Balancing worldly ambitions and religious obligations has never been an issue for Isa Hassen, a high school student preparing to embark on his university career next September at the University of Toronto. At 17, he has already accomplished some extraordinary feats and with an always humble demeanour, he has quietly become a unique talent; with a knowledge and skill set that spreads across the board, from the field of computer science to the memorization of the Holy Quran. Isa’s list of achievements has been capped off with his recent success at the Digis, otherwise known as the Digital Media Awards for High School Students, where he was awarded best video game design for his flash helicopter game that was originally done as an assignment for a computer science course in high school.
Canadian born with Sri Lankan roots, Isa has been homeschooled from birth. He recently completed high school through Amdec Online Public School, a year earlier then he was scheduled to and has been accepted into Computer Sciences at the University of Toronto (Scarborough Campus). Isa was blessed with dedicated parents, who have overseen his education from childhood, which helped foster his creativity. He readily admits his passion for the computer sciences, especially the software side, “Tinkering, working and teaching” with computers since he was 7 years old. Isa has also been developing websites for hundreds of customers since he was fourteen years old, websites that are now worth thousands of dollars. Isa has also started his own technology blog/website called the PC Guild, that offers quality news and content on everything technology. On the site Isa has also advertised his other business as a computer technician, repairing and troubleshooting computer hardware. Isa has focused on providing quality commentary to attract a constant traffic to the website that has not only increased the popularity of his blog but also pulled customers into his computer repair business. Isa has presented the expertise and convenience of being able to undertake any software trouble shooting from a remote location. A shrewd move to be sure. With a long line up of customers, Isa’s entrepreneurial spirit has allowed him to go on without ever having to look for a part time job.
More than just his early accomplishments in the computer science field, what really makes Isa unique are his accomplishments outside it. By the time he was eleven Isa had memorized the Holy Quran, an honourable and incredibly challenging achievement for any person let alone an eleven year old child. His memorization of the Holy Quran at such an early age was not only telling of the intellectual gifts but also the commitment and dedication to Islam, which was instilled in him at such an early age. Since the age of fourteen, Isa has been conducting the Tarawih prayers, the extra night prayers held during the month of Ramadan, at his local masjid. Isa has also applied to the Islamic University of Madina, with the intention of one day becoming more fluent in Arabic and perfecting his Tajweed, Insha Allah. He is more dedicated to finding spiritual fulfillment rather than material success. Isa is currently in Bangladesh and India, travelling on Jamaat, in which a group of people travel the country from masjid to masjid spreading the word of Islam.
While Isa has excelled in many different facets, he has made sure to make his religious obligations central to his life. Isa is mindful of all of his accomplishments and gifts as bounties from Allah (SWT) and this disposition is reflected in his own writings found in his own notebook as a message to youth from June 2010.
“The object of knowledge is to become mindful of the orders of Allah. One’s individual responsibility is for the world but our success lies in unity and following the way of the life of the Prophet (SAW).”
It is that common balance that Isa has found in life that has given him the ability to strive for the best in this world and invest in the hereafter. Isa is a wonderful model for today’s youth, having known him since he was a young child; I have seen the raw talent and intellect that he possesses but those are not the traits that have brought him his success. It is Isa’s discipline and persistence to be the best at whatever he does, be it developing websites, repairing computers, memorizing the Quran or maintaining and perfecting his faith, that has made him unique and successful. It’s this sense of responsibility that is missing from many of our young people today. And it’s this sense of responsibility that is missing from the fabric of our society.
Check out Isa’s blog the PC Guild at http://www.thepcguild.com/