The Beginning of Gaining Knowledge

Knowledge is an essential aspect of human life, a necessary tool in seeking guidance, wisdom, and understanding. In this introductory article, I will delve into the importance of knowledge, the teachings of renowned scholars, and the significance of adopting proper manners and morals in pursuit of intellectual growth. I will also explore the role of knowledge in leading us to a meaningful and fulfilling path.

Forgetfulness is a natural human trait, but as a poet once said, “It is not called human except because of its forgetfulness.” This sentiment is echoed in Islamic teachings, urging individuals to seek knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of God and His guidance.

Imam Syafi’e faced challenges with his memory, and his teacher, Waki’, advised him to improve his morals to strengthen his memory. This points to the importance of maintaining a moral and upright character in our quest for knowledge.

The Quran also encourages individuals to remember God, as it is through His guidance that we can overcome forgetfulness. In Surah al-Kahf (24), we are reminded to seek God’s help when we encounter difficulties and obstacles.

Knowledge is often referred to as light, as it has the power to illuminate our minds, hearts, and souls.

From Anas bin Malik radhiyallahu ‘anhu, the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, “Seeking knowledge is an obligation for every Muslim“. (Sunan Ibn Majah, 224)

The Prophet (PBUH) emphasized the importance of seeking knowledge, stating that it is an obligation for every Muslim. Acquiring knowledge is not restricted to a select few but is open to all who seek it. The renowned scholar Al Ghazali mastered eight different branches of knowledge, which further exemplifies the potential that lies within us when we embark on this journey.

Before we delve into the complexities of knowledge, it is crucial to first learn and practice good manners and morals. As the wise words of Imam Shafi’i assert, “First manners, then knowledge.” Learning good manners ensures that our pursuit of knowledge is grounded in respect, compassion, and mutual understanding.

Al-Qadi ‘Iyad said: Malik, may God have mercy on him, said, “My mother dressed me and said to me: Go to Shaykh Rabi’ah and learn from his character before his knowledge”.

It is crucial to remember that the existence of different opinions does not equate to hostility. Great scholars such as Imam Shafi’i advocate for harmony and unity among people, even if they disagree on certain matters.

In conclusion, this brief introduction to the importance of knowledge emphasizes the role of good manners and morals in our pursuit of wisdom. It is through seeking knowledge, maintaining a strong moral compass, and fostering a spirit of unity that we can truly understand God’s guidance and live a meaningful life.

Mastering good manners and morals is crucial, as it helps eliminate various undesirable character traits, such as excessive self-pride. This type of pride can be detrimental as it can hinder a person from embracing the truth and accepting wise counsel. Some of the external manifestations of pride include expecting respect, refusing advice, speaking disrespectfully, becoming angry when corrected, and looking down on others. These prideful tendencies often lead to additional negative qualities, including arrogance, envy, and anger.

In summary, we should avoid portraying a sense of superiority, excessive pride, and thinking that we are greater than others due to our material possessions or achievements. We must remember that it is God who determines our true worth, and we should not judge others based on their outward appearance or possessions.

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