Series: In the Light of Sunnah, In the Footsteps of Our Salaf – Part 4 – Knowledge in Islam

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Amir Mu’aawiya RA reported from Rasulullah SAW:
“For whom Allah SWT intends خیر (good in this world and
the next), He makes him knowledgeable in Deen (religion).” (Bukhari and Muslim)

In the previous issues we have discussed in detail “intentions” based on the object of our creation which is the continual awareness of our عبودیۃ (servitude) towards our
Creator, Sustainer and real Benefactor, Allah (SWT) and aligning every action
and activity in life with this obedience out of absolute love محبۃ)
and appreciation(شکر) for our existence and the unlimited, uncountable blessings and bounties (نعم)around us and within us, those which we are aware of and the unfathomable greater portion of which we are totally oblivious.

This very awareness is itself the greatest bounty from Allah SWT, His special favour bestowed upon those of His servants whom He chooses ذلک فضل اللہ یوتیہ من یشاء.

This awareness is not something within the reach of human ability, intelligence, or insight. It is moreover a special favour of Allah (SWT).

Imam Al Ghazali explains in his monumental book  منهاج العابدين (The Path of the Worshippers), that this awareness, the sense of being surrounded by the favours of the Creator, and in reflection, realising that these favours obligate one to
respond with obedience and thanks (طاعة والشكر), is actually an inclination and notion cast into the heart and mind by Allah SWT Himself and a special Tawfeeq
(ability) from Him alone; a kind of awakening alarm, which now holds one responsible and removes one’s excuses. This is the verse أَفَمَنْ
شَرَحَ اللَّهُ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ فَهُوَ عَلَى نُورٍ مِنْ رَبِّهِ (الزمر22)

“He whom Allah (Opens) expands his (heart) chest to Islam, is upon (Divine) light from His Lord …”, and the verse فَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ
لِلْإِسْلَامِ (الانعام 125)  

“So whom Allah wants to guide, He (Opens) expands his (Heart) chest to Islam…”

With this realisation one has no choice, but to seek a life of obedience and thanks, but
how? One must know the one he is worshipping and acquire certainty (بقين) concerning all the unseen (غيب) upon which his faith is based; Allah SWT Himself, Malaika, Akhirah, Jannah, Jahanum, life of the grave etc.

He must know what his Lord has ordered and forbidden him. Thereupon, he finds himself compelled to seek the knowledge of all these things and now faces the steep mountain pass of العلم والمعرفة (knowledge and understanding). He now sets out on this tedious but wondrous journey seeking the assistance and Dua of the علماء الاخرة (scholars
of the Hereafter) to point out the way, by Allah’s Tawfeeq, towards علم ويقين
(knowledge and certainty) of the unseen (غيب) and the total system of the life of عبودیۃ, Allah’s servitude.

It must be understood that علم
وعبادۃ(knowledge and Allah’s servitude) are the basis and reason for all that we see and hear, from the writings of the learned, the teachings of the scholars, the admonition of the preachers, the quest of the seekers, moreover the revelation of the Holy Books, the sending of the Prophets, and in fact, the creation of the universe and all that it contains!

Ponder over these two verses:

اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ سَبْعَ
سَمَاوَاتٍ وَمِنَ الْأَرْضِ مِثْلَهُنَّ يَتَنَزَّلُ الْأَمْرُ بَيْنَهُنَّ
لِتَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ
أَحَاطَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عِلْمًا  (الطلاق
12 )

“Allah is the One who has created seven skies, and their like from earth. The Command descends among them, so that you may know that Allah is powerful over everything, and that Allah has encompassed everything
in knowledge.” (At-Talaq 65:12)

 It is as though the entire creation is exclaiming to us: “Look and ponder over all that you observe and in reflection be certain of Allah’s existence and perfection.”

This Ayah alone is sufficient evidence of the virtue and position of علم (knowledge), particularly علم التوحید (knowledge of Allah’s Oneness).

The second verse states:

“And I have not created Jinn and men except to worship me.”

And this Ayah alone will suffice as an evidence of the virtue of عبادۃ (worship)
and the necessity to remain dedicated to it.

Therefore, logically and imperatively it follows that the servant of Allah SWT should not be engaged in any pursuit except in these two areas; علم
وعبادۃ (knowledge and worship), and engaging in anything outside the scope of these two is worthless and useless.

(It should be mentioned here that the comprehensive meaning of عبادۃ
(worship) is not generally understood, therefore it was thoroughly explained in
the past issues dealing with the topic of: Niyyah-intention, please refer to that discussion for clarification).

To be continued InshaAllah…

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