Madame Blossom's Book of Poems

Sunday, October 02, 2011

I don't have a diploma in Islamic studies

I do not have a Diploma in Islamic Studies. Despite having attended 4 years of twice-weekly classes I didn't get it - because I didn't re-sit for my Balaghah 3rd Sem exams. My friends who did, said it was easy, almost an open book paper. I learnt balaghah - it's like learning prose in Arabic in the 3rd and 4th year of the course. Re sitting for the paper was done like almost 2 years after the subject ended.

I declined to go, because I don't see the point of it all. Truth be told, I still cannot speak Arabic. I understand some words in the Quran, alhamdulillah - some progress than not having learnt any Arabic at all, but I still don't understand much of it's grammar and sentence construct, let alone the truely rich meanings of the way the words are used in Arabic. And you ask me to sit for an almost open book paper on Balaghah, and show that I passed Balaghah when in fact I know next to nothing on this subject? I feel like I'm lying. In fact wouldn't I be?

Another justification I had was that - I started taking the course, not with the aim of paper chase. I truly was in search of a structured class on Islam - and found the diploma course to fit my objectives. Getting the Diploma itself, was not important to me. Most of all, I do not subscribe to going up on stage, especially with robes or what nots, to receive this paper and have pictures taken and everything. Doesn't add anything to anything - except time, and money and dosa on my part for later or even now, questioning the absurdity of it all.

These qualification papers can be quite misleading. Who is to say, someone with these qualifications will sincerely spread the teachings of Islam, because he/she truly believes in the product he/she is delivering? Or that they are only doing it just to support their livelihood? How do you differentiate between one who truly grasps the meaning of Islam, from the one who is just good at memorising and spewing out what he read out of a book, with no opinion of his own when faced with situations that requires more thought and sincerity and compassion?

Of course this problem is not only in Islamic studies but also in the academic studies (I don't like these terms). A LOT of teachers are teaching without thinking. They are just going through motions, finishing their syllabuses, targeting a certain number or passes - doesn't matter if the kids truly understand or they just have good memories. And most teachers may not even believe or have love for the subjects they are teaching, themselves.

You will naturally become a good salesman when you truly believe in the product you are selling. That's why word-of-mouth is very powerful - because people who spread those words (these unpaid effective salespeople ) truly believe in the product when they tell it to their family and friends.

I believe if you truly want to impart an information - the same strong belief in the knowledge you are imparting - must exist in the one imparting the knowledge. Which then leads me to want to talk about - what is true knowledge?? But I haven't even come to the point of this entry - so another time perhaps.

NOW, I'm in a dilemma. With regards to the earlier post about 'the need to reach out', I want to impart these religious... what can I say? information? - it's not so much knowledge - it's more about sharing the light or this sense of security or the iman I'm feeling - to the needy children. More than just money or the ability to attend academic schools - they need iman that will help them through their lives, be it hard or easy in future.

I believe a lot of them are also not sending their children to madrasah (which may or may not have any effect on these kids anyway) because they cannot afford to pay the fees, or they don't know that they can ask to attend for free (boleh kan?), or just because they don't know or they are not confident about filling up forms.

Seriously, filling up forms can also deter one from participating. I, the not needy and somewhat educated one, am one example of that. So many film festivals I could have entered if I can just send the link to my videos. But no... I have to fill up forms, give some technical info about my video, give them 300dpi pictures (and the sponsors sometimes don't even know what is 300 dpi pictures), provide a bio of directors etc etc - and I have so far only submitted 2 forms, in my 1.5 years of filmmaking. and they didn't get selected because I guess my answers and posters/pictures are not up to standard. If you talk about the story - I have seen worse stories entering the festivals. I guess I need to get into the groove of film marketing and submitting forms. But I haven't.

Oops, sorry I digressed.

Yup.. so as I was saying, I want to share Islam, with my fellow needy sisters and their children. But now I'm thinking - why would they trust me? should they trust me as someone who will not share deviant teachings of Islam? I guess they probably wouldn't ask for those - but what if some authorities ask? And now I'm regretting not getting that stupid paper (having paid for the 4 yrs also) that says I have a 'diploma' in islamic studies - what does that mean anyway???

But, I don't want to create excuses for not starting. :(
Alhamdulillah, I do have a certificate which they gave after 2 years through the program. I just have to go search for it. And oh yes, maybe I should go apply for that asatizah recognition thingy at MUIS too - to 'safeguard' me from being accused of daring to 'teach' Islam without due qualifications and recognition. I guess it's for the best of the ummah too, to safeguard them - not that it has no loopholes but hey, we can't have a perfect system - we do the best we can only, then we tawakkal.

Ok lah. I'm good at this.. talking myself out of my own worries and problems. Thanks for listening.

Now for some action.

** Update 2013 - After an appeal, and doing a project on Balaghah - I was finally awarded the Diploma. :D Alhamdulillah!

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