Knowledge, More Knowledge

by Naseer Ahmad Faruqui, Lahore

The Light (Pakistan), 8th February 1980 Issue (Prophet Number) (Vol. 60, No. 3, p. 16–18)

The Arabs were, before the Holy Prophet [Muhammad (pbuh)] rose amongst them, an ummi people, a people who made no use of reading or writing, with very rare exceptions. And the Holy Prophet himself did not know reading or writing. Yet the very first revelation he received from Allah was a command to read:

“Read in the name of thy Lord Who creates—creates man from a clot. Read and thy Lord is Most Honourable, Who taught by the pen.” (The Holy Quran, 96:1–3).

Could this have been the voice from an unlettered person’s own heart, as alleged by some detractors of Divine revelation? What is more, these verses proclaimed the advent the Age of the Pen. No human being could possibly have foreseen the dawn of learning and the spread of knowledge, at a time when the world was immersed in the darkness of ignorance.

Again, the Holy Quran, after stating that the creation of the earth, and all it contains, and of the limitless heavens above, and all they contain, was based on profound knowledge in all its branches, goes on to say that the viceregency of man on earth and his power over forces of nature would depend upon his acquisition of knowledge — again in all its branches (The Holy Quran, 2:29, 31–34). And yet mundane knowledge would not suffice man as he may conquer the universe with his growing knowledge and resulting control over the forces of nature, but he will not be able to conquer his inner self, nor withstand the temptations of the devil, without the knowledge of the spiritual world within him and the guidance provided by Divine revelation, which reached its perfection in the Holy Quran (2:35–38). Thus, knowledge in its most comprehensive sense, i.e., knowledge of this world and all its wonders, and knowledge of the moral and spiritual world with its still greater wonders, is meant when the Holy Quran teaches us to pray to Allah, the Source of all knowledge, in the following beautiful words:

“Glory be to Thee: we possess no knowledge except what Thou hast taught us. Verily Thou art All-Knowing, All-Wise” (The Holy Quran, 2:32).


“O my Lord! Go on increasing my knowledge.” [The Holy Quran, 20:114]

It is in the same comprehensive sense of the term “knowledge”, that the following sayings of the Holy Prophet may be quoted:

  1. The quest for knowledge is incumbent on every Muslim — male or female.
  2. Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.
  3. Seek knowledge though it be from (as far as) China.
  4. Honour him who taught you knowledge.
  5. Acquire knowledge, and through it dignity and peace of mind, and be humble and respectful towards your teacher.
  6. Instruct people but do not be harsh on them, for an instructor is better than a martinet (strict disciplinarian).
  7. The most insatiable person is the seeker after knowledge; and he who does not seek it is satisfied (with nothing in him).
  8. The best charity on the part of a Muslim is to acquire knowledge and impart it to others.
  9. Two hungry ones are never satisfied, he who seeks knowledge and he who seeks the world (only).
  10. A seeker after knowledge who dies while occupied with this pursuit, is a martyr.
  11. A seeker after knowledge among the ignorant is like a living person among the dead.
  12. Preserve knowledge through writing.
  13. Restore to the Muslims their lost property, that is, learning.
  14. Greed robs wisdom from the mind of the learned.
  15. To find knowledge you have to seek it.
  16. Knowledge concealed is knowledge lost.
  17. A proud man or a timid one will not attain knowledge.
  18. When a learned man is asked “Who is most learned”, he should attribute all learning to Allah (the Source of all knowledge).
  19. A brief speech is bitter.
  20. There is no envy except for two persons: a man whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the cause of truth, and a man whom Allah has given wisdom (arising from knowledge) and who acts upon it and teaches it (to others).
  21. When a man dies, his actions are cut off except for three: Charity which continues to operate, knowledge from which benefit continues to be derived, or a virtuous offspring praying for him.
  22. Whoever treads a path seeking knowledge therein, Allah will make his path to heaven easy.
  23. Certainly, the superiority of a learned man over a (mere) worshipper is like the superiority of the full moon over the stars (behind it). And verily the learned are the heirs of the prophets: the prophets left for heritage no silver or gold coins, but they left behind learning. So, he who acquires it, acquires fortune which will suffice him.
  24. Wisdom (arising from knowledge) is the lost property of the believer. So, whoever finds it is more entitled to get it.
  25. Whosoever goes out in search of knowledge, he is in the path of Allah till he returns.
  26. Whoever is questioned about knowledge which he has learnt, but he conceals it, he will wear a girdle of fire on the Day of Resurrection.
  27. There will be an age wherein knowledge will disappear from men till they will have no control over anything (worthwhile).
  28. Certainly, learning is knowledge. So, look from whom you learn your religion.
  29. On the Day of Judgment three persons will seek intercession: the prophets, the learned and the martyrs.
  30. Excellent is the man who is learned in religion. If anybody goes to him, he benefits him; and even if nobody goes to him, he benefits his soul.
  31. Allah is best in generosity, then I am the most generous of the children of Adam, and the most generous among men after me will be a man who acquires learning and broadcasts it.
  32. Beware! surely the worst of evils is the evil of the learned, and surely the best of good is the good of the learned.
  33. The worst man in ranking in the eyes of Allah on the Day of judgment will be the learned man who does not benefit from his learning.
  34. The likeness of learning from which no benefit is derived is as the likeness of hoarded wealth of which nothing is spent in the way of Allah.
  35. After the battle of Badr, the prisoners of war were offered freedom in return for teaching the Muslim children how to read and write.