Knowledge in Islam and today’s Muslims in knowledge

By Imam Lavdrim Hamja – Kenosha, May 20, 2011

All Praise and thanks belong to God, the Creator of the universe in the perfect form. We sent greetings and salutation, peace and blessings of Allah be upon our beloved prophet, Muhammad, his family, his companions and all those who follow his path until the Day of Judgment.

“Read in the name of God, whom He created!” With this phrase God had begun His revelation during a time when the Arab world was deep in the darkness of ignorance and illiteracy. He began His revelation with the word “read” in order to tell those people that the path to a rebirth, elevation, progress, power and pride begins with knowledge, thereafter in the basis of knowledge works and deeds follow. Indeed that is what happened.

Within 23 years, the prophet with the light of knowledge, which he received from the word of God, from the Qur’an, he transformed the people of the Arabian Peninsula from people without value to people and land of value where the eyes of the world are directed towards them.

Brothers and sisters, there is no better and clearer example in order to understand the importance and the value which knowledge has in altering the history of any peoples than the history of men, which with the acceptance of Islam, with obedience and walking the path of the teachings of the Qur’an they were transformed into most obedient and educated people in the world. This is the miracle of the Qur’an, when people read it and contemplate, understand it correctly and work in accordance with its teaching then it reaches the apex of significance in the world history.

Hence, today we shall talk about this knowledge, with an expectation that perhaps we Muslims today might wake up from the deep sleep which we have fallen for the past hundreds of years. Let us speak of knowledge with a hope that perhaps we can reassess our firm belief if we really want to become once more a people with values, to be useful Muslims not only for ourselves but for the whole mankind while spreading the knowledge of Islam and this requires education and learning in the most absolute form.

We begin with the Qur’an which undoubtedly is the word of God, where no less than 800 verses speak of knowledge or in connection with knowledge. To begin with, it is sufficient to recognize that the first word revealed in the Qur’an is “read” then God further says:

” يرفع الله الذين آمنوا منكم والذين أوتوا العلم درجات “

“Allah will raise up, to ranks, those of you who believe and who have been granted knowledge”. (Mujadale: 11)

” قل هل يستوي الذين يعلمون والذين لا يعلمون إنما يتذكر أولو الألباب “

”Say: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?” lt is those who have understanding that receive guidance.” (Zummer: 9)

We know too well when Allah vows on something and that particular thing is beneficent and relevant for us. Allah says:

وَالطُّورِ (1) وَكِتَابٍ مَسْطُورٍ (2) فِي رَقٍّ مَنْشُورٍ (3 ) (الطور)

“By the Mount (of Revelation); By a Decree inscribed. In a Scroll unfolded;” (Tur: 1-3)

Then again on another verse He says:

ن وَالْقَلَمِ وَمَا يَسْطُرُونَ (1) ( القلم)

“Nun. By the Pen and the (Record) which (men) write.” (Kalem: 1)

God reproves the believers while saying, that even during the times when they are protecting their very life, while fighting to survive, again they should assign some representatives, to be schooled than later, when the fighting or war has ended they should teach their brothers that which they know.

وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُوا كَافَّةً فَلَوْلا نَفَرَ مِنْ كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِنْهُمْ طَائِفَةٌ لِيَتَفَقَّهُوا فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُوا قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُوا إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ (122) ( التوبة)

“Nor should the Believers all go forth together: if a contingent from every expedition remained behind, they could devote themselves to studies in religion, and admonish the people when they return to them, – that thus they (may learn) to guard themselves.” (Tevbe: 122)

This is the will of Allah under the circumstances of war, but what shall we say about the today’s Muslims, while in peace, they enjoy and savior the bounties of Allah and yet they close the door of seeking knowledge at an earlier age. The cease to seek knowledge, while God Almighty has ordered his messenger to pray while saying:

((وقل رب زدني علما))

“Say: O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” (TaHa: 114)

Dear brothers and sister let us together heed to these words of our prophet as to what he have said about the value of knowledge and how has he ordered us to seek that knowledge.

