A look into how the teaching style reflects the workshop content of balanced temperaments
I believe due diligence is required before I undertake any type of learning: academic, relational and especially spiritual. Imam Muslim said “This great knowledge (the knowledge of the self) is by itself the religion. So you have to know from whom you take your religion.” and The great Taabi’ee Muhammad ibn Sireen said: “Indeed this knowledge is your religion, so look to whom you take your religion from.”
To understand the learning source; I ask, who is the teacher? And why am I learning from this person in particular as opposed to anyone or anywhere else? It must be the meticulous and principled energy in my learning style perhaps that causes me to require these answers.
Therefore, I would like to share my experience with the teaching style of Mohammed Isaaq, the facilitator of the Knowing Yourself workshop, which made a significant impression on me. It helped me to realise my deficiencies as well as providing encouraging direction and inspiration in my current connection, teaching and mentoring style.
Disclaimer: The following is based on minimal observation and not an accurate reference; rather just an impression formed today that may change tomorrow. If I’ve unintentionally made an inaccurate assessment or revealed anything I am not supposed to, then please excuse me.
The way Isaaq teaches is a way of humility and gentility: gentle and passive in the way he challenges thought or corrects inaccuracies of the science. Although juxtaposed, to challenge passively is a highly tricky skill to embody, and yet he does it effortlessly and intuitively.
There is a beauty in how emotional and deep he can often be referencing poetry, music and metaphors to illustrate his points. He uses metaphysical concepts in a way to jump-start consciousness within people who were being driven by their subconscious for so long.
With his authenticity and sincerity, it is difficult not to feel moved when he speaks. He has a knack for being able to appeal to a person’s sensitivities, particularly at stirring emotions within his student’s psyche.
He encourages vulnerability and demonstrates an emotionally intelligent method of making others who don’t have the same level of knowledge he has to feel comfortable to speak openly. I’d even go further to say he inspires knowledge to be revealed from others in ways that would not be ordinary.
Having said that, Isaaq’s presence still makes the most ego-driven listeners remain quiet as if there is an inherent understanding that there is an imbalance of the depth of knowledge one has compared to him. How does he do that?
His character is not just about flexing facts, he captivates and humbles his listener through speaking in a beautiful manner of sound and word choice, which is most likely learned through his teachers.
A lot of his teaching style is a testament to the teachers he has studied under, May God reward them immensely.
Despite having a minimal ego, there is still a healthy ego, nonetheless, which is essential, especially from a reasonably young male teacher. It demonstrates quite a principled way to deal with injustice, threat or disrespect.
Isaaq uses a technique of establishing definitions of concepts that are embedded in external use or misunderstood contexts when speaking. This technique is so desperately missing in discussion amongst people and teaching.
It is a significant way to clarify the conversation to ensure the terms used are done so with an understanding of universals and particulars.
This understanding will help stop two conversations taking place during one discussion between two people.
There is confidence balanced with vulnerability, and he manages to balance those qualities quite well within his teaching style, it’s a pleasure to observe.
This balance is perhaps what draws young students to him because on the one hand, there is respect for his masculine energy, and on the other hand, there is a resounding connection to his feminine energy.
The entire program is based off a highly interactive nature. It challenges the teacher-student relationship from a western perspective, yet truly embodies the wisdom of that relationship from an eastern perspective.
He learns from his students, though a feedback loop – perhaps identifying everyday life experiences and patterns of behaviour to understand people at a faster and consistent rate to ultimately and essentially become a better teacher.
Isaaq demonstrates an understanding in concepts relating to philosophy, psychology, physiology, neuroscience, mathematics, art, etymology, language and theology.
I found it interesting that he doesn’t articulate psychology, sociology or even science from a Western lens despite growing up in the UK. It demonstrates he has learnt and has a comfortable understanding of Eastern methodologies and having learnt multiple worldviews; he can choose rather than inherit his language style. It may be related to his eastern worldview and how he decides to speak to a young, culturally diverse audience effectively.
I get a sense that there has been a deep struggle, and he has undergone some major internal transformation of figuring out himself and his boundaries.
It’s clear that in his teaching style, he has a lot of experience in dealing with children and young people and it would make sense that he has identified a need not only for himself but also for his community.
What is particularly significant is that he can funnel the in-depth advanced knowledge of the classical texts and reflect it through a prism of contemporary contextual issues in a simple way utilising his developed teaching style without watering it down or being too simplistic.
The West needs more scholars like this.
You can see glimpses of his playful energy when he laughs authentically or makes certain references, although it seems to be more downplayed and is perhaps more pronounced in a context of being amongst his friends and family, rather than within his teaching style.
This portrays the use of the wisdom of the temperaments to know when to emphasise and when to be subtle or tactful to a specific situation in order to develop a certain relationship or yield a particular outcome.
All thoughts and ideas stem from our personal experiences as a means of making sense of the world and identifying how we can live in it without re-occurring mistakes.
I find it fascinating that there wasn’t an introductory story of why he started developing this methodology, through his own personal journey. He doesn’t display many personal anecdotes of his attitudes and feelings (beyond the interactions with his teachers). Something is being held back and suggests a reflective approach to a vulnerability where there are principled boundaries in place.
His style is very different to those who teach personal development through very personal origin stories to connect and resonate with an audience.
I have been developing my theories from my personal story makes it less of a universal concept and more of a particular idea to me – which is incredibly limiting in how it resonates with others and has left me open to misunderstanding.
Isaaq seems to prefer to introduce the concept with universals, which is probably why his methodology resonates with so many and has become so popular worldwide.
This observation was probably the most profound and confronting learning, as it challenged the way I developed my methodologies and has made me consider my approach.
Like with anything in life, a balance is required. The balance is predicated upon calculated vulnerability and what we feel comfortable sharing.
From the first class, it is evident that there is a lifetime of knowledge to learn within this science. The students are learning the A, B, Cs or the Alif, Baa, Taas of the temperaments at this point without any pre-requisite knowledge required.
Isaaq has a lot of work cut out for him, and he knows it. Not just in trying to educate an audience by first tapping into basic concepts such as intention and their purpose, but also to provide principles in place to ensure the science is not misused and abused to impose absolute labels or descriptors on the self and others.
With any science, it is the principles that formulate the boundaries in which to learn and practice within. His workshop provides a sufficient explanation of the necessary principles, and yet it is only in the control of God to decide how consciously students use this knowledge after having learnt it.
The weight of responsibility for teaching this science is not an easy one to bear.
With an understanding that he is currently developing his base content of establishing and defining concepts, I am excited to see what’s next. I hope in the next five years he can translate and project these four temperaments through lived experiences of mental health, trauma, abuse, addiction, parenting, seeking knowledge, relationship with nature and animals, friendship, sexuality, relationships, emotion and physical intimacy.
There is immense potential for educating people in understanding themselves and others around them through several different avenues, by the temperaments, that would alleviate a lot of the current issues our community is facing.
I wish him all the best, and he has my full support.
If you’d like to know more about the Knowing Yourself workshop, head over to https://www.mohammedisaaq.com/kyo.
This is not a sponsored article.