بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمدلله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على المبعوث رحمة للعالمين وعلى آله و اصحابه ومن والاه بإحسان إلى يوم الدين أما بعد
Allah Ta'ala said in the Noble Quran:
يَرْفَعِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ
"Allah will exalt those who believe among you, and those who have knowledge, to high ranks".
As Muslims, our goal in life should be, "I want to go to Jannah, I want to be among the ‘faaizoon’ (successful ones). Allah says in His noble Qur’an;
لا يستوي اصحاب النار و اصحاب الجنة اصحاب الجنة هم الفائزون
“Not equal are the companions of the Fire and the companions of Paradise. The companions of Paradise are the truly successful ones.”
من سلك طريقاً يبتغي فيه علماً سهل الله له طريقاً إلى الجنة
"Whoever goes down a path/road searching for Knowledge, Allah will make it easy for him the road to Paradise."
[Saheeh Muslim, Vol.3 Hadith No. 99]
Knowledge is the ROAD to Paradise. In this world it will benefit us, and in the hereafter too. One simple example, Islam does not only teach us to perform our solah, fast, pay zakat and go for Haj. But! Islam also teaches us to give forgive, to be humble and to give Sadaqah. What do we know about the reward for forgiving another person? One hadith is recorded in Sahih Muslim that; “If one gives charity it does not diminish his wealth, if one forgives, Allah bestows more honor on him, and if one humbles himself for Allah’s sake, Allah will exalt him higher.”
Superiority of an Aa’lim
There isn’t any person who can beat the superiority of an Aa’lim (learned person). The Prophet S.A.W said:
فضل العالم على العابد كفضل القمر ليلة البدر على سائر الكواكب
"The eminence on an Aa’lim over a devout worshipper is that of the full moon over the stars."
Imagine, looking at a full moon in the sky,the moon shines brighter than all the stars. A person who seeks knowledge shines just as bright in the eyes of Allah Ta’ala and the Malaaikah!
Do we know of anyone who is granted the privilege to walk on the wings of the Malaai’kah, wings of the purest and most obedient creation of Allah? Once, Hadrat Safwan bin A’ssaal came to him to seek knowledge, he said to Rasulullah (S.A.W): اني جئت اطلب العلم
Rasulullah (S.A.W) honored him and said:
"Welcome to the seeker of knowledge!
Indeed the Angels cover the seekers of knowledge by their wings
and they gather one upon another until they fill the space between that student and the sky of the earth
for the love of the knowledge which is being sought." (Tabraani)
We should always remember that, Syaitan made a promise to Allah Ta’ala that he will most definitely mislead human beings using every possible way. His mission starts from the moment a baby is born, and he won’t stop nor give up until he dies. Think about this, Syaitan doesn't mislead us to make wrong calculation in Math or Science experiment. Let's take one simple practical example to illustrate this point. When we culculate, 2 + 2, the answer every one comes up with is 4, right? Shaytan never bothers us, he never whispers to us…and says that “No…2 + 2 is 3!"
Where Syaitan always and will forever deviate us is in our LIFE. Syaitan confuses our minds and clouds our path towards Allah with every possible mean. Once, Imam ar-Rabbani (rahmatullahi alaih) after a short period of entering the toilet, he knocked the toilet’s door to call his servant. The servant ran by thinking that he probably forgot to prepare the water and rag for cleaning. Imam ar-Rabbani opened the door a little bit and handed his clothe to the servant and told him, “Deliver this clothe to such and such person as a gift.” The servant asked in confusion, “O’ my master! Wouldn’t it be better if you would order this thing after you get out of the toilet? Why did you put yourself into this much of trouble?” The “Imam” replied. “Giving my dress to that poor person as a gift crossed my mind in the toilet. I was afraid that if I’d delay until I get out of the toilet, shaytan would probably give me evil suggestion ‘Waswasa’ so that I would give up doing that good deed.” Knowledge is the weapon against the deceptions of Syaitan.
