Spending Time Seeking Knowledge

One of the people of the past mentioned, I don’t eat or sleep unless I’m extremely hungry or have been overcome with sleep. My desires are fulfilled by learning, revising and gaining benefits from wherever possible.

This same Imam became an Imam at the age of 20! Yet at the age of 50, he was still studying with mashaayikh!

The ulema mention that a person should spend their day between revision, memorisation, reading, and depending on his level, research and this is with his ibaadah and so on.

In our times, we sleep 8 hours a night, eat 3-6 meals a day, drink 2 litres of water. This is in addition to work and whatever else a person does!

Where is the time for Allah and knowledge!

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Love of Ilm (Knowledge)

Abu Yusuf, the student of Abu Hanifah (rh), was on his death and in his last moments on earth began asking about fiqhi issues!

Commenting on this, a famous Shaykh said to look at the love they have for ilm. They didn’t remember their wives or their children on their deathbed, rather they remembered ilm! With this attitude, they became imams in ilm and the religion!

It’s sad to see in our times that a person will spend time eating, going out with friends, sitting in family gatherings for hours (usually unnecessarily long periods of time) but when it comes to ilm they say, we are busy, it’s too expensive, we have other things to do!

Allah’s help is sought.

The Importance of Seeking Knowledge

Some of the people of the past would say that seeking ilm is more important than eating and drinking! Why? Eating is needed once, twice or thrice a day but as for ilm, we need it all the time!

Seeking Knowledge Leads to Jannah

Seeking knowledge is from the easiest of paths to Jannah, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have hardships.

One of the people of the past gave fatawaa all day long for 70 years. The people asked him, when do you make time to do other things? He said that he divides the night into three: a third for ibaadah, a third for writing and a third for sleep!

Some would revise all night and sleep a bit after Fajr only.

Some would revise and when they became tired they would wash their faces with freezing cold water and carry on.

They wouldn’t follow their desires in anything due to their pursuit of ilm, whereas today we need 7-8 hours of sleep, three meals, relaxing time and so on.

One Shaykh used to study 17 different lessons a day and ate once a day, and he is still alive today, may Allah preserve him.

We must struggle, for Jannah is expensive!

Enjoining the Good and Forbidding the Evil

This is an area many err in. Some stay quiet all the time, and others forbid everything, even if it’s not something they should be enjoining and forbidding.

Below are some very basic principles. Please learn them as they’ll generally save you a lot of time in life.

Conditions Before Doing It:

  • Have knowledge of the topic
  • Check that the person is actually doing the haraam
  • Make sure it’s not something that has a difference of opinion
  • By doing it, it shouldn’t lead to a greater evil
  • Advise appropriately e.g. gently, in private and so on.

Principles for When to Actually Do It:

  1. By you doing it, it will change the evil completely. Then it becomes waajib.
  2. Changing it a little bit. This is also waajib.
  3. If enjoining the good and forbidding the evil won’t change the situation. This is mustahabb.
  4. If doing it leads to a greater harm then it is haraam for you to do anything.

Seeking Knowledge is of the Best of Actions

Statement of Ibn Hazm (may Allah be pleased with him):

“If the learned ponders how the hours he spent learning saved him from the humiliation of being dominated by the ignorant and from the distress of having no access to the facts, and how those hours provided him with the joy of discovering that which is hidden from others, he would excel in praising Allah, the exalted, full of majesty, and would be more pleased with the knowledge he has and would deepen his desire to increase his knowledge.”

Imam Shafi’ee (rh) said, “After the obligatory deeds, nothing is more beloved to Allah than studying knowledge.”

Qatada (rh) said, “A door of knowledge that a man preserves for rectifying himself and those after him is better than constant worship for a whole year”

How to Gain Knowledge

One of the people of the past was asked, how did you gain this knowledge?

He replied, without relying on others, travelling through the lands, patience like the patience of a donkey and going early like the early birds.

The same individual also mentioned that when people saw someone hurrying through the streets, they would think that he is a mad person or a student of knowledge.

Meaning, they wouldn’t waste their time. Even in their going and coming back from places They would hasten!