The Importance and Obligation of Seeking Islamic Knowledge

By Syed Safwan Ahmed | 02 July 2021

It is very important for every Muslim to learn Islamic knowledge, due to the fact that it is an obligatory upon every Muslim to seek Islamic knowledge. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِيْضَةٌ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ

“Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.”  (Ibn Majah: 224)

It is an obligation upon every Muslim to seek knowledge, firstly to gain pleasure of Allah (swt) which will lead to eternal paradise. We must also abstain from seeking knowledge that doesn’t bring benefit to us such as matters that are prohibited within the religion. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: 

سَلُوا اللهَ عِلْمًا نَافِعًا وَتَعَوَّذُوا بِاللهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ لّاَ يَنْفَع

“Ask Allah for beneficial knowledge and seek refuge with Allah from knowledge that is of no benefit.” (Ibn Majah: 3843)

Gaining knowledge, a person can be guaranteed ease in this life and also in the hereafter. The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:

مَنْ سَلَكَ طَرِيقًا يَلْتَمِسُ فِيهِ عِلْمًا سَهَّلَ اللهُ لَهُ بِهِ طَرِيقًا إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ

“Whoever takes a path upon which to obtain knowledge, Allah will make the path to Paradise easy for him.” (Muslim: 2699)

Another significantly virtuous reward of seeking Islamic knowledge is that Allah (swt) raises the ranks of the one who has knowledge. It is stated in the Qur’an:

يَرْفَعِ ٱللهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مِنكُمْ وَٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْعِلْمَ دَرَجَـٰتٍ ۚ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيْرٌ

“Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allah is Aware of what you do.” (Surah Al-Mujadilah: 11)

Allah (swt) is the One who increases and decreases the rank of a person. Hence, those with knowledge should not think of themselves as greater than another person.

Knowledge is the opposite of ignorance. Therefore, acquiring knowledge takes a person out of ignorance. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُون

“Say (O Prophet): Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” (Surah Az-Zumar: 9)

Having Islamic knowledge shouldn’t lead a person to arrogance. Having more knowledge about Islam should make a Muslim more humble in front of Allah (swt) as he is the Creator. Allah (swt) said in the Qur’an:

إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى ٱللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ ٱلْعُلَمَـٰٓاء

“Only those fear Allah, from among his servants, who have knowledge.” (Surah Al-Fatir: 28)

Another important benefit of seeking knowledge of the religion Islam is that one will be able to teach others. Teaching others is one of the good deeds which results in great reward for a Muslims even after death. Whoever leaves behind beneficial knowledge, he will receive great rewards as long as people are benefiting from his teachings.

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:

إِذَا مَاتَ الْإِنْسَانُ انْقَطَعَ عَنْهُ عَمَلُهُ إِلَّا مِنْ ثَلَاثَةٍ إِلَّا مِنْ صَدَقَةٍ جَارِيَةٍ أَوْ عِلْمٍ يُنْتَفَعُ بِهِ أَوْ وَلَدٍ صَالِحٍ يَدْعُو لَه

“When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased).” (Muslim: 1631)

Lastly, knowledge is more important for a Muslim than wealth and property. Knowledge is so important that Allah (swt) directs the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to pray that he will be granted more of it. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:

وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِىْ عِلْمًا 

“And say: My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (Surah Taha: 114)

Syed Safwan Ahmed is a first-year student of Alimiyyah programme at An-Nidaa Academy.