Monday, 7 January 2013

Shaykh Rizwan's Timetable of Study

Last week, in the Tradition of the Scholars module, we covered the topic of 'The Student'. 

It brought to mind an extraordinary conversation (conducted more like an interview!) I recently had with Shaykh Ruzwan about his timetable of study when he, himself, was a student at the prestigious and highly-regarded institute of education, the Madh al-Fath, in Damascus, Syria. Reading it will help you understand just why the standard of the course material and presentations produced by Shaykh Ruzwan for the iSyllabus is so excellent. 

I asked him what time his lessons started and finished, when he had his breaks, meal times, private study, etc. to try and get an idea of how his days as a student compared to today. 

His period of study at the Institute begun at 7am up until 2pm, during which he covered various subjects in the Islamic sciences. After Zuhr prayer, he would take a short nap or rest, then get up and embark on some private study, going over and preparing for future lessons. This lasted up until Maghrib prayer and included a short and very simple meal he would muster up before he went for prayer (coincidentally his diet, as advised by his teachers to all students, was very simple and meat was eaten on average once every 3 months). After Maghrib, he would attend some private lessons with other teachers followed by Isha and by 10pm he would retire to sleep. Such was the regularity of his routine, the Shaykh would be asleep by 10.02pm! 

I then asked the Shaykh how long this routine lasted and was gobsmacked at his answer: 7 YEARS! He would return home for a short period of 2-3 weeks every 2 years and upon hearing this I breathed a sigh of relief at finally being able to attribute a sense of normality to him. But no. His returns to the UK were always planned to coincide with a period of renovation and restoration work he and his brother-in-law had arranged. So rather then seemingly return for a break, he actually worked as a skilled house renovator, painting, plastering and the like to earn money to finance his studies abroad. The Shaykh's studies abroad were always financed by himself. 

At this point I would like to point out the Shaykh was reluctantly answering my probing questions and there was a visible sense of humility apparent in all his answers. 

In Syria he told me how he once fitted a whole kitchen of an old woman, his landlady, as a thank you gesture. I asked if he took a break from his studies to do so as how else would he have found the time. He just smiled in response. 

From Shaykh Amer Jamil from I Syllabus

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