The true qualities of students of knowledge – right intention, right attitude
Knowledge is that which benefits, not which is only memorised
By Abeera Siddiqui
I study, even others do. I have been a ‘student of knowledge’ for more than a decade and nearly all of us share somewhat similar journeys. But does it give us a license to look down upon people who didn’t?
Is education to blame or the student when we overpower others with our ability to use words well or prove how correct we are and how wrong they were? No. In fact, our attitudes speak much louder than what we have studied. So, if our actions are not reflecting the education then all that we learnt didn’t do us well.
When it comes to seeking knowledge, there is no end to the journey. It’s an ocean in which we have to let ourselves loose and go where enlightenment takes us. Our education doesn’t necessarily have to result in immediate gains, because if that was the intention with which we started, then a mere plaque or certificate would suffice.
But knowledge is something greater than that. It is something that flows. It flows in our character, our speech, our gestures. In fact, a wise person’s silence is extremely beautiful as well. Because he or she understands that silence doesn’t necessarily mean you have surrendered. In fact, it is a beautiful practise that allows one to master the art of internalising what others have to say.
Let me give you a simple example. If a kindergarten teacher starts teaching her student all that she knows, the student wouldn’t just run away but would hate learning for the rest of their lives. It doesn’t matter how much she knew, she lacked the wisdom to communicate with and teach a four-year-old.
Similarly, when we approach people with the intention to show them all that we know, we fail to achieve our purpose of communication. Moreover, we leave no space for the person in front of us to come up with ideas. This child would either think too poorly of himself as he couldn’t grasp what the teacher said or will end up painting every teacher with the same brush. The teacher’s knowledge was one that was memorised, but it never benefitted her or the child.
Another hurdle students of knowledge sometimes fail to cross is listening to the other person with an open mind.
The more we ponder over our surroundings we make ourselves more accommodating to others’ views. Every human being is different, hence everyone comes up with different insights. We should respect every opinion as long as it doesn’t contradict with the fundamental beliefs in Islam.
Every view doesn’t necessarily have to match ours. If we give ourselves the room to accept differences in opinion, we will realise that every single being is created perfectly in their own way and that is what that makes life exciting.
In fact, knowledge is actually what makes a person like fertile land – ready to take in all that is planted, giving out nothing except that which is beneficial.
Ibn Majah once commented on what actual knowledge is. He said: “Ilm is like something that is going live, it merges into the flesh and blood of a believer. Noor of Faith and Noor of Eman. It is a step-by-step procedure.”
No matter which part of the world we belong to, the idea should be to converge to a point where every gesture of ours pleases Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). And that, to me, is the essence of knowledge.