I Wanted to Become an Ustaz


It was my own preference. I made the decision by myself.

I had the possibility to become a doctor, perhaps an engineer, but I chose to become an ‘ustaz’.

I was offered to pursue my study in science, in the best class for science, in one of the best schools nationwide. I was already there for just about 4 months. Yet, I chose to become a student of ‘Human Science’, in order to become an ‘ustaz’. I changed my class, in fact my school.

With a good SPM result in Human Science, I was offered to continue my study in Economy, with scholarship under the ATU’s program. But the decision was bold, earlier. I wanted to become an ‘ustaz’ and still want to be one. I literally begged for a program switching and with His blessing, I was granted a scholarship to continue my study in Jordan, in order to become an ustaz.

16 September 1993, my footsteps sauntered along the milestones of my path to become an ustaz. I was finally there, in Jordan.

All of a sudden, I felt EMPTY.

I reached my destiny… it was empty.

I was blessed to study in a place like Jordan.

I found the best understanding of the Text, but I lost the best understanding of the world where the understanding of the text should go into practice.

I lost the picture of my world, the big picture of everything.

After indescribable journey of confusion, I switched to where I found what I need.

I need the big picture.

The big picture of an idea…

The big picture of a belief…

The big picture of my own religion…

In order to bring myself out of the trap. The trap of the endless Left and Right. The tyranny of ‘either or’ in the world of an ustaz.

And the big picture achieved when I connect my present with past.

Here I am now, with another indescribable journey of satisfaction, as a student of History.

Where is now the ‘ustaz’?

Hasrizal @ www.saifulislam.com
43000 BSP


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  1. See the world from bird eyes. The vision, the eyes & the bird all created by Allah. Learning history is one way to solve the puzzle and mistery of life of whats wrong or right, moving towards the ideal way of life? Ustaz should teach history in Kuliah Maghrib for that a big portion of Al-Qur’an is about History.

  2. I’ll share mine too ^_^

    I wanted to become a doctor. Not because it’s the most popular job as how it usually perceived in this country. After been greatly sadden by watching news on war, I was frozen in front of the tv. What can I do with my life to help those children? I seriously asked myself. As a girl, there’s no way for me to become a soldier and live there with them. Then, I came up with the idea of becoming a doctor. After spm result came out, I didn’t get all A’s but still a good result which enable me to embark into that journey. Out of sudden, my mom came to my room and said that she never want any of her children become a doctor. She worked as an attendant in a general hospital. She worked with doctors. She witnessed how stressful that job is and how low the payment is. She don’t want her children suffered that kind of life.

    But, this child of her don’t want an easy life. She wants a meaningful life, which her heart feels towards certain things. However, this kid has a very awkward communication skill with her family. She wants to be a good daughter. So, she passively obeyed without even trying to explain, without knowing this will influenced her future. As long as she could learn and gain knowledge, she’ll be happy. That’s what I thought. Not yet understand why we gain knowledge, how vast the world of knowledge and what should I decide to learn.

    I chose to pursue study in what I was really good at, Maths and physics. This is my strength, maybe I should become an engineer or a mathematician. I thought that way. In the end of matriculation program, my thought refreshed. Even I’m good at it, if I couldn’t feel the value out of it, it won’t matter anymore. I have to do something that I cherish its value.

    I changed my ambition again. I entered undergrad program with 1 thing in mind, to gain as much knowledge as I can. The hectic life of university student began, with students’ routine, student movement, ngo’s, social works…Alhamdulillah, I received lots of experiences and knowledge, but I forgot to think which career should I pursue, how should I channel all those I got, what I valued the most, etc…

    I tried few things but didn’t work out. That’s when I realized that I still couldn’t let go of my dream of becoming a doctor. The road still open, but it caused too much misunderstanding to others, especially to my family. Being a Muslim is not a simple title. We have to take many things into account. It brought me back to make a thorough diagnosis on why I wanted to be a doctor so badly. It took me 1 year detour to understand this.

    As Prof Tariq Ramadan said; we know what we don’t want but we are not clear on what we want.

    What I wanted the most is to give something to others who are in need, in need of something that I valued the most – to live a meaningful life. The idea of becoming a doctor is only one of thousands ways of doing so. What I valued the most, what I cherished the most, what gives me something meaningful, I’ll share it, I’ll drop it whenever the opportunities appeared. Fixed career, fixed job might not suited me well.

    As Brother Nouman Ali Khan said, human being are made by Allah with the character to face challenges. So, there will be times where I’ll be stuck again and pondering again what should I do next, what should I learn more, how can I improve myself more, etc. When that time comes, I will grow again to the next level, to be a better slave of Allah, insya allah.

    I want to understand others deeply, I want to understand this world more, so that I know what I could do more to give to others. So that I’ll understand my religion more. So that I’ll understand my beloved prophet Muhammad saw more. Our history, our encounters, are never coincidence. Maybe to understand more, I really think that by learning History is one of the essential ways. And this, I learn from you.

    Thank you, ustaz.

  3. I found this blog when I’m googling “how does an ustaz make a living”. It is the first search result.
    As someone who is an ustaz, I want to ask you how does a typical ustaz make a living?

    From your profile, obviously you’re not typical, because you have a training company and a book writer.

    I’m talking about the likes of Ustaz Azhar Idrus, Ustaz Kazim Elias the celebrity type, and also the normal one that we see giving kuliah every weekend here and there.

    This is something that people do not ask, but very important to me. Because whichever way you put it, we normal people still need to have food on the table, roof above our head, and vehicle to move around. All of this is not free.

    Reading the news couple of weeks ago on Ustaz Azhar Idrus crashed his VW Golf GTI, makes me wonder, how much does he earns especially with 3 wives under his belt. And does he pay taxes?

    In reality, engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants trade their skills and services for money. This is a normal situation. What does Ustaz got to trade?

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