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IlmSeeking** July 17, 2007

Posted by Sis Shaykha in Ilm.
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Asalaamul Alaaikum readers,

Insha’Allah we are all in that stage/process of seeking ilm (and insha’Allah will always be). I was researching some ways to seek ilm, and also some benefits of it. So here are some things I came up with:

**4rm Islaam.com & Sunnahonline.com**

Three Aathaar on Knowledge

Sufyaan Ath-Thawree, raHimahullaah, said: “The excellence of knowledge is due only to the fact that it causes a person to fear and obey Allaah, otherwise it is just like anything else.” [Related by ibn Rajab]

Al-Hasan al-Basree, raHimahullaah, said: “Whoever learns something in the name of Allaah, seeking that which is with Him, he will win. And whoever learns something for other than Allaah, he will not reach the goal, nor will his acquired knowledge bring him closer to Allaah.” [Related by Ibn ul Jawzee]

Ibn Mas`ood, raDiallaahu `anhu, said: “True knowledge is not measured in relationship to how much you memorize and then narrate, but rather, true knowledge is an expression of piety [protecting oneself from what Allaah prohibited and acting upon what He mandated].”Also, “Study and act upon what you learn.” [Related by Abu Na`eem]

Seeking Knowledge Until Death

From the Life and Works of al-Imâm Ahmad
From a lecture by Shaykh Salih aalish-Shaykh

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the All-Merciful, may His salâh and salâm be upon His Final Messenger.

Imâm Ahmad had two sons, ‘Abdullâh and Sâlih, whom were half-brothers. Sâlih relates that:

“A man saw my father carrying a mihbarah (a wooden inkwell that students used to carry along with their pens) and said, ‘O Abâ ‘Abdillâh! You are the Imâm of the Muslims!’ “

This man spoke like this since he was surprised to see Imâm Ahmad carrying his mihbarah as the young students would carry it, or indeed that he would still read books, or shoulder the same responsibilities that the youth did. Note also how all the people were fascinated by him (by Imâm Ahmad), even the elders of the people!

Imâm Ahmad replied with a statement that nullified this man’s whole understanding. He said:

“I will be with the mihbarah all the way to the maqbarah (graveyard).”

What did he mean? He meant, “I will be busy with knowledge until I die.”

Another narration mentions that he said this same statement on a separate occasion to another group of people:

“As for me, I will seek knowledge until I am placed in the grave.”

When the time of his death came near, he said to those around him:

“Relate to me the statement of Hushaym.” (Hushaym was Hushaym ibn Bashîr, Imâm Ahmad’s first teacher. He met him in the year 179AH, when he began seeking knowledge at the age of 16) So they read to him what he had requested. This narrated tradition mentioned that Ibn Sîrîn used to dislike a person groaning from pain. At that time, Imâm Ahmad had became very ill and he used to groan due to the pain yet when they informed him that Ibn Sîrîn used to dislike groaning at such a time, he did not groan again until he died.

This is the reality of his statement, “I will seek knowledge until I am placed in the grave,” meaning, “I must continue benefiting from knowledge.”

So if you have left your youth behind and become a teacher or an educator, or a lecturer or professor in the university, or an author, and you say, “I have finished seeking knowledge,” know that this is the situation of someone who does not know the reality of his affairs.

Al-‘Ilm is knowledge of what? It is knowledge of the Speech of Allah and the speech of His Messenger, peace be upon him. Has anyone reached a level of awareness of the meanings of the Speech of Allah and His Messenger, peace be upon him, and also the statements of the scholars explaining the Book and the sunnah, a level of awareness that is sufficient?

No one has reached that level. No one who has the right intention and a proper heart has reached that level. Regarding this, Imâm Ahmad said, “With the mihbarah all the way to the maqbarah.” He was addressing everyone, advising us to continue seeking knowledge and not to give it up for any petty reason.

In the study circles of our mosques we have seen a great number of students who are eager to learn for two months, and then they abandon it. Three months or so only. What is this?! Some of them seek knowledge for 3, 4, 5, or 7 years and then they abandon it.

Why is that? Is it because the lure of the world has come to you, so you are finished and now you head off into the world? Is it because a position was offered to you and you took it? Is it because you have reached a certain status, you have become a school director or professor in the university? For this you reason you have stopped seeking knowledge? No! You must continue seeking knowledge until you die. This is what will correct the society’s problems, if their scholars take this advice. As for the students of knowledge, then they must hold fast to this advice, “With the mihbarah all the way to the maqbarah.”

He must stay with his book until he dies – reading, learning, memorizing, reviewing, teaching, until his end.

