Are You Reaching Your Full Potential?


Tarbiyyah Series: Step 1: Capture | Step 2: Creating A Plan: Fighting Stagnation | Step 3: Actions: Being Present

The word "Tarbiyyah" linguistically means increase, growth, and loftiness. Al Raghib Al-Asbahani (d.402) explains that the word Tarbiyyah in Arabic means “to cause something to develop from stage to stage until reaching its completion [full potential] ." Are you growing into your full potential?


We all have filters. Each of us should recognize and question our filters. Whether you are on the “Minhaj Akh”(aka “Salafi”), or“Tareeqah Sidi”(aka “Sufi”) we all have a need to improve. Most of us “filter” our consumption of religion. This dictates the mosques and events we attend, the speakers and books we digest, and most important of all, the practice of our faith. Most of us get our daily dose of faith in front of a screen, not in front of a minbar.

Let me ask a question. What does Islam mean?

“Peace”...Are you at peace right now?

“Submission”...Are you even moving towards that potential?

Concepts of increase, elevating growth, nurture, and upbringing are all aspects of the word tarbiyya. “It conveys the cosmological principle of abundance, expansion, emergence, enfoldment, becoming and fulfillment. Like that plant that turns toward sunlight, Tarbiyya is a process of coming into being and returning (tawbah) to Allah and our true nature (fitrah)."1

Tarbiyya is a progression, a chain of experiences and encounters that combine to constitute your educational development and refinement. Refinement (adab) is achieved by being in the company of refinement, higher thinking, profound seeing, attuned hearing, and pure feeling. You will need to assess and filter those individuals who surround you, understanding that filtering your exposure to certain individuals may be needed.

Regardless of what filter you apply, you will need to selectively "capture" those learning experiences to build upon, understanding what you will now be becoming. My teacher would always reinforce us with a teaching following every lesson: "We learn by three means: Teachers, books, and life. Always remember that life is the best teacher."

Take time out today to examine your filters and relationships, and how to learn from your experiences. In the next installment of this series, we will discuss Step #2, CREATING A PLAN: FIGHTING STAGNATION.

1. Tauhidi, Daud. The Tarbiya Project: A Holistic Vision of Islamic Education.