Thursday, 23 July 2009

Those who acquire knowledge

057.003 He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent: and He has full knowledge of all things.
It is a known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with Allah. Allah is the personal name of the One true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word god which can be made plural, gods, or feminine, goddess. It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic..

When there was nothing, Allah T'ala was, and when there will be nothing, He will be. He is the most Manifest of all the manifest, for whatever manifests itself in the world, does only by His attributes and His works and His light. And He is the Most Hidden of all the hidden, for not only do the senses fail to percieve Him but the intellect and thought and imagination also cannot attain to His essence and reality.

The best commentary in this regard are the words of a supplication of the Holy Prophet (upon whom be Allah's peace and blessings). which Imam Ahmad, Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Baihaqi have related on the authority of Hadrat Abu Hurairah, and Hafiz Abu Ya'la Mosuli in his Musnad on the authority of Hadrat 'A'ishah:
"Antal Awwal, fa-laisa qablaka shai'in; wa Antal Akhir fa-laisa ba 'daka shai 'in; wa Antal Zahir, fa-laisa fauqaka shai in; wa Antal Batin, fa laisa dunaka shai'in. " "You alone are the First; none is before You; You alone are the Last: none is after You; You alone are the Exalted none is above You; You alone are the Hidden: none is more hidden than You. "

Here, the question arises: How does this accord with the immortality and eternal life of the dwellers of Paradise and Hell mentioned in the Qur'an when Allah alone is the Last and Eternal? Its answer has been provided by the Qur'an itself: "Everything is perishable except Allah Himself." (AI-Qasas: 88). In other words no creature is immortal in its personal capacity; if a thing exists or continues to exist, it does so because Allah keeps it so, and can exist only by His letting it exist; otherwise in its own capacity everything is perishable except Allah. Immortality in Heaven and Hell will not be bestowed upon somebody because he is immortal by himself, but because AIIah will grant him eternal life. The same is true of the angels: they are not immortal by themselves. When Allah willed they came into existence, and will continue to exist only as long as He wills.

Virtues of Knowledge which is Learnt and Taught for the sake of Allah

Allah, the Exalted, says:

"And say: `My Rubb! Increase me in knowledge.'' (20:114)

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

"Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge.'' (58:11)

"It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah.'' (35:28)

1378. Abu Musa (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me are like abundant rain which fell on a land. A fertile part of it absorbed the water and brought forth profuse herbage and pasture; and solid ground patches which retained the water by which Allah has benefited people, who drank from it, irrigated their crops and sowed their seeds; and another sandy plane which could neither retain the water nor produce herbage. Such is the similitude of the person who becomes well-versed in the religion of Allah and receives benefit from the Message entrusted to me by Allah, so he himself has learned and taught it to others; such is also the similitude of the person who has stubbornly and ignorantly rejected Allah's Guidance with which I have been sent.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
We learn from this Hadith that there are three categories of people. First, those who acquire knowledge of the Qur'an and Hadith, act upon it and also impart it to others. Such people benefit from this knowledge themselves and extend this benefit to others also. By virtue of this quality they are the best of all. Second, those people who acquire knowledge and impart it to others, but do not fulfill the requirements of that knowledge. Such people are inferior in rank to the people of the first category and can be taken to task for their omissions. Third, those who shun the knowledge of the Qur'an and Hadith. Neither they study and hear the two themselves for their own benefit, nor do they acquire knowledge to impart it to others for their benefit. This is the worst category of people. Every Muslim should try to be in the first category of the people.

1390. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He who is asked about knowledge (of religion) and conceals it, will be bridled with a bridle of fire on the Day of Resurrection.''
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].
Commentary: We learn from this Hadith that to withhold guidance in the matter of religion from anybody who seeks it, is a grave sin which is threatened with Hell. Unfortunately, the religious scholars who are shackled in religious prejudices and terribly lack interest in juristic matters have developed a habit of concealing religious knowledge from people. In fact, this grave sin has become so alarming that any further delay to eradicate it will prove ruinous for us. May Allah grant us true guidanc

1392. `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`As (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying: "Verily, Allah does not take away knowledge by snatching it from the people, but He takes it away by taking away (the lives of) the religious scholars till none of the scholars stays alive. Then the people will take ignorant ones as their leaders, who, when asked to deliver religious verdicts, will issue them without knowledge, the result being that they will go astray and will lead others astray.''
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: It is a sign of the nearness of the Day of Judgement that the world will be deprived of genuine religious scholars, and illiterate people will become leaders who will have neither the knowledge of the Qur'an nor that of the Hadith. Despite their ignorance of the Qur'an and the Hadith, they will be called Mujtahid (jurist entitled to independent reasoning) and Imam (leader) and will mislead people with their legal opinions and self-created problems. Besides urging us to acquire religious knowledge with a view to producing more scholars in the society, this Hadith also warns us against the ignorant self-styled `Ulama'. It also warns us against entrusting religious leadership to them.

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