I was informed today of a TV series that took place in Ramadan 2007 about the Great Muslim Innovators of History by Dr.Tareq Al-Suwaidan. The series can be watched online here in Arabic.
I watched the first show in which Dr. Tareq Al-Suwaidan details some characteristics that fit most of the Great Muslim innovators of History. He calls it the “Secret of the Great Innovators”.
I translate what I’ve learnt from the show here and in the next 3 posts, and add a few of my thoughts to it, and more importantly share it with you and look forward to seeing what your thoughts are.
Dr.Tareq Suwaidan begins explaining that there are four main components that fit any great innovator (with a few exceptions), and for each of these components, there are four main elements.
Today, we review the first of these components:
1. The Beginning
Here lies the early signs of the innovator/creative genius, it contains elements in which he/she has no control over and are simply blessings of Allah that were bestowed upon him/her. If nurtured correctly, these elements can lead to the development of the creative genius. The four elements are:
- The gift of Intellect: Creative/Innovators/Geniuses are naturally gifted individuals with brains and smartness, that surpass the average person, and that is a gift from Allah.
- A Special Talent: Every person has a special talent but it’s whether you discover it or not, and our creative individual has a special talent which can be nurtured along with his intellectual gift to achieve amazing things. Some of the religious scholars have an incredible gift of memorizing for example, others in artistic fields have an incredibly talent in creativity…etc
- Special Circumstances:These are circumstances that are specific to the individual and Dr.Tareq highlights three special circumstances:
- Becoming an Orphan: the individual becomes an orphan at an early stage hence developing his/her sense of responsibility/individualism.
- Family background: if the person’s family background were all scholars for example, or were all businessmen, or were all creative individuals this would develop the special circumstances needed for the genius to develop.
- Education: yup, education does play a role, but not education as we understand it today with schooling and university, but the holistic idea of education.
- Special Care: This usually is the Mother, or sometimes a teacher, or a sheikh who notices the creativity and innovative nature of the child and gives special attention to the child.
The last point is an important one and is a message to every parent, teacher, or guardian of a child; if you notice your child has an intellectual gift, and a special talent, help them nurture it, and don’t force them to go against their will. Don’t kill your child’s talent by burdening him/her with what they are not good at. A child if forced to do something he’s not particularly good at may succeed, but he won’t innovate and be a genius in that field.
Above we explained how the beginning of these individuals usually set them for their achievements in life, and how that such beginnings are blessings from Allah which the individual has no control over. Here, we review the second component and its four elements:
2. Developing Direction
- Choose your passion: the Great Muslims of the past and future followed their passion, knew what they were good at and what they enjoyed doing.A moment of reflection here is needed: How many of us are actually fulfilling our passion? Doing something we really enjoy and excel at? Why is the Muslim Ummah killing its own talent by forcing upon itself work, or a line of education that an individual might not even want! A person’s passion might be in agriculture, yet due to pressures he might be forced to go into medicine, and leave the important work of feeding this Ummah. Discovering our passion is key to becoming Productive.
- Choose your field: Great Muslim Innovators throughout History had a focus in their lives. They chose a field and stuck to it. e.g. Ibn Sina – Medicine, Al-Kindi – Optician.This is something I’m falling shortly at at the moment, since I’m all over the place in terms of choosing a field. But it makes sense. As the saying goes, “Jack of All Trades, Master of None”..
- Concentrate on one field: There’s a difference between choosing your field, and concentrating on it. The two must go together in order to succeed. It’s hard sometimes to keep your focus on one thing for long, especially when you think that you won’t succeed. But if a field is your passion, and you concentrate on it long enough, and you ask Allah for help and aid, you’re bound to add to it an invaluable discovery.
- Develop a Vision in your field: Leave your mark in history.
Don’t just be a taker in your field, also give and develop a vision for it. Start where people thought it was impossible, and continue from there, and ask Allah to help you. Remember, every knowledge we’re given is only from Allah, and we’ve been given little knowledge, so ask Allah, the Knower of all to Teach you and Direct you, and the world will open up for you inshaAllah.