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What should be the real purpose behind gathering worldly knowledge?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by IslamicSolutions.org

Question:

What should be the real purpose behind gathering worldly knowledge? Should it only be used for  earning a livelihood? What is the correct explanation of the hadith regarding gathering ilm? Someone quote the phrase “if you need to go as far as China to gather ilm then go”. Should this be solely for worldly knowledge or should it also be for Deeni knowledge? Please help me, I am utterly confused.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu `alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Knowledge is to acquire information about something that was not known to you before.

This could be of worldly issues or of religious issues.

Both forms of information are praiseworthy.

We are living in a world of asbaabs (world of means). We can only fulfill our needs through the correct information.

All the basic information of worldly needs commenced through revelation.

It is permissible for one to acquire worldly information to earn an income if it complies with Shariah.

It is a necessity for one to earn an income and he may adopt a means for doing so by acquiring knowledge.  Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) says seeking an income comes next in line after performing obligatory acts.[1]

Therefore one can become a Doctor, an Engineer or undertake any profession that is in line with the principles of Shariah.

Another form of information is regarding Deen.

One should learn how to worship Allah (Subhana wa Ta’ala) as He should be worshipped.

This involves educating oneself on

–         wudu

–         Salat

–         perform the obligatory Hajj and when does it becomes  compulsory upon a person.

–         recite the Quran

–    doing business according to Shariah

–       The payment of zakat. How should the zakat be calculated. To whom should it be paid and so on.

 

One should seek knowledge on how best to serve and fear Allah (Subhana Wa Ta’ala ) adequately, so that he may get closer to Allah and gain the pleasures of Allah.[2]

 

The hadith in the enquiry is in reference to Deeni Knowledge.

 

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Saeed Ahmed Golaub

Islamic Solutions

Jamaica

 

[1]عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «طَلَبُ كَسْبِ الْحَلَالِ فَرِيضَةٌ بَعْدَ الْفَرِيضَةِ» . رَوَاهُ الْبَيْهَقِيُّ فِي شعب الْإِيمَان

مشكاة المصابيح (2 / 847):2781 -[23]

 

[2]حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ مُوسَى قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو مُعَاوِيَةَ قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنَا اللَّيْثُ هُوَ ابْنُ أَبِي سُلَيْمٍ، عَنْ زِيَادٍ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «مَا مِنْ رَجُلٍ يَدْعُو اللَّهَ بِدُعَاءٍ إِلَّا اسْتُجِيبَ لَهُ، فَإِمَّا أَنْ يُعَجَّلَ فِي الدُّنْيَا، وَإِمَّا أَنْ يُدَّخَرَ لَهُ فِي الآخِرَةِ، وَإِمَّا أَنْ يُكَفَّرَ عَنْهُ مِنْ ذُنُوبِهِ بِقَدْرِ مَا دَعَا، مَا لَمْ يَدْعُ بِإِثْمٍ أَوْ قَطِيعَةِ رَحِمٍ أَوْ يَسْتَعْجِلْ» . قَالُوا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَكَيْفَ يَسْتَعْجِلُ؟ قَالَ: ” يَقُولُ: دَعَوْتُ رَبِّي فَمَا اسْتَجَابَ لِي “: سنن الترمذي ت (5 / 583):

This answer was collected from IslamicSolutions.org, which is operated by Mufti Saeed Ahmed Golaub from Jamaica. He’s a student of Mufti Ebrahim Desai (rah) from South Africa.

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