Knowledge, Ambitions, Certificates And Trustworthiness

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

فضيلة الشيخ

بارك الله فيك عندي سؤال

متى يطلق على الشخص ” طالب علم ” جزاكم الله خيرأ و بارك الله في علمكم

نص الجواب:بسم الله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

اما بعد

اذا عرف الشخص بملازمة اهل العلم والاخذ عنهم سمي طالب علم

Question to Al-Allaamah Ubayd Bin Abdillaah Al-Jaabiri [hafidhahullaah]: “When is a person called a student of Knowledge?”

Answer: “If a person is known Bi-Mulaazamati Ahl Al-Ilm [i.e. he is known to accompany the scholars and they recognise him as their student] and acquiring knowledge from them, he is called a student of knowledge”. [Ref 1]


Knowledge, Ambitions, Certificates And Trustworthiness

Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) said that some of the people say that sincere intention in this present era of ours is difficult (to achieve) or it may be impossible (to achieve) because those who seek knowledge do so with the aim of receiving a certificate.

The Shaikh replied to this statement saying that one’s intention is regarded to be corrupt if knowledge is sought in order to receive a certificate or a desire for an elevated worldly status by way of it. But a person’s intention is regarded to be good and not in opposition to sincerity if he wants an elevated status in order to benefit the people, for he knows that at present it is impossible for a person to achieve a high and beneficial position for the Ummah unless he has a certificate. And because of this, even if you were to find a scholar who is good in various affairs of knowledge but he has no certificate, it will not be possible for him to teach even in high school and this is the reality. And you will find that the one lesser in knowledge than this scholar will be accepted (as a teacher) at a university as long as he has a certificate.  So in accordance with a person’s (sincere) intention and choices the certificate is not considered harmful and its obtainment enters into the statement of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam):

وما جاءك من هذا المال وأنت غير مشرف ولا سائل فخذه، وما لا فلا تتبعه نفسك

And what comes to you from this wealth without asking for it or having greed for it, take it; and if not given, do not run for it.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari. Number 1473. Vol 2. Book of Zakat] [Ref 2]

The Shaikh [rahimahullaah] also said: It is possible for a person to come, holding the certification of a doctorate (PhD), and take up the position of teaching in the faculties and universities, yet he is the most ignorant of people. And if a secondary grade student came, he would be better than him (in understanding and knowledge). And this is witnessed, observed (nowadays), there is to be found now one who holds the certification of a doctorate yet he knows absolutely nothing of knowledge. Knowledge, understanding (ilm, fiqh) is something granted and bestowed by Allaah as a favour and bounty and is not necessarily attained through certifications and passing through institutions. [Ref 3]

Why Knowledge of The Sharee’ah is Sought After?

The Shaikh [rahimahullaah] also said: knowledge of the Sharee-ah is [acquired] for the Sake of Allaah, protect Allaah’s Sharee’ah, remove ignorance from yourself and from your Muslim brothers; direct [oneself and others] towards guidance and obtain the inheritance of the Prophet [i.e. some of the knowledge left behind by the Prophet – sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam], because the Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets. [Ref 4]

Al-Allaamah Siddeeq Hasan Khan [rahimahullaah] said:

The aim behind the religious sciences is not to earn; rather it is for  acquainting oneself with the realities of the (Islamic legislation) and to rectify one’s behaviour. The one who learns for the purpose of trade cannot be a scholar; rather he only resembles the scholars. The scholars unveiled what the drive behind this was and they spoke about it when the building of schools reached them at Baghdaad, so they held gatherings of knowledge and said: “The possessors of lofty ambitions and the pure souls used to pre-occupy themselves with it [i.e. knowledge] –those whose intention behind (seeking) knowledge was due to its nobility and the perfection (reached by way of it), so they came to the scholars to benefit from them and their knowledge. However, when (monetary gain) is placed on it, the vilest people and the lazy ones will approach it and thus leading to its disappearance; so, the sciences of wisdom (found in the Qur’aan, the Sunnah and the understanding of the Salaf) will be abandoned even though they are self-evident in their nobility. [Ref 5]

Ibnu Jamaa’ah [rahimahullaah] stated about sincerity in seeking knowledge:

It is to have a good intention in seeking knowledge-seeking the face of Allaah by way of it; acting upon it; reviving the sharee’ah; enlightenment of the heart and (rectification) of its hidden affairs; seeking to get close to Allaah on the Day of Judgement, and putting one’s mind to that which Allaah has prepared for its people of His Pleasure and Great Favours. [Ref 6]

Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah) said:

If one says: Through what can sincerity in seeking knowledge be [present or attained]? We say: Sincerity in seeking knowledge can be [present or attained] by making an intention for the following:

[a] [The intention] to fulfil Allaah’s command because Allaah [The Most High] commanded it (i.e. to seek knowledge). Allaah said: [فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ- So know (O Muhammad) that La ilaha ill-Allah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah), and ask forgiveness for your sin’’ (Surah Muhammad Ayah19)].

So Allaah [Glorified and Exalted Be He] strongly urged [a person] towards acquiring knowledge. And strongly urging [someone] towards something necessitates having love for it; being pleased with it and commanding [one] to do it.

[b] [The Intention] to preserve Allaah’s Sharee’ah. That is because preserving Allaah’s Sharee’ah can be done by way of learning, memorization and writing.

[c] [The Intention] to protect and defend the Sharee’ah. That is because had it not been for the scholars no one would have protected or defended the Sharee’ah. And due to this we find the likes of Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah and other than him amongst the people of knowledge repelling ahlul bidah and clarifying the falsity of their innovations. We see that they reached a lot of good.

[d] [The Intention] to follow Muhammad’s [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] Sharee’ah. That is because it is not possible for you to follow his Sharee’ah until you learn about it. [Ref 7]



Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [rahimahullaah] said:

[Ref 1: ]

[Ref 2: Sharh Hilya Taalib paraphrased]

[Ref 3: Source: Sharh Riyadh al-Saliheen 3/436). Translated by Shaikh Ustaadh Abu Khadeejah (hafidhahullaah)]

[Ref 4: Sharh Riyadh al-Saliheen 3/436]

[Ref 5: An Excerpt from (أبجد العلوم – Vol 1. pages 77-78. slightly paraphrased)]

[Ref 6: Source: Tadh-kirah As-Saami Wal-Mutakallim of Al-Kinaaniy: 67-70. Slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 7: Source: Sharh Hilyah Taalib Al’Ilm’ pages16- 17. Slightly paraphrased]

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