Islamic Religious Council of Singapore
18 June 2021 / 7 Zulkaedah 1442H
The Importance of Enhancing Knowledge
Blessed brothers and sisters,
Taqwa and faith are the guiding light that illuminates our hearts and souls. It shows us what is right and what is wrong. It fills us with goodness and His mercy. It guides us towards wellbeing and peace. It makes us a better, calmer and more successful person in this world and in the hereafter.
Last week, we have heard how good character is one of the signs of religiosity of a believer. Today, let us observe yet another aspect of a believer’s life that is just as important. And that is, the effort to continuously enhance our knowledge, especially religious knowledge.
Brothers and sisters,
Seeking knowledge from authentic sources is part of our religion. With knowledge, we can increase the quality of our worship, and become better individuals who would benefit others and contribute to the betterment of life. This is part of our efforts to become closer to Allah.
The act of acquiring knowledge is very noble that whoever strives to seek knowledge will be granted an exceptional reward – and that is Allah’s paradise. The Prophet (s.a.w.) said in a hadith which means: "Whoever takes a path upon which to obtain knowledge, Allah makes the path to Paradise easy for him." (Hadith reported by Imam Muslim).
This hadith serves as a motivation from the Prophet (s.a.w.) for each believer to embark on a lifelong journey in seeking knowledge. With knowledge, not only can we get closer to Allah, but it also helps us find solutions and answers to the problems and challenges in life. With knowledge, a believer’s life is constantly guided. His hereafter is also guarded. With knowledge that is guided by the Quran and all the values taught by the Prophet (s.a.w.), we can purify our hearts.
The reason why authentic knowledge is so important, is because one’s religious understanding will follow the kind of knowledge and information that one gains. Imam Ibn Sirrin once said:
Meaning: “Verily, this knowledge is a religion, so observe from whom you gain your religious knowledge.” (Hadith narrated by Imam Muslim).
Brothers and sisters,
The current state of the world is so uncertain, and we are constantly bombarded with new challenges. It may cause us to be a bit rattled and muddled. Especially due to the many bits of misleading and false information – whether they are about life in general or about religious guidelines specifically – that are circulated through different channels like WhatsApp, social media, and other mediums.
In these confusing times, society needs a wise and understanding leadership. A good religious leadership that can explain well the intricacies of religious issues to the community. One that gives guidance based on traditional inherited knowledge, while also taking into account the realities and needs of our current times.
Therefore, I would like to remind each and every one of us of our responsibility in ensuring that the knowledge that we gain comes from the authentic and credible sources. Each individual needs to weigh all the religious information that he or she obtains, as well as to confirm the authenticity of the knowledge with religious teachers. In Surah Al-Anbiya’ verse 7, Allah (s.w.t.) informs us of the role of one who understands religious knowledge:
Meaning: “And even before your time [O Prophet], all the messengers We sent were only men We inspired – if you do not know, ask people who know the Scripture.”
Brothers and sisters,
Today I would like to share with you two brief guidelines that we can hold on to in our journey to obtain knowledge from certified religious teachers.
First: Ensure that we study with many teachers, and not just one.
This will expose us to many different opinions and perspectives, and will make us more intellectually and spiritually mature as knowledge seekers. It is also the tradition of our scholars of the past to gain knowledge from numerous teachers. Imam Al-Bukhari, for instance, was reported to have studied with more than a thousand teachers.
Second: Ensure that we study with teachers who display good character and morals and practice what they preach. A religious teacher needs to be an example of the best conduct. He or she needs to instil within ourselves a love for decency, build our wisdom, and help us to improve our relationship with Allah and with the people around us.
If we find that our teachers are the opposite, we need to reconsider. How do we become better individuals if our teachers do not give a good example?
May Allah (s.w.t.) grant us the strength to pursue religious knowledge, make us His servants who are righteous, and accept all our good deeds. Amin. Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.
أَقُوْلُ قَوْلِي هَذَا وَ أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ العَظِيْمَ لِي وَ لَكُمْ، فَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الغَفُوْرُ الرَّحِيْمُ
الْحَمْدُ للهِ حَمْدًا كَثِيرًا كَمَا أَمَرَ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَن لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ، وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ سَيِّدَنَا مُحَمَّدًا عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَأَصْحَابِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ. أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَيَا عِبَادَ الله، اِتَّقُوا اللهَ تَعَالَى فِيمَا أَمَرَ، وَانتَهُوا عَمَّا نَهَاكُم عَنْهُ وَزَجَرَ.
أَلَا صَلُّوا وَسَلِّمُوا عَلَى النَّبِيِّ الْمُصْطَفَى، فَقَدْ أَمَرَنَا اللهُ بِذَلِكَ حَيْثُ قَال فِي كِتَابِهِ الْعَزِيزِ: إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ يَـا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا. اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَ بَارِكْ عَلَى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَلَى آلِ سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ.
وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ المَهْدِيِّينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيِّ، وَعَن بَقِيَّةِ الصَّحَابَةِ وَالقَرَابَةِ وَالتَّابِعِينَ، وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ، وَعَنَّا مَعَهُم وَفِيهِم بِرَحْمَتِكَ يَا أَرْحَمَ الرَّاحِمِينَ.
اللَّهُمَّ اغْفِرْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالمُؤْمِنَاتِ، وَالمُسْلِمِينَ وَالْمُسْلِمَاتِ، الْأَحْيَاءِ مِنهُم وَالْأَمْوَاتِ. اللَّهُمَّ ادْفَعْ عَنَّا الْبَلَاءَ وَالوَبَاءَ وَالزَّلَازِلَ وَالْمِحَنَ، مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ، عَن بَلَدِنَا خَاصَّةً، وَسَائِرِ الْبُلْدَانِ عَامَّةً، يَارَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ. رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنيَا حَسَنَةً، وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً، وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.
عِبَادَ اللهِ، إِنَّ اللهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ، وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ، فَاذْكُرُوا اللهَ الْعَظِيمَ يَذْكُرْكُمْ، وَاشْكُرُوهُ عَلَى نِعَمِهِ يَزِدْكُمْ، وَاسْأَلُوهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ يُعْطِكُمْ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ، وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ.