Importance of Seeking
Knowledge in Islam
Talk designed for Muslims
● Topic Definition
● What Knowledge is Obligatory?
● What Knowledge is Recommended?
● Status of Gaining Knowledge
● Allah SWT says in Quran
– “Read! In the name of your lord.” (Alaq 1; first
– Say; Are those equal, those who know and
those who do not know? It is those who are
endued with understanding that
remember(Allah’s knowledge).” (Zumar-9)
● The Prophet (saw) said:
– “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon
every Muslim” [Ibn Maajah (Al-Albaani: Saheeh)]
Dilemma of Muslims Nowadays
● 1 I must seek knowledge to
become good doctor, engineer,
Without education there
is no future
I must get more
degrees and certifications
Parents, friends, loved ones,
entire society say plan your future.
Build your career.
Time for learning Islam?
I am not thinking about this question
Curiosity Leads to Knowledge
● Example: a small child first becomes curious
about surrounding and learns due to curiosity
to survive on its own.
knowledge to survive
Knowledge helps us to survive and progress
Advice of Prophet SAW
● Hazzam bin Hakeem narrated from his uncle
from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) who said:
– “You are in a time of many jurisprudents
(fuqaha), few speakers, many who give and few
who ask; so action in this time is better than
knowledge. There will soon come a time of few
jurisprudents, many speakers, many who beg
and few who give; so knowledge in this time is
better than action.” [reported by Tabarani in his Alkabeer]
Topic Definition - 1/2
● The Prophet (saw) said:
– “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every
Muslim” [Ibn Maajah (Al-Albaani: Saheeh)]
● The above mentioned knowledge is Fardh ul Ayn
because it is obligatory on every single one.
How much & what
Topic Definition - 2/2
● The knowledge which is Fardh ul Kafaya is the
knowledge which if few gain then rest of the
population can seek help from them
● Today's topic is about knowledge which is
Fardh ul Ayn
● Belief in Islam definitely so that there remains
no doubt in mind at all. This is knowledge of
understanding the Aqeedah and its
● We must know the matters of Halal
(permissible) and Haram (impermissible)
● We must know our specific roles and
responsibilities as defined by Islam
Approach to Belief - 1/2
● He (swt) says: “And verily guess is no substitute for the
truth.” [TMQ 53:28]
● And He (swt) said: “They have no (certain) knowledge.
They follow nothing but conjecture. For surely; they killed
him not (‘Isa).” [TMQ 4:157]
● "Do you have Ilm for that which you claim so that you
provide us with? You follow nothing but conjecture
(Zann)." [TMQ 6:148]
Approach to Belief - 2/2
● "These are nothing but names which you have devised, you and your
fathers, for which Allah has sent down no authority. They follow nothing
but conjecture and what their Nafs desire. Even though there has already
come to them the Guidance from their Rabb" [TMQ 53:23]
● Jalaluddin as-Suyuti, a Mujtahid Imam of the Shafi madhab has
commented on this verse, that the people had zann (conjecture) which is
opposed to knowledge (ilm) i.e. certain knowledge. He also stated that
Allah had sent down definitive proof (Burhan Qati) for the truth of the
Islamic Aqeeda. [Tafseer al Jalalayn page 627. It is stated in Reliance of
the Traveller Ahmed ibn Naqib al misri (ra) (769/1368) Book of Qada
Belief is Driven by Knowledge
● Therefore, we cannot have
– Emotional belief or belief based on imitation.
● We must know personally that Allah (swt)
exists, that Muhammad (saw) is His last
Messenger, the Quran is the word of Allah
– Whatever is contained in Quran is the truth,
therefore the belief in the angels, previous books,
previous prophets, the day of Judgment, etc.
