I don’t know: Ruminating on whether I’ve learned anything at all.

I don’t know. Today has been one of those days where I have to remind myself to trust the process. A friend was asking me about my studies, and about the curriculum that I am currently in. I explained to him that I can only speak about the classes that I’ve covered thus far and what I’ll be covering in the current year that I’m in, as for what is to come after that, I don’t know.

I know the subjects, but as to what texts the teachers will choose to cover, I’m clueless. He responded that he’s a bit picky and that he would need to know the exact details of his curriculum prior to entering the program or studying with any shaykh.

I understand where he’s coming from, and he’s right. But this journey has changed me. I’ve learned to leave myself in the hands of those who have trodden the path before me. It may very well lead to my ruin, and it’s true that I may not gain what I am looking for. In fact, sometimes I question if I have been growing at all. Have I learned anything? Do I understand Hadith anymore than I did before? Do I understand God’s words? Have I gained any more proficiency in the language?

Honestly, many of these questions I don’t feel confident in answering. I truly don’t feel the growth. I console myself with knowing that sometimes a shaykh will veil his student from their progress so that their ego doesn’t misguide them, maybe this is what God is doing with me as well? Maybe God doesn’t want me to see my progress, but then maybe there is no progress to begin with to veil me from?

It’s scary. To have left everything behind, to remove the cover of ignorance from myself, only to find that there are hundreds more still covering my line of view.

I trust my teachers, I trust my shayukh and mentors, and I trust my Lord.

All I can really say at the end of the day is “I don’t know.” And maybe that’s all I’ve learned over these past 2 years, and maybe… maybe that’s all I need.

Arthur K. Richards


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