The Intention of the Seeker of Knowledge
Sheikh AbdulRazaq Al Badr advised the Students of Knowledge saying:
Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله stated:
“(There) is nothing equal to knowledge, for the one who makes his intention correct (i.e. sincere).”
[Aadaab Ash-Sharee’ah’ 2/45, by Ibn Muflih رحمه الله]
Acquiring knowledge, like any other action, requires a good intention; it requires sincerity. And just like any other action – it may be directed to the wrong gate by the person having different intentions like seeking knowledge for the sake of fame or just for the sake of associating with people.
These intentions corrupt seeking knowledge, which is a very noble act with Allah.
Seeking Knowledge will not be in the cause of Allah (في سبيل الله) except if the intention is purely for Allah.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“إِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّةِ وَإِنَّمَا لاِمْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى”
“Actions are but by intentions, and each person will have but that which he intended” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Bukhari رحمه الله began his Saheeh with this Hadith, to emphasize that whatever is going to be mentioned of Ahaadith after that is all dependent on the intention of the person. The intention must be purely for Allah’s sake alone.
We need to renew our intention; especially if we regularly attend the classes. Do not allow this act of worship to become a mere habit.
Some of the Salaf used to say there is nothing like acquiring knowledge for drawing closer to Allah.
It will become an act which brings you closer to Allah when it is done purely for His sake.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
” مَنْ سَلَكَ طَرِيقًا يَلْتَمِسُ فِيهِ عِلْمًا سَهَّلَ اللَّهُ لَهُ طَرِيقًا إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ ”
“Whoever takes a path upon which to obtain knowledge, Allah makes the path to Paradise easy for him.” [Tirmidthi]
Allah only makes the path to Paradise easy for the Seeker of Knowledge.
Your writing down of the notes, your memorizing, your coming to class and listening are all acts by which you are being drawn closer to Allah – As long as your intention is purely for Allah.
Allah will not accept any deed except if it is done purely for His sake.
Surat Al-Bayyinah Verse 5:
وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ
“And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him), and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat: and that is the right religion.”
Surat Az Zumar Verse 3:
أَلَا لِلَّهِ الدِّينُ الْخَالِصُ ۚ
“Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allah only.”
Renew your intention every time you come out of your house. Ask yourself why you are coming to class.
There are some Students of Knowledge whom Allah had granted knowledge and they know the way which pleases Allah but are very weak in adopting that way.
They might have knowledge but are slow in acting upon it or they don’t have high resolutions in performing the acts of worship.
They might know the sicknesses of the heart and their cures, but they don’t seek the cures.
They may advise people to take the right way, while they themselves are not upon it and this is the state of most of the Students of Knowledge nowadays.
Ibn AlQayyim said regarding the person who is a Student of Knowledge yet ignorant:
“يبصر الحقائق ولا يعمل بموجبها”
He sees the facts but he does not act according to it.
“ويرى المَتَالِف والمَخَاوف والمعاطب ولا يتوَقَّها ”
He sees the causes of destruction, failure, fear, but he does not avoid them.
“فهو فقيهٌ ما لم يحضر العمل، فإذا حضر العمل شارك الجهال في التخلف وفارقهم في العلم”
He is a Faqeeh as long as there is no action to be performed, but when there is action required from him he shares with the ignorant their opposition and separation from knowledge.
“وهذا هو الغالب على اكثر النفوس المشتغلة بالعلم، والمعصوم من عصمه الله ولا قوة إلا بالله”
And this is the case of most of those who are occupied with knowledge, and thee protected one is he whom Allah has proteected. And there is no power except with Allah.
[كتاب طريق الهجرتين و باب السعادتي]
Bear in mind, O Student of Knowledge, that you will be asked about your Knowledge on the Day of Judgement.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“لاَ تَزُولُ قَدَمَا عَبْدٍ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ حَتَّى يُسْأَلَ عَنْ عُمْرِهِ فِيمَا أَفْنَاهُ وَعَنْ عِلْمِهِ فِيمَا فَعَلَ وَعَنْ مَالِهِ مِنْ أَيْنَ اكْتَسَبَهُ وَفِيمَا أَنْفَقَهُ وَعَنْ جِسْمِهِ فِيمَا أَبْلاَهُ ”
The feet of the slave of Allah shall not move [on the Day of Judgement] until he is asked about:
1) His life and what he did with it,
2) His knowledge and what he did with it
3) His wealth and how he earned it
4) and what he spent it on,
5) His body and for what did he wear it out.” [Tirmithi]
Abu Dardaa used to say,
“And I don’t fear that it will be said to me, “O’ ‘Uwaymir (Abud Dardā’ himself) what did you learn?” Rather I fear that it will be said to me, “O’ ‘Uwaymir what have you done with what you learnt?”
In another Hadith graded weak by Al-Albani but whose meaning is correct:
عن أبي الدرداء قال قال لي رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ” كيف أنت يا عويمر إذا قيل لك يوم القيامة أعلِمت أم جهِِلْت ؟ فإن قلت: علِمت. قيل لك: فماذا عملت فيما تعلَّمت ؟ وإن قلت: جهلت. قيل لك: فما كان عذرك فيما جهلت ألا تعلَّمت “.
It was narrated by Abu Dardaa that the Prophet ﷺ said to him, “How will you be O Abu Uwaymir, if it is said to you on the Day of Judgement: Did you learn or were you ignorant? If you say you learnt, it will be said to you: What did you do with what you learnt? If you say you were ignorant, it will be said to you: So what is your excuse for being ignorant, why did you not learn?”
There are some people who may not have much knowledge but you see them more diligent and enthusiastic in doing good deeds and more fearful to Allah than us.
Al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi said:
I advise you O seeker of knowledge to have a sincere and pure intention in your search for knowledge, and that you exert yourself in acting upon what it mandates (from action). This is since knowledge is a tree and action is its fruit. And one can never be considered knowledgeable so long as he doesn’t act upon what he knows.
So do not feel satisfied with actions so long as you are lacking in knowledge, nor feel satisfied with knowledge so long as you fall short in producing actions. Rather, combine between them both, even if your share of the two is small. So a little of this (knowledge) along with a little of that (action) is what is most likely to save you in the end, when Allaah bestows His mercy upon His servant and completes His favour upon him.
[Iqtidaa-ul- ‘Ilm al- ‘Amal (Knowledge Mandates Action)]
When you learn with the intention of acting you enjoy seeking knowledge. But when you do not, you will get bored of seeking knowledge and become busy with other things.
Ibn Uthaymeen رحمه الله said, “He is not considered a Faqeeh unless he acts upon his knowledge.”
Sheikh AbdulRazaq AlBadr said, “Seeking knowledge has no holiday.”
This is the state of the true student of knowledge; he seeks knowledge all the time.
Ask yourself why you are seeking knowledge. Do so in order to act upon it. And when you act upon it you will attain salvation in this world and the next; you will be saved from all types of evil in this world and the next.