O Allah! Confer for ever Your best blessings and ever increasing and never ending favours and Your Purest and Gracious boons on him who is exalted in the realm of the realities of the nature of humans and jinns, and is fully aware of all subtleties of faith, and is the Mount Sinai recieving Divine Illuminations and the place on which descend the mysteries of the All-Beneficent and who is a bridegroom in the Kingdom of the Lord, the centrally placed jewel in the chain of prophets, the first and the foremost in the front line of the army of Messengers, the leader of the caravan of the saints and the truthful, the most graceful of all creation, the bearer of the highest flag of honour, the owner of the keys to the shining gallery, the beholder of the secrets of eternity, the beholder of the pristine glow of Primal Light, the interpreter of the Divine Language, fountain-spring of knowledge, tolerance and wisdom, the manifestation of the existence of the secrets of the whole and its parts, and the person who is the (cause of the) existence of (everything) above and below, the soul in the body of both the worlds (that keeps them alive), the fountain of life of this world and of the world to come, the one who knows the reality of the high rank of servitude of Allah and is created with the highest spiritual stations of morality, the foremost among the friends of Allah and His beloved, highly honoured; our master, our patron, our beloved, Muhammad, son of 'Abdullah, son of 'Abdul Muttalib, Allah's blessings on him, his family and companions, in the number which is in Your Knowledge (O Allah) and as many times as Your Words, whenever You are remembered and he is remembered by those who remember and whenever You are not remembered and he is not remembered by the negligent, and abundant, never ending, complete salutations on him.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On The Excellence Of Learning

The excellence of learning is attested in the Qur’an by the following words of Allah: “And if a party of every band of them march not out. it is that they may instruct themselves in their religion;” (9:123) and again. “Ask of those who have Books of Monition if ye know it not.” (16:45)

[As to the evidence of the excellence of learning] in tradition, the Prophet of Allah said. “Whoever follows a path in search of knowledge. Allah will guide him into a path leading into Paradise.”[1]And again. “Verily the angels will bow low to the seeker after knowledge in approval of what he does.”[2] He also said, “To rise up before daybreak and learn but a section of knowledge is better than prostrating yourself in prayer a hundred times.”[3] The Apostle again said. “One section of knowledge which a man learns is better for him than all the riches of the world.” And again. “Seeking after knowledge is an ordinance obligatory upon every Muslim.”[4] He also said, “Seek ye knowledge even [as far as] China.” The Prophet further said. “Knowledge is like sealed treasure houses, the keys of which arc inquiry. Inquire. therefore, for therein lies reward for four: the inquirer, the learned, the auditor, and their admirer.” He also said, “The ignorant one should not hide his ignorance nor the learned his knowledge.” And in a tradition on the authority of abu Dharr,[5] “To be present in the circle of a learned man is better than prostrating oneself in payer a thousand times. or visiting a thousand sick men. or joining a thousand funerals.” It was then said.. “O Apostle of Allah, is it also better than the reading of the Qur’an?” To which he replied, “What good. though. is the Qur’an except through knowledge?” The Prophet also said. “Whoever is overtaken by death while seeking knowledge wherewith to strengthen Islam. between him and the prophets in Paradise is but one grade.”

[As to the evidence of the excellence of learning] in the sayings of the Companions, ibn-Abbas said, “While I sought knowledge, I was abased, but when I was sought for it, I was exalted.” Similarly, ibn-abi -Mulaykah[6] said, “Never have I seen the like of ibn `Abbas: to behold him is to behold the most handsome man; when he speaks, he is the most eloquent, and when he hands down a judicial opinion, he [reveals himself] as the most learned.” Ibn-al-Mubarak said, I wonder how one who sought no knowledge could be moved to any noble deed;” while one of the wise men said, “Verily I pity no one as I pity the man who seeks knowledge but understands not, and him who understands and seek it not.” Abu-al-Darda’[7] said, “I would rather learn one point than spend my night in continual prayer;” and again, “The learned and the learner are partners in righteousness while the rest of men are barbarians in whom there is no good.” He :also said, “Be learned, or a learner, or an auditor but never anything else lest thou perish.” ‘Ata’[8] said “[Attendance at] an assembly of learning[9] atones [the evil of attending] seventy places of entertainment.” “Umar[10] said, “The death of a thousand worshippers who spend their days in fasting and their nights in continual prayer is a lesser calamity than the passing away of one learned man who is aware of what is lawful before Allah and what is unlawful. “Al-Shafi’i said, “Seeking knowledge is better than supererogatory works.” Ibn-‘Abd-al-Hakam[11] said, “I was [once] at Malik’s[12] place studying at his feet when the hour of noon arrived. Thereupon I closed my books and put them away in order to pray; but he said, `What you have risen to perform is not better than what you were doing provided your intentions are good.” Abu-al-Darda’ also said, “Whoever should regard that rising early for study is not jihad [reveals himself] deficient in reasoning and intellect.”

- Iman Al Ghazali

Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din

Kitab al-ilm

[1] Muslim. al-Dhikr-w-al-Du’a’. 11: Ibn-Majah. Intro., 17: 4.
[2] Ibn-Majah, Intro.. 17:4.
[3] Cf. Ibn-Majah, Intro., 16:9.
[4] See supra, p. 3. [Ibn-Majah, Sunan al-Mustafa, Intro., 17:5, al-Baghawi, Masabih al-Sunnah, (Cairo, 1318), Vol. I, p. 15. ed.]
[5] Al-Ghif­­ari. Jundub ibn-Junadah. d. A.H. 32/A.D. 652-3 See al-Nawawi. Tahdhib al-Asma’ ed F. W├╝stenfeld (Gottingen. 1842-7). pp. 714-15
[6] A.H. 117/A.D. 735; Tadhkirat al-Huffaz, Vol I, pp. 95-6.
[7] ‘Uwaymir ibn-Zayd (A.H. 32/A.D. 652-3) See ibn-Sa’d, Vol. VII, Pt. 2,
pp. 117-18.
[8] Ibn-abi-Rabah (A.H. 115/A.D. 733). See ibn-Qutaybah, p. 227; ibn-
Khallikan, I, Vol. pp. 571-3.
[9] “Dhkir” in B.
[10] The second Rashidite Caliph.
[11] Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah (A.H. 314/A.D. 829), father of the famous
historian of Egypt; see ibn-Khallikan, Vol. 1, pp. 444-5.
[12] Ibn-Anas (A.H.179/A.D.795). See al-Fihrist, pp.198-9; ibn-Khallikan,
Vol. II, p. 200.


The Prophet said that women hold dominion over sages and over men of heart,
but that fools, again, hold the upper hand over women, because fools are violent and exceedingly froward. They have no tenderness or gentleness or amity, because the animal nature sways their temperament. Love and tenderness are qualities of humanity, passion and lust are qualities of animality. Woman is a ray of God, not a mere mistress, the Creator's self, as it were, not a mere creature!
- Rumi