The Description of the Seeker of Knowledge
Muhammad Ibn AbdulWahhab رحمه الله began his book Al Qawaa’id Al-Arba’a with the following Du’aa’ and Sheikh Salih Al Fawzan explained it. From it, we can deduce the description of the student of knowledge:
“I ask Allah, the Most Generous, Lord of the great Throne to take care of (protect) you in this world and the hereafter. And (I ask Allah) to make you blessed wherever you are. And (I ask Allah) to make you of those who are grateful when provided, patient when tested, and of those who repent when they fall into a sin, for these three issues are the core of happiness.”
◊”I ask Allah, the Most Generous, Lord of the great Throne to take care of (protect) you in this world and the hereafter.”
The introduction contains a supplication by the Sheikh for every student who studies ‘Aqeedah in order to reach the truth, while refraining from every type of disobedience. This is the true student of knowledge, who is deserving of Allah taking care of him in this world and the hereafter. When Allah takes care of him, it is impossible for misguidance to reach him, neither in his religion nor worldly affairs.
Surah Baqarah Verse 257:
اللَّهُ وَلِيُّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا يُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا أَوْلِيَاؤُهُمُ الطَّاغُوتُ يُخْرِجُونَهُم مِّنَ النُّورِ إِلَى الظُّلُمَاتِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ ۖ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ
Allah is the Waliy (Protector or Guardian) of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Auliya’ (supporters and helpers) are Taghut [false deities and false leaders, etc.], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever.
When Allah takes the believer into His Wilayah, He will take him out of the darkness of disbelief, ignorance and sins, into the light of belief, righteousness and knowledge.
Surah Muhammad Verse 11:
ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلَى الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَأَنَّ الْكَافِرِينَ لَا مَوْلَىٰ لَهُمْ
That is because Allah is the Maula (Lord, Master, Helper, Protector, etc.) of those who believe, and the disbelievers have no Maula (lord, master, helper, protector, etc.).
If Allah is the Waliy of a person, He will guide him to every good in this world, in his worldly and religious affairs. And in the hereafter, Allah will guide him to Paradise.
Of this guidance to good is guidance to the right Manhaj in this Dunya.
◊”And (I ask Allah) to make you blessed wherever you are.”
The Student of Knowledge is a blessed person wherever he goes. Allah blesses him in his life, knowledge, work and offspring.
Allah increases his knowledge and wherever he goes he teaches people whatever he knows, especially about Allah.
The blessed person is not the one you touch and get blessings from; the blessed person is the one whom regardless of where you put him, he benefits the people.
◊”And (I ask Allah) to make you of those who are grateful when provided.”
The Student of Knowledge is a grateful person. He is thankful for whatever Allah gives him of blessings, even if it is little. He is not greedy and is satisfied with whatever Allah has given him of blessings.
The student of knowledge is عبدا شكورا. He uses whatever he has of blessings in obedience to Allah.
Allah mentioned in the Qur’an that if you give thanks, He will give you more of His blessings.
Surat Ibrahim Verse 7:
وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.
◊”Patient when tested”
Whenever the student of knowledge is afflicted with any affliction, he shows patience. Allah tests His Slaves; this is the Sunnah of Allah. He tests His believing slaves with hardship, calamities, enemies, hypocrites; with different kinds of tests. What is required from the believer, and particularly the student of knowledge, is to:
1) Show patience
2) Be optimistic; have hope in Allah and wait for relief from Him.
3) To not despair of the Mercy of Allah
4) To remain steady and firm on the right path; to not waver or surrender to calamities.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“Verily, with greater rewards come greater trials. Verily, when Allah loves a people he will test them, so whoever is pleased then for him is satisfaction, and whoever is angry then for him is wrath.”
The Prophets and Messengers are those mostly tested by Allah. Then those who come next in faith to them: the righteous people and the believers.
Mus’ab ibn Sa’eed reported: His father asked, “O Messenger of Allah, which people are tested most severely?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “They are the prophets, then the next best, then the next best. A man is tried according to his religion. If he is firm in his religion, then his trials will be more severe. If he is weak in his religion, then he is tried according to his strength in religion. The servant will continue to be tried until he is left walking upon the earth without any sin.”
The higher a person’s faith, the more Allah tests him. This does not indicate that Allah hates the person. The student of knowledge knows this fact so he is always optimistic and hopes for relief. He says that if the relief will not come today, then tomorrow, and if not tomorrow, then the day after. He does nor surrender to the calamity, like the hypocrite in Surat Al-Hajj Verse 11:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ حَرْفٍ ۖ فَإِنْ أَصَابَهُ خَيْرٌ اطْمَأَنَّ بِهِ ۖ وَإِنْ أَصَابَتْهُ فِتْنَةٌ انقَلَبَ عَلَىٰ وَجْهِهِ خَسِرَ الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةَ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْخُسْرَانُ الْمُبِينُ
“And among mankind is he who worships Allah as it were, upon the very edge (i.e. in doubt); if good befalls him, he is content therewith; but if a trial befalls him, he turns back on his face (i.e. reverts back to disbelief after embracing Islam). He loses both this world and the Hereafter. That is the evident loss.
This Dunya is not always comfort and happiness. There is sometimes distress. Allah made the state of the Dunya like this in order to test our patience at times of adversity and gratitude at times of prosperity.
◊”and of those who repent when they fall into a sin”
If the Student of Knowledge commits a sin, he immediately asks Allah for forgiveness. He does not lose hope in Allah unlike a person who sins continuously without asking forgiveness. This person is a شقي; a wretched miserable person.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
كُلُّ بَنِي آدَمَ خَطَّاءٌ وَخَيْرُ الْخَطَّائِينَ التَّوَّابُون
“Every son of Adam commits sin, and the best of those who commit sin are those who repent.’”
This is the state of the true student of knowledge and believer, as Allah mentioned in Surah Aal-Imran 135, regarding the believers who will enter Paradise:
وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse etc.) or wronged themselves with evil, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; – and none can forgive sins but Allah – And do not persist in what (wrong) they have done, while they know.
And in Surat An-Nisa Verse 17:
إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا
The repentance accepted by Allah is only for those who do wrong in ignorance [or carelessness] and then repent soon after. It is those to whom Allah will turn in forgiveness, and Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.
جهالة is not ignorance. The student of knowledge is knowledgeable, but as Sheikh Fawzan mentioned in his commentary, has lack of forbearance, deliberation and intellect when he commits the sin. He is hasty and does not think before he takes the wrong action.
If the person commits sins and does not repent, he is a wretched a person who is afflicted with misery.
◊”For these three issues are the core of happiness”
These three descriptions are the core of happiness:
- Being thankful when given
- Patient when afflicted
- Repentant when sinning
Whoever is given all these three characteristics has achieved happiness, and whoever is deprived of all three or one of them is an unhappy person.
Shaikh Muhammad Ibn ‘Abdul Wahhab always prayed for his students in his books. We should pray for our students.