Appreciating Knowledge (even when you lack it)
I remember when I was an undergraduate at Harvard a decade ago, I first learned about the qira’at, i.e., the different modes of reciting the Quran, as well as the history behind the formation of the mushaf, etc. There was an initial shock because this information was completely new to me and seemed to contradict what I had always believed about the preservation of the Quran.
But, then I realized, wow, I’m pretty ignorant on this subject so best not to jump to conclusions. So I studied some more, sat in on introductory durus on `ulum al-Quran, and satisfied myself intellectually with what the Islamic tradition says on this issue, and though I am still a layman and don’t have the full picture because that would require years of full-time study and a dedication to pursuing `ilm at the feet of `ulama, I can still appreciate the depth of thought and scholarship that the tradition has to offer.
When you stand on the shore of an ocean, you appreciate the sheer scale of the ocean, how it extends as far as the eye can see and that enormousness impacts you in a way that you can’t get inland. Even if you just stay on shore and are not able to go out to sea, you have that much more appreciation for what you are missing and that much more respect for those who do dedicate themselves to seafaring.
Anyway, my point is, don’t be a landlubber 🙂 If you aren’t given the tawfiq to sail the ocean blue, at least take a stroll on the beach every now and then and marvel at the ayat.