Have we read our operations manual yet?
We can gloat all we want about how we are the most superior in creation yet to descend this planet, but as long as we have not accepted, read, understood and implemented our ‘product manual’ – the Holy Qur’an, we may be lost in perpetuity. Just as when you acquire a new piece of equipment, you need to read the manufacturer’s operation instructions, and yes this may vary from person to person, as some may be more literate in the said equipment than others, but skipping the exercise altogether, can potentially lead to loss of function at best, or damage to the device at worst.
Beyond headline statements, many of our scholars can barely muster up important and engaging facts about the Holy Qur’an and, for instance, why it is so important for us to adopt it in full. Like many speakers do with Islamic History, where rhetoric and prose-filled phrases fuel the applause of common men and women, this practice, in fact takes away the unique opportunities to learn from those who are qualified to teach. But this has been the trouble from the start, where majaalis were historically dominated by people from geographic areas who exported their own local threats to places like East Africa, and this ritual has continued even when we now have sterling speakers from the West as well as the Middle East and Persia, that not enough teachings are given to us during these important nights.
I frequently remember how at the age of 18 and a topper at Husseini Madressa, I was cornered and pretty much baterred by an Ismaili classmate as to what Shi’a Ithan’asheri really meant, the literal meaning of the Twelvers. I just did not know so I went on talking about what I had been hearing of how we were the entitled creed, etc, after the Holy Prophet (SAW). In turn, he silenced me by saying there was no need to speak of this voluminous history perspective if I did not even know the meaning of the sect I claimed to be belonging to. De ja vous… when a few weeks ago I watched this profound video showing how the code of 10 was dominant in the Holy Qur’an’s shortest Sura – Al Kawthar. And here I was only knowing that the Qur’an could never be duplicated but what elements made it so solid, nobody ever spoke of. Yes, of course the Madrasah cannot teach us everything and we must also take initiative to learn ourseves, but I strongly contend that the onus of teaching starts immediately someone starts preaching about a given subject, unless of course the whole point of Majaalis is entertainment after all, as we may find this to be the case in many places.