Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Art of Learning

"Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein

Once upon a time ago, I was telling the Wise Owl that I had trouble understanding lessons being taught by a particular scholar. The lessons that were taught were simple enough but why couldn't I comprehend it? Is God slowly taking away my understanding? Have I done something wrong?

Then the Wise Owl told me, "Sister, between every student and the teacher, there is a hijab or veil. If God removes that hijab then the student is able to absorb whatever that is being taught. If not, the student will not reap any benefit from the teaching"

Hmmm.... in a way, what the Wise Owl said, made sense to me. The question is, how we get the hijab removed?

The Wise Owl said that everything we do, we must seek the blessings of God. There must barakah in all our actions otherwise we will not reap any rewards. To get the barakah, we need to set our intentions right.

For the teachers, the intention must be to share the knowledge sincerely and honestly. The teacher must not teach with the intention to obtain fame or recognition or even financial gains. Even if the student is poor, the teacher must teach willingly, for the sake of Allah SWT. If the teacher's intention is right then the veil will be removed and whatever that being taught will be easily received and understood.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah(sallallaahualayhi wa sallam) said, "He who does not acquire knowledge with the sole intention of seeking the Pleasure of Allah but for worldly gain, will not smell the fragrance of Jannah on the Day of Resurrection.''
[Abu Dawud].

As for the student, intention is also important. The intention must be to learn for sake of Allah SWT and not just to acquire academic titles. 

Abud-Darda (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahualayhi wa sallam) said, "He who follows a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will make the path of Jannah easy to him. The angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon to the rest of the stars (i.e., in brightness). The learned are the heirs of the Prophets who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].

It is very important for the teacher to make lesson easy for the student to understand. The whole purpose of teaching is make the student understand otherwise, it is pointless. Imagine if no one benefits from your efforts. Isn't it frustrating?

Prophet SAW said "Teach others, make things easy, not difficult. When any of you is in a state of anger, let him keep silent.”
(Related by Al-Bukhari)

So, now I understand that if I can't benefit from one teacher, I shouldn't despair. Maybe there's something wrong with the teacher but then again maybe there's something wrong with me. Bottom line is, I must not give up. I honestly believe that God decides everything, even the teachers whom we are to learn from, so just follow the flow.

Some knowledge we are not meant to learn and some will be taught to us whether we like it or not. So, each time we are about to learn something new or learn from a new teacher, check our intentions, recite Bismillah and pray that God grants us His blessings and baraqa.....

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