Monday, August 6, 2012

The Other : Learning by Heart

If people ask me for an advice, I will tell them to be grateful. No matter the life that you live in, whether it is happy or sad, just be thankful. Although you are surrounded with a lot of people or alone, be thankful. The thing that matter is you still alive, which mean you are given, chance to change things. Though you can’t change anything, at least you have time, space and chance to repent.

I’m grateful of many things. The first and foremost is my family. They support me with the most precious thing in this world which is unconditional love.

The second is my teachers, all of them. They set good exemplar for me, so that I can follow them. They are the people of virtues and actions, so it is easier for me to verify rights and wrongs. No doubt, they also love me so that I’m blessed along the way. O God, bless them here and hereafter.

The third is my friends. Most of the time they act both like my family and teachers. Some of them are so wonderful that I can’t describe by using words.

This is the month of Ramadhan, and I can’t stop thinking about them. My friends know me as person that always depends on intellectual to make abstraction. Only then I can reason and make logical points so that I can contemplate for good virtues. Yes, I’m a person of senses, science and analytical thinking. But this Ramadhan is special, my friend shows me the other path that I can acquired knowledge. That is from the heart.

I do not know how to describe, this one special friend of mine. We are acquaintances actually, we don’t even attach as much. But God always find His way so that we can have the time of our own. We’ve been friend to each other for 7 years, but believe me; I can count how many time we actually met.  

Every time I got the opportunity to meet her, we can sit there all day long for a cup of coffee or tea. The topics of our discussion vary, deep and always inspired, no doubt. She always left me with things that I need to ponder for month sometime years.

Now, as years goes by, the only medium that I can ‘see’ her is through email which will only came once in a while.

Even so, the attachment is so strong because I can feel her present most of the time, including my important journey (i.e: my pilgrimage). She too feels the same.

One day she wrote, “Sometimes I feel that you are like part of me, the part that strengthen my hope, pray and dream. Maybe because we are used to put good words, good ways, exchange of good ideas and encourage good deeds that nourish our heart and soul.”

Weird, that is the same things that I think of her.

Now I involve with Teach for the Needs (TFTN), the non-profit education activism which have started on March. She supports me without question even I still don’t have time to bring her along to participate in our activities. The thing that brings me to tears was she donated a lot of money to support our course without asking anything at all.

I told her, “You’re too generous.”

Then she replied, “actually not that generous, trying to believe that the best sadakah is when we have few to give.”

She had few, but then again she donates a lots! I can’t comprehend till now.

She taught me other way to gain knowledge, which is by using our own heart. She is not just saying, but act; the lesson that I have long forget.  

*The heart can shows you two ways of learning. The first is the things that you can reflect from senses, but there is no action yet to be involved. In Arabic this experience is called istiqra’ or inductive of a posteriori reasoning in the parlance of logic.

The second is when action is already involved, it is called experiment and experience (Arabic: tajribah).

She taught me both. Istiqra’ helps me to understand hyphothetical or speculative value, and tajribah has affirmative or demonstrative value. This is the highest order of seeing beauty in all of things, for that I thank God for everything.

Then I read Surah Al Shams 91: 1-10

God Himself swears by using this Ayat, “By the soul’s and Him who fashioned it, and inspired it with its virtues and vices. One who purifies it is felicitous, and one who betrays it fails.”

I’m very much grateful to God who give me this lesson and at the same time model to follow. I pray she will be given Equilibrium Soul, of course all of us. 

Thank God for everything and guide us to purify our soul.

*Notes taken from book.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Other - Names

It is quite sometime I think about the story of Prophet Adam (as).  In Islamic teaching, Adam is regard as the first Man and the ancestor of all human races in this world. The story that puzzles me is the advantage that God gives to Adam. He was given the ability of to know names.

'And He taught Adam the Names, all of them; then presented them to the angels and said, “Tell Me the names of these, if you are truthful.” (Al Baqarah, 2:31)'

My questions are:

1.         Why having the ability to know Names makes Adam superior than angels?
2.         What are the important lessons that we need to know?

The misconception of Adam story is long and destructive. We tend to read from Christian and Jews, in our terminology we called it as Israeliyyat. One of the misconceptions is regarding the fruit that Adam and Eve ate. We were told that was the Fruit of Knowledge. Some story said, the Fruit of Immortality. The sad part we tend to believe. Make it more convincing when we read and watch Da Vincci code. The fallen of human is because we were restrained to gain knowledge.  Is it true?

Let me put it in my point of view.

The important part in modern scientific world is taxonomy. This is the science to name things. Why we need to name things? The reasons is to classify, clusters, group, associate with particular behaviour, identification with its physical outlook, predict uncertainties, know its historical formation, know the origin and elements consist in that things, and thousand more reasons. If I need to list it all, it will be lengthy and time consuming.

This is the evidence that shows Prophet Adam (as) had been equipped with unlimited knowledge. “He taught Adam the Names, all of them.”

The lesson that I need to learn from this narrative that human being will be given sufficient knowledge to maintain at correct path. This knowledge will help him to determine his worldview, then from that ideology. Both of this strong foundation (worldview + ideology) requires us to act. The fruit is the trial we need to pass. Either we understand the knowledge and we act on it, or we lead Devil to win and we ourselves fail.

When we decided to act according to our understanding, knowledge, set of believe, be sure Devil will be there to tempt us.

Of course we believe that we are weak, because of that we need to cling closely to Al Quran. Believe in His Words. Although we are weak, read this what stated in the Quran, “Those who strive in Our way, verily We will guide them to the right paths.”

In this blessed month of Ramadhan, let us pray. "Oo Allah, guide us don't let us astray."