 15, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Alhamdulilah,very inspiring. Brother stey’s thirst for knowledge is amazing and he never looked at his age as a inspired

    August 15, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    May Allah Subhanahu wataala make it easy for him and accept all his effort he is making to please Allah

    Fatna Sirajaldin
    August 16, 2015 at 3:42 am

    Masha Allah! Very inspiring story.
    May Allah guide all of us to His straight path aameen.

    August 17, 2015 at 9:17 am


    August 17, 2015 at 9:49 am

    PMasha Allah! May Allah make all of us steadfast and keep on pursuing the true religion of Islam like the brother. Allah please guide all of us to goodness every second of it until the end of our dunya life. Ameen.

    August 17, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Alhamdulillah, may Allah grant us the strength and ability to learn and teach others the way to true Islamic teachings, ameen.

    August 17, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Islamic intellectuals are trying personally to teach the muslim Deen when it was the religious duty of the Muslim Rulers but they engaged themselves in shirk ,Bidath , nefaq and kuffer culture avoiding the most important DAWA activities of Deen . Locally and internationally Deen Learning schools training center is to be established . Deen Learning Language is Arabic which is not compulsory in the muslim countries as a result muslims are not produced in the muslim countries . I think an international seminar may be arranged to motivate the kuffer dependent and kuffer lover muslim Rulers to introduce DEENE syllabus compulsory for the muslim students along with the modern education to produce muslims for the future muslim world . Allahu Akbar .

    August 17, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Alhamdulillah . I am inspire. May Allaah count it for him as part of ibadaah

    khalif Adan
    October 14, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    thanks for the good Islamic teaching you offer.jazaka la hu kheer

    December 2, 2015 at 11:19 am


    March 8, 2016 at 11:36 am

    MashaAllah! Allah has guided him to the path of looking for pure Islamic knowledge. Age was not a fence for him to take the correct decision. This repeats us the sayings of our Prophet that pursuing awareness is required on every muslim irrespective of groups. 

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