We praise Allah and thank Him for the blessings of Islam. We humbly ask Allah to raise the rank of our Prophet Muhammad, and his kind Al and Companions and to protect his nation from that which he fears for it.
Dear brothers in Islam, Knowledge is the gateway to success. Allah ta^ala said to His Prophet: وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا
This Ayah means: [And say: Oh my Lord, increase my knowledge].
Ayah 11 of Surat al-Mujadalah, means: [Allah raises the ranks of those amongst you who believed and acquired the knowledge.]
Moreover, Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, to praise the status of knowledge, its teachers and its students. Ibn Majah related that the Prophet said: <<O Abu Dharr, if you go and learn one verse of the Qur’an it will be more rewardable for you than praying one hundred rak^ahs of the optional prayers; and if you go and learn a chapter of knowledge, it is more rewardable for you than praying one thousand rak^ahs of the optional prayers.>>
Seeking the Knowledge of the Religion entails a great reward. At-Tirmidhiyy related that the Prophet peace be upon him said:
<<The reward of the one who goes out seeking the Knowledge is similar to the reward of the one who fights for the sake of Allah, and this is until one returns to one’s home.>> Among the different levels in Paradise, there are one hundred (100) levels specified for those who fight for the sake of Allah. Between each rank and the next is a distance like the distance between the Earth and the sky. This is why Imam ash-Shafi^iyy said: “Seeking the Knowledge of the Religion is more rewardable than performing the optional prayer.”
This is also why some scholars said: “Spreading the Knowledge among the people is better or more important than distributing money among them.”
With the Knowledge of the Religion, one fights the devils among the humans and the jinn, and one can fight his own evil inclinations.
Moreover, this knowledge of the Religion entails many subjects among which are the knowledge of Tawhid and the knowledge of the rules of the Religion. The knowledge of Tawhid entails knowing about Allah and His Messenger, and it is the best of all the knowledge in Islam. The scholars repeatedly emphasized the clear evidence from the Qur’an, Hadith, and scholarly consensus proving the knowledge of Tawhid is ranked the highest among all knowledge. This is so, because it has to do with knowing about Allah and about His Messenger. This entails knowing what befits Allah and what is impossible to be among His attributes, and what befits the messengers and what is impossible to be among their attributes.
Learning the Obligatory Knowledge of the Religion makes one able to discriminate between what is lawful (halal) and what is unlawful (haram), what is valid and what is invalid, what is acceptable and what is rejected, in addition to what is classified under the Religion as good or bad.
One criterion for acquiring the knowledge is for one to receive it from knowledgeable people, and not by merely reading books. Also among the criteria for acquiring the knowledge is to take that knowledge from someone who has that knowledge, because he who does not have the knowledge cannot give it. In addition to this, that person must be trustworthy. Therefore, the knowledge is acquired from someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy. In what was related by Imam Muslim, Imam Ibn Sirin said: <<This knowledge is part of the Religion, so be cautious from whom you take your Religion.>>
The ultimate success is to be successful in the Hereafter. The person who acquires the knowledge as it is prescribed in Islam enters the gateway to success in this life and in the Hereafter. So be eager to acquire that knowledge. Be eager to be around the scholars.
We ask Allah to facilitate for us this precious benefit. Ameen