During Dr Umar’s Qurba lecture about beneficial knowledge, he told us that when the words a teacher says comes from the heart, those words transform hearts. And this describes Dr Umar’s speech perfectly. Dr Umar’s words shake you, they show you your mistakes, and they point you in the right direction.
And though it takes me a long time to process Dr Umar’s words, what struck me the most about the lecture was Dr Umar’s emphasis that knowledge is meant to transform your character to be like the character of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, was someone who loved people, and as we gain more knowledge we too should be developing into people who are helpful, approachable, friendly and kind. The more we learn, the more we should exemplify these qualities.
And as I listened to Dr Umar, I was reminded of my Dad’s emphasis throughout university that the purpose of education is to impact your state. There should be a difference between someone who is educated and someone who isn’t, and the difference should be that your education gives you the ability to adapt easily to any environment. If it becomes more difficult for you to mix with all kinds of people, to socialize, to be a source of joy, and to learn from people from all walks of life as you become more educated in an outward sense, than you are doing something wrong.
Dr Umar’s lesson echoed those words, and was a much-needed reminder that I have a long long way to go, and in much need of duas that despite being very introverted, my personality grows in the right direction.
The second thing that struck me about the lecture was Dr Umar’s remark that we are not meant to cling to our deeds and remember our good. Our good deeds are a gift from Allah that are taken to Allah, and are not things that we are meant to remember or become proud of. Remembering our own good means our deeds are still with us.
Dr Umar’s words reminded me of a workshop on conflict and communication I attended a few months ago where the facilitator mentioned that when we view ourselves as the protagonist of a story in which we are always right, we collect grievances about other people by noticing everything we do and noting the “injustices” that are done to us. All of this builds resentment within us, and instigates conflict. Dr Umar’s words deepened that lesson, and were a reminder of how easy it is to remember one’s own good in worship or social relations while forgetting the good of others. Dr Umar’s lesson taught us that instead of clinging to our actions it is critical to do as much good as possible without caring about how our actions compare to the actions of others.
In the next post insha’Allah, I’ll try to post actual notes (not the entire thing though!) of Dr Umar’s lecture at the Hub.