Friday, July 16, 2010

How to Learn

Friday, July 16, 2010.

Assalamualaikum wbt.

Huarrgghh...i'm sure by now you know what this sound means (laughs).

Yes, yes, sorry friends. I've been hibernating again. But. But, I have a good reason this time. (smiles).

It is the reason our beloved prophet Muhammad SAW said,

"Seeking knowledge is an obligation (fareeda) for every muslim."
(Miracles of The Holy Quran. volume 1. El-Sayed Rachad El-Moussaoui. Muhammad Ali Islamic Foundation. Chicago, USA. pg 6)

My dear friends who I dearly miss,

We recite syahadah, did we not? Syahadah, the phrases that prove that we believe that there is no God but Allah Taala, and that prophet Muhammad SAW is His Messenger. We say it everyday. At the very least, ten times per day.

Where did ten times come from?

Well, muslims pray 5 obligatory prayers everyday; Subuh/As-Subhu, Zuhr, `Asar, Maghrib and Isya'. And in each time we pray, did we not say, "Ash-hadu alla ilaha illallah, wa ash-hadu anna muhammadur rasulullah". Remember? In fact, we said it twice in every prayer/solah that we offer to Allah Taala, and that is during tasyahud awwal and tasyahud akhir.

Tasyahud awwal is the sitting position, in the middle of a solah, for example in solah Zuhr, tasyahud awwal is done during the end of the second rakaah, while tasyahud akhir is the last sitting position before giving salam, signalling the end of the solah.


my friends,

did you not notice something wrong here?

Hahaha..humans, ARE forgetful creatures.

I forgot. The number is not ten, it is nine. The total number of syahadah recitations in a day's solah is nine, because there is no tasyahud awwal in solah As-Subhu. Astaghfirullahal azim...(shakes head) did we not realize how forgetful we are? And I can't even remember that simple fact, and why not? In fact, I do it almost everyday, and yet sometimes, I do forget it. (shakes head with a smile)

Anyway friends/sahabahs,

I just want you to know that I might not be able to write as much as I want to here, not that you'll miss me eh? haha..

But in the event that you do, I don't know, maybe some weird 'disease' struck you that made you long(rindukan) for my words, well, this is what I will say,

"Read, read, and read the Quran."

For you know, and you must know that feeling. That..incredibly special feeling that fills up your heart and your chest each and everytime you read the Quran. It seemed that your chest, your heart, would burst out at any moment...but, it didn't. Our chests didn't burst.

But, you know what's funny? Our chest didn't burst, but that...expanding feeling remains. And, somehow, weird, but true all the same, that feeling just kept increasing everytime we read another, and another, and another page. And yet, our chest remained as it is. that, to me, is a miracle in itself.


we don't really need to see some incredible miracles in our lives, just to believe in Allah.

We don't have to see malaikah/angels.

We don't have to be able to see how the heavens/syurga/jannah really looked like, nor see the fiery flames of hell/neraka/naar.

We don't have to see Allah Taala...right in front of our eyes.

We can't.

I believe..if Allah Taala were to..reveal Himself, we would all turn to dust, or just..I don't know, vanish.

Because His Zat, His..I just don't know how to explain the term "Zat", but it is just, His whole being, if you will. We will perish, because His being/ Zat is simply...TOO GREAT for us to bear/handle.

Did you know about the story of prophet Musa a.s? When he asked (and I think it is recorded in Al-Quran) for Allah to reveal Himself, so that he(Musa) might see Him face to face, what did Allah reply?

"Look at that mountain (a nearby mountain to Musa a.s), and if you can still see it when it is gone, then you will be able to see Me." (I'm deeply sorry if this is wrong, but the ayah/verse is something like this. In need of reference.)

Then prophet Musa a.s turned to look at the mountain, and suddenly the mountain was gone/hancur in a flash of light, and prophet Musa fainted.

When he gained consciousness, prophet Musa a.s asked for Allah's forgiveness, for he has realized that it was not right for him, a human to ask to see Allah. Not right in the sense that a human is a creation, while Allah is the Creator. I just don't know how best to explain this, in what I understand, but only that I understand, and feel that there is just a GREAT, BIG GAP between the created, and the CREATOR.

Dear sahabah,

even prophet Musa a.s, a chosen human, who is, Insya-allah better than most of us in terms of akhlaq/ethical behaviour and belief, even this man, fainted. Can you imagine, how the situation would be for us, just an average human being? Subhanallah. May Allah forgive our sins.

Anyway...I am way out of context. (I always do this, don't I? haha..) I'm sorry..hehehe..let's get back.

