18 December 2013

Year's Brief Recap

In a matter of few days, this year's going to an end. Looking past through, I can only recall at how I spent days and months, hours, and did things in-between. Though I can say that I had always hoped to become a better and more mature person, I can see and feel that that hope will continue for a long time.

How did I spent this year? First of all, I am very grateful and indebted to God, and then my parents, and then my siblings, for giving me much and ample time to have time for myself and study Islam. This year was spent much on Islamic studies, and it was due largely to an inner need to develop my faith and strengthen it. Even though I have poor comprehension skills when it comes to reading books, still, the time that I spent with them is priceless and can never be replaced. It is like delving into an ocean where the boundary can not be seen and it surrounds you in all directions. It always has something new to offer, and as I go on with studying, new doors of sacred knowledge never fail to amaze me. A sense of awe and deep reverence surrounds them, and being able to absorb them fully does not only strengthen ones faith, but also gives a fresh and a different perspective on seeing and living through life. Every absorbed passage or tidbit of wisdom can change ones way of seeing and it can alter the way we see the present, the future, and the past.

Alhamdulillah, as a whole, this year had been especially productive for me, as what I had written on my last January 18, 2013,

This will be my first update for this year, and I'm so happy that it started out as good for me, in terms of having a lot of time for study and research... I'd like to focus my efforts for this year in Islamic Studies, God willing and perhaps, that will be a separate thing which I'd like to share with you sometime.
Now, this year is coming to an end, and God willing, I will have to again consider what are my plans for next year. There will be different goals and a different endeavor to be focused on. Although this year was not all bright and beautiful, there had been ups and downs, some realities that had to be dealt with and confronted, but just like any other challenge that I had dealt with, they had been truly faced, dealt with, and solved. 

From Flower To Flower

Going through the process of studying Islam, especially doing it alone is very challenging. I don't have a teacher with whom I can ask questions or discuss the topics with, and I relied heavily on how I understand the texts. And then, I decided to listen to lectures and discussions over an invention (I like to call it as a 'menace') called 'Internet' and from there, I came to discover various voices and approaches on dealing with the branches of Islamic knowledge. There were many schools, creeds, groups, and people of various backgrounds and religious interpretations, and it is through these means that I came to appreciate the dynamic aspect of this field of study. There were debates and refutations among people, factors which can never be avoided. Thus, through having wise discernment and objective judgment, one can understand and reconcile the clashes and differences that exist within the verdicts, explanations and interpretations of Islamic knowledge: the Shari'ah (Islamic Law), and Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), and Ta'wil (Interpretation). One very important goal which I haven't achieved is learning Arabic grammar. The texts of the Qur'an and Prophetic Traditions (Hadith) are originally written in Arabic, and thus, to understand the exact and precise content of the basic Islamic books, one has to be familiar with Arabic. But unfortunately, I was not able to study the grammar, and I relied heavily on English. 

At this point, I am also trying to understand a topic which is mentioned in the Qur'an and Hadith, but with which I think there is a great deal of debate or controversy regarding it. It has something to do with the topic of women in the Hereafter. This topic had baffled me for weeks now and based from what I had been reading on, and with regards to uses in Arabic wording, this topic needs to be further examined and re-considered by those who interpret and teach the texts and publish them on their writings, or speak of them on their discussions. I have to admit that the topic at hand is sitting on my mind, and many women, in particular, had been trying to understand it, but which I believe is causing them distress. If I can deduce from the evidences mentioned on the Qur'an and Hadith, and then expound it, I am anticipating that it will take on a course which would differ from those who earlier interpreted them. But at this stage, I will not go or expound on that given topic. I believe that God knows what best explains this matter. But if the women concerned will be able to know my initial questions and stance regarding this topic, God willing, it will bring comfort to their hearts and relieve them of the unjust perceptions that they are being subjected with.