The Meaning of the “Knowledge” mentioned in the Ayaat and Ahaadeeth
AUTHOR:Shaikh Muhammad ‘Umar Bazmool
SOURCE: His treatise “At-Ta’seel fee Talab-il-‘Ilm”
PRODUCED BY: Al-Ibaanah.com
The Second Foundation:
What is meant by the “knowledge” that is mentioned in the ayaat and the ahaadeeth is knowledge of the Religion. As for the universal, physical and material sciences, then these are a collective obligation.
These sciences fall under Allaah’s statement: “And prepare against them all you can of power, including steeds of war…” [Surah Al-Anfaal: 60]
They also fall under the principle: “There is no harming (of oneself) or harming others.”
And they fall under the principle: “That which is necessary for the fulfillment of an obligation becomes itself obligatory.”
* This principle entails the following matters:
1. The statement: “This is obligatory upon every Muslim or student of knowledge.” cannot be applied unrestrictedly to any of the types of knowledge except for the Islamic sciences. An example of this is what is known nowadays as “Knowledge of Current Affairs”, which focuses on following reports and information from newspapers and magazines, and which some people say is: “An obligatory form of knowledge that every student of knowledge is required to learn!”
2. The knowledge that the Salaf praised and which they intended in their statements is nothing else but knowledge of the Religion. This is the knowledge that was intended in statements such as that of Mu’aadh RAA, when he said: “Learn knowledge, for indeed learning it for the sake of Allaah is fear (of Him), seeking it is worship, studying it is glorification of Allaah, researching it is Jihaad, teaching it to those unaware of it is charity, and giving it out to one’s family builds ties. It is a friend in privacy, a companion in solitude, a guide in times of ease, an aide in times of difficulty, a minister to the friends (of Allaah), a close-relative to the strangers, and a lighthouse for the path to Paradise. Allaah raises people by way of it, thus making them noble leaders and chiefs in matters of good who are emulated, as well as guides to goodness whose footsteps are followed and whose deeds are highly regarded.”
So therefore, from the things that this principle entails is that: The knowledge that Allaah, His Messenger and the predecessors, such as the Sahaabah and the Taabi’een have praised is nothing else but knowledge of the Religion. As for all of the other forms of knowledge, they were not the ones intended in the praise for “knowledge” found in these ayaat, ahaadeeth and statements of the Salaf.
So knowledge of medicine, engineering, chemistry, and physics is not what was intended in the ayaat and ahaadeeth.
When we come to understand this, we must ask: “What is the ruling on learning these sciences?”
I say: It falls under the collective obligations, Acquiring knowledge of it falls under (the principle): “That which is necessary for the fulfillment of an obligation becomes itself obligatory.”
Acquiring knowledge of these sciences falls under the statement of Allaah: “And prepare against them all you can of power, including steeds of war…” [Surah Al-Anfaal: 60]
This is the ruling on these sciences. If some people take on the responsibility of learning them, the obligation becomes removed from everyone else.
What also falls under the requisites of this principle is what I mentioned to you previously – that it cannot be unrestrictedly said that these sciences or their likes are obligatory for every Muslim to know.
So for all the more reason, it is incorrect to unrestrictedly say that the knowledge of that which is associated with newspapers and magazines is from the “knowledge” that every student of knowledge is obliged to learn.