The Importance of Knowledge and Correct Belief
The Importance of Knowledge
The status of knowledge is not hidden in our Religion. It is the basis. Neither the Shari’ah nor one’s servitude to Allaah, which is the purpose behind our existence in life, will be fulfilled without it. Allaah says in Surah Muhammad [47:19]:
فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ
“So know [O Muhammad (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)] that La ilaha illa-Allaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah), and ask forgiveness for your sin.”
Allaah first commands the Prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to know, then to act.
The Prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to say every morning after the Fajr prayer:
O Allaah, I ask You for beneficial knowledge, goodly provision and acceptable deeds.
[Sunan Ibn Majah]
He (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) asked for beneficial knowledge before goodly provision and acceptable deeds. This is because without beneficial knowledge, one will not be able to distinguish the lawful provision from the unlawful provision, nor the righteous action from the unrighteous action. Action is the fruit of knowledge; therefore, whenever you acquire knowledge it should not be just to learn, but to learn in order to act. Knowledge is a light for its companion. The example of the learned person is like the example of a group of people who are in complete darkness. Amongst them is a person who is carrying a lamp, showing them the way, protecting them from stumbling, and protecting them from the dangers and harms of the road, until they reach their destination.
There are many texts in the Qur’an and Sunnah which emphasize the virtue of knowledge and its nobility.
In Surah Aal-‘Imran [3:18], Allaah connects His testimony with the testimony of the learned people:
شَهِدَ اللَّهُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ وَأُولُو الْعِلْمِ قَائِمًا بِالْقِسْطِ ۚ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
“Allaah bears witness that La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He is always) maintaining His creation in Justice. La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.”
And He says in Surah Az-Zumar [39:9]:
قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Say: “Are those who know equal to those who know not?”
And in Surah Al-Mujadalah [58:11]:
يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ ۚ
“Allaah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge.”
Abu Umamah (رضي الله عنه) narrated that Allaah’s Messenger (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“The superiority of the scholar over the worshiper is like my superiority over the least of you.’ Then the Messenger of Allaah (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘Indeed Allaah, His Angels, the inhabitants of the heavens and the earths – even the ant in his hole, even the fish – say Salat upon the one who teaches the people to do good.'”
[At-Tirmidhi no. 2685]
The teacher of good is not just someone who sits in front of the people and teaches. It could be a woman in her house who teaches her children or neighbors. It could be a person who sends a verse or Hadeeth on social media. Even if you teach one person you could be included in this Hadeeth.
The Prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said in a Hadeeth: Allaah makes the way to Jannah easy for him who treads the path in search of knowledge. [Muslim]
And he (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: No one leaves their house in search of knowledge but that angels will lower their wings in approval of what he is doing. [Sunan Ibn Majah]
And he (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: If Allaah intends goodness for someone, he gives him understanding of the religion. [Agreed Upon]
This is a conditional sentence with an indefinite noun خيرا (khair). This is indicative of the great amount of good one will obtain from understanding the Religion of Allaah. The entry of the Muslim into the path of knowledge is thus a sign that Allaah wills good for him. Allaah chose him from amongst all the people to come and learn.
Ibn Al-Qayyim (رحمه الله) said that it does not just entail that Allaah makes him understand knowledge; but to understand knowledge and act upon it, because there is no good in mere knowledge.
The Importance of having Correct Belief
Allaah says in Surah Al-‘Adiyaat [100:9-11]:
أَفَلَا يَعْلَمُ إِذَا بُعْثِرَ مَا فِي الْقُبُورِ
“Knows he not that when the contents of the graves are brought out and poured forth (all mankind is resurrected).”
وَحُصِّلَ مَا فِي الصُّدُورِ
“And that which is in the breasts (of men) shall be made known.”
إِنَّ رَبَّهُم بِهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ لَّخَبِيرٌ
“Verily, that Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) their Lord will be Well-Acquainted with them (as to their deeds), (and will reward them for their deeds).”
The word حصالة means collecting box. Throughout a person’s life, he makes deposits into his collection box i.e. his heart, and on the Day of Judgment it will be brought forth. A person collects two things:
1) His belief (Aqeedah)
2) The actions of his heart
Thus, we are responsible for what we collect in our hearts.
Allaah describes those whose scales will be heavy on the Day of Judgment and those whose scales will be light. It is all dependent on what is in their hearts.
Allaah says in Surah Al-Baqarah [2:165]:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَندَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّهِ ۖ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّهِ ۗ
“And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allaah as rivals (to Allaah). They love them as they love Allaah. But those who believe, love Allaah more (than anything else).”
Allaah mentioned that the polytheists commit Shirk with love. They love the partners they associate with Allaah more or equal to the love of Allaah. As for the believers, they love Allaah the most. The place of love is in the heart.
The believers are distinguished with this great love of Allaah in their hearts. What did they do in this life that made them love Allaah greatly? Their faith was correct in their hearts. Whenever they saw the impacts of Allaah’s Attributes around them, it made their Aqeedah correct and thus increased their love of Allaah. This love consequently saved them on the Day of Judgment.
Anas ibn Maalik (رضي الله عنه) reported that a bedouin came to the Messenger of Allaah (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and said to him: “When will be the Hour (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)?” He [the Prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)] said: “What preparation have you made for it?” He said: “Only the love of Allaah and His Messenger.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (SallaAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “You will be with those whom you love.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Anas, who narrated the Hadeeth, was so happy when he heard that.