The Prophet ﷺ said, “A single faqīh (learned one in religion) is more brutal to Shaytān than one thousand worshippers.”

And Allah (swt) says, {…God will raise those of you who believe and those of you have gained knowledge by degrees…} (al Mujādila: 11)

The rank of the learned is great.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of people who are knowledgeable on any subject, is that they claim to know very little. Knowing more always, without exception, opens doors that remind us of how little we actually know.

In schools, teachers know very well that the 8th grade girl and the 9th grade boy are the most difficult students along the spectrum, the reason being that they believe they know more than the adults around them. It will take them a couple of years, but soon they will realize that they too, know very little.

It is in ignorance that arrogance lurks.

And arrogance prevents us from Janna. The Prophet ﷺ said, “He does not enter paradise, he who has an atom’s weight/a drop of arrogance in his heart.”

Thus we must place ourselves firmly on a path of learning. As women we often get sidetracked and allow our brains to become comfortably squishy with oatmeal and kitchen sponges. We must fight this very literal ‘brain drain’ (does it run out in the shower?) with a vigorous program of learning.

We must read new material every day. We must enroll in classes (one per semester is enough – even one a year is better than zero). We must discuss new ideas, read the newspaper, watch the news. We must learn about our religion and learn about the world around us.

Life is not going to get easier and less busy. Every year will bring new trials, and new blessings, all of which will fill our days and nights. We must set our sights firmly on a path of learning, and then take strides upon it.

How To’s of learning:

1- Things we know nothing about and we know we know nothing about: Read children’s books. They are a wonderful resource for non-scientists to learn biology and the miracle of chemistry. If you are a scientist branching out into poetry, a book written for a fifth grader will give you plenty to start with.

2- Things we think we know everything about: Take a class from a professional teacher, or read an academic book or journal article. Surprise! You know very little.

3- Language learning: We need to increase our vocabulary every day. This includes English (or your native language). Words are thoughts. The more words we have, the better we will think and understand. With more understanding comes deeper faith. We also need to learn Arabic. This is a no-excuse subject. This is the language of the Quran. And if you think you already know it well enough, see #2.

Our umma, our communities, our families need the blessing of knowledgeable people. Yaḥyā b. Muʿādh (may God have mercy on him) said, “The scholars are a greater mercy to the umma of Muhammad than their mothers and fathers.” It was asked, “How is that?” He said, “Because the fathers and mothers protect them from the fire of this world, but they protect them from the fire of the afterlife.”

Be a mercy to the umma of the Merciful one sent by the Most Merciful. Make a learning plan today.


Registration for the Spring 2014 Term begins Wednesday, December 25th, 2013.

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