Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

choosing how to learn Islam and from who.

For a long while when I was a young adult, I did not attend any religious class. Perhaps because I was just very skeptical about what they teach and about them.

Then, when I had a 'calling', when I wanted to learn more about Islam, my own religion, I tried to attend a religious class. Being a very skeptical person, who feels that she has more or less, a firm opinion - it's not easy to please me.

I tried one class conducted by an ustazah (a female teacher), halfway through I felt like I wanted to leave. The actual lessons taught was superficial, mostly reading from some simple fiqh book, accompanied by funny examples and lame jokes. Lame to me. And then, I remembered, some kids were running at the back - she almost shouted at them, she said sternly "kids, PLEASE keep quiet! Can the mother, PLEASE look after those kids.. this is a class" - something to that effect. Immediately, I knew I did not want to attend this class already. At the end of the class she was singing to the best of her abilities - and I have to say, she did it well, the 99 names of Allah. But I'm not here for a nice voice or some lame jokes. I want to really LEARN, not be entertained.

Then I tried to attend another one by an ustaz (a male teacher). Again, the lessons were quite superficial, accompanied by some jokes, and then he is always talking about defending ourselves from sihir and he tries to sell his stuff - some things that can heal, or make us clever etc. at the end of every class I can remember. I attended a few weeks - but I am disappointed and almost giving up on learning.

I got quite desperate to find a class at mosques, where I can learn Islam systematically. What is the basis of the rules set in Islam? What are our sources? So far, I've only been learning what we must do or cannot do - with no explanations.

At that point, I realise the only way I can get these kind of information, is to attend a formal and 'certified' Islamic class - that issues certificates or diplomas. So I joined a diploma class with the intention of wanting to learn Islam from scratch and systematically. Get a bit of arabic too, to help me more or less understand the Quran as I read it. Alhamdulillah, my objectives were met.

I realise I am choosy in how I want to learn and who I want to learn from. And shouldn't we all be choosy about the teachers we learn from?

For me, besides the knowledge, they must be broad minded, not arrogant, kind to others, sincere, not threatened by questions from students and one who knows their own limitations in their God given knowledge - and are therefore acknowledges other opinions humbly without necessarily being shaky about their own, if they are sure about their stand.

And I want to be like them also. insyaAllah.

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