Home Faqihul Ummah Mawa`iz (Discourses) Discourse 27 - The Status of Knowledge

Discourse 27 - The Status of Knowledge

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الحمد لله وكفى وسلام على عباده الذين اصطفى أما بعد أعوذ بالله من الشيطن الرجيم بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“Say [O Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)]. Are those who have knowledge and those bereft of it, equal?” (az-Zumar: 9)

Is it possible for those whom Allah Ta‘ala has blessed with knowledge to be equal to those who are devoid of it? This is not possible, just as a wealthy and affluent person is not equal in rank to a pauper. The wealthy person possesses the capacity to assist the poor, destitute and orphans, as well as funding various madrasah and musjid projects. In contrast, the pauper does not even have sufficient wealth to fulfil his own needs, let alone assist another needy person!

In a similar vein, a member of parliament cannot be equal to an ordinary citizen nor can the king of a country be equal to his subject. Accordingly, a learned person cannot be equal to one who does not possess 'ilm (knowledge) because, just as the wealthy person has the capability to assist others, the learned person also assists others by imparting 'ilm to them. This can be achieved by teaching the Quraan, hadeeth or fiqh to them. The learned ones guide mankind to the straight path and prevent them from committing sins. Therefore, never can these two disparate parties ever be equal. Their difference is like the difference between the earth and the skies!

Can one who walks on an unfamiliar path durig the still of the night clutching a light in his hand be compared to one walking the same, unfamiliar path without a light? The one clutching the light will be able to avoid all the obstacles and dangers encountered along the path – for example, potholes, protruding objects, dogs, snakes, etc. – whereas the one walking without the light is in danger of either falling into a pothole, tripping over a stone, being bitten by a snake or simply falling into a heap of filth.

There is a vast contrast between these two classes of people. Alhamdulillah, through the grace of Allah Ta‘ala, a madrasah has been established in this locality and the special noor (spiritual effulgence) of Allah Ta‘ala is descending on this community. It is the incumbent duty of every person, young and old, in this locality to take benefit from this light. This special light can be attributed to the light of the sun. Just as the rays of the sun illuminates and clarifies everything, this light enables us to clarify and understand the laws of Allah Ta‘ala. We understand clearly what is halaal and what is haraam; those avenues leading us to the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala and those incurring His wrath and displeasure. An added benefit of this light is that we will be able to distinguish between the life of this world and that of the hereafter.

Result of educating ourselves

In the madrasah, by educating ourselves with deeni masaa’il, we will learn how to perform our salaah correctly, learn the faraa’idh of salaah, the wajibaat of salaah; which actions are sunnat, which are mustahab, which are makrooh and which actions nullify the salaah.

The correct pronunciation of every letter in the Quraan Shareef, which was revealed over a period of 23 years, is also taught in the madrasah together with the manner in which it was recited by Nabi  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) himself.

The way that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) led his life, the way that he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) spent every moment of his time, the manner in which Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) interacted with family and friends or strangers, the way that he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) fought in jihad, the way that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) performed his ibaadat; in fact, every facet of Nabi’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) life is taught in the madrasah.

The madrasah is one of the defining factor that distinguishes us Muslims from the animal kingdom, for if we were uneducated in matters of deen, then what will be the difference between us and them? Our daily activities would revolve merely around eating, drinking and procreating! Thus, that unfortunate individual who does not derive benefit from this spiritual light, is like that animal which merely wanders around from point to point without recognising its Creator and not understanding the purpose for which Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was sent in this world.

If he is questioned about the battles of Uhud and Badr, what was Nabi’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) condition in these battles, how many Sahaabah (radhiyallahu 'anhum) participated in these battles, how many were martyred, etc.; he will have a blank expression on his face. This unfortunate soul will be unacquainted with masaa’il such as parents’ rights, children’s rights, rights of spouses, rights of neighbours, how to conduct business or earn a living, etc. Therefore, it is a truly magnanimous favour of Allah Ta‘ala that he has established a madrasah in this locality.

Allah Ta‘ala has also dispatched to this locality people of 'ilm who are sacrificing their time and effort for the benefit of deen. May Allah Ta‘ala increase their efforts, may Allah Ta‘ala accept their work, may Allah Ta‘ala grant them the taufeeq to work with sincerity, may Allah Ta‘ala increase them in their determination and courage and may Allah Ta‘ala grant them success and the attainment of His divine pleasure. Aameen.

Duty of the residents residing around the​ madrasah

The residents of this locality and those from the surrounding areas are duty bound to come and seek 'ilm from this madrasah and gain proximity to Allah Ta‘ala. The mubaarak life of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) will be explained, helping us to differentiate between the correct and incorrect actions. When Allah Ta‘ala created Aadam ('alaihis salaam), a madrasah was also established. Allah Ta‘ala was the ustaad and Aadam ('alaihis salaam) the student.

وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا

“And He taught Aadam (u) the names of everything.” (al-Baqarah: 31)

Thereafter, Aadam’s ('alaihis salaam) examination was taken by testing his 'ilm against that of the angels and Allah Ta‘ala made Aadam ('alaihis salaam) successful in his examination.

The importance and virtue of a madrasah can be gauged from the action of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). When Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) migrated from Makkah to Madinah, he first erected a musjid and in the musjid, a section was reserved for a group of Sahaabah (radhiyallahu 'anhum) who spent the entire day acquiring 'ilm. They would eat and sleep in that reserved section as well. If a Sahaabi owned a date orchard, he would hang a bunch of dates in the musjid and these Sahaabah, engaged in acquiring 'ilm, would partake from this bunch whenever they were hungry. This was their arrangement for meals. Allah Ta‘ala thereafter blessed them with such acceptance that until the Day of Qiyaamah, none will surpass them in excellence and virtue.

