Islamic Knowledge and You
Allah raises the level of people in two ways: (a) Belief in Him and (b) Knowledge of Him. This is established in the following verse of the Quraan Allah said: Allah raises the level of those who believe and those who are endowed with knowledge. [Al-Quraan 58:11]
Acquiring knowledge of Allah is the most important obligation on every Muslim because Allah ordered seeking knowledge (i.e. the knowledge of Himself) prior to declaration of the Shahadah. He said: And know that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah then seek forgiveness for your sins… [Al-Quraan 47: 19]
To emphasize seeking knowledge before doing any action, Imaam Al-Bukharee used the above verse as a basis for a chapter in his all famous Sahih. He entitles that chapter: “Knowledge before speech and action”. Book of Knowledge:[Sahih Bukhari Vol: 1 Ch 11]
Excellence of knowledge.
Allah said: Allah (Himself) is witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Him, and the Angels and the men of learning (are also witnesses to this). Maintaining His creation in justice, there is no god save Him, the Almighty, the Wise [Al-Qur’aan 3:18]
Notice that Allah (AWJ) in the Ayat started the witnessing to the fact that “there is no deity worthy of worship but Himself” with Hismelf, then He follows it saying that this is also the witness of His Angels and then He follows it by the people who possess knowledge. This verse definitely emphasizes the position of the people who are endowed with knowledge above those who are without it.
Allah said …Are those who know equal with those who do not know? But only men of understanding will pay heed. [Al-Qur’aan 39:9]
He said …Indeed those who fear Allah from his servants they are the knowledgeable, Indeed Allah is the Mighty, the Most Forgiving. [Al-Qur’aan 35:28]
He said And these similitude we coin for mankind, but none will grasp their meaning except those of knowledge.
In the above cases we clearly see the very high rank that Allah Himself endowed upon those who possess knowledge. (The knowledge above is only in reference to knowledge about Islam.)
Allah said: Ask the people of Rememberance if you do not know.
This is because understanding Allah’s Rulings is based upon the investigation and deductions of the
learned. Abu Dardaa said that the Messenger of Allah said Those people endowed with knowledge are the inheritors of the prophets. [Hadeeth Hassan, Abu Dawood, ibn Majah, At-Tirmithi, ibn Habaan].
He also said: Whosoever Allah wishes good for, He bestows upon him understanding of the Deen. [Bukhaari and Muslim].
He bestows upon him an understanding of the Deen means that He will allow him to be taught the Quraan and the Sunnah. It is common knowledge that there is no higher position than that achieved by the prophets and that there is no greater honor than that of inheriting from that noble position [i.e. inheriting from the prophets (on them be peace)].
To acquire this very coveted position needs serious striving to acquire the knowledge they came with (i.e. the knowledge of Allah’s deen).
He a1so said: The superiority of a learned man over a worshipper is like my superiority over the ordinary men from among my companions. [At-Tirmidhi. Hadeeth Hassan].
Looking at this Hadeeth you will observe (a) how he linked knowledge with the position of prophethood, and (b) how he lowered the level of the person who does action without knowledge.Any worship (‘eebadah) that a worshipper performs must be based on knowledge, because if it is lacking then the action would not be ‘Eebadah but mere ritual.
The messenger also said: “The superiority of a learned man over a worshipper is like the superiority of the full moon over the other stars.” [This Hadeeth is Hassan].
`Ali said to Kaamil: “O Kaamil, knowledge is better than wealth. Knowledge protects you while you have to protect your wealth. Knowledge is a judge, while wealth have to be judged on. Weealth decreases when it is expended, while knowledge purifies when it is given.
`Ali said in a poem:
“Glory is for none but the learned,
Guided are they – and proofs for seekers of guidance.
Every person is measured based on how much of it (knowledge) he mastered, The ignorant are to the learned their enemies,
Succeed with knowledge and live energetically forever,
Men are all dead, only the possessors of knowledge are truly alive.”
The Excellence of Learning
Allah said And the believers should not all go out and fight. Of every troop of them, a party should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may gain sound knowledge in religion, and that they may warn their folk when they return to them, so that they may beware. [Al-Qur’aan 9:122]
And His saying: …Ask the people of Rememberance if you do not know. [Al-Qur’aan 16:43]
The Messenger of Allah said: Whoever treads a path seeking knowledge therein, Allah directs him to a path leading to Al-Jannah (Paradise). [Hadeeth Hassan]
He also said: The quest for knowledge is a compulsion on every Muslim. [Hadeeth Hassan]
N.B. The knowledge referred to above is knowledge in Deen because that is the only knowledge that is Waajib. The people who use this hadeeth to represent seeking afler every type of knowledge are misusing it.
AbuDardaa’ said: “To learn of one issue (in deen) is better for me than to pray the entire night” He also said: “The scholar and the seeker of knowledge are the partners in the sharing of good. Other men are hungry and there is no good in them.”
Fath Al Musilee (RA) said: “Would the sick person who is not fed or given anything to drink or given any medicine, not die?” The people replied: ” Surely!” He said – “It is the same with the heart, it would die if knowledge and wisdom is with held from it.”
Indeed he spoke the truth because the nourishment and enlivening of the heart is through knowledge and wisdom, just as food is nourishment for the body. Whoever does not acquire knowledge of the deen of Islaam, has a sick heart and its death is inevitable. However, he is not aware of it, because his love for this world destroys his perception.