What are the people saying these days? “The rulings related to prayer, we know them, no problem.” If you asked them about many of the rulings, you will find that they do not know them. Why is that? It is because they have become satisfied with the knowledge they have, even delighted that they have the knowledge they have. We ask Allah that He excuses us and that He is pleased with us.

If you asked them about affairs even greater than the prayer, issues of creed, issues of tawhîd, you will find that they have not fully grasped the issues, and they used to be students of knowledge! Why is that? Because they were negligent, and thus abandoned it.

Knowledge is honor, if you abandon it, it will abandon you. If you take the task seriously, you will be given some of it, from what Allah has decreed for you.

————————-

Now, I know we can not ALL be scholars, but here is an interesting read:

The Excellence of the Scholars

Imaam ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah rahimahullaah

Adapted from ‘Miftaahi Daaris Sa’aadah’



Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, says in the Noble Qur’aan: “Allaah bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped but He, and the angels, and those having knowledge (Ulul-‘Ilm) (also bear witness to this); (He is always) maintaining His creation in justice. None has the right to be worshipped but He, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.” [Soorah Aali-‘Imraan (3): 18] This verse shows the superiority of knowledge (‘ilm) and its people; the following points can be inferred from this verse: 1. Allaah chose the people of knowledge (Ulul ‘ilm) to bear witness to His Oneness (tawheed) over and above the rest of His creation. 2. Allaah honored the people of knowledge by mentioning their testimony along with His testimony. 3. He raised high the status of the scholars by associating their testimony with the testimony of the angels.

4. This verse bears witness to the superiority of those who possess knowledge. Allaah does not make any of His creation bear witness except the upright amongst them. There is a well known narration from the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who said, “The upright in every generation will carry this knowledge, rejecting the distortions of the extremists, the false claims of the liars, and the (false) interpretations of the ignorant.” (Declared Hasan by Shaykh Saleem al-Hilaalee)

5. Allaah, the One free from all defects, Himself bears witness to His Oneness, and He is the greatest of all witnesses. Then He chose from His creation the angels and the scholars – this is sufficient to show their excellence.

6. Allaah made the scholars bear witness with the greatest and most excellent testimony that is, “None has the right to be worshipped but Allaah.” Allaah, the One free of all defects and the Most High, does not bear witness except to matters of great importance and only the greatest from Allaah’s creation bear witness to this.

7. Allaah made the testimony of the people of knowledge a proof against the rejecters. Thus they are its proofs and its signs, indicating His Oneness (tawheed).

8. Allaah, the Most High, used a single verb (shahid) to refer to His testimony and the testimony of the angels and the scholars. He did not use an additional verb for their testimony; thus He connected their testimony to His. This shows the strong link between their testimony and Allaah’s testimony, as if He Himself bore witness to His Oneness upon their tongues and made them utter this testimony.

9. Allaah, the One free from all defects, made the scholars fulfill His right (that none has the right to be worshipped but Him) through this testimony and if they fulfill it then they have fulfilled and established this right of Allaah upon them. Then it is obligatory upon mankind to accept this testimony which is the means to reach happiness in this life and their final return (to Allaah). Whosoever takes this guidance from the scholars and accepts this truth because of their testimony, then for the scholars there is a reward equal to them. And none knows the value of this reward but Allaah.

Knowledge

Imam Ibn Hazm

31. If knowledge had no other merit than to make the ignorant fear and respect you, and scholars love and honour you, this would be good enough reason to seek after it. Let alone all its other merits in this world and the next.

32. If ignorance had no other fault than to make the ignorant man jealous of knowledgeable men and jubilant at seeing more people like himself, this by itself would be reason enough to oblige us to feel it. Let alone the other bad results of this evil in this world and the next!

33. If knowledge and the action of devoting oneself to it had no purpose except to free the man who seeks it from the exhausting anxieties and many worries which afflict the mind, that alone would certainly be enough to drive us to seek knowledge. But what should we say of the other benefits too numerous to list, the least of which are the above-mentioned, and all of which accrue to the knowledgeable man. In search of benefits as small as these the petty kings have worn themselves out in seeking distraction from their anxieties in games of chess, dicing, wine, song, hunting expeditions and other pastimes which bring nothing but harm in this world and the next and absolutely no benefit.

34. If the scholar who has spent long peaceful hours (at his studies) stopped to think how his knowledge has protected him against humiliation at the hands of the ignorant, and against anxiety about unknown truths, and what joy it has brought him by enabling him to solve problems which others find insoluble, he would certainly increase his expressions of gratitude to Allah and rejoice more in the knowledge that he has and desire even more to add to it.

