I’m sure most people studying the religious sciences or Qur’an at any Islamic institution, be it IESH Château-Chinon or Madinah University would have suffered from some sort of imposter syndrome. Now for those of you who don’t know what this term means, let me break it down for you. Imposter Syndrome is a word used to describe the feeling of incompetence or not being worthy of a particular position, so in the context of a Qurʾan and Shari’a student, it’s when you might feel you don’t deserve to be studying these sacred subjects. While I agree a little bit of self-doubt is good and completely normal as it helps with accountability and perseverance, too much can indeed be damaging- I say this because I’ve experienced it myself.
Shaytan is a nasty creature and will always use our weaknesses against us. One of mine is overthinking and in that, you can include consistently questioning my self-worth and whether or not I deserve to be in the position that I am. I’m a second-year Qur’an student and it’s my first time studying here at IESH during the academic year- prior to that, I had only come during the summer. At the beginning of the year, I spent a good amount of time thinking about whether or not I even deserve to be here. While some may see this as humility, I now see it as stupidity. Why you may ask, well because I was giving into the destructive thoughts Shaytan was presenting to me and instead of spending my time being grateful for this amazing opportunity Allah had given me, I was instead wasting my time worrying about why I was here and how I didn’t deserve this honour.
You know, as I write this my thoughts are becoming even more clear Alhamdulillah, so much so that I just realised, as humans, we don’t deserve anything Allah gives us. Nothing. Nought. In fact, everything that comes our way is a gift from Allah which we must honour and be grateful for. So then, the answer to whether or not we deserve to be students of Qur’an or Shari’a is an unquestionable No. However, does that mean we allow ourselves to be consumed by thoughts of self-doubt and self-sabotage? Absolutely not. Which means the only other option is to fully embrace every gift Allah has bestowed on us and be grateful for it as best as we can. As students the plan of action is obvious: try to be the best student you can be and when you slip up because you will slip up- repent to Allah and get back on your feet as soon as possible. And oh yeah, don’t forget to constantly evoke Allah’s help on this path because, without His help, we can never succeed.
By Asmaa Mahmood, 2nd Year Qur’an