It's a serious business, and very important to have the right intention. Related by Bukhari and Muslim, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab narrated that the Prophet (saaws) said:
Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which heMoreover, Abu Dawud related that Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (saaws) said:
He who does not acquire knowledge with the sole intention of seeking the Pleasure of Allah but for worldly gain, will not smell the fragrance of Jannah on the Day of Resurrection.In fact, we know of another hadith reported by Muslim from Abu Hurayrah that among the first people who will be judged on the Day of Judgment is a martyr who fought only to be called brave, so he will be thrown into hell, and a person who gave charity only to be called generous so he will be thrown into hell, and a person who learned and studied Islam only so that he would be called a scholar. So I reiterate that it is important, absolutely necessary to have the right intention in acquiring knowledge, which means solely for the pleasure of Allah.
So why would I want to acquire knowledge in the first place, instead of just trying to do a lot of worship? First of all, I have Allah alone to thank for guiding me to Islam--and yet this is only one of the many blessings the Most Merciful has given me. And yet, Allah says in the Qur'an (35:28) what means:
Only those fear Allah , from among His servants, who have knowledge.So it takes knowledge to be a true servant of Allah, who sincerely fears Allah. And if we are to be between hope and fear, then knowledge is essential to cultivate a true understanding. Allah also says in the Qur'an (39:9) what means:
Is one who is devoutly obedient during periods of the night, prostrating and standing [in prayer], fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord, [like one who does not]? Say, "Are those who know equal to those who do not know?" Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding.This ayah is just full of the value of knowledge... I really can't say any words to better describe it than these so I won't even try. Knowledge is also a means of gaining reward in the Hereafter, since Allah has also said (58:11) what means:
Allah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees.And He told His Messenger Muhammad to say, this du'a (20:114):
My Lord, increase me in knowledge.Rabbee zidnee 'ilma.
So we can ask now, is knowledge a blessing? And yes, of course it is. Bukhari and Muslim have reported that Mu'awiyah narrated that the Prophet (saaws) said:
When Allah wishes good for someone, He bestows upon him the understanding ofAnd what about just searching for knowledge, since it does not come handed to us on a silver platter? Is the path for knowledge blessed? Yes! Searching for knowledge is a way to find Jannah. Muslim reported from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (saaws) said:
Allah makes the way to Jannah easy for him who treads the path in search of knowledge.Similar hadith reported by At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud tell us that the angels lower their wings over a person seeking knowledge, and that the inhabitants of the earth from an ant in its hole to the fish in the sea, supplicate for that person's forgiveness. In fact, searching for knowledge is a kind of jihad in its own right. At-Tirmidhi reported from Anas that the Prophet (saaws) said:
He who goes forth in search of knowledge is considered as struggling in the Cause of Allah until he returns.But the truly beautiful hadith, the one that constantly compels me to seek knowledge, is the one which compares the worshiper to the person of knowledge. From Abud-Darda, reported by Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (saaws) said:
The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon to the rest of the stars.So the devout worshipper--the person who serves his Lord and offers prayer at night, and charity, this person is like one of the stars in the sky, and there are plenty of stars. But the person who has learned knowledge for the sake of Allah, who we know truly understands and fears Allah, that person is like the full moon in brightness among a sea of stars.
Rabbee zidnee 'ilma! My Lord, increase me in knowledge!