Times of Youth: In your opinion, what are the main themes and topics that Muslim speakers, mentors and educators should focus on when addressing the Muslim community (whether in Friday sermons, conferences, etc.)? What areas need their special attention at the moment?
Dr. Bilal Philips: The area of Tawheed is a perpetual need. The area of learning the deen, again another perpetual need. Everybody needs to learn the deen. The primary subjects of education should be in areas that will benefit the Muslim community, to serve the Muslim community, and make their work ‘Ibadah’. This should be the emphasis. The emphasising of the responsibilities of parents, to ensure that children get a proper Islamized education. Of course, also the basic acts of ‘Ibadah’ that they be done according to the spirit of Islam, and not merely according to the letter.
Times of Youth: If you could give one piece of advice to Muslims worldwide, what would that be?
Dr. Bilal Philips: The biggest piece of advice that I’m currently focusing on, besides the motto of my University (Islamic Online University), changing the nation through education, is the importance of bringing morality back to the classroom. The Prophet (pbuh) had described Islam in terms of morality. That was the essence of the message he brought. We need to bring that back in the classroom where morality has been removed. Western secularized education has removed religion from the whole educational process. They are coming from a humanistic perspective, that human beings can decide for themselves. People are studying various courses, physics, science, math, etc., but without a moral compass. They are capable of doing anything. The biggest problem plaguing the Muslim ummah globally is that of corruption. If we can’t produce graduates from our institutions who are morally sound, who can’t be bribed, then we can never change the situation that we are in.