The Obligation of Seeking ‘ilm (knowledge)
As Muslims, seeking knowledge is something which should be a key aspect of our lives. Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Qur’an, “Are those who have knowledge and those who have no knowledge alike? Only the men of understanding are mindful.” (Holy Qur’an 39:9)
It is imperative for us to remember that on our journey of acquiring knowledge, if we find it difficult or face obstacles, Allah (SWT) will reward us even more for our efforts.
Therefore, we shouldn’t be disheartened if, for example, we struggle with memorisation. Allah (SWT) sees everything, including our struggles. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“Whoever reads the Qur’an and stutters while reading, due to its difficulty, will receive a double reward.” (Sahih Muslim)
Passing on the knowledge we have acquired to others is another way of gaining rewards and we are taught that the reward for this continues even after we depart from this world. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“When a man dies all his deeds come to an end except for three: an ongoing charity, beneficial knowledge and a righteous son who prays for him.” (Al-Bukhari)
We should strive to keep our intentions sincere on the path to gain knowledge. We shouldn’t do so to just to please others or achieve praise from people. In a hadith we read that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“Actions are (judged) by motives/ intention (niyyah), so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration (hijrah) was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated.” (Al-Bukhari)
We must try our best to maintain good focus when we are learning and we should not be heedless or inattentive. We should be grateful that Allah (SWT) has given us the ability to go and seek knowledge, to read and to write.
Our religion places a lot of importance on learning and attaining knowledge. To make an effort to be the best Muslims we can be, we must take all our obligations seriously. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Islam teaches us to strive to seek knowledge. As Muslims, we have a duty to work towards excellence in our journey of furthering our knowledge. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“The excellence of a scholar over another (ordinary) worshipper is like the excellence of the full moon over the rest of the heavenly bodies.” (Abu Dawood)
Our ultimate aim is to please our Creator and reach Jannah (paradise). Islam teaches us to put our efforts towards gaining knowledge as this will help us reach Jannah. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said:
“Whoever treads a path in seeking knowledge, Allah will make easy for him the path to Paradise.”