WEB POSTED 10-15-2001

Being an effective student

“Those who persecute believing men and women, then repent not, theirs is the chastisement of hell, and theirs is the chastisement of burning.”

Holy Qur’an 85:10

In upcoming articles, we’ll get to the relationship between the vicious spiritual disease—”hypocrisy”—and that most pernicious of all emotion—envy and how jealousy enters the picture.

Meanwhile, consider the humility of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, which was seen by those to whom he related his extreme feeling of gratitude to Allah for what he was shown that he should (and did say) to the world on September 16.

His excellence, as a model student, was seen in his humble recognition of his need to patiently wait on instructions, on what he should (and did say) from Allah on September 16.

The term “paradigm” basically means “one that serves as a pattern or model. A set of assumptions, concepts, values and practices that constitute a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in a intellectual discipline.”

The wisdom of Min. Farrakhan’s words, below, shows that we’re in a brand new “paradigm.”

Brother Jabril: This is Memorial Day. It’s a Monday. This is the start of Closing the Gap Part Two.

Brother Minister, I came by your home, a couple of nights ago and when I came into the living room, you were there with Sister Ayke Agus, Sister Saffiyyah and your daughter, Sister Fatimah. You all didn’t see me slip in and I just sat quietly. I watched with rapt attention. I witnessed a learning experience, with you as the student and her as the teacher.

I don’t recall all the things that were said. Much of the musical language went over my head. But I was profoundly impressed. I couldn’t stop smiling at what I saw.

When there was a break and you stood up and saw me, you smiled. I was already smiling because of what I saw. An article, or a series of articles, were forming in my mind: “Farrakhan,” in this case, “The Student,” or “Farrakhan: The Model Student.”

At one point, Sister Ayke Agus, spoke of you as a “fast learner.” So, Brother Minister, what makes for an effective student?

Minister Farrakhan: I would say that the first thing is the desire to know what one does not know. Then the humbleness of heart and mind to accept instruction and more importantly, to accept critical analysis of whatever the person (student) is doing and desires to improve in, that he or she (student) may move a step closer to perfection.

The student must also have the ability to focus; to concentrate on what the teacher or the lesson that the teacher is giving. Next, the student must be willing to practice in order to perfect what he or she desires to do. And lastly, there must be a willingness, on the part of the student, to sacrifice time, in order to give to the endeavor the requisite time and effort, to improve and grow or develop the technical skill necessary to become proficient in that endeavor.

Brother Jabril: How important are the qualities of humility and patience in relation to the quality and the speed of a student’s learning?

Minister Farrakhan: Humility is the greatest of the characteristics of any student. One may have the desire but the desire will soon dissipate, if the student is not humble enough to recognize his or her need for more and more instruction, in that of which the student intends to perfect or prosper in.

Jesus said, “Except you become as a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” Children are born with a nature of curiosity and it is this curious nature of the child that makes it humble toward instruction.

So this is a principle that is seen in everything, pertaining to being an effective student.

The hardest person to teach, as I heard the Honorable Elijah Muhammad say, is the one who thinks he or she already knows. That person uses what they think they know to argue against what they’re being taught. As a result, they don’t accept instruction. Their desire to improve begins to dissipate and weaken and then the will to become what they thought they wanted to become is broken and the person looses out and does not wish to continue in that pursuit any longer.

And I’ll close this by saying, so many people that I have met, in my short life on this planet, want to become great but they lack the will to sacrifice and to be patient with themselves as they practice that which would give them skill in their chosen endeavor.

A lack of humility also makes you impatient. Impatience means you want to get there and you don’t wish to take the necessary steps to get there. You want to rush and so you end up breaking your neck.

Brother Jabril: We’ve all heard the old expression, that to be a good leader you must first become a good follower. But some have stated this expression this way, that to be a good teacher you must first become a good student.

So, how important is the relationship between being a good student first and an effective teacher later on?

Minister Farrakhan: A good student learns from the good teacher, the method, the psychology of how to deal with the mind of the person in whom you hope to place a certain type of knowledge. You may not understand motive. You may not understand method but as you mature in the practice of what your teacher is giving to you and you become one in spirit with the teacher, you then grow into the understanding of the method, the motivation and then you are of the same mind, the same spirit, the same accord of the teacher. Now the student can become a teacher.

Brother Jabril: Prominent in our conversation, last night over dinner, was the factor of love in the learning process. Sister Ayke Agus, shared her views and experience with us in her relation to teacher, Jascha Heifetz. You commented on that.

Now, we know that there are some subjects or areas of knowledge, where the love factor does not seem to be a major factor in the learning of those subjects, even though it must be there to some degree for a successful learning experience to occur. One may be in a computer school and your learning may be of a technical knowledge or nature.

One’s study may be in some other field, again, where that love factor is not as key as in other areas of learning. However, in the higher fields of learning, especially in the highest area of knowledge, where the subject matter involves the study of God, the love factor becomes more predominant.

So, how important is the quality of love in the study of any subject, but especially in the higher areas of learning? What position does love occupy in a student learning from a teacher, these higher aspects of knowledge, and, in your case, in your learning, from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad? Minister Farrakhan’s wise answer, next issue, Allah willing.