I can’t help but feel as if, at some point in our life, each of us gets trapped in a situation like that of the board game, “Snakes and Ladders”, in which after having reached till the top through hard work, patience and perseverance, the biggest snake bites you and you fall all the way down, back at square one. And, the fall is so bad that everything is a blur and you feel confused, scared and intimidated of what lies ahead of you. You feel like a failure, demotivated and demoralized. But, you have to give it your all, gather yourself up and restart the journey, hoping to land on a tall ladder or two on your way that would ease the journey for you.
But, alhamdulillah, life is not a game. For everything that happens, Allah is a Watcher over it. He ‘azza wa jal Knows our struggles, our difficulties and our efforts. Even if we falter or commit mistakes, He helps us come out of darkness into the light, provided we are sincere in our repentance. And, for every little effort towards righteousness, we will be rewarded with so much more than we can ever imagine.
This post is, yet again, about knowledge. (perhaps, a continuation of the previous one)
One thing’s for sure – To live this life according to the correct principles of Islam, we need to gain knowledge. And, for most of us born into Muslim families, we are taught about Islamic ethics from the get go. I can reminisce about my childhood days when we (my siblings and I) used to go to weekend halaqas (Islamic gatherings) to learn Islam and our teacher used to narrate stories and hadith and teach us how to pray. That was for the weekends, however, for the rest of the week, our source of knowledge were our parents. Our parents taught us what they had learnt from their elders. But, at a certain point, some of our knowledge about Islam which we perceived to be right was proven wrong/mistaken. One after the other, we corrected what was wrong. That phase was like a moment of epiphany for us. Our outlook towards Islamic knowledge slowly changed. Questions like, “What’s the proof for that?” and “Is it authentic?” entered our conversations. In short, we became more careful and conscious regarding knowledge.
Islamic teachings are not something that can be easily passed on from one generation to the other, blindly. Yes, “blindly” is the key word here. The same can be said for all types of religious knowledge, not just of Islam. It’s very possible that our ancestors were mistaken in some information and unless we find the exact source of that information, how can we believe it to be true?
This whole issue of being cautious about what we are gaining of knowledge in this century comes about only because our beloved RasoolAllah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is not amidst us now. And, the only way we can gain knowledge is from the learned, the ulamas. However, there are hundreds, if not thousands of scholars out there who are imparting knowledge according to their own knowledge. So, what happens here is that even though the primary sources of Islam i.e. the Glorious Quran and the Sunnah are intact and free from corruption, the understanding of these primary sources differs from one scholar to another. The exegesis of certain verses of the Quran may differ, the basis of acceptance of a hadith to be authentic may differ, understanding of Aqeedah may differ, fatawas and fiqh rulings may differ. Therefore, clashes and confusion and debate arises as to what is right and what is wrong. It leaves me to wonder, Will I ever understand and practice Islam exactly like RasoolAllah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) taught the Sahabah (companions)?
Alhamdulillah, many scholars of the past and present have tried to record as much as authentic knowledge that has been transmitted down the ages. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Sihah Sittah i.e.”Six Sound Books of Hadith“, Kitab-ut-Tawheed, The Sealed Nectar, and Hisnul Muslim are the main books that I’m presently reading from.
I think my Islamic knowledge is no where near even 20%. There’s a lot of studying to be done. InshaAllah. Perhaps, along the way there’ll be realizations, more corrections. Maybe, I’ll encounter new knowledge I’ve never known before. There’s abundant sources, some right and others wrong. Wrong knowledge hurts bad. It hurts bad to find yourself back at the beginning. But, after all, it’s a part of a never-ending cycle of learning, re-learning, applying, etc. So, you must rise up from the fall and continue, if you fall again, rise up again, no matter how many times you are wrong, yearn to be right and it’ll all be fine.
There’s hope, inshaAllah:
Narrated Muawiya: I heard Allah’s Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم saying, “If Allah wants to do good to a person, He makes him comprehend the religion. I am just a distributor, but the grant is from Allah. (And remember) that this nation (true Muslims) will keep on following Allah’s teachings strictly and they will not be harmed by any one going on a different path till Allah’s order (Day of Judgment) is established.”
Source: Sahih Al-Bukhari
May Allah bless our time and grant us correct understanding of our beautiful deen. Ameen.