Prerequisites for Acquiring Authentic Knowledge


:bismillah: assalamualyakum brother and sister i recived this email from a friend who told me to add it here on tti and i thought it whould be helpful to all us here so i just add it here

Prerequisites for Acquiring Authentic Knowledge

By Rita Allen (Faatimah)

It is a blessing from Allah the Almighty that in this modern world acquiring authentic knowledge has become more easy and convenient. Knowledge of Islam according to the Qur'an and the Sunnah has become available with the publication of books, articles, tapes, Islamic learning programs on CDs, unlimited access to the internet, lectures and conferences given by knowledgeable scholars and students of knowledge. For all these various opportunities, it is for our benefit and success that we must start working towards increasing our knowledge of Islam. There are several things that we must do before we can begin to approach the task of acquiring knowledge.
First, we have to purify our intentions for whatever good things we plan to do, including seeking Islamic knowledge. Our intention must be to please Allah the Almighty. If we approach the pursuit of knowledge with worldly benefit in mind then we have defeated ourselves before we even start. The proofs for this come in the form of two ahādīth. The first one is the authentic hādīth narrated by Umar bin Al-Khattab radiallahu anhu (may Allah be pleased with him) in which he said:
"I heard Allah's Messenger sallallahu alaihi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying, "The reward of deeds depends upon the intention and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrates for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration will be for what he emigrates for." (Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/1)
From the above hādīth we can say that all our pursuits (including acquiring knowledge) have the same standard of setting our intentions correct before we can receive the reward and benefit from them. The second hādīth narrated by Abu Hurayrah radiallahu anhu specifically refers to the punishment for anyone who acquires knowledge not for the pleasure of our Creator but purely for worldly purpose:
"The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, "Whosoever learns knowledge by which is to be sought the Face of Allah, but does not do so except for the goal of this world, he will not smell the odor of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection." (Abu Dawud)
With these two ahādīth we see the seriousness of our intention and that is why we have to make sure that our intention is correct before we go further. Our intention in acquiring knowledge must be purified for Allah's Cause and Pleasure.
After purifying our intention, we need to have an understanding of where our knowledge comes from. Allah has mentioned in the Qur'an about how He gives knowledge and grants wisdom. One of those ayaat is in Surah Al Baqarah ayah 169. Allah the Almighty says:
"He grants wisdom to whom He pleases; and he to whom wisdom is granted indeed receives a benefit overflowing."
We must know that knowledge in Islam comes from the Qur'an and the (authentic) Sunnah and the right deductions from these two revealed sources. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said,

"Knowledge consists of three things: the decisive verses (Qur'an ), authentic Hādīth and prescriptions rightly deduced from the two. What is beside them is superfluous." (Ibn Majah 1/54 and Abu Dawud 2879)
We need to know that Islam requires us to distinguish the Sunnah from bid'ah or innovated practices. We also need to distinguish the authentic Ahādīth from the fabricated ones. We need to know the proofs from the Qur'an and the Sunnah as these are revealed sources that can give us knowledge and guidance:
Jabir Bin 'Abdullah narrated that Allah's Messenger sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said, "The best speech is that embodied in the Book of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance given by Muhammad. The most evil affairs are their innovations; and every innovation is an error." (Muslim1885)
Once we know where knowledge comes from then we can either continue on our own or we can choose to sit in the company of the learned. The company of the learned here means the scholars, students of knowledge and those whom Allah has given an understanding of the religion. According to a Tafseer by Ibn Katheer, "Those who benefit from the advice are those who have sound minds and good comprehension with which they understand the words of advice and reminder and their implications." There is a noble status given to the learned and this is shown in the hādīth narrated by Abu Umamah, radiallahu anhu which states that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said,
"A learned one is as much above an (ordinary) worshipper as I am above the least of you"; and he added: "Allah, His angels and all those in heavens and earths, even the ants in their holes and the fish in the water, call down blessing on those who instruct people in beneficent knowledge." (Tirmithi)
When we are receiving authentic knowledge from those whom Allah has blessed with knowledge, we should not be ashamed to envy them (i.e., the Muslim scholars or the learned Muslims). The reason for this is the hādīth narrated by Ibn Mas'ud in which he said that the he heard the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam saying,

