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On Ikhlaas (Sincerity)
  Purifying the Soul - The Nature of Intention
Article ID : TZK010004  [19787]  
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The Excellence of Knowledge and Teaching

There are many proofs in the Qur'an concerning the excellence of knowledge and its tranmission. Allah, the Mighty and Glorious, says:

"Allah will raise up to high ranks those of you who believe and those who have been given knowledge. (58:11)"

And also:

"Are those who know equal to those who do not know? (39:9)

Also , in the Hadith, the Prophet says, "When Allah desires good for someone, He gives him understanding of the deen."(6) He also said, "Allah makes the way to the Garden easy for whoever treads a path in search of knowledge."(7)

Travelling on the path to knowledge refers both to walking along an actual pathway, such as going on foot to the assemblies of the ulama', as well as to following a metaphysical road, such as studying and memorising.

The above saying of the Prophet probably means that Allah makes learning the useful knowledge that is sought after easier for the seeker, clearing the way for him and smoothing his journey. Some of our predecessors used to say: "Is there anyone seeking knowledge, so that we can assist him in finding it?"

This hadith also alludes to the road leading to the Garden on the Day of Judgement, which is the straight path and to what precedes it and what comes after it.

Knowledge is also the shortest path to Allah. Whoever travels the road of knowledge reaches Allah and the Garden by the shortest route. Knowledge also clears the way out of darkness, ignorance, doubt and scepticism. This is why Allah called His Book, "Light".

Al-Bukhari and Muslim have reported on the authority of Abdullah ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: "Truly, Allah will not take away knowledge by snatching it away from people, but by taking away the lives of the people of knowledge one by one until none of them survive. Then the people will adopt ignorant ones as their leaders. They will be asked to deliver judgements and they will give them without knowledge, with the result that they will go astray and lead others astray."

When 'Ubadah ibn as-Samit was asked about this hadith he said: If you want, I will tell you what the highest knowledge is, which raises people in rank: it is humility."

He said this because there are two types of knowledge. The first produces its fruit in the heart. It is knowledge of Allah, the Exalted - His Names, His Attributes, and His Acts - which commands fear, respect, exaltation, love, supplication and reliance on Him. this is the beneficial type of knowledge. As ibn Mas'ud said: "they will recite the Qur'an, but it will not go beyond their throats. The Qur'an is only beneficial when it reaches the heart and is firmly planted in it."

Al-Hasan said: "There are two kinds of knowledge: knowledge of the tongue, which can be a case against the son of Adam, as is mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet : 'The Qur'an is either a case for you or a case against you'(8), and knowledge of the heart, which is beneficial knowledge. The second kind is the beneficial kind which raises people in rank; it is the inner knowledge which is absorbed by the heart and puts it right. The knowledge that is on the tongue is taken lightly by people: neither those who possess it, nor anyone else, act upon it, and then it vanishes when its owners vanish on the Day of Judgement, when creation will be brought to account."


1. Al-Bukhari and Muslim

2. Al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Qadar, 11/499.

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