Being a seeker of knowledge and its importance

The teachings of the religion of Islam came to us well over 1400 years ago. From the very beginning of revelation, there was an emphasis on seeking and acquiring knowledge. The first words of revelation which the Angel Jibril 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) came with to our Beloved Rasulullah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was ‘Read’! and the ayah is as follows:

“Recite in the name of your Lord who created-.” Surah Al – Alaq :1

Unfortunately in this century we are living in, when it comes to Islamic Education, it is very heart rendering to see how they are being undervalued though seeking Islamic knowledge is fardh (obligatory) upon every Muslims; male and female.

“Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees” Surah Al- Mujadila:11

Parents play an important role

First and foremost, for an Islamic education to be firmly grounded, parents play an important role in the process at a very tender age of their children’s life. The role and responsibilities of the parents are to raise their children in the best possible Islamic way and teach them the fundamental values of Islam.This begins at home on a first level and it why the primary school of an Islamic education is at home.

Parents have to make sure that their children are happy, honest and religious and have knowledge of Islam irrespective of whether they are a boy or a girl. Parents should train their children to ensure love for Islam, love for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), love for the holy Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), love for their parents, love for their teachers and love for their community.

But today what we see, parents are more apt to inspire their children towards academic educations and little concern is being given to Islam. They want their children to become doctors, lawyers, accountants and so on and so forth but they do not dream of their children to be serving the religion of Allah ta’ala. They do not dream their children to become an ‘Alim/’Alima, hafidh/hafidha, which is actually the key to gaining Allah’s pleasure and which will benefit them not only in this world but as well as in the Hereafter.

“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 worshiper 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

Distinguishing right and wrong.

Without an Islamic education we should not expect ourselves to have the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Without ‘Ilm (Knowledge) we’re in an ocean with a ship that has no destination.

“Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees.” Surah Al – Mujadila:11

However, there is nothing wrong at all in acquiring academic education. Certainly if people didn’t pursue academic educations, many fields like medical, teaching, financing would have not stood up. But my point is, we should not lose focus of our Islamic education which is the backbone for a better life according to the Quran and the Sunnah. A balance needs to be nurtured between both academic and Islamic educations so that we do not lose track of our focal point.

Balance your time

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has given us time to make use of it. We have 24 hours a day to make use of and of course we need to use it wisely all the time for the pleasure of Allah ta’ala. During these 24 hours we can very well divide our time for our academic and Islamic studies. Instead of wasting time on social networks like facebook and twitter, seize this time, this very minute, this very hour, this very second to be a productive Muslim.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will never let your efforts squander but you need to at least try and put in the required efforts. And always bear in mind when you’re seeking knowledge, seek it only for the pleasure of the One and only One who has power over all things; Allah. The sweetness of Imaan lies in the fruits of knowledge.

“and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good and none but men of understanding mind” Surah Al-Baqarah : 269

Nonetheless, those academic certificates that we have are useful solely on this Dunya. They are not going to halt or save us from death or even more so not be a passport to Jannah. While embarking on the path of ‘Ilm this can be a passport for us to get to Jannah ,as this will help us to:

  •  Thoroughly get to know our Deen.
  •  Know the consequences of such and such act.
  •  What our purpose is.
  •  Have a broader understanding of Islam.
  •  Get to know Allah more and to know what Allah is expecting from us; who are His servants and to Him is our return.
  •  Get closer to Allah ta’ala.
  •  Renew our intentions.
  • Enable us to know the fardh and Sunnah that we need to put into practice in our daily life.
  • Helps one to be able to better prepare for the Akhirah and to distinguish between right and wrong.

(And there are a lot more benefits for those who choose to embark on this path).

By getting to know who Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is, it enables us to develop that sense of taqwa and humility within us and it elevates us in status in the eyes of Allah ta’ala when we learn and act upon these knowledge.

Below I leave you with some etiquette for seeking knowledge that the seeker of knowledge should follow. May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) cause you to benefit thereby.

[paralist]

[paranum] Be patient and persevering 

Seeking knowledge is one of the highest of pursuits, and heights cannot be scaled except by working hard and patiently. So, be patient and persistent and have consistency. If jihad requires an hour of patience, then the seeker of knowledge must be patient until the end of his life. Almighty Allah says:

“O you who believe! Endure and be more patient (than your enemy), and guard your territory by stationing army units permanently at the places from where the enemy can attack you, and fear Allah, so that you may be successful.” Surah Al `Imran: 3 

[paranum] Have pure intentions in what you do

Adhere to purity of intention in what you do and from time to time renew your intention and your relationship with Allah ‘Azwajjal. Let your aim be to seek the pleasure of Allah and the abode of the Hereafter. Beware of showing off and loving to make yourself appear to be superior to your peers. The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“Whoever seeks knowledge in order to compete with the scholars or to prove himself superior to the ignorant or to make the people look up to him, Allah will cause him to enter Hell.” Reported by an-Nasa’i.

