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We praise Allah for guiding us to this din, the one who is Ar Rahmaan Ar Rahim and the owner of the day of judgement. Anyone who seeks other than Islam, it will not be accepted from him. Allah sent this din to guide us in this life to what is good for us.

We testify to the messengership of Muhammad who was entrusted with the message and upon whom it was perfected and completed. He was beneficial and sincere towards his ummah and did not leave this world until he made what was sent to him clear, conveying truthfully and with perfection.

This religion is a trust

"Truly, We did offer Al Amanah (the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allah has ordained) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah's Torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results)." [33:72]

When man accepted it, Allah gave him certain faculties in order to fulfill this trust:

"And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah)." [16:78]

Thus we are brought out in this world without knowing anything but are given faculties in order to follow the guidance. These faculties are useless without guidance just as sight is useless in the dark. This guidance came in the form of the message sent with the prophets and messages:

"Mankind were one community and Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the Scripture with truth..." [2:213]

This message was completed upon the final messenger Muhammad sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam:

"...This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion..." [5:3]

This message was clarified for us as the prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said:

"I have surely left you on a clear path, its night is like its days"

(Ibn Maajah, Ahmad and Al Haakim)

This means everything has been made clear in such a way that there is no room for choice (other than in small ijtihaadi issues). However, all of this is useless to an individual unless he actually goes to seek it.

Conditions for achieving guidance:

1. To wish for it and desire to actively seek it:

"Verily, proofs have come to you from your Lord, so whosoever sees, will do so for (the good of) his ownself, and whosoever blinds himself, will do so to his own harm, and I (Muhammad SAW) am not a watcher over you. " [6:104]

"Nay, verily, this (Quran) is an admonition, So whosoever wills (let him read it), and receive admonition (from it)" [74:55-56]

Ad Daarimi reported this in connection with an incident where some people where doing dhikr together in the masjid. Ibn Mas'ud was told and approached them. They said "We only wish to seek the good", to which he said: "How many wish to seek the good but never reach it"

Thus there are two other conditions which determine whether one will achieve what benefits or not:

2. To seek it for the right reasons:

Commonly people want to be seen as knowledgeable or want to be able to point out the mistakes of others.
People also want to learn just to teach others, whilst this is acceptable as one of the purposes of learning, one should first learn properly before teaching.

The prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Whoever seeks the knowledge, not seeking the face of Allah through it (for other than Allah's sake), he does not learn anything except seeking fame in the world, the smell of paradise will not even reach him"

(Abu Dawud from Abu Hurayrah radiyAllahu 'anh)

Thus there are 5 main acceptable purposes:

a) In obedience to Allah's command:

"So know (O Muhammad SAW) that La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and ask forgiveness for your sin..." [47:19]

"Know" is an order and precondition of asking for forgiveness, thus one must learn before performing actions.

b) To remove the ignorance from ourselves and others:

"And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah)." [16:78]

"...It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah..." [35:28]

Thus one must seek knowledge to fear Allah and be thankful to Him

The prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Convey from me, even one ayah"


Thus one can aim to remove the ignorance from others. This has certain rules and a person should only convey what he has learnt properly and is certain upon.

c) To defend the Shari'ah:

The scholars said the religion can never be protected by the books, but men and women are required to seek knowledge and defend it. The example of the weapon is given, one can have thousands of swords but that cannot defend a country without people to use them.

The prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "The Qur'aan is a proof, for you or against you"


Defending the shari'ah requires one learns about it first.

d) To become open-hearted to the differences of opinion:

This prevents division and quarrels where there is no need. This is not to say one is allowed to pick and choose what he follows, however, he should be tolerant of other opinions even when he does not agree with them.

The prophet sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said: "Every son of Aadam errs and the best of those who err are those who repent (persistently)"

(At Tirmidhi, Ibn Maajah and Ahmad)

e) To act upon the knowledge:

As Ibn ul Qayyim said, this is the fruit of the knowledge. And the scholars said acting without knowledge is like the Christians who invented many innovations and having knowledge but not acting is like the Jews who knew of the prophets but disobeyed.

