Top Tips on becoming more enlightened and less ignorant
None of us are born knowing all the troubles and injustice in the world. Neither are we born equipped with how to handle and help in these situations. Sometimes we do something seemingly innocent yet it turns out to be problematic… and our ignorance comes to light.
There are many ways to becoming less ignorant and in essence become an enlightened and educated individual. Self-awareness is one of the most important traits a person can have – in this case if you are even aware of your own ignorance, you’re already on the right track. Many of us live in denial or refuse to consciously recognise our detrimental actions although we are all ignorant to some extent.
Here are some top tips to aid becoming less ignorant:
- Don’t be afraid to ask someone what a certain issue means or why a movement is within place. Often people jump on the bandwagon without realising what they are promoting or what it stands for. Hence if you see someone lobbying for a particular movement or status updates promoting activism then be sure to question it if you aren’t aware of what it represents. There is little shame in asking what something means and shows that you are interested in wanting to genuinely know more and raise awareness
- The most valuable tip is to educate yourself on topics which you know little about i.e institutional racism, mental health conditions, global warming. But ensure you gain your knowledge from reputable sources as acquiring knowledge from the wrong places can cause more harm than good.
There are many ahadith (narration of and from the Prophet (ﷺ) and ad’iyah (supplications) highlighting the importance of obtaining knowledge:
“Whoever goes out seeking knowledge, then he is in Allah’s cause until he returns.”[Tirmidhi]
- Be open to new topics of discussion. Often when we are challenged or even introduced to new concepts and ideas we become defensive in our nature and refuse to think a certain way especially if we have been viewing the world from the same lens since day one. A change in the way your mind works should not be seen as a negative but viewed as self-growth.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Near the establishment of the Hour there will be days during which (religious) knowledge will be taken away (vanish) and general ignorance will spread, and there will be Al-Harj in abundance, and Al-Harj means killing.”[Bukhari]
- Surround yourself with good company who will allow you to question your thoughts and engage in fruitful discussions. Company who would have no hesitation in speaking to you directly regarding some unfavourable opinions you may hold. It is our responsibility to recognise any damaging mindsets and discuss them with our loved ones. By doing this you are displaying sincerity towards your fellow brothers and sisters – ultimately you wish for your brother and sister what you wish for yourself.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said “Religion is sincerity, religion is sincerity (Al-Nasihah), religion is sincerity.” They said; “To whom, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “To Allah, to His Book, to His Messenger, to the imams of the Muslims and to their common folk.”[An-Nasai]
- Always be more empathetic than judgemental. In any situation you come across, it pays to be more empathetic before passing any judgements. 9 times out of 10 there is a reason behind why someone is behaving a certain way or may hold some preconceived notions. Once educating yourself, it’s important to remember that your knowledge should not be used to ‘up’ one over someone but instead it should soften your heart and want you to educate others with compassion too. It may be that you are educating someone else on an important topic but if the approach is taken with arrogance then your words may not have any impact at all and be overlooked by the pretentious display. Becoming softer-hearted towards others will enable them to take your opinions more seriously too.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said “Whoever has a mustard seed’s weight of pride (arrogance) in his heart, shall not be admitted into Paradise. And whoever has a mustard seed’s weight of faith in his heart, shall not be admitted into the Fire.”[Tirmidhi]
- Finally, talk less and listen more. Many times we already have a response prepared before someone has even finished their sentence. Be prepared to actively listen to the other person – your pre-prepared response will always change!
What are your tips on becoming less ignorant?