"There is no envy except in two: a person whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the right way, and a person whom Allah has given wisdom ( i.e. religious knowledge) and he gives his decision accordingly and teaches it to others." ( Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/490)
So the learned among us have a special place in the learning and teaching of religious knowledge. We must try to learn from them so that we can implement the authentic knowledge in our daily lives and also teach or share to others what we learn.
Another important point that we need to build within ourselves in acquiring knowledge is patience. We must have patience when learning. None of us were born knowing everything at once and the same thing goes for learning the religion. We will not be able to acquire all of the knowledge and those who have been given knowledge are still constantly seeking more. The reason lies on the comprehensiveness of Islam. We can not learn Islam in just one setting nor years. And so it is important to understand that we can not comprehend all of Islamic teachings at once and thus the need for patience and constancy. There are many references to patience and constancy in the Qur'an and one of those is:
"O you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy vie in such perseverance, strengthen each other, and fear Allah, that you may prosper." (Surah Ali-Imran ayah 200)
In order to make learning easy for us we must submit to the will of Allah and build strong trust in Him that He will help us in our noble pursuit. We should begin our studying with du'a (supplication). Allah has enjoined all of us including the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam to ask for knowledge from Him:
"And say: 'My Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) increase me in knowledge.'" (Surah Ta-Ha 114)
It is preferable also that we include in our supplications the following du'a for patience and constancy:
"Our Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)! Pour out on us patience and constancy, and take our souls unto You as Muslims (who bow to Your Will)!" (Qur'an, 7:126)
In addition to these things we need to choose good company from whom we can receive benefit. The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam encouraged us to have company when acquiring knowledge as shown in the following hādīth:
Abdullah ibn Abbas narrated: Allah's Messenger said, "Acquiring knowledge in company for an hour in the night is better than spending the whole night in prayer." (Tirmidhi 256)
It is for our benefit that we should choose righteous companions. We must remember that when we choose friends either they will give us some information which we can benefit from or no benefit at all. Let us take guidance from the hādīth in which Abu Musa radiallahu anhu narrated that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said,
"The example of a good pious companion and an evil one is that of a person carrying musk and another blowing a pair of bellows. The one carrying musk will either give you some perfume as a present, or you will buy some from him, or you will get a good smell from him, but the one who is blowing a pair of bellows will either burn your clothes or you will get a bad smell from him." (Sahih Al-Bukhari 7/442)
In order to gain more knowledge or wisdom through righteous friends or companions, let us include in our supplications the following du'a from the Qur'an:
"O my Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)! Bestow wisdom on me and join me with the righteous; Grant me honorable mention on the tongue of truth among the latest (generations). Make me one of the inheritors of the Garden of Bliss." (26:83-85)
Also we need to set aside time to study. If we are constantly too busy to learn anything from anyone or do not make the time to read even if just one ayah of Qur'an then we will have no increase in this life or in the next. We need to spend time learning authentic knowledge of Islam to increase our Faith, do righteous deeds, enjoin the Truth and develop patience and constancy. We need to learn all these in order not to be among the losers – those who will suffer the torments in the Hell-Fire for spending most of their time and life in this world merely for play and amusements. Let us take admonition from the following Ayah:
"By the time, verily man is in loss, except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and join (together) in the mutual enjoining of Truth, and of patience and constancy." (Surah Al-Asr,103:1-3)
After we have learned things about Islam even if we think that it is small or everybody already knows it we should still make the effort to convey what we have learned to our spouses, children and friends. As we read in the Qur'an in Surah Ar-Rum 30 ayah 47:
[FONT=Times New
Roman]"…To help the believers is incumbent upon us." [/FONT]

And one of the ways to help our fellow Muslims is to pass along correct Islamic knowledge. Zayd Ibn Thabit radiallahu anhu narrated that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said,
"May Allah brighten the face of the person who hears what I say and retains it, then conveys it to others; for sometimes one who hears from another remembers it better than the original hearer himself." (Ahmad and Tirmithi)

The Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam further said,
"Convey (what you have learned from me ) even if it is only one verse." (Sahih Al Bukhari)
In a world full of opportunities to benefit from the wisdom of others why would we deprive ourselves by not making the sacrifice for the ultimate success which is the Hereafter? Let us then take time learning Islam as it is the True Path to Success. When taking on the task of learning we need to remember to purify our intentions, understand where knowledge comes from, choose those who we can learn from, set time to study, make du'a, and be patient. Once we begin on this journey towards increasing our knowledge we need to be mindful that we practice what we learn, continue making du'a to become more learned, and share with others the authentic Islamic knowledge that we learn. May Allah bless all of us with beneficial knowledge and bestow upon us success in this life and in the next. Ameen.

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"When a man dies, accrual of merit in his favor from good deeds ceases except from three actions: 1. a charity which continues after his death; 2. knowledge left behind from which men continue to benefit; and 3. righteous offspring who pray for him." (Muslim)

Our Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer)! Accept (this service) from us. Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All Knowing." (Qur'ān 2:127)

Allah knows best.

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:ma: Baarakallahu fikh, I'm touched by this posting. May the Great Almighty Allah bless you!