35. Anyone who spends his time studying something inferior, abandoning higher studies of which he is capable, is like someone who sows corn in a field capable of growing wheat, or who plants bushes in a soil which could corrupt palm trees and olives.

36. To spread knowledge among those incapable of understanding it would be as harmful as giving honey and sugary confections to someone with a fever, or giving musk and amber to someone with a migraine caused by an excess of bile.

37. A man who is miser with his knowledge is worse than a man who is a miser with his money, for the money-miser is being mean with something which does not get used up and is not lost when it is given away.

38. Anyone who has a natural inclination towards a branch of knowledge, even if it is inferior to other branches, should not abandon it, or he would be like someone who plants coconuts in al-Andalus or olive trees in India where neither would produce fruit.

39. The noblest branches of knowledge are those that bring you close to the Creator and help you to be pleasing to Him.

40. When you compare yourself with others in matters of wealth, position, and health, you should look at people less favored than yourself. When you compare yourself with others in matters of religion, knowledge and virtue, look at people who are better than yourself.

42. If a madman threw himself as deeply into good sense as he throws himself into madness, he would surely be wiser than Al Hasan Al Basri, Plato of Athens and Vuzurgmihr the Persian.

43. Intelligence has its limits; it is useless unless it is based on the guidance of religion or on good fortune in this world.

44. Do not harm your soul by experimenting with corrupt views in order to demonstrate their corruption to someone who has consulted you, otherwise you will lose your soul. If you shield yourself from acting in a detestable way, any criticism that can be thrown at you by a man of corrupt beliefs because you disagree with him is better than his respect and better than the bad effect on both of you if you committed these detestable acts.

45. Guard against taking pleasure in any way that will harm your soul and is not required of you by the religious law nor by virtue.

46. Knowledge no longer exists if one has ignored the attributes of the Almighty Great Creator.

47. There is no worse calamity for knowledge and for scholars than when outsiders intrude. They are ignorant and think that they are knowledgeable; they ruin everything and believe that they are helping.

48. Anyone who is seeking happiness in the Hereafter, wisdom in this world, the best way to behave, the sum of all moral qualities, the practice of all the virtues, should take as his model Muhammad, the Prophet of God – God grant him blessings and peace – and emulate as far as possible the Prophet’s morals and behaviour. May God help us to take him as an example, by His grace, ameen!

49. The ignorant have annoyed me on two occasions in my lifetime. First, when they spoke of things they did not know, at a time when I was equally ignorant; the second time when they kept silent in my presence [in the days when I had learnt something]. In the same way they were always silent about matters which would have benefited them to speak about, and spoke about matters which brought them no benefit.

50. Scholars have brought me pleasure on two occasions in my lifetime: first, they taught me when I was ignorant; the second of them was when they conversed with me after I had been taught.

51. One of the merits of religious knowledge and asceticism in this world is that Almighty God does not put it within reach of anyone except those who are worthy of it and deserve it. One of the disadvantages of the great things of this world, wealth and fame, is that they mostly fall to the lot of people who are unworthy of them and do not deserve them.

52. Anyone who is seeking after virtue should keep company with the virtuous and should take no companion with him on his way except the noblest friend, one of those people who is sympathetic, charitable, truthful, sociable, patient, trustworthy, loyal, magnanimous, pure in conscience and a true friend.

53. Anyone who is seeking fame, fortune and pleasure will keep company only with people who resemble mad dogs and sly foxes: they will take for their travelling companions only people [inimical to his belief] who are cunning and depraved in nature.

54. The usefulness of the knowledge [of good] in the practice of virtue is considerable: anyone who knows the beauty of virtue will practice it, though it may be rarely. Knowing the ugliness of vice, he will avoid it, though it may be rarely. The man with knowledge of the good will listen to soundly based praise and desire it for himself. He will listen to talk of evil and desire to avoid it. From this premise it necessarily follows that knowledge has a part in every virtue, and ignorance has a part in every vice. A man who has had no instruction in the knowledge [of good] will not practice virtue unless he has an extremely pure nature, a virtuous constitution. It is the particular state of the Prophets (peac and the blessings of God be upon them!) for God has taught them virtue in its entirety, without them having learnt it from men.

55. It is true that I have seen among the common people some who, by their excellent behaviour and morals, were not surpassed by any wise man, any scholarly, self-controlled man. But this is very rare. And I have seen man who have studied the different branches of knowledge, who have a good knowledge of the messages of the Prophets – peace be upon them – and the advice of the philosophers and who nevertheless surpass the most wicked in their bad behaviour, their depravity, both internal and external. * These are the worst of creatures. * This is very common and I therefore perceive that these two [moral attitudes] are a favour which is granted or withheld by Allah the Almighty….

[CONT…]

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