I Use to be a Teacher or ‘Why we Lose Blessings’

June 16, 2014

10363926_728997427157405_8411691686337260851_nFor a couple of months I was a teacher for new Muslims and anyone else interested in Islam. I taught them some of the basic rules of Islam the basic beliefs and the culture of Islam. I got very use to this position. It became a part of my identity I was a teacher. I was very proud to have that position. I loved being there in front of the students. I loved that God choose me to spread the religion in this was. I was grateful. The job became more difficult as my studies and various business interests accumulated, but I was still extremely grateful to be a teacher. A few months after working as a teacher I suddenly wasn’t asked to continue. I suppose it’s far too dramatic to say I was “fired” but that’s how it felt. The explanations given didn’t seem to match up, the announcement of my departure abrupt. I was a teacher, then –suddenly, I was not. The reasons I was not asked to come back, I don’t hope to ever be explained but if it were, it wouldn’t explain much of anything. The reason I wasn’t asked back is God’s infinite wisdom. Was I not doing a good job? Was it simply someone else turn? Was it taken away so God could open other door for me? Like this one, here, writing to you.

There are so many speculations I could make and yet the only true answer is that it was God’s decision. I can mope, wine, be angry or accept and it doesn’t change anything. The scenario reminds me something my anthropology teacher once said, that were all kind of acting. Were playing a part and the worse thing that could possibly happen is for it to be revealed that we aren’t really that thing we purport to be. The example he gave is of a professor, Dr. ‘so and so’, he writes a dissertation, and finishes his degree goes on to an academic career and makes a name for him. Only, somehow, it is discovered that he never handed in his dissertation, he wrote, he got it signed and reviewed by his advisor but never handed it in to the school administration. Suddenly, despite his work, his effort, the pictures of his graduation day, he is no longer who he says he is. He isn’t actually Dr. ‘so and so’, but who is he? His identity is a state of upheaval. Were can he find himself?

So I’m not a teacher anymore, does that take away my merit? My knowledge? My trustworthiness? I don’t know. There is also the issue of “belongingness”. After being in any place for so long you start to feel like you belong there when its taken away you feel as though you don’t belong, despite your reluctance to admit it. A part of my identity was stripped away; someone else took it. The comfort I felt, the “second home” feeling, the camaraderie, the idea that this was “our” organization, was turned around. I was sudddenly I was a stranger. Maybe I enjoyed being a teacher too much, so God took it away from me as one of my teachers once said, “we were created for God, that’s it”. And in reality our prophet (peace to him) said, “Be in this world as if you are a stranger”. So maybe God took my title away to nudge me closer to this reality. There is really no title greater then being a servant of God.

Have you ever felt a part of your identity striped away when you least expected it? How did you deal with it? And in retrospect what do you think the wisdom was?

5 Comments

  • Zaakir Abdus-Salaam

    Interesting post Nuriddeen! It really got me thinking about the subject of identity, and whether or not it is something that is determined by us, or by others. My thought is that If we determine our identity, no one can ever strip it from us. If our identity is determined by others however, it can be taken from us at any moment. In your case, you are clearly a teacher. I just listened to your excellent YouTube video that I’m sure taught those who listened to it what they did not know before pressing play. That video is available for millions of people to learn from. This blog is available for millions of people to learn from. You are also a designer, an organizer, a writer, a lecturer, and an artist. You are all of these things, and probably more based on what you have done, and continue to do. No one can strip that away. Identity is what you are, and you are what you do. Thanks again for getting my mental wheels turning.

    Zaakir

    • Nuriddeen Knight

      Ma sha Allah thank you for the encouraging words! Ma it be true 🙂

  • Nsenga Knight

    You will always be a teacher Nuriddeen, so long as you continue to teach inshaAllah. There are soo many platforms for teaching, this blog being one of them. And, just like you replaced another teacher, another teacher replaced you. It was someone else’s turn. And, I would encourage you to ask why you weren’t asked back. This would just be a good way for you to get closure, and if there was a reason related to some critique, then, this would be an opportunity for you to learn and grow. As a teacher, don’t be afraid to take any opportunity to learn for fear of momentary damage to your ego. Our egos actually could use a little shaking up every now and then. And, I am inclined to believe that the reason you weren’t asked back was not due to to any problems with you, but simply to give someone else a turn. Allah hu Alim.
    And, to answer your question, yes, I’ve felt a part of my identity being stripped away when I was having a lot of difficulty early on in motherhood. Feelings included shame, hurt, frustration, desperation, and, also hope, humility, and dependence on Allah. The experience made me feel more submissive to Allah and open to how I might have to rearrange my thinking on this role based on the reality of my circumstances. Alhumdulilah, Allah lightened my burden and I think being open to Allah’s reality also opened up many blessings for us. Allah is most kind.
    Bow down.

    • Nuriddeen Knight

      Ma sha Allah thank you for your insight and sound advice. 🙂

    • Nuriddeen Knight

      Yes, ma sha Allah I did ask… and I realize any company/ organization has the right to let go of someone for any reason… I think most of us just expect a certain level of curtesy if we worked for or knew those people for some time but oh well such is life. Thanks for reading and commenting <3

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