The legacy of the Scholars
The Prophet ﷺ said:
وَمَنْ سَلَكَ طَرِيقًا يَلْتَمِسُ فِيهِ عِلْمًا سَهَّلَ اللَّهُ لَهُ بِهِ طَرِيقًا إلَى الْجَنَّةِ
“Whoever follows a path to seek knowledge, then Allaah will make easy for him a path to Paradise.”
This either means that Allaah will guide him to perform righteous deeds that will lead him to Paradise or that Allaah will enter him into Paradise without any trouble or difficulty.
وَإِنَّ الْمَلاَئِكَةَ لَتَضَعُ أَجْنِحَتَهَا رِضًا لِطَالِبِ الْعِلْمِ
“And indeed the Angels lower their wings in approval for the one seeking knowledge.”
The Angels either truly lower their wings expressing their appreciation for what the seeker of knowledge is doing, or they stop flying and sit to listen to the knowledge.
وَإِنَّ الْعَالِمَ لَيَسْتَغْفِرُ لَهُ مَنْ فِي السَّمَوَاتِ وَمَنْ فِي الأَرْضِ حَتَّى الْحِيتَانُ فِي الْمَاء
“Indeed forgiveness is sought for the knowledgeable one by whomever is in the heavens and whomever is in the earth, even the fish in the waters.”
We cannot enumerate the number of creatures in the heavens and the earth, and yet all of them – the ones we know and the ones we do not know, the ones we see and the ones we do not see, the ones in the heavens and the ones on the earth and the ones in the depths of the sea and in the air and on other planets – all seek Allaah’s forgiveness for the seeker of knowledge. This is an honor for the knowledgeable person.
وَفَضْلُ الْعَالِمِ عَلَى الْعَابِدِ كَفَضْلِ الْقَمَرِ عَلَى سَائِرِ الْكَوَاكِبِ
“And superiority of the scholar over the worshiper is like the superiority of the moon over the rest of the celestial bodies.”
The moon enlightens the entire earth, whereas the stars do not enlighten the earth; they just enlighten themselves or the place they are in. The benefit of the Scholar reaches everyone, just like the superiority of the moon to the stars.
إِنَّ الْعُلَمَاءَ وَرَثَةُ الأَنْبِيَاءِ إِنَّ الأَنْبِيَاءَ لَمْ يُوَرِّثُوا دِينَارًا وَلاَ دِرْهَمًا إِنَّمَا وَرَّثُوا الْعِلْمَ فَمَنْ أَخَذَ بِهِ أَخَذَ بِحَظٍّ وَافِرٍ
“Indeed the scholars are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets do not leave behind Dinar or Dirham. The only legacy of the Scholars is knowledge, so whoever takes from it, then he has indeed taken the most able share.” [At-Tirmidhi]
There is a story related to the narration of this Hadeeth:
عَنْ قَيْسِ بْنِ كَثِيرٍ، قَالَ قَدِمَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الْمَدِينَةِ عَلَى أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ وَهُوَ بِدِمَشْقَ فَقَالَ مَا أَقْدَمَكَ يَا أَخِي فَقَالَ حَدِيثٌ بَلَغَنِي أَنَّكَ تُحَدِّثُهُ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ أَمَا جِئْتَ لِحَاجَةٍ قَالَ لاَ . قَالَ أَمَا قَدِمْتَ لِتِجَارَةٍ قَالَ لاَ . قَالَ مَا جِئْتَ إِلاَّ فِي طَلَبِ هَذَا الْحَدِيثِ قَالَ فَإِنِّي سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ….
Qais ibn Kathir narrated: “A man from Al-Madinah came to Abu Ad-Dardaa when he was in Dimashq. So he said: ‘What brings you O my nephew?’ He replied: ‘A Hadeeth reached me which you have narrated from the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ).’ He said: ‘You did not come for some need?’ He said: ‘No.’ He said: ‘Did you come for trade?’ He said: ‘No, I did not come except seeking this Hadeeth.’ So he said: ‘Indeed, I heard the Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) saying…..”
When Abu Ad-Dardaa (رضي الله عنه) was sure that the man had only travelled from Madinah to Damascus for that Hadeeth, he mentioned the aforementioned Hadeeth. This teaches us that whoever seeks beneficial knowledge purely for Allaah’s sake, what is mentioned in the Hadeeth will be his reward. This man travelled in search of one Hadeeth.
If you attend a class or a lecture having this intention in your heart; to remove ignorance from yourself, to remove it from others, to protect the Religion from being forgotten, to defend and support the Religion, then this will be your reward.
Seeking knowledge is an عبادة [Ibaadah (act of worship)]; thus, we are required to have a pure intention. And the most important knowledge one should focus on, especially if he is in the beginning of his journey, is knowledge about Allaah. When a person knows Allaah very well, he will become content. This knowledge will help him overcome all the spiritual sicknesses that he has and his soul will be reformed.