The Obligation of Spreading Knowledge – [Scholars and Students] – Shaykh Fawzaan

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Shaikh Salih al Fawzaan حفظه الله comments regarding His Statement (The Most High):

مَا كَانَ لِبَشَرٍ أَن يُؤۡتِيَهُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَٱلۡحُكۡمَ وَٱلنُّبُوَّةَ ثُمَّ يَقُولَ لِلنَّاسِ كُونُواْ عِبَادٗا لِّي مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَلَٰكِن كُونُواْ رَبَّٰنِيِّـۧنَ بِمَا كُنتُمۡ تُعَلِّمُونَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ وَبِمَا كُنتُمۡ تَدۡرُسُونَ

It is not (possible) for any human being to whom Allah has given the Book and Al-Hukma (the knowledge and understanding of the laws of religion, etc.) and Prophethood to say to the people: “Be my worshippers rather than Allah’s.” On the contrary (he would say): “Be you Rabbaaniyun (learned men of religion who practise what they know and also preach others) because you are teaching the Book, and you are studying it.” (Surah Aali-Imraan:79)

What we benefit from this noble verse is that it is obligatory upon the one who knows something from what the messenger brought, that he acts in accordance to it and he teaches the people, in order that he be from the Rabbaaniyun (learned men of religion who practise what they know and also preach others), and that he be from the followers of the messengers. As for someone who keeps it (the knowledge he has learnt after acting in accordance to it) for himself only, leaves off calling the people to Allah and leaves off commanding good and forbidding evil, then indeed this person’s following of the messengers is not complete, rather he has with him a great deficiency and he will be someone who has left a great obligation, and that is the spreading of knowledge and its conveyance to the people, [Ref 1 – important reminders on this affair in footnote at the end of this article], Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says:

…وَإِذۡ أَخَذَ ٱللَّهُ مِيثَٰقَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡكِتَٰبَ لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُۥ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَكۡتُمُونَهُۥ

(And remember) when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) to make it (the news of the coming of Prophet Muhammad SAW and the religious knowledge) known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it… (Surah Aali- Imraan:187)

So this person is someone who has concealed what Allah gave him of knowledge and Allah تعالى says:

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَكۡتُمُونَ مَآ أَنزَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلۡبَيِّنَٰتِ وَٱلۡهُدَىٰ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا بَيَّنَّٰهُ لِلنَّاسِ فِي ٱلۡكِتَٰبِ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ يَلۡعَنُهُمُ ٱللَّهُ وَيَلۡعَنُهُمُ ٱللَّٰعِنُونَ

Verily, those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and the guidance, which We have sent down, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book, they are the ones cursed by Allah and cursed by the cursers. (Surah Al-Baqarah:159)

إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ تَابُواْ وَأَصۡلَحُواْ وَبَيَّنُواْ فَأُوْلَٰٓئِكَ أَتُوبُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَأَنَا ٱلتَّوَّابُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ

Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful. (Surah Al-Baqarah:160)

There also comes in the hadeeth that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,

من سئل عن علم فكتمه ألجم يوم القيامة بلجام من نار

 “He who is asked about knowledge (of religion), he knows it and then conceals it, will be bridled with a bridle of fire on the Day of Resurrection.” [Ref 2],

So it is not permissible to conceal knowledge, rather it is obligatory on anyone who has with him knowledge that he conveys it to the people and that he spreads it among them and calls the people to it, and it is not permissible for him to keep it to himself and to leave the people whilst he sees that they are upon misguidance, for indeed they will hold him accountable on the day of judgement because of it.

Source: Min Ahkhaam Al-Qur’aan by Shaikh Salih al Fawzaan حفظه الله  vol.1 pgs. 25 – 26

Ref 1: Important clarification regarding learning, spreading knowledge, commanding good and forbidding evil:

Firstly: knowledge is acquired directly from the scholars. Read advice by Al-Allaamah Ubaid Bin Abdillaah Al-Jaabiriy [hafidhahullaah] and Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [rahimahullaah]:

Secondly, an effective method of reminding oneself and benefiting others whilst in the company of a teacher- by Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr [hafidhahullaah]: The Shaikh said: It is not a condition that a questioner can only ask about what he does not know, rather he can ask about something he knows but is not known to others; so he asks a question in order to facilitate understanding for others.

If you are in the presence of a scholar and you know that some of those present fall short in affairs related to the prayer- either lackadaisical or that they do not perform the prayer on time, or that they fall short in some of its Shuroot [conditions] and waajibaat [obligatory acts of the prayer] – so you ask a question regarding these affairs even though you know the answer; you ask in order to benefit those who are present and so that they are facilitated with understand in their religion. These types of questions are very beneficial as opposed to questions that are not correct – that is because some people ask questions in order to confuse those present and bring about doubts etc. A question cannot be beneficial unless the questioner intends to benefit himself and others.

When Jibreel [alayhis-salaam] came to the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] he did not appear as a teacher, rather he asked questions, even though the Messenger described him as one who came to teach the people their religion. This shows that the one who asks a scholar a question in order that the people can learn what they do not know is rewarded like one who teaches people their religion.

A scholar teaches people directly, but the one who asks the scholar a question becomes a means for the people to learn, for the one who guides to good is like one who does the good deed.  For example if you ask a student of knowledge in your country to give lessons in your Masjid –to teach the forty hadeeth of An-Nawawi or other books of the scholars, and you inform him of the needs of the people, so he begins to teach, explain and revise etc you will receive all that reward. The one who guides to good is just like one who performs the good deed. The commoner can be a means to teaching others by asking a scholar, or by gathering other commoners to take them to the circles of knowledge, disseminating beneficial audio lectures etc. [An excerpt from ‘Sharh of the forty hadeeth of Imaam An-Nawawi (rahimahullaah)’. Lesson number 2]

Thirdly, an article by Shaikh Abu Khadeejah regarding signposts of guidance for the youth who seek knowledge:

Fourthly, regarding the affair of enjoining good and forbidding evil by Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [rahimahullaah]:

Question to Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz (Rahimahullaah): Is enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil by the hand an obligation on all Muslims, or is it limited to those in authority and their deputies?

Stopping wrong is obligated on all Muslims according to their ability, because the Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] “Anyone of you who sees evil [i.e. that which is declared an evil deed by Islaam], let them stop it with their hand; if he cannot, then with their tongue; and if they cannot, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of Imaan’’. [Muslim, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi & others]

However, stopping evil by the hand must be based on ability and should not result in greater corruption or evil. A man has the right to rectify matters with his hand in his home [i.e. based on what the law of the land allows him]; a manager has the authority to make changes with the hand within the organization they are responsible for, in accordance with the instructions that were given to them [i.e. the authority given to them by the state authorities]; otherwise, people should not change with their hand anything they are not authorised to change.  If they do make changes in matters that they have no authority over, this will result in more evil and great corruption between them and the people and between the people and the state.

In this case they should stop evil with their tongue (by speaking out). They may say: ‘’O Fulaan! Fear Allaah! This is not permissible; this is Haraam, or This is obligated on you,’’ and clarify it with evidence from Sharee’ah. [NB: In the UK, objecting to certain behaviour can be viewed as harassment or verbal abuse, therefore a Muslim should be aware of what the law allows him before he says or does anything whilst living in the West].

As for changing matters with the hand, this should be done where one has authority, such as one’s home [i.e. within what the law allows], with those under one’s responsibility, or those authorized by the ruler, such as organizations given permission and authority to enjoin Good. They should make changes in accordance with the authority they have been given- in the way prescribed by the Sharee’ah, without exceeding their jurisdiction. The same applies to the governor of a city; he should make changes with his hand, in accordance with the instructions he has. [Fataawa Ibn Baaz 8/208. Slightly paraphrased]

Finally, Alhamadulil laah, we have recognised and certified students of knowledge in all the Maraakiz whose study circles are well established and they disseminate knowledge regularly, therefore one should sit with them and take directly from them.  [Al-Markazus Salafi Committee]

Ref 2: Abu Dawud (3658), Tirmidhi (2649), Ibn Maajah (266), Narrated by Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه

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