An important thing to remember when seeking knowledge as in many other things in life, is that one must be consistent if they want to achieve any level of success. Be not deceived by the erroneous concept that, “Success is gained in large strides.” Rather, it is the opposite which stands true. This is a reality that eludes many who contemplate on success and being successful. Success is most often attained by way of small yet consistent steps. The Arabs have a proverb which states,
“A little which is consistent is better and far more in quantity than a lot which suddenly stops.”
The Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alaihi wa sallaam) said in a narration collected by al-Bukhaaree (rahimahullah) on the authority of ‘Aaisha (radi Allahu ‘anha),
“Upon you is that which you have the ability to do. By Allah, Allah will never become bored, and will thus continue to reward you until you yourself become bored with doing good deeds. Verily, the most beloved Deen to Allah is that which an individual is the most consistent upon.”
[Reported by al-Bukhaari, Fath, 3/38, English Reference: Volume 1 :: Book 2 :: Hadith 41]
The Deen is Islaam, Islaam is Imaan (Faith), and consistency, is upon actions. This Hadeeth points to the fact that Imaan (Faith) consists of statements, actions and beliefs, it increases and decreases.
Verily, the teachings of Islaam benefit us not only in our religion and in the next life, but also in our worldly affairs and in this life. Consistency is a must, in our religious affairs as well as in our worldly affairs. This by no stretch of the imagination includes learning and all educational pursuits.
Shaikh Saalih ‘Abdul ‘Azeel Aalish Shaikh (hafithahullah) mentions in the introduction to his lessons on the “Three Fundamental Principles”,
“Verily, knowledge is not attained all at once. Rather, knowledge is attained over a period of days and nights; just as Ibn Shuhaib Az Zuharee (rahimahullah) said in that which has been narrated by Ibn ‘Abdul Bar (rahimahullah) in “Al Jaami,”
“Whoever tries to attain knowledge in one stroke, it will likewise leave him in one stroke. Verily, knowledge is attained over the period of days and nights.’”
Imaam Az Zuharee, (rahimahullah) also said, “…Knowledge is attained a hadeeth or two at time.”
The Shaikh goes on and mentions the statement of the poet, who said,
“Today is knowledge and tomorrow the same, From the spoils of knowledge which one may attain, Is that an individual by way of it, wisdom shall he gain, “Verily the stream are only a collection of (rain) dots.”
Therefore, dear reader, may Allah bless you, it’s all about the dots. Small yet consistent efforts are in reality tremendous. Whereas, large efforts that suddenly stop, are in reality small and insignificant.
Take as example the memorization of Qur’an. There are 15 lines on each page of the ‘Arabic Mushaf, 20 pages in a Juz (or section), and 30 sections in the Qur’an.
If student ‘A’ for example, memorized 1 page a day for 40 days then stopped, this will equal 40 pages or 2 Juz. Whereas, if student ‘B’ memorized 5 lines -not pages- but 5 lines a day, but was consistent upon that for 1 year; he would have memorized approximately 150 lines a month which equates to 10 pages or ½ of Juz. By the end of 1 year this will translate to 1825 lines, which equals 120 pages or 6 Juz. At year’s end, which of the two students will be more accomplished? In fact, if student ‘B’ were to continue upon this way, in just 5 years he would have memorized the whole Qur’an.
Now some may say, “5 lines a day, that’s nothing!” Debatably so, and be that as it may; ask yourself, how many years have you been Muslim, now compare that with the amount of Qur’an you yourself have memorized. Remember, 5 lines is just an example, whatever the amount, even if smaller than this, if you are consistent, InshaAllah you will eventually finish.
Dear reader, may Allah bless you, remember, do not over burden yourself with large loads and 10 hour a day lesson plans (if that is beyond your ability). Put your trust in Allah, be proficient, work hard, pace yourself, and do as much as you can, consistently; for verily, “A little which is consistent, is better and far more in quantity than a lot which suddenly stops.” And with Allah is all success.