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Learning Humility and Patience from Mistakes

‘If a mistake is not a stepping stone, it is a mistake.’

Eli Siegel


 “I humbled myself as a student. So, I became honorable as a teacher.”

Ibn ‘Abbas RA

[From: The Manners of the Knowledge Seeker, pp.60]


Asalamoalaykum warahmatullah,

SubhanAllah today’s been a very difficult day soon after Fajr.

I want to blog this so that I can look back and appreciate the struggles I’ve been through.

I haven’t had anything to eat and I had dinner early last night and I know my brain power’s going really low.

But I don’t feel like eating or doing anything at all today.

One of the reasons being that I failed the test.

Yes! I failed it.

I mean I never practised for the last 2 weeks but I thought I could nail it without practise.

That’s how I’ve been you know. Thinking I can do well without much effort.

For starters I reached class late but I still went to class.

SubhanAllah, my throat was extremely dry and nothing was working in my favour but I still went on with the test.

There’s no such thing as being told about the date of the test in the course I’m taking. You must be prepared every single day for everything.

Last night I was re-thinking my decision to study what I am currently pursuing.

Do I have to struggle so hard to get Jannah when my peers are frolicking in meadows of frivolity?

I mean I have to cut off my life’s almost everything to isolate myself out-of-class for several hours and sit down and memorize my lesson. And in my free time, I am expected to fulfill my responsibilities. So really I’m left with zero hours to do anything else except blog. That too seems like a chore now. I have even cancelled other activities and I won’t be going to the MSA BBQ which I had been looking forward to since last year. Most people say that if you manage time, you can do everything. But I disagree when you start studying Islam. You barely have time to think about anything else. At times I would be having my lunch/dinner with a family member and they’d be taking their time while my mind would be stuck with what I need to memorize next. SubhanAllah, this path is more difficult than writing  lab reports for a stubborn TA in a biochemistry class. Indeed this a major sincerity test. A test to see how bad I want to learn this Islamic Science.

Ustadh said that in order to maintain the standards of the class, i.e. iHsaan, I and another student would have to re-take the test. He also said that in Islam there’s no such thing as 75% or 80% and ‘passing’ with that grade.

Lesson learned: There is no such thing as failures in Islam. There’s no such thing as passing with anything less than 100% either. You have to know something so well that you ‘own’ it. Because when we learn about Islam, it is something so intensely serious that there is no room for weak skills. Of course one can make mistakes. But the skills should be sharp.

I’ve lived my life knowing and feeling that I can’t make mistakes. That there is no room for it. If I do, it’s the end of the world. Therefore, it’s difficult to not to dwell over mistakes and make them pull me down. Another life skill that I wish to instill within me so that it makes it easy for me to learn new things.

Interestingly nobody takes what I’m learning seriously. ‘Oh it’s just another class!’ No it isn’t. It is a class in which  if you say ‘Umm’ even once, you automatically fail. Having the terrible habit of saying ‘Umms’ and ‘likes’, this is a yet another struggle.

Oddily enough, I want to work 10 times harder now. For the first time a failure has pushed me in a positive direction. So in spite of failing, I’m a little proud of myself.

ash-Shafi’i (R) said:

‘Be patient upon the sourness and dryness of knowledge * Because failure in knowledge is in turning away from it;

And he who doesn’t taste the sourness of knowledge for an hour * Will swallow the humiliation of ignorance for his whole life;

And he who allows knowledge to pass him by in his youth * Will awake to the funeral prayer being prayed for him.’

Some of the Salaf said:

Whoever is not patient upon the humiliation of learning will spend the rest of his life in the blindness of the ignorant, and whoever is patient upon it will spend this life and the next in a state of honor.”

[From: The Manners of the Knowledge Seeker, pp.60]

And Allah SWT knows best.

May Allah SWT facilitate our path to Jannatul Firdaus.Ameen.


Enlighten the Ummah

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