P.S: you have to be pure both outwardly and inwardly from every major and minor sin.

 [paranum]Act upon what you know

Know that acting upon what you know is the fruit of knowledge. Whoever knows but does not act upon his knowledge is like the people whom Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) likened to the ugliest things in His Book, when He said:

“The likeness of those who were entrusted with the (obligation of the) Tauraat (Torah) (i.e. to obey its commandments and to practice its laws), but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is as the likeness of a donkey which carries huge burdens of books (but understands nothing from them). How bad is the example of people who deny the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah. And Allah guides not the people who are Zalimun (polytheists, wrongdoers, disbelievers).”Al-Jumu`ah: 5

And whoever acts without knowledge is like the people who have gone astray as mentioned in Surah Al-Fatihah.

[paranum]Always be aware that Allah is watching

You must always be aware that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is watching you, in secret and in the open. Your attitude towards your Lord must always be balanced between fear and hope, which for the Muslims are like the two wings of a bird. Turn to Allah wholeheartedly and let your heart be filled with love for Him, your tongue with remembrance of Him (dhikr). Be happy and rejoice in His rulings and His wisdom.

Always call upon Allah (du`a’) in every sujud (prostration), asking Him to bless you and grant you beneficial knowledge, for if you are sincere towards Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), He will support you and help you, and will cause you to attain the level of the righteous scholars.

[paranum]Make the best use of time

Spend the most of your youth and your whole life in learning. Do not be deceived by procrastination and wishful thinking about the future. Every hour of your life that passes cannot be replaced. Do away with whatever you can of distractions and obstacles that prevent you from striving your utmost to attain knowledge. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has not given man two hearts in his chest, and similarly it is said that knowledge will not give you a part of it until you give it your all.

Make the most of your time, when you are free and when you are busy. Make the most of your youth when your mind is fresh and you have fewer distractions, before you become distracted by false ambitions and the desire for worldly possessions.

[paranum]Be precise and focused

Strive to verify what you want to memorize so that you are certain of it, either from a sheikh/sheikha or from someone else who can help you. Then memorize it properly and continually repeat it and review at specific times each day, lest you forget what you have memorized.

[paranum]Do not delay

Let your concern to seek knowledge be uppermost; do not be content to learn only a little when you are able to do more. Do not be content with a little of the legacy of the Prophets (peace and blessings be upon them), and do not delay learning anything that you can or you will be distracted or put off by wishful thinking. Delay is a problem, and if you learn something now you can learn something else later.

 [paranum]Choose good companions

Strive to choose righteous friends who are preoccupied with seeking knowledge and are of a good nature, who can help you in achieving your aim, add to the benefits you have already gained, encourage you to seek more knowledge, stop you from feeling bored and tired, who are religiously-committed, trustworthy and of good character, who are sincere towards Allahsubḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and who are not merely messing about.

Beware of the bad companion, for he/she may influence you. People are like birds, they will resemble one another (i.e. “Birds of a feather flock together”). So beware of mixing with bad people, for that is a sickness, and prevention is better than cure.

[paranum]Have good manners towards your teacher

Knowledge cannot be gained only from books; you must also have a teacher whom you trust to open the door to knowledge and prevent you from making mistakes. So you must have good manners towards him/her, for this is the way to success, learning and strength. So you must honor, respect and be polite to the teacher. Observe the utmost standards of etiquette when you sit with your ustadh/ustadha and speak with him/her. Ask questions in a proper manner and listen attentively.

Be polite when studying the book with him/her and do not try to argue or compete with him/her. Do not initiate conversation with him, or walk ahead of him/her, or speak too much in his presence, or interrupt when he/she is teaching. Do not call him/her directly by his name or nickname; rather say “O my ustadh/ustadha” or “O our ustadh/ustadha”

[/paralist]

Be a seeker of knowledge

Seeking Islamic knowledge is a long life journey. There’s no age to seek for knowledge. Even if you haven’t earlier, there’s no shame in starting now; better late than never! The more you learn, the more you realize how little you actually know. And the more you learn, the more you discover the wonders of Islam, SubhanAllah. So, learn , act upon them and teach it to your children. Let your children see the beauty of Islam through you, In shaa Allah.

 



The Author

This blog is updated and maintained by the editor and her team with exclusive articles and all that's going on at 'I am Alima'. To contact us, email blog@iamalima.org.

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