Well, since I'm back in kuantan, I'm definitely up to my ears with my studies. And I would really hate it, if something else comes in between in my pursue of knowledge right now. Because, I, we are all young only once. Don't tell yourselves that you're only gonna learn when you're old and shaky/tua kerepot? haha..

No no no. Not me. I'm gonna do everything I want to, while I still have the bones and power. I don't want to wait till I'm all old, shaky, not mention wrinkly, smelly...bla3..(laughs). Besides, there might not be an old me. I might just die first. Who knows? 5 minutes after this? Who knows right? Who knows..


"How to learn."

(hahaha..what a stupid question)

Aha! Stupid eh? Then why are all those books about "How to learn english in 30 days" or "Computers for dummies" selling so well?, the answer is not "hohoho".

The answer, dear friends, is because it is IMPORTANT in knowing the RIGHT WAY to learn.

What I'm about to share here, is entirely my experience. I have never shared this with anyone before, not because I don't want to, but because I don't know how to. But now that I have found myself again, I know it is not right for me to keep this experience all to myself. I just feel that I could be more useful, particularly to my classmates out there, and to you, my internet-mates, if you want to listen.

Warning: There is no guarantee that you'll be a top student, cream of the cream, or be included in the dean's list, after you've read this. Afterall, I'm just sharing my perspectives, and everyone has different ones.


Back in UTP, I learnt a course called, "Creative thinking" if not mistaken. I learnt from Edward de Bono, and I think he is quite a famous author in thinking styles and related matters. No, he is not my lecturer, but I learnt from his books. Well, just one book actually (tak larat nak baca banyak2). In it, he says people have different learning styles;

3.Kinesthetic/tactile (move a lot).

These 3 are the most dominant, or was it there are only 3 categories of learning styles? (hahaha)

Bottom line, what every student needs to do first, whether you are officially studying some sort of course, or maybe you're just learning how to cook, sew, writing a book, any kind of learner - is to identify his/her learning style.

For instance; you are an audio type learner. It means that you learn best/ get the best out of a lecture by LISTENING. You may want to try bringing a recording device (mp3, etc) to classs, and record the lectures. But, of course, the best is to listen to the lecture first hand. (Don't sleep in class laa) Even if you eat meat, or vegetables, you would like it fresh right? It's basically the same thing with learning. The first time you learn about something new, is really, I think, the time when you are most ready to absorb the knowledge.

What an audio-type learner can further do is study in groups, because that's where a lot of discussion will take place. When somebody explains about a topic, then you can listen, and take up more knowledge that way, because your tendency in learning is using audio/hearing.

If you are a visual learner, like most people are, then it is best to pay attention to the images on the slide projector (like in my case), or any other images used by the respective lecturers. Graphs, charts, pictures of bacteria, worms etc, are examples of visual stimulus for visual-type learners. If you're taking anatomy (the study of the body) for e.g, then you should buy a very large anatomy book containing images of the human body for instance, alongside the lecture notes. You should always have some sort of image stimulus to help further boost the effectiveness of your revision/study.

For kinesthetic people, hmm, I'm not sure how they learn at their best. But they are the type of people who like/have to move when learning. Not to say they cannot sit quietly in lectures, perhaps it is not the best/most effective way for them to learn. I think kinesthetic learners are good with practical learning, like in Malaysia we have vocational schools which teach engineering skills, operating machinery, etc. Because they need to actually try and move about doing something, then they are at their best in learning. Guess they'll pass practical exams with flying colours (smiles).


No, not sifir la friends. (laughs)

You know, I wasn't an early fan of SIFR. Oh nooo..just like one of my friends love to say, "We are the back benchers club!". Yup, I was an ex-back bencher. Well, it was fun i tell you, having fun, joking at the back. But...I'm telling you, IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT FUN IN THE VERY LEAST, when you're sitting in front of the paper written "FINAL SEMESTER EXAMINATION", and you're mind just go .....yes. just ....... Blank.

So, the question is;

do you want to have the first laugh, or the last one?

Well, if you ask me, IF you ask me, I will say; you definitely want to have the last laugh, when you have finished your exams with a good feeling in your heart.

One more thing. About SIFR, I just want to add a personal.."theory" if you will. (smiles)

Well, before mid-semester last semester, I wasn't a back-bencher anymore, but neither was I in SIFR. Well, I managed to get through mid exam.

But then, during the last 3-2 weeks before the final exam, one day, I entered the class late (as usual...) and I just didn't where to sit, and the lecturer was ready to begin. So my feet carried me to the front row, right under the lecturer's nose. Well, not literally, but nearly. (laughs big) Anyway, it was the most frontest row ever, and I didn't think twice bcoz I was so out of breath..(tula sapa suruh bgn lewat)

And you know something?

