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Feb 15, 2013

Blessings of Seeking Knowledge in Islam

In this article we’ll try to shed some light on knowledge from Islamic perspective. Generally speaking, the Arabic word for knowledge is 'ilm, which, in most cases, indicates to Islamic knowledge or matters related to Sheree’ah (Islamic Law). Although, some of the Quranic verses in this article refer to Islamic knowledge, yet they are general in their meaning, and thus can be used to refer to learning in general.
The importance of education is a none disputable matter. Education is the knowledge of putting one's potentials to maximum use. One can safely say that a human being is not in the proper sense till he/she is educated.
This importance of education is basically for two reasons. The first is that the training of a human mind is not complete without education. Education makes man a right thinker. It tells man how to think and how to make decision.
The second reason for the importance of education is that only through the attainment of education, man is enabled to receive information from the external world; to acquaint himself with past history and receive all necessary information regarding the present. Without education, man is as though in a closed room and with education he finds himself in a room with all its windows open towards the outside world.
This is why Islam attaches great importance to knowledge and education. When the Quran began to be revealed, the first word of its first verse was 'Iqra' that is, read. Allaah says, (what means): "Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not" [Quran, 96: 1-5]

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Item Reviewed: Blessings of Seeking Knowledge in Islam Description: How many times in our lives have we heard this phrase? How many times have our parents, teachers, elders stated this same thing over and over again? This quote by Sir Francis Bacon emphasizes that when you have knowledge, you have authority. It alludes to the fact that there is something about acquiring knowledge that gives you a controlling influence. But more importantly, this is a non-Muslim phrase which has only been around since 1597. The teachings of religion of Islam came to us well over 1400 years ago. From the beginning of revelation, there was an emphasis on seeking and acquiring knowledge. I remind you that the first words of revelation were “Read!” “Recite in the name of your Lord who created.” [Qur'an, 96:1] The intention of this article is not so much to remind you the importance of seeking knowledge. It is assumed that we know as Muslims that we have been commanded to seek knowledge. The quest for knowledge is a compulsion on every Muslim. [Hadith Hassan] Note: The knowledge referred to above is knowledge in deen because that is the only knowledge that is wajib (compulsory). The main goal of this article is to motivate you to continue to seek Islamic knowledge, and to encourage you to take joy and pride in doing this act of worship, because we can understand from various Qur’anic statements and ahadith (statements of the Prophet ﷺ) that there are definite returns for these efforts in the form of rewards and blessings from Allah. Raised Status and Rank 58:11 “Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees.” [Qur'an, 58:11] Let us take a hypothetical scenario where you work for a reputable company. One day your boss entices you with a promotion upon completion of a certain project under your lead. I guarantee you would put your heart and soul into getting that promotion. Well, Allah wants to give you a promotion, not just in this dunya but in Jannah (Paradise)! Scholars agree that the term “high ranks” in this statement refers to bounties in this world and the Hereafter. Just because the promises of Jannah are intangible at the moment should not allow us to ignore such a huge blessing of seeking knowledge. We have to believe in the ayat (verses, signs) of our Lord. Superiority over all beings “And He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, ‘Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful.’ They said, ‘Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.’ He said, ‘O Adam, inform them of their names.’ And when he had informed them of their names, He said, ‘Did I not tell you that I know the unseen [aspects] of the heavens and the earth? And I know what you reveal and what you have concealed.’ And [mention] when We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate before Adam’; so they prostrated…” [Qur'an, 2:31-34]. When Allah taught Adam (`alayhi assalam – peace be upon him) the names of all things, He asked the angels and Iblis (who had reached the level of angels) to prostrate to Adam (as). I remind you that angels are pure creations of Allah. They are made of light, are in complete obedience to Him and are doing tasbih (glorifying Allah) at all times. Such a pure creation of Allah was commanded to show respect to our ancestor Adam (as), who was made of clay and was prone to sinning. This prostration was performed as a form of respect and took place based on one and only one factor: knowledge. In one of Michelle Obama’s speeches at an all-girls’ high school, she told the students that she was where she was only because of education. Even in this dunya, the way to gain superiority over other human beings is through knowledge – you get a better income, you enjoy a more luxurious lifestyle, you have a higher reputation in the society. But to be higher in front of Allah you have to be knowledgeable in your deen, and this is how you will truly become superior to all other creations of Allah. Scholars truly understand the Qur’an 29:43 “And these examples We present to the people, but none will understand them except those of knowledge.” [Qur'an, 29:43] Scholars agree that this ayah is actually referring to all people of knowledge (and not just the scholars). People of knowledge who read, learn, andunderstand the Qur’an are the ones who truly comprehend the parables it contains. The parables mentioned in the Qur’an are important in telling us which actions are harmful to our akhira (Hereafter) and hence should be avoided. They also guide us in which actions are more rewarding than others, so that we can strive to do them. Sign of Allah’s love for a person “Whosoever Allah wishes good for, He gives him understanding (fiqh) of the Religion.” (Bukhari and Muslim) As children we are always looking for signs of love from our parents. If a parent buys gifts for their child, the child is assured that their parents love them. Love and compassion from parents makes a child feel happy and special. Allah tells us through the Prophet ﷺ that if He loves us, He gives us understanding of the religion of Islam. The difference is that the love of Allah is far greater than anybody else’s love. Acquiring the love of Allah is the ultimate goal of this life. However, this love does not come without striving, trying hard and putting in a lot of effort. You have to earn the love of Allah by striving to gain Islamic knowledge – even if there are not many resources around you, even if the knowledge seems hard to retain, even if there are many distractions around you. Statement of Imam Shafi’i “After the obligatory deeds, nothing is more beloved to Allah than studying knowledge.” While this statement holds the obvious meaning of how much Allah loves for a person to seek Islamic knowledge, it also a much deeper implication. The process starts off by gaining knowledge that is absolutely essential for a Muslim to perform their obligatory deeds. Once a person gets accustomed to performing obligatory deeds and does not find them burdensome, then because of the impact of knowledge, they will automatically do acts that are more than obligatory. Let us take an example of a sister who finds is hard to pray two sunnah rakat (units of prayer) at the time of fajr. She skips the sunnah rakat, prays the obligatory units quickly, and jumps back into bed. She takes a class where she learns of the great blessings of praying the sunnah units of fajr prayer. After gaining knowledge, she makes it a point not to miss her sunnah units of prayer. Hadith of Abu Darda “If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, Allah will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge, the inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the learned man over the worshipper is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave neither dinar nor dirham, leaving only knowledge, and he who takes it takes a big fortune.” [Abu Dawud] This hadith outlines multiple blessings of seeking knowledge, but we will concentrate on two main benefits. The two main benefits of treading on the path of knowledge are the protection of angels and the du’a of Allah’s creatures. Angels provide protection in two ways: they lower their wings for a student of knowledge (i.e. they allow the student of knowledge to walk over their wings, much like a red carpet), and out of respect for the student of knowledge, they stop flying until the student has passed them. Allahu Akbar! Despite the purity of the angels, knowledge allows us to gain a higher rank than them in the eyes of Allah! The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth make du’a for the student of knowledge. This includes the du’a of the angels and all other creatures on this earth, such as ants and all the fish in the sea. This is a great honor for children of Adam (as)! Striving for knowledge is one of the best deeds we can do to attain mercy of Allah. Statement of Ibn Hazm (may Allah be pleased with him) “If the learned ponders how the hours he spent learning saved him from the humiliation of being dominated by the ignorant and from the distress of having no access to the facts, and how those hours provided him with the joy of discovering that which is hidden from others, he would excel in praising Allah, the exalted, full of majesty, and would be more pleased with the knowledge he has and would deepen his desire to increase his knowledge.” This is a beautiful statement by Ibn Hazm (ra). The direct implications of his statement are obvious. Possession of knowledge will save us from the humiliation of being dominated by the commands of ignorant people. Moreover, possession of knowledge will save us from the distress of having no access to reliable and authentic information. Furthermore, possession