“I was sent as a teacher”

Once, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) entered the musjid and observed two groups of Sahaabah (radhiyallahu 'anhum). One group was engaged in nafl salaah, ibaadat, zikr, du'aa, etc., while the second group was engaged in learning and imparting deen. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) praised both groups and then said,

إنما بعثت معلّما

“I have been sent as a teacher.”

He then sat in the company of the second group. After the demise of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) once went to the market and announced: “O people! You are engaged in trade and business while the estate of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is being distributed in Musjid-un-Nabawi.”

The people hastened to the musjid and found a few people discussing deeni masaa’il.

“Where is the estate of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) being distributed?” they asked, astonished.

Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) pointed to the gathering and said: “That is the estate of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Nabi’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) estate and inheritance is 'ilm.”

'Ilm is the legacy of the Ambiyaa ('alaihimus salaam). Those who make the sacrifice and go out to seek 'ilm are the guests of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and Allah Ta‘ala ensures that these guests receive the inheritance of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam); 'ilm.

The significance of the Quraan

A Muslim enjoys a very lofty status in the eyes of Allah Ta‘ala. May Allah Ta‘ala grant us sincerity in our actions. The status of a Muslim has been expounded in the Quraan 14 centuries ago. He can challenge the world in the words of the Quraan, which declares:

وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا شُهَدَاءَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

“And if you are in doubt regarding that which We had revealed to Our slave, produce then a Surah which equals [a Surah of the Quraan], and call upon your helpers besides Allah Ta‘ala [to assist you] if you are true.” (al-Baqarah: 23)

The entire world can contrive to produce a single surah, but they will fail dismally. Hence, any Muslim can boldly and courageously stand up and declare that no one can reproduce a single surah of the Quraan. The honour of memorising and reading the Quraan, which was revealed by Allah Ta‘ala to His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), has been conferred only upon a Muslim who also recites these aayat of the Quraan in namaaz and out of namaaz.

It is recorded in the hadeeth that the malaa’ikah seek out the gatherings where the Quraan is being recited and, when they discover such gatherings, they summon other malaa’ikah to join them. Recitation of the Quraan is such a bounty of Allah Ta‘ala that the very malaa’ikah who conveyed the wahi to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) were only allowed to recite those verses at that specific point in time. They are not allowed to recite the Quraan whenever they desire. This exclusivity of reciting the Quraan whenever one desires is the sole right of a Muslim only.

The blessings of the Quraan are such that one receives 10 rewards for every letter recited. It is recorded in the hadeeth that whoever recites Surah Ikhlaas once will receive the reward of reciting one third of the Quraan; whoever recites Surah Faatihah once will receive the reward of reciting two thirds of the Quraan, and whoever recited Surah Yaseen once will receive the reward of reciting the entire Quraan 10 times.

The recitation of the Quraan is indeed a great boon and favour of Allah Ta‘ala as well as a source of untold treasures. The divine scriptures of the previous nations have been terminated. Neither can the Tauraah, nor the Injeel, nor the Zaboor be found in its pristine state. The present books have been altered and distorted. This is the fundamental reason why a ‘hafiz’ of the previous books does not exist and one cannot refer to any type of commentary for these kitaabs. The Quraan, however, remains intact in its original condition as revealed 1400 years ago. Every surah, every word and every letter of the Quraan is protected.

Muslims read it, memorise it, teach it to others and enlighten their lives by practically acting upon its injunctions. Whoever memorises the Quraan has indeed performed a very praiseworthy act. I have been informed that a few children, boys and girls, from this locality have become huffaaz. Masha-Allah! May Allah Ta‘ala bestow His special blessings upon them and may the noor and barkat of the Quraan enlighten their hearts and tongues and may Allah Ta‘ala grant them the taufeeq to constantly read it and teach it to others.

It is mandatory upon us to express our gratitude and appreciation for this great boon showered upon us by Allah Ta‘ala – the madrasah. And the manner of expressing our gratitude is by assisting the madrasah in any way possible. We should encourage our children to attend the madrasah and take an active interest in their studies. Find out what they have learnt, what is their sabaq (lesson) for tomorrow, how many lessons are they taught daily, etc., so that the importance of the madrasah will become entrenched firstly in our hearts and that of our children. If we do not have children, then encourage our relatives, friends and neighbours to send their children to the madrasah and, if we are unable to even do this, then simply make du`aa for the benefit of the madrasah.

Also, we should not be duped into believing that the age of learning is only during our youth. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was 40 years old when he received the first revelation and most of the Sahaabah y were middle aged at the advent of Islam and memorised the Quraan at that age. When Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) memorised Surah Baqarah, he was so elated that he slaughtered a camel and distributed its meat among his relatives and the poor and needy.

Today, we are fortunate that the entire Quraan has been compiled and made easily available for us to read. Thus, we have to value this favour of Allah Ta‘ala upon us.

This Quraan is also the 'ilm of nubuwwat (prophethood). The status and position of a Muslim is not judged by his wealth, material possessions, etc., but by the 'ilm of nubuwwat – by acquiring the knowledge of deen. The more a Muslim acquires this treasure, the more fortunate will he be and the greater will his position be in the sight of Allah Ta‘ala. May Allah Ta‘ala bless us with the correct taufeeq. Aameen.

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