Obeying Requires Knowledge – 1/2
● Allah (swt) has addressed us directly in the Quran on so many occasions:
– “O you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger”
● We know that our purpose in life is to worship Allah (swt) as Allah said:
– “I have not created Jinn or mankind except that they worship me” [TMQ 51:57]
● Allah (swt) has also clearly ordered us to take from the Messenger (saw):
– “And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad [saw]) gives you, take it, and whatsoever
he forbids you, abstain (from it).” [TMQ59:7]
Obeying Requires Knowledge – 2/2
● Therefore we must at least know the Shariah rules relating to the
Fara’id (obligations) and Muharramat (prohibitions) from our
actions, i.e., rules pertaining to matters such as the following:
– Relationships with the opposite sex
– Responsibility towards parents, children, husband, wife, siblings
– Replying the to the Salam
– Working for Khilafah
– Riba (usury)
Principle for Acts
● There is a principle in Fiqh: Every action
requires a hukm (order of Allah) and every
hukm requires an evidence
Knowledge of Specific Role is
● For a doctor it is Fard to know the ahkam relating to his field, e.g. is post-mortem
allowed, rules relating to treating the opposite sex, using intoxicants for medical
● For an Imam of the Masjid it is Fard to know the ahkam relating to leading the
prayer, the obligations of the Khutba, the responsibility towards the Muslims, the
obligations of speaking the truth from the Minbar, etc.
● It is Fard for the teacher to know whether it is permitted to teach subjects that
contradict Islam and promote Kufr, the ahkam of teaching members of the
opposite sex, the ahkam of disciplining the student.
● It is Fard for the Khalifah of the Muslims to know ahkam relating to his
Islamic Knowledge is not Invented
but Learned – 1/2
● We must ensure that we follow the Shariah and not rules invented
from the mind
● In the Hadith in Sahih of Bukhari, on the authority of 'Urwa b. al-
Zubayr who said: 'Abd Allah b. 'Amr b. al-'As overcame us with
proof. I heard him say: “Allah will not deprive you of knowledge after
he has given it to you, but it will be taken away through the death of
the learned men (Ulema’a) with their knowledge. There will remain
ignorant people who, when consulted, will give verdicts according to
their opinions whereby they will mislead others and themselves go
astray.” i.e. they give Fatwas according to their own opinions which
are not derived from the Islamic evidences.
Islamic Knowledge is not Invented
but Learned – 2/2
● In the authentic Hadith the Prophet (saw) said: “The best speech is the Book of Allah and
the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (saw). And the evil matters are the
newly invented issues and every Bida’a (innovation) is a misguidance.”[Muslim] .
● Hadith narrated by Al-Daraqtuni in Al-Afrad, of Anas of the Prophet (saw), where he said:
"Whomever cheats my Ummah has the curse of Allah, the Angels and the people
combined, upon him. They asked: What is cheating, Oh Prophet of Allah? He said: If he
invented an innovation for them, and they acted upon it".
● “Whoever speaks about the Quran without any knowledge, then let him seek his place in
the fire of hell.” [Tirmidhi , Abu Dawud]
Importance of Scholars – 1/2
● “And follow not that of which you have no knowledge. Verily!
The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those you
will be questioned (by Allah).” [TMQ 17:36]
● Even if we are not aware of the evidence, we must know that
the hukm is derived from the Islamic texts by legitimate Ijtihad
● “So ask the people of the Reminder (ahl al-zikr) if you do not
know.” [TMQ 21:7]
Importance of Scholars – 2/2
● It has also been narrated on the authority of Jabir (ra):
– “a man was struck by a stone that fractured his skull … [and needed
ablution] .... He asked his companions - do you know of a permit (Rukhsa) for
me to perform Tayammum (dry ablution)? - They said - we do not find any
permit for you and you can use water. He then had a bath and died.
– The Prophet (saw) said: “Verily, it would have sufficed for him to make
Tayammum, so tie a piece of cloth around his head and wipe over it and wash
the rest of his body.' And the Prophet (saw) said: 'why did they not ask when
they did not know. Indeed, the cure for inability and lack of knowledge is to
ask.” [Abu Dawud: 275, Ibn Majah: 565, Ahmad: 2898] The Messenger (saw)
instructed them to ask about the Hukm Shar'ai.
● Imam Zuhri said
– “Be careful from whom you take your knowledge, because that is your Deen.”
Rulers and Scholars
● Imam Abu Hanifah said, “If you see the scholar at the gates of the ruler
then accuse him in his Deen”.
● Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (rahimallah), the master of Hadeeth, the
Mujtahid of Makkah and to whom the Hanbali Madhab is attributed. In
his time Ma’moon became Khaleefah who had adopted the Mu’tazilla
belief that the Quran was created and attempted to force this belief
upon the masses.