I was thankful for being late that day. (not that I'm never late haha)

Just that, it was a good experience. One of the most heart opening, shall we say, experience I have ever felt.

My focus improved dramatically. I yawned a lot less (less than a dozen at least haha), and best of all, I understood. Do you know just how amazing it is to just UNDERSTAND a topic, RIGHT at that moment? subhanallah, it is great, it is a ni`mah (blessing).

The result was that I didn't have to really revise for the topics after mid exam, because I already understood it during lectures. So, I had more time to revise the topics before mid sem exam, so alhamdulillah, I felt quite well balanced.

So, what was the "theory" I was talking about?

It is this; sit in the front row, and you'll get the first wave of whatever the lecturer says.

Allright, I have no proof really, and it sounds kind of stupid, but I tried and it worked, for me at least.

Besides, speech is sound, and sound does travel in waves right? So, just imagine, if you are a back-bencher (like I was), the lecturer's voice have to travel through all the obstacles, which are your friends, just to reach you. And I would think that all that wave has lost its energy by the time it reached your ears.

And what does this wave carry?

KNOWLEDGE. Knowledge my friends. Don't you think you have missed a lot, just because you sit at the back? Just because of where you choose to sit, you have lost valuable knowledge and information.

So friends, choose wisely. (where you put your bottom next time..haha)


Now this may be the weirdest tip of all, to use the heart? But the heart is a pumping organ, not a thinking one.

Well, friends,

I wasn't referring to that heart. Not physically anyway.

I was talking about the heart, the conscience, the one that distinguishes right from wrongdoing.

(monologue: how do I explain this..)

In reality, I cannot. Because, it can only be explained through experience.

Just try to learn, in terms of understanding. Not learning in terms of memorizing, or using force. Now this is very important; DON'T EVER FORCE YOURSELF.

Force. Sometimes, it is good to force yourself, to push yourself to the limit, to achieve that success you know you can. Other times, (shakes head) it's just not healthy to force yourself, especially to learn something that you dislike.

The key to solve this is; UNDERSTAND. I've said it once, I'll say it twice, and I'll say it more than thrice. I'll say it whenever someone asks for a study tip. I'll say;
try to understand.
Please, try again. Because, that is the BEST way to learn any knowledge/`ilm.

Understand the concept, don't memorize it.

Memorizing is a type of force in learning, in my opinion. the funny thing is, when you try to memorize, you can't ever understand it. Instead, when you try to understand, memorizing it...just comes with a snap of the fingers. It's true. I have experienced it. When I was a kid, growing up, even until now. It still works. If it has worked so long for me, why won't it work for you? It won't, only if you did not try.


I think that's all I'll share at the moment. Maybe you guys can email me your study tips/good learning habits, or just write in your blogs and leave me the address. I would live to read your perspectives. :)

These 3 are the most important ones for me. Especially the part to understand, and to use the heart first. Because for me, the brain is only the CPU/processing information organ, not the true learner organ.

Yes I memorize all the weird names of bacteria and endless metabolism mechanisms, true, the brain helped me A LOT.

But, my first HELPER, the one that OPENED that path for me, was none other than in my chest; my heart. Jiwaku, says Malay folk. If there is one thing that I trust, it is this, my heart.


Just one more thingy.

-Don't forget Him. or positive version - Always remember Allah Taala.

"Ya Allah (Oh Allah)! Right here, right now, I testify, that every single success that people see me get, big or small, none of it is mine. None of it comes from my hard work. My hard work is nothing, when You are angry with me. And I know, You're anger is not without reason. I..must have forgotten to say, "Alhamdulillah" along the way. Or, I have made my parents sad, because I did not seek to take care of their hearts, by watching what I say, or how I said it. Or maybe, I have made one of my friends angry at me, without realizing it. Many things ya Allah, that will make Your guidance and rahmah (blessing) go away from me. And that, is the reason I fail, when I failed.

Ya Allah! Verily / sesungguhnya, You are Ar-Rozzaq, the One who gives bounties to whomsoever You please.

Ya Allah, Ya Rahman wa ar-Rahim,

let me and my friends, our families and teachers, be among whom You please, to give Your guidance, ni`mah, rahmah, and maghfirah (forgiveness). Ameen."

Ameen 3x, ya Rabbal- Alamin.

p/s: this post is dedicated to a friend who once asked me, "how did you study?". to Double AA (wink2).

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