of knowledge will give us the joy of knowing that which others do not know. Correct knowledge allows us to worship our Lord in a better manner, a manner which pleases Him. Once we have the knowledge, we will become even more pleased with its advantages and benefits in our lives. This would deepen our desire to gain more knowledge. It is a sweet yet vicious cycle, which takes initial effort and indulgence, but once we taste the sweetness of knowledge, we become addicted! Are you satisfied? “Two persons are never satisfied, one who is seeking knowledge, and the other who is seeking the world.” (Note: there is a disagreement about the above statement. Some say this is a hadith, and some say it is a statement of Ali (ra). Either way, we concern ourselves with the beneficial message of this statement.) We have a choice in this world. We can either get addicted to this dunya, which we will leave after 60-80 years of life along with everything in it, or we can get addicted to seeking knowledge, which will reap heavy rewards on the Day of Judgement. The path of this dunya leads us away from Allah, and the path of knowledge leads us towards Allah. Likewise, the path of this dunya destroys our Hereafter, and the path of knowledge secures our Hereafter. The choice is entirely ours. When should you be jealous of others ? “No one should be jealous of anything except two people – a man whom Allah has blessed with knowledge and he teaches it; and a man who has money and he spends it in the sake of Allah.” (Bukhari) This hadith alludes to the etiquettes of seeking knowledge. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is saying we should not get envious of others for anything other than two things, one of them being knowledge. Observing other people who have knowledge of the Qur’an and the Sunnah should make us feel envious; the idea is to use this feeling as a motivation to gain knowledge. This hadith does not imply that we question Allah’s decree as to why He made the other person knowledgeable and why we were not given similar knowledge. Instead, we should ask Allah to make us learned in our deen. 20:114 “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” [Qur'an, 20:114] Conclusion I hope this article has served as a motivation to continue seeking knowledge because of the numerous benefits and blessings associated with it. Seeking knowledge will help us appreciate our deen, better our connection with Allah, and allow us to find solutions to our problems from the Quran and sunnah to simplify our lives. The next article will address the role of women in seeking knowledge and some practical ways by which we can seek knowledge in North America bi’ithnillah (by the permission of Allah). Seeking Knowledge - The Way to Paradise By Habib Ahmad "Allah will exalt those who believe among you, and those who have been granted knowledge to high ranks." (Qur'an) "Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim (male and female)." (Hadith) THE VIRTUES OF KNOWLEDGE Allah (Most Exalted is He), Who created us and gave us sustenance, has also given us guidance. He said: "Verily We have created man into toil and struggle… Have We not made for him a pair of eyes; and a tongue, and a pair of lips; and shown him the two ways (obedience and disobedience)?" (Qur'an, Al-Balad 90:4-10) After providing us with the capability to contemplate, think and differentiate between things, He instructed us to know Him, to know his Prophets and to know His Deen, Islam. He said: "So know that there is no god save Allah, ask forgiveness for your sins and for the believing men and the believing women. Allah knows well your moving and your place of rest." (Qur'an, Muhammad 47:19) This verse shows the importance of knowledge and the virtues that Allah has given to it. It also shows that knowledge comes before deeds, since Allah instructed His Prophet to know that He is One and the only One worthy of worship. After that, He commanded him to ask forgiveness for himself, his family and for his Ummah. If Muslims truly realise the importance Islam places on knowledge and its virtues, they will definitely be keen to learn and teach others. They would start with themselves and their families; then their neighbours and the community at large. Once Mu'awiyah Ibn Abi Sufyan (may Allah be pleased with her) gave a sermon in which he said, "I heard Allah's Messenger saying, "If Allah wants to do good to a person, he makes him very knowledgeable in the Deen." (Related by Bukhari and Muslim) This is because knowledge is the basis of all good; it generates actions that are based on the commandments of Allah and the instructions of the Prophet . Hence, every Muslim must instil in his mind a desire to seek knowledge. Allah (Most Exalted is He) instructed His Prophet -- and thus all Muslims -- to ask Allah to increase him in knowledge. He said: "And say: My Lord increase me in knowledge." (Qur'an, Ta-Ha 20:114) Though, initially, all Muslims are equal in the sight of Allah, those who believe, have taqwah (fear of Allah and righteousness), and have been granted knowledge move up to higher ranks. Allah says about those who have taqwah: "Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who