Knowledge is the Islamic light
that brightens the path to Heaven
In the 1980s, that is just about 35 years ago when the bulky landline table telephone was king, if someone were to tell you that in 25 years’ time your telephone would be so small as a wallet and you could carry it around in your pocket and that you could also use it anywhere, even in moving vehicles, to watch Youtube videos, take still and moving pictures, chit-chats, transfer money, and write notes, just to mention a few features, you would probably think that that person was crazy and his idea was crazy. But by 2005, what’s more today, that “crazy” idea had become reality – all because of knowledge.
Did Islam say anything about the importance of acquiring knowledge? Yes. One Hadith (Sayings of Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him) says: “The acquisition of knowledge is the obligation of every Muslim, male and female.”
Knowledge is the accumulation of learning, research and experiences.
PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE
Islam, as a complete way of life, gives advices and directions indicating the advantages and importance of knowledge in life. It instructs that both worldly knowledge, including skills, and religious knowledge need to be acquired, not either one only, because in Islam both worldly knowledge and religious knowledge complement each other. The pursuit of knowledge refers to basic and further learning as well as research in both worldly and religious matters.
Knowledge, whether discovered or imparted by Muslims or non-Muslims, is universal.
Allah is “He (who has) perfect knowledge of all things.” (2:29) Hence, one of the 99 beautiful names (Asma ul-Husna) of Allah is “All-Knowing.” Throughout the Quran, Allah is described as One Who knows everything. In Chapter 9 alone, the information that Allah knows everything is given in such terms as: “Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (9:60) “Allah is He who hears and knows all things.” (9:98). “Allah is All-Knowing.” (9:110) and “Allah has knowledge of all things.” (9:115). Since Allah is “All-Knowing,” He instructs people to “Read! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher….”, urging us to seek all knowledge indiscriminately according to priority and interest.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) advised us: “Acquire knowledge, because he who acquires it in the way of Allah performs an act of piety; who speaks of it praises Allah; who seeks it adores Him; who imparts and dispenses instruction in it bestows alms; who teaches it to the deserving ones performs an act of devotion to Allah.” It is clear from this advice that Islam makes it a religious duty for every Muslim to acquire all knowledge, and teaches it to others to spread knowledge.
GEMS FROM THE PROPHET
Some of the gems from Prophet Muhammad on the importance and acquisition of knowledge are:
• “The quest of knowledge is a compulsory duty on every Muslim.”
• “A piece of knowledge from wherever gained is like a lost property recovered.”
• “Receive knowledge from whatever the vessel in which it is presented. It will not do you any harm.”
• “Knowledge enables the possessor to distinguish right from wrong; it lights the way to Heaven; it is our friend in the desert, our society in solitude, our companion when friendless; it guides us to happiness; it sustains us in misery; it is an ornament amongst friends and an armour against enemies.”
• “Knowledge gives life to a dead heart, it is a light for the eyes in darkness and gives strength to the body in weakness. By its help, man reaches the ranks of the pious. To think of it is like fasting and its study is like prayer. By its help, Allah is obeyed and worshipped and the Unity of God is understood and faith is strengthened. By its help, ties of blood are maintained and lawful and unlawful things are known.”
• “Knowledge is a treasure-house and its key is enquiry.”
• “Knowledge is the life of Islam and the pillar of belief.
• “The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.”
• “With knowledge, the servant of Allah rises to the heights of goodness and to a noble position.”
• “To the student who goes forth in quest of knowledge, Allah will allot a high place in the mansions of bliss; every step he takes is blessed, and every lesson he receives has its rewards.”
• “The seeker of knowledge will be greeted in Heaven with a welcome from the angels.”
• “Him who favours learning and the learned, Allah will favour in the next world.”
• “He who so treads the path of knowledge, Allah will admit him in Heaven, and whoever dies in the pursuit of knowledge, Allah will take him as a martyr.”
• “He who leaves his home in search of knowledge, to him Allah shows the way to paradise.”
• “Whoever seeks knowledge and finds it will get two rewards: one of them the reward for desiring it, and the other for attaining it; therefore even if he does not attain it, for him is one reward.”
DIGNITY, HONOUR AND HARMONY
In the book, “Muhammad, the Educator of Mankind,” the author, Afzalur Rahman, says: “Man rises to a higher status through knowledge, demonstrating his superiority to other creations. He wears the crown of dignity and honour through learning, enquiry and study and will lose that status if he leaves it and follows the ways of ignorance. Learning leads to virtue and power, while ignorance, to vice and degradation. Thus the basis of preference according to the Qur’an is learning. It is through learning that man proves the value of himself and also finds proof of the existence of God. In fact, he finds the whole truth and reality of the universe, the value of thought and morality and the nature and value of the forces and mysteries of nature and how to harness them and use them for his own benefit. Thus endless secrets and mysteries of nature and their uses become known to man through learning and research.”
Islam attaches great importance to the acquisition of knowledge and considers it the basis for human development and the key to the growth of civilization and harmony among peoples of the world. God says in the Qur’an: O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. (Qur’an, 49:13)
One must put lots of effort in pursuing education and acquiring knowledge for wisdom, harmony and progress. I myself have put efforts in writing numerous articles and several books for sharing of knowledge.
The following are my books, aimed at sharing knowledge on aspects of Islam with all, Muslims and non-Muslims, with my very first book, published in 1989, being “Read! – The Islamic inspiration on guidance, wisdom and progress”:
Let us make full use of Allah’s Guidance on the importance of acquiring knowledge and strive to acquire to do so, both religious and worldly knowledge. At the same time, let us also pray as taught by Allah Himself: “O my Lord! Advance me in knowledge.” (20:114)
11 November 2017