Knowledge revives dead hearts and leads us to light

PROPHET Muhammad, peace be upon him, once commenting on his learned Companion Muadh ibn Jabal, RA, said: "Verily, when the people of knowledge will be present before their Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, Muadh will be one step ahead of them." [at-Tabarani]

By Abid Ishaq

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Published: Fri 17 Mar 2006, 10:24 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:16 PM

Practising Muslim cherish knowledge. While there is much more information around us, knowledge in itself has declined amongst the majority of Muslims today. Although we are seeing more MBAs and doctors, the number of truly knowledgeable Muslims is rapidly falling. Yes that’s right! Educated people are becoming less informed when it comes to Islam. Basic information regarding cleanliness and creed is becoming scarce amongst the youth and there is no one that parents can blame for this except themselves.

One can argue that in the time of the Prophet, children did not attend formal schooling and therefore access to secular sciences was limited and this is why companions like Muadh ibn Jabal excelled in Islamic knowledge. What many of us fail to do is differentiate between Islamic learning and secular knowledge. Common subjects that our children study at elementary level include English, math, science and the social sciences. These are not secular subjects in Islam. On the contrary, these are subjects that point us towards the Signs of the Creator and are imperative to the progress of the Ummah. These are subjects that can assist us in increasing our faith provided we approach them with sincerity and inculcate the same amongst our youth.

So can sincerity alone assist in differentiating between beneficial and non-beneficial knowledge? Sufyaan Al Thawri RA said: "The excellence of knowledge is due only to the fact that it causes a person to fear and obey Allah, otherwise it is just like anything else." [Related by Ibn Rajab]

Eminent scholar Al Hasan al-Basri RA said: "Whoever learns something in the name of Allah, seeking that which is with Him, he will win. And whoever learns something for other than Allah, he will not reach the goal, nor will his acquired knowledge bring him closer to Allah." [Related by Ibn ul Jawzi]

Companion Ibn Masud RA said: "True knowledge is not measured in relationship to how much you memorise and then narrate, but rather, true knowledge is an expression of piety [protecting oneself from what Allah prohibited and acting upon what He mandated]."Also, "Study and act upon what you learn." [Related by Abu Naeem] We should note that studying anything and everything with sincerity does not make it beneficial knowledge. There are certain conditions that apply and the intention of this article is to point us towards beneficial knowledge. Let us see how Ibn Masud, the most knowledgeable companion of the Prophet, viewed knowledge. "Knowledge is a comforting friend in times of loneliness, it is the best companion during travels, and it is the inner friend who speaks to you in your privacy. Knowledge is the discerning proof of what is right and what is wrong, and it is the positive force that will help you surmount the trials of comfort, as well as those of hardships. Knowledge is your most powerful sword against your enemy, and finally, it is your most dignifying raiment in the company of your close companions."

"Through knowledge, Almighty Allah raises some people in rank, and He makes them leaders in righteousness and models in morality. The vestige of their faith is avidly sought, their deeds are emulated perceptively, and people will seek and sanction their opinions solicitously and unequivocally.

The heavenly angels seek their company and anoint them with their wings, every fresh or withered life they pass by implore Allah to forgive them their sins, even the fish in the oceans, the beasts of the lands and every bird of prey and migratory bird pray and solicit the mercy of Almighty Allah on their behalf. This is because knowledge revives the dead hearts and drives them out of darkness into light, and because knowledge is the light of the inner eyes that cures one’s blindness and restores his inner sight."

Abid Ishaq can be reached at

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