has most taqwah." (Qur'an, Al-Hujurat 49:13) And He said about those who believed and acquired knowledge: "Allah will raise up, to (suitable) ranks and (degrees), those of you who believe and who have been granted knowledge. And Allah is well-acquainted with all you do." (Qur'an, Al-Mujadilah 58:11) When a servant of Allah is granted knowledge, he appreciates Allah's creation more, and becomes more acquainted with Allah's attributes and qualities. Consequently, he wholeheartedly witnesses that his Creator is the only one worthy of worship, and then submits to Him humbly. This, in return, generates in his heart a fear, which is akin to a full appreciation and love of His Lord. Allah (Most Exalted is He) has witnessed in favour of His learned servants these qualities, full appreciation of His Oneness and fear of Him. He stated in two verses, to be recited until Doomsday: "There is no one worthy of worship but He: That is the witness of Allah, His angels and those endowed with knowledge, Standing firm in Justice (or maintaining His Creation in Justice). There is no god but He, the Exalted in power, the Wise." (Qur'an, Al-'Imran 3:18) "It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah." (Qur'an, Fatir 35:28) The Messenger of Allah gave glad tidings to anyone who undertakes the task of seeking knowledge. Abu Hurayrah relates that the Prophet said, "For him who embarks on the path of seeking knowledge, Allah will ease for him the way to paradise." (Related by Muslim) If no Hadith on the importance of knowledge besides this one had been uttered by the Prophet , it would have been enough for Muslims. Yet the Prophet did more than that: He used to stimulate his companions to seek knowledge: Ibn Mas'ud relates that the Prophet said, "Only two persons are worthy of being envied; a person upon whom Allah bestows riches and gives him the power to spend it in a righteous cause; and a person upon whom Allah bestows wisdom by which he judges and which he teaches." (Related by Bukhari and Muslim) He used to congratulate the companions whenever they issued a right judgement or correctly answered a question. Imam Muslim narrates that once the Prophet asked Ubayy Ibn Ka'b, "Do you know which verse in Allah's Book is the greatest?" Ubayy answered by reciting Ayat-ul-Kursi (the verse of the Throne, i.e. Al-Baqarah, 2:255): "Allah! None has the right to be worshiped but He, the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists…) The Messenger kindly patted him on the chest, saying, "Congratulations, Abul-Munthir for this knowledge". He used to call upon Allah to grant them the correct knowledge and understanding of this Deen: Ibn 'Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, "Once the Prophet embraced me and said, 'O Allah! Bestow on him the knowledge of the Book (Qur'an)." (Related by Bukhari) He ordained all his companions and, thus, every Muslim who possesses some knowledge -- even as little as one verse -- to disseminate what they know to others: He said, "Convey (what you learn from me) even if only one verse…" (Related by Bukhari) He made special du'a (supplication) for those who learn his sayings and transmit them to others: Zayd Ibn Thabit narrated that the Prophet said, "May Allah brighten the face of the person who hears what I say and retains it, then conveys it to others: for sometimes one who hears from another remembers it better than the original hearer himself." (Related by Ahmad and Tirmithi) He assured all those who disseminate his knowledge that they will get the same reward of any Muslim who acts upon that knowledge: Abu Hurayrah relates that the Prophet said, "He who calls another to guidance will have a reward equal; to the reward of him who follows him without diminishing the reward of either of them." (Related by Muslim) He showed to us the noble status of the learned people of His Ummah: Abu Umamah relates that the Prophet said, "A learned one is as much above an (ordinary) worshiper as I am above the least of you; and he added: Allah, His angels and all those in the heavens and in the earth, even the ants in their holes and the fish in the water, call down blessings on those who instruct people in beneficent knowledge." (Related by Tirmithi) Better still, he declared that the 'Ulama' (those who have Islamic knowledge) are his heirs: Abu Darda' said that he heard the Prophet saying, "The 'Ulama' are heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets do not leave an inheritance of Dirhams and Dinars but (they left) only knowledge. He who acquires knowledge acquires a vast portion." (Related by Abu Dawud and Tirmithi) After reading all these promises and glad tidings, one might ask, what more do we need to awaken our consciousness? We have been promised an easy way to paradise; the inheritance of our Prophet; a lofty rank, high and noble in status; a blessing from Allah and a supplication of all that exists in the heavens and earth; a face beaming in brightness and beauty on the Day of Judgement, when other faces will be sad and dismal. So, let us embark on the road to paradise; let us seek knowledge today. Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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