We come to this life without any kind of knowledge but with the ability to learn. The source of all knowledge is Allah, the Most High, Who said in the Qur’an: “And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and hearts [i.e., intellect] that perhaps you would be grateful.” (16:78)
Thus, we should acquire knowledge before we act or decide in all areas of our lives. We tend to base our judgments, decisions, beliefs, acts, etc, on some kind of authority we trust. We spend a great deal of our life going to school to learn because we are aware that we cannot succeed and achieve our goals without the necessary training. Unfortunately, many people do not dedicate the same effort to their salvation or their relationship with their Creator.
Most people, including some Muslims, base their beliefs and religious practices on what they learned from their fore fathers. They follow the practices and traditions of their society. They do not make any effort to examine their traditions to find out if they are doing the right thing. Many of them reject the true teachings of Islam simply because it does not agree with what their fathers believed or practiced.
Allah said: “Rather, they say, "Indeed, we found our fathers upon a religion, and we are in their footsteps [rightly] guided. And similarly, We did not send before you any warner into a city except that its affluent said, "Indeed, we found our fathers upon a religion, and we are, in their footsteps, following. [Each warner] said, "Even if I brought you better guidance than that [religion] upon which you found your fathers?" They said, "Indeed we, in that with which you were sent, are disbelievers.” (43: 22-24)
It is the mercy of Allah, that when people deviate from the right path, He sends messengers to teach them and guide them. Only those who follow the revealed teaching are believers and successful in this life and in the hereafter. When the whole world was in the darkness of ignorance Allah sent the final messenger, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) to show them the right way to believe in God and worship Him. The first revealed a`yat (verse) of the Qur’an was: “Recite in the name of your Lord who created-. Created man from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous-. Who taught by the pen-. Taught man that which he knew not.” (96:1-5)
The first revelation begins with the word Iqra (read) and comes down to an unlettered prophet living in a country where even knowledge of alphabets is uncommon. This signified that the age of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was not going to be an age of ignorance but of knowledge, reason, wisdom, and true advancement.
These verses teach man that his belief in God should be based on the knowledge that is taught by God Himself. They also confirm the fact that the true God is the Creator of all. They simply say that the one who created man is the one who knows what is best for him and can guide him with perfect knowledge. We should know the one true God and know how to please Him and worship Him.
In another verse Allah said: “So know, [O Muhammad], that there is no deity except Allah and ask forgiveness for your sin and for the believing men and believing women. And Allah knows of your movement and your resting place.” (47: 19)
This verse confirms that knowledge should precede practice and acts. First we should know who is our God, His great attributes, how to worship and please Him, and then we should act according to this knowledge.
Allah said: “They know what is apparent of the worldly life, but they, of the Hereafter, are unaware” (30: 7)
The Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever follows a path seeking knowledge then Allah will make the path to Paradise easy for him. No people gather in a house of Allah’s houses, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, they are covered in mercy, the angels envelope them, and Allah mentions them to those in His presence. Whoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be sped up by his lineage.” (Sahih Muslim)
After attaining true Islamic knowledge we are obliged to strive hard to perform good deeds, avoid committing sins and never go astray in following the true path to Allah. This religious knowledge will guide us to the correct way of life that embodies the true teachings of Islam. Accordingly, any time spent in search of true religious knowledge will be rewarded by Allah. As Muslims, we believe that this is one of the best forms of worship.
Anyone who wishes to earn the pleasure of Allah and gain the ultimate reward of Paradise should first know how to please Allah. Those looking for the truth should depend on the revealed Book of God. There they will find guidance and knowledge about God, the purpose of our creation and how to fulfill our duties toward God. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) is the practical example for us to follow. Any belief or practice should be based on these two sources. The companions of the prophet realized this fact so they always accepted the perfect knowledge of Allah and they never tried to invent anything in the teachings of God.
Unfortunately, in the years since the revelation, many Muslims have mixed the traditions of their society with the teaching of God. One of the important reasons was because they didn’t fulfill the command of God to learn and return to the pure teaching of God.
Allah said: And when it is said to them, "Follow what Allah has revealed," they say, "Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing." Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided? (2: 170)
But how can we keep ourselves on the right way without knowing this way. How can man claim that he is a believer while he does not know who his God is and what His attributes are? How can he do his duties toward Him?
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “If Allah wants to do good to a person, He makes him comprehend the religion. I am just a distributor, but the grant is from Allah….” (Sahih Bukhari)
We know that understanding comes through learning. To see the importance of seeking knowledge, we should remember that Allah did not command His prophet to ask for more of anything in this life except knowledge.
Allah said: “So high [above all] is Allah, the Sovereign, the Truth. And, [O Muhammad], do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur'an before its revelation is completed to you, and say, "My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (20:114)
Say: “Is one who is devoutly obedient during periods of the night, prostrating and standing [in prayer], fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord, [like one who does not]? Say, "Are those who know equal to those who do not know?" Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding” (39: 9)
“And among people and moving creatures and grazing livestock are various colors similarly. Only those fear Allah, from among His slaves, who have knowledge, Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving.” (35: 28)
The famous Hadeeth of Angel Jibreel (alaihi assalaam) reported by Omar bin Al-Khattab, teaches us many things. One of the most important things in this hadeeth is the way the Angel came to the prophet, in the form of man who is learning from the Prophet. He asked questions and got the answers. When he left, the prophet told his companion about the questioner “it was Jibreel, who came to instruct and teach you the principles of your religion.” This proves that our presence in an educational environment is essential for better understanding of Islam. Learning through reading alone away from classes is not the best way to get a good Islamic education.
If we can’t attend classes, at least we should depend on authentic sources and keep in touch with scholars and teachers to review what we read and ask about things that are not clear to us. Knowledge is a light, with knowledge you can differentiate between good and evil. Allah revealed the Qur’an and sent His Messenger (Peace be upon him) to teach us and show us the true knowledge that leads to our salvation.
Allah said: “Just as We have sent among you a messenger from yourselves reciting to you Our verses and purifying you and teaching you the Book and wisdom and teaching you that which you did not know.” (2: 151)
And finally, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “Seeking knowledge is a must upon every Muslim.”
Written by dr.yahya albaheth
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