Means which will aid a person in Seeking Knowledge (Part 5)
Shaikh Bakr Abu Zayd (رحمه الله) stated means in his book ‘حلية طالب العلم‘ (Hilyat Talibul-‘Ilm) that will aid the student of knowledge if he adheres to it.
The first means is to adhere to the Path of the Pious Predecessors explained in part 4 of this series.
Advice No.2 –
Adhere to the Fear of Allaah – ملازمة خشية الله تعالى
In the English language, fear is one word. However, in Arabic, there are different words for fear, such as خشية (Khashyah), رهبة (Rahbah), خوف (Khawf), وجل (Wajal) – and each term has a unique meaning. The most important kind of fear which the student of knowledge should be attributed with is خشية (Khashyah).
The student of knowledge should adorn himself inwardly and outwardly with خشية الله (the fear of Allaah) by maintaining the rites of Islam and manifesting the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ . He should spread it by implementing it and calling to it. He should lead the way to Allaah by his knowledge, manners, and actions whilst adorning himself with masculinity (or femininity), leniency, and pious conduct.
People will notice how he behaves, sits, talks and deals with others. Even if he does not command the people directly, he can make Da’wah by his actions. If he meets an ignorant person, he should be lenient and gentle in calling him to Islam.
And the King of all that is Khashyah of Allaah. Therefore Imam Ahmad (رحمه الله) said: “The foundation of knowledge is fear of Allaah.”
Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (رحمه الله) commented on the above quotes:
الخشية هي الخوف المبني على العلم و التعظيم
خشية (Khashyah) is fear based on العلم (Knowledge) and التعظيم (Magnification).
The ignorant one who is fearful does not have خشية (Khashyah). Allaah says in Surat al-Faatir [35:28]:
“And of men and Ad-Dawab (moving living creatures, beasts, etc.), and cattle, in like manner of various colors. It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is All-Mighty, Oft-Forgiving.”
The more you increase in knowledge about Allaah, the more you will obey Allaah.
Adhere to the fear of Allaah secretly and openly, for verily the best of creation are those who fear Allaah, and none fear Him except the knowledgeable, therefore the best of creation are the knowledgeable. And it is not hidden from the mind that the knowledgeable person is not considered knowledgeable unless he acts upon his knowledge, and he will not act upon his knowledge unless he adheres to the fear of Allaah.
If you are alone in your room, what prevents you from not acting upon a Sunnah or a recommended act? It is your fear of Allaah; that Allaah taught you and you are not acting upon it, whilst you are encouraging others to do it.
This also applies to the feelings in our hearts; one feels afraid because he has a bad feeling towards someone in his heart. He knows that Allaah knows what is in his heart, so this makes him unhappy.
In Surat al-Bayyinah [98:7-8]:
“Verily, those who believe [in the Oneness of Allaah, and in His Messenger Muhammad ﷺ including all obligations ordered by Islam] and do righteous good deeds, they are the best of creatures.”
“Their reward with their Lord is ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (Gardens of Eternity), underneath which rivers flow, they will abide therein forever, Allaah being well-pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord.”
Who is that reward for? ذالك لمن خشية ربه – That is for him who fears his Lord.”
This is what made him خير البرية (the best of creatures).
Only the knowledgeable person fears Allaah and the best of creatures after the Prophets are the Scholars. The Scholar will not be considered a Scholar unless he first acts upon his knowledge, and he will not act upon what he knows unless he fears Allaah.
‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (رضي الله عنه) said:
هتف العلم بالعمل فإن أجابه و إلا ارتحل
“Knowledge calls for action. If it answers, (that is good), otherwise it will leave him.”
Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (رحمه الله) said:
قول المصنف: “لا يعد عالما” يعني، عالما ربانيا، و أما كونه عالما ضد الجاهل فهذا صحيح…..لكن العالم الذي يعمل بعلمه هو العالم الرباني، لأنه يربي نفسه أولا، ثم يربي غيره ثانيا
The authors said: “He will not be considered a knowledgeable person” means he will not be considered as someone who is ‘Aalim Rabbany. To say that a knowledgeable person is the opposite of an ignorant person is correct. However, a knowledgeable person that acts upon his knowledge is an ‘Aalim Rabbany, because he firstly nurtures himself, then secondly nurtures others.
The ‘Aalim Rabbany عالم رباني is someone that teaches the people, educates them, and advises them after he has acted upon it himself.
Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (رحمه الله) said:
لابد من العمل بما علم لأنه إذا لم يعمل بعلمه صار من أول من تسعر بهم النار يوم القيامة
One should act upon His knowledge. If he does not act upon his knowledge, he will be one of the first three to be thrown into the Hellfire on the Day of Judgment.
فإذا لم يعمل بعلمه أورث الفشل في العلم و عدم البركة و نسيان العلم
If he does not act upon his knowledge, it will cause his knowledge to fizzle out, there will be lack of blessings in it, and it will be forgotten.
This is based on the verse in Surat al-Maa’idah [5:13]:
“So because of their breach of their covenant, We cursed them, and made their hearts grow hard. They change the words from their (right) places and have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them. And you will not cease to discover deceit in them, except a few of them. But forgive them, and overlook (their misdeeds). Verily, Allaah loves Al-Muhsinun (good-doers).”
In verse 12, Allaah mentions the covenant He took from Bani Israeel (Children of Israel). Bani Israeel had knowledge, but they broke the covenant with Allaah, meaning they did not act upon the knowledge Allaah taught them.
What was the result of that?
1) لعناهم – We cursed them
2) جعل قلوبهم قاسية – Made their hearts grow hard
Their hearts were hardened such that no admonition would affect them. Because of that they would change the words of Allaah, without having any fear of Allaah.
3) و نسوا حظ مما ذكر – And they forgot a good part of the message that was sent to them
There are two kinds of forgetfulness:
a) نسيان ذهنيا – To mentally forget
b) نسيان عملي – To forget to act upon it
Both happened to Bani Israeel. They forgot the knowledge and they forgot to act upon it.
If one acts upon what he learns, Allaah will increase him in knowledge.
A person who forgets is like a person who learns to perform Wudu’ according to the Sunnah. If he goes home and does not act upon what he learned, he will forget it. But if he acts upon it daily, he will never forget it. It will become a part of his life, and Allaah will increase him more in knowledge, because he acted upon it. Ask Allaah to help you act upon what you learn and to not make the knowledge a plea against you.
Bakr Abu Zayd and Ibn ‘Uthaimeen (رحمهما الله) have now passed away, but this is the inheritance they leave behind. They are in their graves and are benefitting from what we are learning.