Muslims, if they want to get anywhere in life, must fear and avoid cliches like most people would fear death or the plague.
Cliches are mostly dead and empty words and expressions, often repeated without thought or understanding, by people who, consciously or unconsciously, want to avoid responsibility for uttering them, or for the thoughts that lie behind them.
So, people mouth cliches so the world will leave them alone and will not hold them accountable for what they say or do.
Islam is just the opposite of that. Islam holds you responsible for every single word that you utter. That is right: Words coming out of your mouth can take you to Hell or Heaven.
Angels take them down and make them a part of your record before God.
Hasaa-idu Alsinatikum is how the Hadith phrases it: the Harvest of your Tongues.
People, is anybody paying any attention to what I am saying? What comes out of your mouth — Every Single Word — will become your passport to Salvation or Damnation: both here in this world and the next world.
So, when it comes to Learning — Seeking Knowledge (Talabul Ilm) as the Hadith calls it — it is absolutely a Lifelong Process. Not a doubt about it.
Seeking Knowledge: Talabul Ilmi.
And Lifelong Learning is great. And that is what the Hadith says too. I think it is a Hadith. Will someone check it please and let me know. Let all of us know.
Seeking Knowledge is a process that goes from the Cradle to the Grave: Minal Mahdi Ilal-Lahdi.
But at the same time, this most amazing expression may very quickly turn into a cliche at the hands of some people who may want to avoid all personal responsibility for Active Learning.
And they would rather be Passive Passengers and Spectators on the Learning Train, patiently waiting for others to pour some Knowledge into their heads, without any effort or trouble on their part. Hoping something will rub off on them as the Learning Train chugs along.
So, what I am saying is this: Learning is of Two Kinds: Active and Passive. And Islam wants you to be an Active Learner, which means: Go and do everything in your power and means to get knowledge.
Personally, I want you to be an “Aggressive Learner,” in the best and healthiest sense of that expression.
And a Fast and Strong Learner.
Therefore, the thing to do is to set up specific Learning Goals and Targets. And to mobilize all the needed psychological, financial and other resources needed for turning those goals and targets into reality.
And do all that in a hurry.
This requires that we set up the systems and structures and institutions that would in very quick time provide us the knowledge and expertise we need. Schools, libraries, hardware, software, personnel and everything else.
So, we start our Active Learning at Time T and end it as it were at Time T1. Start today, end two months, or whatever, later. Even though Learning is Lifelong and it never ends.
Otherwise, Lifelong Learning becomes a cliche: Dead, Empty and an Albatross around our necks.