Striving for Excellence in Taqwa & Character

Assalam alykum,

I hope you had a wonderful and joyous Eid with your family and friends.

Sisters Seeking Knowledge, part 2, is mainly about the challenges sisters face. I got a better feel from the comments you left which ranges from the interesting, to the humours to the difficult. I felt all were a reflection of real life experiences which we can only hope to learn from to improve our situations as individuals and the ummah as a whole.

 

The Challenges

Why are you NOT continuously seeking and/or increasing your Islamic knowledge?

 

  1. Health too old – A
  2. Too old – B
  3. Too young – C
  4. Cannot travel – D
  5. No time- E
  6. Easily distracted – F
  7. Lack of motivation – G
  8. Not a priority – H
  9. Family restrictions – I
  10. Too basic – J
  11. Too advanced – K
  12. Too expensive – L
  13. Mixed class – M
  14. Male teacher – N
  15. Don’t get along – O
  16. Carer – P

The numbers above did not make much sense to me as you seem to have strongly disagreed with many aspects mentioned and did not agree/strongly agree with enough to be able to see a trend. It could be that the aspects I chose to put on the survey were not real obstacles for you.

However, your comments were very useful.

ü  Child care was a major issue for quite a few sisters:

“Childcare is usually the problem!!! Or better: the lack of”

ü  Unavailability of local classes, talks etc

“We don’t have many classes or anything in my town”

 ü  Unsuitability of classes for level. This was mentioned by a few convert sisters as well

 “… and I find that either classes are too basic or too advanced”

 ü  Classes, talks not inclusive of women

“Males are often given priority…”

 

Can you give me an example of when you felt that you did well with regards to improving your Islamic knowledge, Arabic and recitation of the Quran? In your answer please include:

 Describe your feelings at the end – your top three words:

Happy, Satisfied and Content

 

 Your measure of doing well:

ü  Able to put in the time and effort and focus with less or no distractions

ü  Consistent attendance to the class

ü  Learning at a pace suitable to your level

ü  Gained practical knowledge that was incorporated into daily life

ü  Increased in knowledge which helped remove ignorance and/or practice the deen properly

ü  Implemented and taught what was learned

ü  Achieved a specific goal

ü  Overcame obstacles and did not give up

ü  The course/class in set in a way that attending and revision were enjoyed

ü  Teachers’ feedback

ü  Direct results: passed the exam, able to recite the Quran fluently or held a conversation in Arabic

ü  Indirect results: increased your iman, love for Allah & the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), Sisterhood/friendships formed

 

What did you do?

  • Individual efforts through reading books, distance learning and online classes
  • Travelled abroad
  • Use of the internet to access blogs, forums, YouTube videos and audio recordings
  • Attending circles (halaqa), classes, talks and conferences
  • Made the most of holidays and while at school/university
  • Were taught by parents, husband or siblings
  • Kept to and learned from good company
  • Use of own initiative e.g. bought a Quran translated to a language you can understand

What would be your IDEAL method & environment of learning/improving your Islamic knowledge?

Method

Teacher: Female, knowledgeable & good level of English

Structured lecture/classroom style

Class notes/folders

Learn traditional/classical texts

Online or One-to-one: self-paced

Quran and Sunnah referenced material

Travel abroad to study in an Islamic institute

Setting

Local

Quiet

Regular

Women only

With people of good knowledge and examples

General

Accommodate individual circumstances e.g. available weekends/evenings for those who are working and more classes for mums with small children during school time

 

 

Any other comments

“Gatherings should be welcoming to people of all levels of practice, and new people should be made to feel welcome” 

“Books in English are only at a basic level”

“Everyone needs to be creative when it comes to seeking knowledge. It’s easy to form an image in our minds of travelling and sitting with the ‘ulama etc, but reality doesn’t always allow such thoughts to materialise. Hence, we’ll benefit more from keeping up-to-date with new classes or new teachers in our societies, suggesting the more knowledgeable ones to teach others, utilising all available means to fulfil our search for ‘ilm etc. Also, patience in seeking knowledge is something many of us lack and whoever lacks it will never reach the heights of those whom he/she looks up to”

“We need more accessibility to scholars from all Madahebs and different fields in all parts of the country”

“The most important measure of knowledge taken is that which is retained and implemented. By that standard, most of us are failing. We need to address this urgently”

“Sisters’ courses do not always cater for those who need knowledge for their profession.  It is very hard to access those types of courses”

“… Also a lot of organisations charge too much, but they have excellent quality courses. Others don’t charge as much but are not as good! Why the compromise?!”

 

The End? I think not. In-sha’allah the beginning …

 

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