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 Praise to Allah, who has guided us to Islam; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah alone with no partner, and I bear witness that our Prophet Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger who never deviated from the path of righteousness and benevolence. May Allah’s Salat, Peace and blessing be upon him, his family, his Companions, his followers and those who followed them in righteousness until the Day of Resurrection.

The best thing you can do after converting to Islam is to seek the Islamic knowledge; it is one of the best and most honorable deeds. Islam urged us to seek knowledge and made it an obligation upon every Muslim.  The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "He who goes forth in search of knowledge is considered as struggling in the Cause of Allah until he returns." [Hasan according to At- Tirmidhi]

Therefore, many Islamic scholars have taken an interest in etiquette for Seeking Knowledge that should be adhered to by the Muslim, among which are the following:  

 

First: Sincerity

Sincerity is obligatory in all acts of worship including seeking knowledge. Allah Almighty says:

"وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاء وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَذَلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ" (البينة:5)

(interpretation of the meaning):

" And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion.

It has been narrated on the authority of Umar b. al-Khattab that the Messenger of Allah () said: "(The value of) an action depends on the intention behind it. A man will be rewarded only for what he intended" (Sahih Muslim)

Being sincere to Allah in seeking knowledge means that a Muslim must seek knowledge with the intention to win Allah's Pleasure first of all, and not for purely worldly purposes such as obtaining a certificate or taking a position to earn material benefits only, this is not the sincerity required to earn Allah's reward.  It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "A person who acquires (religious) knowledge, which is (normally) acquired to gain the Pleasure of Allah, (for the sole reason) to secure worldly comforts will not even smell the fragrance of Jannah on the Day of Resurrection (i.e., will not enter Jannah)." [Abu Dawud].

 

Second: Piety

Religious scholars are the most pious and the most knowledgeable of Allah among people, Allah Almighty said:

"إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاء إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ غَفُورٌ" (فاطر:28)

Interpretation: "Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving" (35:28)

Knowledge is a fruit of piety and vice versa. Piety is a way to acquire knowledge, and seeking knowledge leads to acquiring a deeper knowledge of Allah, which in turn increases piety (fear of Him). Imam Shafi'i - may Allah have mercy on him- have said the famous verse regarding this:

I complained to Waki' about the weakness of my memorization,

So he instructed me to abandon disobedience;

He informed me that knowledge is a light,

And the light of Allah is not given to a sinner.

 

Piety or as pronounced in Arabic (Taqwa) includes performing obligatory deeds such as praying and fasting and avoiding doing evil. It also includes keeping the desirable or recommended deeds, such as reciting the Quran, remembrance of Allah, praying and supplication to Allah with sincerity, and other virtues of words and deeds that are intended to win Allah's Pleasure and avoid His punishment. He Exalted says:

"وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ اللّهُ وَاللّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ" (البقرة: 282)

Interpretation: "And fear Allah. And Allah teaches you. And Allah is Knowing of all things" (2:282)

 

Third: Patience

The road to knowledge is not filled with flowers, but a long and difficult road that needs patience, struggle, and strong determination, and the story of our Master the Prophet Moses with the Scholar Al-Khidr peace be upon them is the greatest example of the importance of patience for seeking knowledge.

Allah Almighty says:

"يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اصْبِرُوا وَصَابِرُوا وَرَابِطُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ" (آل عمران: 200)

Interpretation: "O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful" (3:200)

 

Fourth: Practicing the acquired knowledge

Knowledge that is not translated into real action is useless. The Muslim must strive in practicing what have been learned as much as he strives to seek knowledge.  He should be the first one who to take advantage of his knowledge. Allah Almighty - in His book- has praised those whose act are in accordance with their words, He said:

"الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّهُ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ" (الزمر:18)

Interpretation: " Who listen to speech and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding" (39:18)

Allah also has criticized those who do not benefit from their knowledge, and likened them to the donkey who carries volumes [of books], but it does not know its value nor what it contains, He said:

"مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ حُمِّلُوا التَّوْرَاةَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَحْمِلُوهَا كَمَثَلِ الْحِمَارِ يَحْمِلُ أَسْفَارًا بِئْسَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ" (الجمعة:5)

The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah and then did not take it on is like that of a donkey who carries volumes [of books]. Wretched is the example of the people who deny the signs of Allah. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.

The Prophet peace be upon him said: "A man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown in the (Hell) Fire, so that his intestines will come out, and he will go around like a donkey goes around a millstone. The people of (Hell) Fire will gather around him and say: O so-and-so! What is wrong with you? Didn't you use to order us to do good deeds and forbid us to do bad deeds? He will reply: Yes, I used to order you to do good deeds, but I did not do them myself, and I used to forbid you to do bad deeds, yet I used to do them myself." (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

 

Fifth: Diligence

You should be Highly motivated in seeking knowledge and do not settle for little knowledge while you can learn more. Do not accept laziness, weakness and procrastination. Take advantage of your free time, power, youth, and health before losing any of these blessings.

Imam Shafi'I may Allah have mercy on him said: " Be hard on yourself, easy on others".

 

Sixth: Choosing the best Companion

Make sure to choose the best companions, especially the righteous people who are very busy with seeking knowledge. You need such a companionship to help you achieving your goals and support you during your journey for seeking knowledge.

 

 

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