Travelers on the Path of Knowledge

Knowledge is an ocean and a few drops just aren’t enough. -Unknown

We ARE Drowning in Information, but STARVED for knowledge. August 23, 2006

Filed under: Reflections — musaafir @ 9:23 pm

You see that quote at the top of the blog? Well… It’s true. Look at today’s society. We get our knowledge from books, from teachers, from the internet, from magazines, from the TV, from newspapers. But we know nothing.

What did we learn in high school? We learned simple facts. We learned many things that would never prepare us for the “real” world. So when we were going through high school, how many of us sought education OUTSIDE of school? How many watched the news? How many read non fiction books? Not many.

And we graduate. We go to college and often we only learn about subjects in our major. We still don’t know what happens in the world. Often, way too often, we are taught our opinions. I can’t say I’m not guilty of it. Someone tells me a political opinion and maybe I’ll start to agree with them. Sometimes I won’t check out the matter for myself. But I shouldn’t let others shape my opinion. I should find the truth for myself.

Anyhow, it makes me think harder about reliable and trusted knowledge. For current events, I understand you check out a bunch of news sources. However, what about when it comes to other subjects. History? Religion? Politics? Now there are some things you can’t mess with. Like WW2 did happen, and there is a such thing as feminist political theory. But when we pick up books do we check how credible the author is? Do we see where they studied? I mean, I think I realize this more because when I’m reading up on Islam I have to screen the authors. I need to know where they studied and see what others think of him. But too often, I don’t do this with other subjects. I should.

Obviously since I’m Muslim, I’ll bring back examples of this in Islam. Many people are all ready to learn about Islam from people with Muslim sounding names. Especially when they have problems with Islam. For some reason this gives them legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Need names? Tariq Ali? The born Muslim who turned atheist. I started to read his book on Fundamentalism. But he attacked Islam so much that I felt he had a personal connection with Islam that was clouding his writing. To talk about Fundamentalism you need to talk about Islam (It was on Islamic Fundamentalism). I understand. But you don’t need to criticize it and Christianity as well. Irshad Manji? The lesbian Muslim who calls for reform? She’s now viewed by some as a know it all on Islam. Please. She talks about the lack of ijma (consensus by Islamic scholars) in these days. But does she realize that Islamic scholars still meet to discuss new issues that arise (like the Muslim astronaut and how he can pray in space with short days).

I just feel that we could all do with a little more knowledge. We talk our mouths off without knowing anything. We pick up a book on a subject and start talking about it as if we know. I know nothing, you know nothing, we know nothing. I emphasize… we know NOTHING. 😦


5 Responses to “We ARE Drowning in Information, but STARVED for knowledge.”

  1. Lena Says:

    I couldn’t agree with this more. When I read it, I automatically associated the feeling with Islamic knowledge. I feel we are surrounded by so many translated books and summaries of books, but we still lack so much knowledge…so much really is lost in translation. And also, as it is, Qur’an is knowledge, so yes, we have information, maybe the translations of the verses, but do we have the knowledge behind them…the true wisdom in these verses and the miracles behind them. So as you said, we have this information, but we are starving for knowledge.

    Muslims trying to change/reform Islam…a whole other topic…as you have expressed to me many times, how annoying the term “Moderate Muslim” is.

    Anything wrong I have said is from me (may He forgive me), and anything correct and true is only from Allah swt.

    May Allah increase us in knowledge. Ameen.

  2. Hammad Din Says:

    Mashah allah I like the “rant”.( for the lack of a better word :)).

    I recall Sh Hazma saying that we should treat everything we see and write critcally as a chain of transmission ( Sahih and so on). So for example who wrote/said this, whats her/his credibility, where were they educated, what are his/her sources…etc etc.

    ALso if you take a Crtical thinking course you will learn that people can twist opinions to make them look like facts without any facts to back their opinion up. In other words its the way they say things that implictly assumes things or force us to assume things.

    I have a few friends who argue a lot and I bug them saying that you guys have ” weak facts and strong opinons”. I think we should have strong facts and flexible opinions.

    Thanks for the post 🙂

  3. Geeta Says:

    Irshad Manji pisses me off. I assume she must have problems with Judaism and Christianity as well, since they comdemn homosexuality. She was raised in a culturally influenced household–not a proper Islamic household–which explains her anger. Apparently the examples(ayahs, hadith etc) she gives in her book are ambiguous, misinterpreted and unreliable.

    Oh ignorance… it drives me up the wall.

  4. She does. She has problems with every religion. It’s slightly irritating. Let them believe what they believe. If they don’t believe in homosexuality, you can’t force them to.

    I understand that homosexuals have a hard time integrating into society. But you can’t reform a religion. You can make progress in society, but attacking the religion doesn’t help.

  5. Yaser Says:

    Sometimes I wonder if they just say their Muslim so they can cause more mayhem. She needs the label to have her voice heard. If she was an atheist…nobody would care.

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