We get a lot of lessons from life, whether they be very significant or simple. However little or big the lessons are they work as our umbilical cord. History is our umbilical cord. We learn lessons from history, but, unfortunately man is never good at learning from history.
there is, however, a subtle difference between history & experience. Experience is a part of history but not the other way round. For something to be history it has to be significant & in general history is made so that we all can ponder upon it. But experience is completely different here because experience is an individual thing.
Unfortunately, it sounds far-fetched to say that people will learn from their experience when they do not learn from history. However, interestingly some people do learn from their experience. But these people are very few in number.
I'll give you a short example. You know, I mostly go to two masjids in Dhanmondi. One is at road no 7 & the other one is at road 6/A. Well, that's just beside the point. So I was saying both these masjids are mashAllaah very well decorated & beautiful. But you would get shocked to see the lack of common sense in some of the worshipers there.
You see lecture after lecture year after year the Imams are requesting the worshipers to switch off their mobile phones once they get into the masjid. But in vain. Is this not lack of acting upon experience?
The irony of the matter is we come into masjid to remove the thoughts of this world & submit ourselves to our Lord, the Merciful. But do we not see the contradiction in our own selves? How come it's so tough on ourselves to switch off the mobile phone for only about 10-15 minutes only?
And the thing is, you see, the most embarrassed in this situation is the one whose phone rings in the middle of our prayer. Why do we put ourselves in situations where we wouldn't naturally like to be in?
On the other hand, here we are who have some experience on learning knowledge. We haven't yet learned how to deal with these people. We don't know how to lovingly advise them while not offending at the same time. We get all arrogant when talking to the general people. Yeah! Thus we create a safe distance from these people so that we don't have to deal with them.
We see their doing the salaah incorrectly, we say nothing. We see them talking during khutba, we say nothing. We think about their reaction, but concealing the knowledge is not the correct methodology. We have to tell them the right way, no matter what. We are here to please Allah not the people. However, we are not displeasing them for the sake of doing it but rather we do it for their own sake.
I have seen how we tend to avoid the Imams, why because they do not open up for the most part. And more often than not their scholarly image will keep you from asking them questions.
You don't pray according to the maddhab of this Imam or that Imam he will come up with different ways of ridicules to demean the 'other'. Whereas, there was a time when four of the school of thoughts respected each other although they differed.
So is it really that we are Muslims first or salafi, hanafi, hanbali or whatever first?
So at the end of the day it all goes back to our experience which we do not use for our betterment but rather to grow in arrogance.