The scholars said: "No 'ilm (knowledge)removes the ignorance of a person until he acts on it" and "the one who does not act upon what he knows is an ignorant person".

"The likeness of those who were entrusted with the (obligation of the) Taurat (Torah) (i.e. to obey its commandments and to practise its legal laws), but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is as the likeness of a donkey who carries huge burdens of books (but understands nothing from them)..." [62:5]

"You enjoin Al-Birr (righteousness) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture. Have you then no sense?" [2:44]

"Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do." [61:13]

It is a must that one acts on the knowledge and this is one of the most noblest of purposes of seeking knowledge as the scholars said: "Whoever acts upon what he knows, Allah will make him inherit that which he did not know".

Thus, if one wishes to move further and gain more knowledge, he must act upon what he already knows.

3. To seek it with the right manners:

There are 5 main manners of seeking knowledge:

a) That one is patient on the knowledge:

"This is of the news of the unseen which We reveal unto you (O Muhammad SAW), neither you nor your people knew them before this. So be patient. Surely, the (good) end is for the Muttaqun." [11:49]

There are three things upon which one must have to be patient:

i. In learning - commonly, people attend the first few lessons, miss lessons without necessity, or are not punctual. One should be present, on time and should take notes in any lessons they attend.

ii. In acting - It is not easy to be persistent on something that one has to do regularly.

"And enjoin As-Salat (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them..." [20:132]

iii. In conveying - One needs to be patient and use wisdom when conveying the knowledge. He cannot expect to get a perfect response immediately.

b) That one respects the knowledge and the knowledgeable:

This knowledge is not like sciences that one can just accumulate it without respect. One must have the correct attitude to the knowledge, the teacher and the class, sitting properly, paying attention, taking notes, etc.

c) That one always returns to the Qur'aan and Sunnah:

That one learns the proofs from these two divine sources. This is done by learning from those who have already learnt and by reading and learning. One should learn and memorise the Qur'aan and the Hadith.

d) That one follows the conditions of learning:

These are:

Good questions
Good silence and paying attention
Good understanding
Teaching what is learnt
Acting upon the knowledge
e) Avoiding the forbidden in learning:

These are:

Non-beneficial, irrelevant questions.
Not paying attention
Bad understanding, normally due to the wrong attitude.
Not remembering/memorising
Not teaching when one has properly learnt
Not acting upon the knowledge


A person who meets these three conditions is the one who can achieve the guidance and gain its benefits.

What is 'ilm (knowledge)?

Scholars defined knowledge linguistically as knowing something on what it is in its reality. I.e. knowing the reality of something with certainty and without ambiguity.

Ibn ul Qayyim defined 'ilm in Islamic terminology as "knowledge that is sought based on the proofs".

Knowledge is divided into categories:

1) The knowledge of Allah (al 'iml ul qadeem):

2) The knowledge of His slaves (al 'ilm ul haadith):

Al 'Ilm ul Haadith is divided into two kinds:

a) Adh-Dharuri (that which one knows by necessity)
b) Al Iktisaabi (that which is sought)

Al 'Ilm ul Iktisaabi is further divided into two:

i) As Sana'i (knowledge of worldly things)
ii) Ash Shari' (knowledge of the religion of Allah, that which came to us through revelation)

It is important to note that whenever knowledge is mentioned in the Qur'aan or Hadith, it refers to al 'ilm ush shari' and not to al 'ilm us sana'i. Therefore it is a misconception and exaggeration to say that these verses and narrations are talking about the sciences and other worldly knowledge.

Levels of Knowledge:

1) Complete Ignorance (Al Jahl al Baseet)

If someone is asked about when was the battle of Badr, he says 'I don't know'

2) Compound Ignorance (Al Jahl al Murakkab)

If someone is asked when was the battle of Badr, he says 'Some time after the Hijrah, maybe the fifth year'. He has some idea but it is mixed with ignorance.

3) Knowing something that is more likely to be wrong (Al Wahm)

4) Knowing something that is equally likely to be right as wrong (Ash Shakk)

5) Knowing something that is more likely to be correct (Adh Dhann)

If someone knows something that he knows there is basis for but does not know for certain.

6)Certain knowledge (Al 'Ilm)