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم: ((طلب العلم فريضة على كل مسلم)) (رواه ابن ماجه و البيهقي و ابن عبد البر)

“Seeking knowledge is a duty upon every MusIim”. (Ibn Maje, Bayhaki & Abdulber)

It is transmitted by Hudheifa that the messenger of God to have said:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم: ((فضل العلم خير من فضل العبادة, و خير دينكم الورع)) (رواه الحاكم و الطبراني و البزار)

“The goodness of knowledge is better than that of adoration. Your best piety is devotion.” (Hakim, Tabari, Bezari)

‏قال رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏((عليكم بهذا العلم قبل أن يقبض وقبضه أن يرفع وجمع بين إصبعيه الوسطى والتي ‏ ‏تلي ‏ ‏الإبهام هكذا ثم قال العالم والمتعلم شريكان في الأجر ولا خير في سائر الناس)) (رواه ابن ماجه)

It is transmitted by Abu Umame that the prophet to have said:“Seek knowledge before it is taken for once taken it has departed. Then the prophet joined the index finger with the other finger and said: “The knowledgeable person and the seekers of knowledge are members (partners) in goodness and besides that there is no goodness among other people”. (Ibn Maxhe)

((من غدا إلى المسجد لا يريد إلا أن يتعلم خيراً أو يعلمه كان له كأجر حاج تاماًّ حجته)) (رواه الحاكم و الطبراني)

Abu Amme transmits that the prophet to have said: “Whoever leaves the house to go to the Mosque, not for anything else except to learn something good, or to teach someone else something good, that person has a reward as if he has completed the Hajj.(Hakim&Tabari)

عن أبي أمامة الباهلي رضي الله عنه قال: ذُكر لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم رجلان؛ أحدهما عابد، والآخر عالم. فقال صلى الله عليه وسلم: «فضل العالم على العابد كفضلي على أدناكم» ثم قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم:
«إن الله وملائكته وأهل السموات والأرضين حتى النملة في جحرها وحتى الحوت ليصلون على معلم الناس الخير»
رواه الترمذي وصححه الألباني في الجامع الصغير

It is transmitted by Ebu Umame that someone had mentioned to the prophet two kinds of people, one of them was adorer of God and the other was a scholar (a knowledgeable person). The prophet said: “The goodness of the scholar and that of an adorer, it is like my goodness towards the simplest ones among you”. Then the Messenger said; “God and His angels, the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth, the ants in their nest, and the fish will send praises for that person who teaches other people good things”. (Tirmidhi)

Brothers and sisters, these are the words of our beloved prophet, Muhammad, of which we pretend to follow, but in reality the distance of Muslims from the field of knowledge, shows us that they are not the precise followers of the prophet. How can one be called a true Muslim when after hearing these hadiths of our messenger of Allah and still maintains ignorant, shuts the door of seeking knowledge at the age of 20.

What kind of a true Muslim is he that spends all his income only for food and clothing, while for the sake of knowledge, to purchase a book to read, or to give it as a gift to his friend or to a guest, in order that he may benefit from it, nay but he does not spend even a cent for such a thing. What percentage of our income we spend for knowledge.

For example: If a Muslim family within a month spends 300 dollars for their needs, how much of it they have spent in knowledge, for books and so on’? Here we can see how much we adore knowledge and how much of a Muslim we are. Isn’t a disgrace for us Muslims, that in 2‘lS‘ century, when civilized nations and people allocate the bulk of their budget to education, but among us Muslims there are those who dare not to spend a cent for education!?

One will not be able to believe in God and his religion cannot be help with the darkness of ignorance. That is why the situation of the Muslims today is grave and miserable, because in most cases they learn how to read but they do not read to learn, except those whom God has bestowed Mercy upon.

We shall bring other arguments and facts of knowledge from the scholars of this umma in the next Jumna lnshallah.

O Our God, Forgive our negligence in pursuing knowledge and increase us in knowledge. Amin!

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