In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Shaikh Rabee Bin Haadi [may Allaah preserve him] said:
Indeed, Allaah did not command the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] to seek [an increase] in worldly things [i.e. the permissible things], rather Allaah commanded him to seek an increase in knowledge. [Allaah said]: وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدۡنِى عِلۡمً۬ا – And say: “My Lord! Increase me in knowledge]. [Surah Taha Aayah 114]
[Allaah] did not [command to the Messenger to say]: ‘’And say: My Lord! Increase me in wealth or Dunyah [i.e. the worldly things] or authority’’; rather [Allaah commanded him to say]: [وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدۡنِى عِلۡمً۬ا – And say: “My Lord! Increase me in knowledge].
This is one of the proofs regarding the nobility of knowledge and its [high] status in the Sight of Allaah. Even though the Messenger of Allaah [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] is the most knowledgeable of all the scholars, however his Lord still directed him to seek an increase in knowledge. Therefore, it is obligated on a student of knowledge to seek this knowledge [of the Sharee’ah] as the saying goes: “From the cradle to the grave [i.e. all your life]”. He should not consider himself a scholar at any time and that he has acquired his share of knowledge, rather he seeks an increase until his last breaths and moments of his life.
Imaam Ahmad [rahimahullaah] said: People are more in need of knowledge than food and drink, for indeed you can be sufficed with eating once or twice a day; but as for knowledge, you need it at every moment and with every breath you take. The people [i.e. Imaam Ahmad and others] who made this statement understood the importance of knowledge and action [i.e. acting upon knowledge].
Source: Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 74-75. Abridged and slightly paraphrased