The Importance of Seeking Knowledge (From Surat Al-Fatiha)
Posted by Enlightenment into Islam Center
Surat Al-Fatihah, which we recite everyday in our prayer, teaches us that seeking knowledge is an obligation.
How can you praise Allah, saying “الحمد لله الرب العالمين”, without knowing Him and His Perfect Attributes? You need to know Allah in order for the praise to truthfully come out of your tongue.
How can you say الرحمن الرحيم while you do not know the different aspects of the Mercy of Allah? Many people do not know the difference between الرحمن and الرحيم.
When we say ‘مالك يوم الدين’, we should know Allah’s Name Al Malik and the Day of Judgement in detail.
The verse “إياك نعبد و إياك نستعين” teaches us Tawheed. We should know the different aspects of Shirk in order that our statement is truthfully recited. There are many who recite this and yet commit Shirk at the same time, because they do not know what they are saying in their prayer.
Whenever any need arises, whether it is a religious need or a worldly need, before thinking of anyone, you should first ask Allah to bring you the means of fulfillment of that need.
When Allah brings the means of the fulfillment of that need, ask Allah to benefit you of the means He brought.
And if Allah benefits you of the means, ask Allah الآخر, to give you the fruit of your action.
Allah is الصمد – He is the One who is sought during times of need. And He is الأول, the One who brings you the means and benefits you by them, and He is الآخر – The One who gives you the result of your action.
E.g. You want to plant a tree.
Ask Allah, الأول, to bring you all the means. He brings you the seed, the ground, the air, the water, the strength. So you put that seed in the ground, level it, water it, etc.
After that, ask Allah الأول to benefit you from what you did. Allah will split the seed, and the plant will grow.
Fruit will never grow unless Allah, الآخر, brings fruit out of the tree for you. Apply this to every need in your life.
Do not say “إياك نستعين” while you do not ask Allah for help in your life; relying on your own ability and strength.
Why is our “إياك نستعين” weak? The Means.
There are people who on one extreme rely on Allah without taking the means, and there are people on the other extreme who rely on the means and not Allah.
There are people whom you tell to rely on Allah, yet they say, “But, we have to take the means.” They are relying on the means more than they rely on Allah, although they may say they are متوكل على الله.
E.g. There is a helper assisting you at home or work. Qadr Allah, she left. This does not mean that as long as she is not there you are incapable of doing anything.
E.g. If a doctor leaves the country for good, people feel like there is no hope; as if Allah is not Able to cure them.
These indicate that you are relying on the means instead of Allah. We do this a lot and yet we recite “إياك نعبد و إياك نستعين”.
There are people, whom after they built a big house, were not able to enjoy their house. Because who will benefit you of that house? Allah. He is the One who brings the means, and He will benefit you from the means. Never think that the means can bring you happiness, joy, or ensure a good life for you.
The means blemish and weaken our إستعانة. How can you say “إياك نعبد و إياك نستعين” and on the other side you are planning and relying on your plans. There is nothing wrong with planning, but through every step you should be invoking Allah to bring the means, benefit you by it, and give you the results.
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
“Guide us to the Straight Way”
When you say this, you are saying, “O Allah, open the gate of knowledge for me and guidance to the straight way.”
Do you know what الصراط المستقيم is?
Do you know what the requirements of the صراط المستقيم are?
Do you know what causes a person to deviate from الصراط المستقيم?
When you say this, it is as if you are visualising this life as a journey, and all the people as travellers. The end of the journey is meeting Allah. There are many paths, and the beginning of each path looks similar. Every person claims that the path they are on leads to Allah.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“….Indeed the children of Isra’il split into seventy-two sects, and my Ummah will split into seventy-three sects. All of them are in the Fire Except one sect.” He said: “And which is it O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “What I am upon and my Companions.” [Tirmithi]
There are 73 paths, but which one leads to Allah? مَا أَنَا عَلَيْهِ وَأَصْحَابِي (What I am upon and my Companions)
In the other 72 paths there is destruction at the end, except for one way: الصراط المستقيم, which leads to Allah in the end.
When you say this verse, be truthful. You are asking Allah to open for you the gate of knowledge, with which you will see the right path, which lead to Him and His Pleasure. Ask Allah as if you are in darkness and cannot distinguish between the paths, and you need Him to rescue you.
When you ask Allah for الهداية you are asking for two types of هداية:
1) هداية الإرشاد – You want Allah to show you the right path
2) هداية التوفيق – And to make you act upon that way; what Allah loves and is pleased with.
And you are asking Allah to keep you firm on this path until the end, not to start off good until a فتنة (trial) occurs in the middle and cause you to deviate.
And you just do not want to rescue yourself, you want to take those under your guardianship as well.
You need to collect all these meanings in front of you when you say “إهدنا الصراط المستقيم”
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ
“The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace , not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).”
“أنعمت” – This is an action of Allah. No one will be guided unless Allah bestows guidance on them.
It is as if you are saying: O Allah, I know with certainty that no one can guide to the صراط المستقيم except you, so guide me.
Who are those whom Allah bestowed His grace?
Surah An-Nisa, Verse 69:
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُولَٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا
“And whoso obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqun (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr As-Siddiq), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!”
How did the Companions reach such a high status with Allah such that Allah praised them in the Qur’an and the previous books? They learned and acted upon what they learnt.
Ibn Masoud said, “We used to study 10 verses and not pass them until we acted upon it.”