Virtues of Seeking Knowledge
The search for knowledge is regarded as one of the most important merits by Allah, it ranks high and is among the things that shall grant you God’s Mercy at the Day of Resurrection. “He who alleviates the suffering of a brother out of the sufferings of the world, Allah would alleviate his suffering from the sufferings of the Day of Resurrection, and he who finds relief for one who is hard-pressed, Allah would make things easy for him in the Hereafter, and he who conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah would conceal his faults in the world and in the Hereafter. Allah is at the back of a servant so long as the servant is at the back of his brother, and he who treads the path in search of knowledge, Allah would make that path easy, leading to Paradise for him.” (Sahih Muslim, 2699)
It is important to understand, however, how this quest for knowledge should be pursued and what sort of knowledge shall be pleasing in the eyes of Allah. We must remember that the true wellspring of knowledge, its source and treasury is the Holy Quran as well as the Hadith. Therefore the beginning of each quest for knowledge is seeking knowledge in the Holy Book of Quran. In the same Hadith, imam Muslim goes on to say that “those persons who assemble in the house among the houses of Allah and recite the Book of Allah and they learn and teach the Quran among themselves there would descend upon them tranquility and mercy would cover them and the angels would surround them and Allah mentions them in the presence of those near Him.”
Any knowledge which God the Almighty has given man stems ultimately from the maxims and truths inscribed in the Quran. “The best among you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 5027) In any quest for further knowledge it is thus important to seek God’s approval by means of reading and learning the Holy Quran. This way the attainment of further knowledge shall always be righteous and truthful. It is easy to deviate from the path of truth in the search of knowledge, the devil will use the opportunity of man’s thirst for learning to slip stealthily false information in front of him, to distort the picture of God’s Creation in his mind. We see this happening everywhere – false theories, wrong practices, mistakes in the search for knowledge that cost mankind too dear.
Also, the devil will do his utmost to prevent man from finding true knowledge, to let him stumble at solving a scientific problem without success or resolving a practical issue which requires a new approach.
The remedy for such situations is evident from the words of the Prophet quoted by imam Muslim above. Look for knowledge and enlightenment in the Holy Quran, teach its knowledge to others and you will get insights into the practical knowledge you require in your chosen area. Ultimately, the virtue of such God-sanctioned knowledge shall be credited by Allah at the Day of Judgement and shall be a source of your inner delight at the agreement of your newly obtained truths with the Ultimate Truth which the Lord has provided in His Holy Book.