Knowledge is Power….and Light
Between a doctor in Dubai, a fire-fighter in New York, and a religious scholar in Pakistan, one thing is common. None of the three can fulfill their duties without being aware of the dynamics of their respective upcoming tasks. Thus, in this world that Allah Ta’ala has created, He has embedded a system of functioning within; to know comes first, to act comes second.
The type of knowledge one gains leads to the value being placed on the individual. Whilst one may reach for a type of knowledge put together by human intelligence, say financial trading, another will be blessed with the knowledge that comes straight from the Lord of the Worlds. Hence, it being clear that knowledge being the first step, we should strive for this “key to all doors.”
Allah Ta’ala had gifted Sayyidina Dawud and Sulayman (alayhim’us’Salam) with a plethora of blessings. He states in the Glorious Quran:
“And verily We bestowed on Dawud bounty. [We said], O Mountains! repeat [Our] praises with him, and the birds [as well]." And We softened for him iron. [Commanding him], "Make full coats of mail and calculate [precisely] the links, and do good deeds. Indeed I, of what you do, am All-Seeing. And to Sulayman, [We subjected] the wind – its morning [journey was that of] a month – and its afternoon [journey was that of] a month, and We made flow for him a spring of [liquid] copper. And among the jinn were those who worked for him by the permission of his Lord.” (As-Saba: 10-12)
Whilst all these blessings were details, Allah Ta’ala chose to condense the entire treasure into the following beautiful words:
“And verily We bestowed upon Dawud and Sulayman, knowledge” (An-Naml: 15)
Hence, the key behind all the grandeur and power bestowed by Allah Ta’ala was pin-pointed as knowledge. Sayyidina Rasoolullah (saw) stated “Acquire knowledge and impart it to the people.” (Tirmidhi) Our Aslaaf, pious elders, have set such examples in the quest of knowledge, that are unparalleled by any other religion, race or nation. The focus of their lives on knowledge was such, as today’s man and his life-long focus on wealth.
Hazrat Shah Abdul Aziz (ra) was the son of Hazrat Shah Waliullah (ra). Once he was engaged in memorizing his lesson when he felt thirsty and asked for water. Nearby, Hazrat Shah sb was also sitting, and upon hearing this he proclaimed, “Alas! For today knowledge has left our family…my son is only engrossed in his lesson to the extent that even petty thirst takes his mind away.”
His wife told him not to worry, and when the water was being sent, she some mixed vinegar into it. Now Shah Abdul Aziz (ra) drank down the entire glass but his focus did not shift to the strange bitterness in the water. The mother came and told this to Hazrat Shah Sahib, and he said “Alhamdulillah, knowledge is still alive in our family.” Subhan’Allah, such was the intensity of their thirst for knowledge, that the thirst for water went almost unnoticed. The number of students in Hazrat Abdullah bin Mubarak’s Hadith lessons would be 40,000 at times. Hazrat Ashraf Ali Thanvi (ra) wrote a magnanimous 2700 books in his lifetime. It is passion what fuels such achievements in life.
Dear Reader, we only have one life, and that’s it. What we make of it is what dictates the eternity to come. And what we make of this life depends on how aware we are of what will transpire later on. That awareness is only attained through divine knowledge. Hence, according to your circumstances, strive to attain as much knowledge as you can. Maybe an introductory course in Arabic would do, if not a course on Hadith, or even a diploma-oriented program. The smallest bit that one can do is at least make a daily routine of reading a religious book, some part of it. Furthermore, after every Fard salah, one should recite the Quranic prayer of “Rab’bi zidni ilma,”, “O My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” Insha’Allah the individual will notice an increase in knowledge, understanding and awareness. For “Ilm” implies both book-based knowledge and the awareness of Allah’s attributes and contemplation about our universe. The Quran encourages us to ponder over the creation and realize the Creator through it.
So, like they say, if you can’t make the million-dollar deal, make sure you don’t leave out the thousands. Some day you’ll find the strength to go for the bigger kill. We should sincerely pray to Allah Ta’ala to open up the doors of knowledge for us, such that we begin to look at the universe in a different way; the same way the Noble Sahaba (Radiallahu Anhum) were able to look at it. Makes life a whole lot easier, and brings the servant to his Lord quite closer. Rab’bi zidni ilma.