– He started with the Ulema as they were the ones who had the leadership over
the Ummah. Amongst the Ulema was Imam Ahmad who refused to accept this
corrupt doctrine. His uncle went to him and asked him to say with his tongue
what he does not accept in his heart, to this he responded, “If the Alim stays
silent in the face of falsehood when will the truth become manifest”.
● Knowing the evidences for the ahkam
● Detailed knowledge of the Seerah
● Islamic history (Tarikh)
● Tafseer, Arabic language
● Ilm al-Hadith
● Usul ul-Fiqh
Status of Gaining Knowledge – 1/2
● Al-Bukhari narrated through Mu’awiyya bin Abu Sufyan: the
Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:
– “The one for whom Allah wills good (khayr), He grants him fiqh in the deen.”
● It was narrated that Umar bin al-Khattab said: “The death of one
thousand worshippers who pray at night and worship in the day is
less serious than the death of one intelligent knower (baseer) of the
halal and haram of Allah.” (Ahmad)
● Abu Huraira said, The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
"The word of wisdom is the lost property of the believer, so wherever
he finds it he has a better right to it." (Tirmidhi).
Status of Gaining Knowledge – 2/2
● Abu Dardaa' (ra) said:
– "To learn of one issue (in deen) is better for me than to pray the entire night"
– “The scholar and the seeker of knowledge are the partners in the sharing of good. Other men
are hungry and there is no good in them.”
● Fath Al Musilee (radhiallahu anhu) said: "Would the sick person who is not fed or
given anything to drink or given any medicine, not die?" The people replied: "Surely!"
He said: "It is the same with the heart, it would die if knowledge and wisdom is
withheld from it."
● Narrated Abdullah bin Masud (Allah be pleased with him): The Prophet (peace be
upon him) said, "Do not wish to be like anyone except in two cases.
– A person, whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it righteously;
– The one whom Allah has given wisdom and he acts according to it and teaches it to others."
(Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol 1).
Status of People of Knowledge – 1/2
● Abu Huraira said, The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "People are like mines of
silver and gold; the more excellent of them in the days of Ignorance are the more excellent of
them in Islam when they attain knowledge.” (Muslim, Mishkat).
“Say: "Are those who know equal to those who know not?" It is only men of understanding who
will remember.” [TMQ az-Zumar:9]
Jabir (ra) reported: After the battle of Uhud, the Prophet (saw) arranged the burial of two of the
martyrs in one grave. In each case he would ask, “Which one of them had learnt more Qur'an by
heart?” He placed whichever was thus pointed out to him, first in the Lahd (type of grave).
● 'Ubaadah b. as-Saamit (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “He is not from my
Ummah who does not acknowledge the honour due to our elders, who shows no mercy to our
younger ones and nor recognises the right of our scholar.” Al-Munziri said: reported by Ahmad
with a hasan chain. Al-Haythami said: reported by Ahmad and at-Tabaraani and its isnad is
Status of People of Knowledge – 2/2
● Abdullah b. al-Mas'ud (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
– “Let those be nearest to me in Salah (prayer) who are mature and possess (religious)
knowledge, then those who are nearest to them in these respects.” He repeated this three
times and then added, “Beware of indulging in the loose talks of the markets (when you
are in the mosque).” [Muslim]
● Abu Musa (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
– “It is out of reverence to Allah that we respecting an aged Muslim, and the one who
commits the Qur'an to memory and does not exaggerate pronouncing its letters and nor
forgets it after memorising, and to respect the just ruler.” Reported by Abu Dawud. An-
Nawawi said the hadith is hasan. Ibn Muflih said the isnad is jayyid.
● There are two parts of Islamic Knowledge
– Obligatory for all: (Aqeedah, daily matters of Halal & Haram,
knowledge related to specific roles and responsibilities)
– Recommended: (Tafseer, Usul ul-Fiqh, Ilm al-Hadith, etc.)
● There is higher status for people of Knowledge
– Rulers and Scholars are under a difficult relationship due to
temptation of power and money.
– Scholars are supposed to do accounting of rulers which makes their
relation very difficult specially in the era of corruption.
The Prophet SAW said: "Convey from me, even one verse." (Bukhari)