Sadly, our time is referred to as the worst of era. The time of the Prohet (sallallahu alaihi wassallam) and his companions (radhiallahu anhum) was the best era, then the time of the Tabi’een followed by the Tabi’ Tabi’een’s. As we all can see, more and more of our youngsters are drifting away from Islam. We see the fathers and the grandfathers filling up the rows at the masjid during Ramadhan performing Taraweeh solah. We see the mothers and the grandmothers sitting in groups doing Tadarus. Alhamdulillah! But where do we find our youngsters?
Jannah is not only for the ‘warga emas’, for fathers and grandfathers, for mothers and grandmothers, Jannah is also for our YOUNGSTERS to achieve! Rasulullah (S.A.W) said:
سبعة يظلهم الله يوم لا ظل إلا ظله إمام عدل شاب نشأ في عبادة الله
“There are 7 persons whom Allah will cover with His shade on the day when there will be no shade but His. 1) A just ruler (2) A youngster who grows up worshiping Allah” (part of a long hadith)
As Muslims and adults, are we not going to give them the opportunity to study their own religion? Perhaps they will become good Muslims in their life!
If someone has to ask me, why do you need to learn Deen? Is there some special benefit to it? Based on my insignificant and limited experience, among many reasons, I’d give this ONE reason and that is knowledge kindles the first spark of love for Allah Ta’ala. You learn Deen, you will come to love Allah, you will come to love Rasulullah and you will come to love Islam sincerely from your heart.
When I first started my journey as a student to knowledge, I was an ignorant person. I knew that I am a Muslim, I knew that Allah is my creator and I also knew that Muhammad (S.A.W) is the messenger of Allah, but I didn’t know what I should do about it, how should I behave as a Muslim and how should I serve my creator in a way that it pleases Him. After 5 years, only then I realize that a true Muslim and Mu’min is a person who love Allah and I too want to love Allah. Allah Ta’ala described one of the qualities of true believers in the Noble Qur’an;
والذين آمنوا أشد حباً لله
But those of faith are overflowing in their love for Allah. (Suratul Baqarah : 165)
Allow me to highlight yet another important point. Travelling on the path to knowledge does require some effort, either by walking or driving along an actual road, such as going to Conferences, Conventions, going to Islamic lectures at local Masajids, attending weekend Qur’an classes/Arabic programs, or by actually dedicating 4-5 + years of your life for studying and memorizing Qur’an and Hadeeth in a proper Islamic institute because religious knowledge does not come down onto one’s head like a pear falls down from a tree. True knowledge is learned from the words, actions, behaviours of a real enlightener (Murshid/Ustaz). Learning from books will not always humble you and shock you with the reality that there’s so much knowledge out there that you’re ignorant of, and it’ll cause us to miss out on the great opportunity to sit in the company of the pious people.
And all efforts made to acquire knowledge of Islam are rewarded tremendously by Allah Ta’ala. Rasoolullah said, to Abu Dzarr (radhiallah anhu) that;
يا أبا ذر ! لان تغدو فتعلم آيةً من كتاب الله خير لك من أن تصلي مائة ركعة ، ولان تغدو فتعلم باباً من العلم عمل به أو لم يعمل خير لك من أن تصلي ألف ركعة
If he goes and learns one verse of the Qur'an, it will be more rewardable for him than praying one hundred rak'ahs of nawaafil, and that if he learns a chapter of knowledge which may or may not be applicable at that time, it is more rewardable for him than praying one thousand rak'ahs of nawaafil.
Nabi (s.a.w) used to supplicate to Allah for beneficial knowledge, and he also sought protection from knowledge that does not benefit.
اللهم اني أعوذبك من علمٍ لا ينفع
"O Allah! I seek refuge in you from Knowledge that does not benefit.
Let me end this with one last hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu 'alaihi wassallam);
أن استطعت أن تكون عالماً فكن عالماً ، وإن لم تكن عالماً فكن متعلماً ، وإن لم تكن
متعلماً فأحبهم ، فإن لم تحبهم فلا تبغضهم
"If you are capable of becoming an Aa’lim (knowledgeable person), then become one. If you can,’t then
become a student of knowledge. If you still can’t do so, then have the love for the people of knowledge. But if you can’t even do that much, then do not hate the people of knowledge".
May Allah Ta’ala accept all of us to seek knowledge of Islam and ease our way towards Jannah InsyaAllah.