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Scholar and author Sharif Banna MBE talks to Doha College students

by Abu Huraira-Rahman, Head of Islamic Studies

Doha College’s Arabic, Islamic Studies and Qatar History department were delighted to host guest speaker Sharif H. Banna MBE from London. Sharif is a scholar, author and entrepreneur, and is the author of the bestselling “Sirah of the Final Prophet,” which he wrote at the age of 16. This book is used in the teaching of the life of the Prophet Muhammad to year 10 students, who are studying for the IGCSE Islamic Studies examinations. In this context, it was an excellent opportunity to hear from the author himself. 

Shaykh Sharif H Banna speaks to the Islamic Studies students

An immersed audience that engaged fully with the speaker

As Year 9 and Year 10 students have been studying the Meccan period of the Prophet Muhammad’s life, Sharif delivered a five-point talk entitled ‘Meccan Lessons for the 21st Century.’ These lessons were: 

The Quran should inform our worldview

As the Quran is the source of knowledge and wisdom it should be the source of inspiration for Muslims today. 

Focus on spiritual development 

The Meccan period was characterised by a focus on self and spiritual development and this ought to be the starting point when improving oneself. Sharif tied this in to Doha College’s vision of enabling personal growth. 

Engage in trade and entrepreneurship 

This facilitates independence and makes one less reliant on others. Sharif encouraged students to be enterprising and entrepreneurial. 

Co-operate and pursue the common good

The Prophet Muhammad was a part of his society and even at a young age he took part in solving social problems collectively. Co-operation for the common good, therefore, is essential and noble causes should be encouraged regardless of the faith, race and gender of those involved. 

In times of difficulty, do not submit to the status quo – be agile and explore solutions

Following the talk, five students - Khaled Mansouri, Rayyan Qurashi, Zeyad Khan, Layla Shouman and Ibrahim Asad - asked questions on stage and were eager to know more about Sharif writing the book at a young age and what inspired him, what sources he used to learn more and what challenges he has faced in life. 

At the end of the event, a large number of students stayed behind to meet Sharif, ask questions, have their books signed and take selfies! Sharif later commented on the energy and enthusiasm of the Doha College students, and was impressed with the answers they gave to his questions during the talk.

Sharif was then interviewed by Mr Rahman, Head of Islamic Studies, and spoke of his experience being a positive one and that he found Doha College to be a vibrant space with excellent students. He was asked about key competencies required to be global citizens and suggested three: competency itself, being digitally literate and having ethics at one’s core. 

Our guest commended the college for its green flag status and spoke of the Islamic faith’s concern to maintain the ‘balance’ in the natural world by not being exploitative. Furthermore, taking care of the environment is of the utmost importance for our future as a species. Following the interview, he signed a copy of his book thanking Doha College for its hospitality. 

Staff and students thoroughly enjoyed the visit and were left with important messages for reflection and self-development.

It was such an interesting event and the speaker made clear efforts to link his words to our school ethos. This just comes to show how Islamic Studies is a source to reinforce those common values of respect, growing together and developing aspirational minds.
Javier Piqueiras, Head of Faculty

Sharif was highly engaging and connected the lessons from the Prophet Muhammad’s life in the Meccan period to Doha College’s vision and made his message relevant for his audience. We hope to see him again at Doha College and were pleased to hear his final words: “I enjoyed myself!”

Tap below to watch some highlights of the talk. 

It was a very interesting and captivating assembly. Shaykh Sharif gave many important lessons and I liked the way he included his own personal story.

Aaisha Kasmani, Year 9 student

The assembly was very interactive, engaging and inspiring. People asked questions and Shaykh Sharif shared his story with us all.

Maryam Petkar, Year 9 student

Swipe to see more images from the event.