Rabbi Zidni Ilma: My Lord, Increase Me in Knowledge!

The world around us is fascinating. The water that pours down on us as rain, the water that we drink, the water that we see in our lakes are all inextricably connected in the water cycle. Transforming a tiny seed to the food we eat everyday is a long process that takes several months. The animals that we encounter have their own systems of communicating, reproducing, and impacting our world. Even within us, we have so many distinct systems that work in harmony that allow us to live our lives comfortably.

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All of this reminds us of the blessing of Allah.

All of the intricacies of our lives remind us how much we have to be thankful for.

As we learn more and more, we can understand further how our world works, and thus we can understand how Allah is all around us, evident in his creations. To quote Omar S. Khawaja’s Ilyas and Duck Search for Allah, “We see Allah through all His creations. And through them we believe Allah to be true.”

In Islam, the acquiring of knowledge is highly emphasized.

There are two sayings that inspire me—

“Acquire knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are, you should keep learning. Even if you are a complete beginner about a specific topic and you have to start at the very basics, you should still start.

“Acquire knowledge, even if you have to go to China.” To me, that means that you should learn new things, no matter how far you have to go to learn it. Anyone can be your teacher.

Luckily, we live in the age of easy access to information. We have an infinite amount of knowledge right at our fingertips, instantly. Obviously, I am not advocating for free access to Google for young children, nor am I saying that Google is perfect, but we can introduce our kids to new topics and ideas in a guided manner.

Learning something new becomes infinitely easier when we are interested in a topic. When something grabs our attention, we can easily learn new things about it.

We also have access to thousands of informative books at our local libraries. All we have to do is find a topic that interests our kids, and borrow a book at their level about that topic.

Documentaries and educational TV shows are also readily available about many topics.

However, there are ways to learn without relying on visual and print media. Making observations about the world around us is also learning. Watching a seed become a plant, watering that plant, seeing flowers bloom – all of this is learning. Seeing the different types of clouds and observing the weather that each cloud indicates – this is also learning. Seeing a rainbow in the sky and realizing that it only happens when there is water and sunlight – this is also learning.

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To document this learning, I decided to make small books in which to write down our observations as well as the facts we learn. I made a different book for each topic, in order to make it easier to look back at later to see what we have learned. Writing down these facts and observations transforms the passive learning into active learning, and we are able to better remember the information that captivated us.

There is information everywhere. Let’s learn something new, today and everyday!

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