The importance of self-reflection

No comment yet
The importance of self-reflection

A few days ago, I reviewed the 1st draft of my students' assignments. One thing that became clear is that the capacity for self-reflection is a pre-requisite for self-efficacy and self-efficacy is a pre-requiste to be happy.

Self-reflection means that you can "personalize" what is happening around you. For example, I asked my students to investigate the proper Islamic understanding of al qadar. Most of the assignments ended up being very academic. I then said, "Do it this way. What does qadar mean to you." So one Bosnian student started exlaining qadar in the context of the war in Bosnia. Another student started talking about qadar in the context of the civil war in his country in Africa. If you can't relate Islamic knolwedge to your everyday life, that knowledge is always "depersonnalized." It ends up being how the ulama talk about qadar.

Another example would be understanding the meaning of surah al fatihah. If you are not careful, you end up with Ibn Khathir's understanding of surah al fatihah. But that is depersonalized knowledge. What matters is what surah al fatihah means to YOU as an individual. Unfrotunately, our Muslim brothers and sisetrs have never been encouraged to personalize their knowledge. So their knowledge of Islam remains abstract and goes not influence their lives much.

Ultimately, the worst form of depersonalized knowledge is people's abstract belief in Allah. People end up believing in Allah in the same way that they believe that there is a town called Toronto or that the galaxy is very big. Personalized knowledge is when you are absolutely, totally, 100% clear about the fact that Allah has created YOU, because He loves YOU and He wants YOU to go to Paradise on condition that YOU obey the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the best of your ability. In the process , He will guide YOU, He will help YOU, He will protect YOU. Your prayers became a sincere form of appreciation, a way of saying "Thank You for loving Me, helping Me and guiding Me". It's personal, it's sincere.

In summary, I think that people's ability to be happy depends a lot on their ability of self-reflection.

Post a Comment