Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Dear Student

Dear Student: Knowledge and Humility

"Dear Student:

Your floor is someone else's ceiling." — Musa Furber
So explain to him (who does not know) without being so harsh and demeaning.
You, too, were once ignorant of the answer to his query.
The floors (of knowledge) continue to climb up to the skies;
the numbers are never-ending!
Did you forget that your knowledge is in fact Allah's blessing?!
"Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us.
Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise." (Quran 2:32)



Ibn Taymiyyah used to say in his supplication to the Almighty:

"O Teacher of Adam and Abraham, teach me,
and O You who made Solomon understand, make me understand!" —[Fataawa Ibn Taymiyyah, 4/38]

Dear Student:

Man learns a little then he deludes himself into thinking he knows it all!
Then he learns more of what he knew not before
And then he says, "Ah! Now I know everything for sure!"
But the cycle keeps on turning and you keep on learning;
You never stop climbing up this never-ending tower of knowledge.
But as you climb higher, so does your arrogance (kibr)
Unlike the Companions of the Prophet (رضي الله عنهم) who would adopt humility at every instance.
"Whenever we ascended a high place, we would proclaim: 'Allahu Akbar' (Allah is the Greatest)." —[Bukhari 9:93:484] [Riyadh as-Saliheen, no. 975-976]
Thus true Greatness is attributed to the One Who we rely on for our subsistence.
"And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it." —(Quran 6:59)
Instead of attributing greatness to yourself, follow the example of the blessed (i.e. the Companions).
So as you increase in knowledge, remember to take humility with you on your journey.

Dear Student:

Remember you are also climbing up this tall building (of knowledge).
What makes you think you have reached its top?
Only Allah is the All-Knowing (Al-'Aleem).
Do you know when the Hour (i.e. Day of Judgement) will be?
No! No one - not even the Prophet's - know when the Hour shall be.
"Men ask you of the Hour. Say the knowledge of it is with Allah only." —(Quran 33:63)

Dear Student:

You have entered this tall building a different time.
Does it make sense to boast you've won a race to others who've just entered the starting line?
In fact, this race can never be won; you must keep on running.
You must keep on learning.
Even professors, scholars, scientists & doctors never stop learning!
“Two kinds of greedy people never get satisfied; the seeker of knowledge and the seeker of this world." ― Ali Ibn Abi Talib (رضي الله عنه)

Dear Student:
Knowledge and Ignorance:

There are many different races

And each person is equipped differently to win their respective races.
Don't you see that the physique and abilities of a professional long-distance runner
is different from that of a short-distance runner?
Don't you see their strengths exist in different places?
Notice each person possesses distinct abilities to excel in their position.

Imam Al-Nawawi (631-671 A.H.) was an accomplished jurispudent (legist) and hadith master and its sciences, its narrators, the authentic and the defective, and a foremost authority in the [Shafi'i] school. In his brief but blessed life, Imam al-Nawawi authored nearly fifty books. These volumes are - like their author - among the treasures of Islam and contain immense blessing (baraka) bestowed by Allah. Some of them are: "Al-Arba'una Hadith" (The Forty Hadiths); "Riyad as-Salihin" (Garden of the Righteous); and "Sharh Sahih Muslim", the Imam titled it "Al-Minhaj fi Sharh Sahih Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj" (The Method: A Commentary on Sahih Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj).


In his early studies, the Imam [Al-Nawawi] said, "It occurred to me to study medicine, so I bought the Qanun of Ibn Sina, whereupon darkness filled my heart and I remained unable to work for several days. Then I came to my senses and sold the Qanun, after which light filled my heart."


Shaykh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda commented: "In this way does God Most High create in souls attraction for one type of knowledge and aversion to another, proficiency in one, and deficiency in another; and in this there are great examples of wisdom, both hidden and manifest." —[Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda, 'Al-Ulama al-Uzzab', p. 147]


—['Al-Tibyan fi Adab Hamalat al-Qur'an' (An Exposition on the Etiquette of the Bearers of the Quran) by Imam Al-Nawawi, translated by Musa Furber, p. XX-XXV]


Dear Student:

We are knowledgeable about the rooms and floors of one or few houses;
Likewise we are knowledgeable about one or few subjects or fields.
But we are ignorant about the contents of other houses,
Meaning, we are ignorant about other subjects.
There are many houses
And there are many subjects.
You do not know them all except one or two you think you have mastered.
So know the level of your ignorance (i.e. how much you do not know)
And don't be so arrogant!
"What we know is a drop, what we don't know is an ocean." — Isaac Newton (d. 1727 CE)
So why do you think, after finishing just one book, you are done?

"The Universe is immense, and the amazing thing is that we're all discovering more."
"Everytime we think we know the answer to one problem, we find that it's embedded in a much bigger problem."
"There are endless questions to ask and mysteries to solve in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and in galaxies all across the Universe." [Source: How the Universe Works: Galaxies, S1 Ep 4]

Ibn al-Haddaad said: "The scholar - like the angels - has no bed (i.e. does not rest in his pursuit of knowledge)." [As-Siyar, (14/206) | Translated By Abū Ruqayyah 'Abd us-Samad]

Someone asks you about how many bathrooms you have,
You boast: "You are foolish! Obviously four!"
But what if the one you call foolish were to ask you:
"What is the colour of the kitchen wallpaper in the house next door?"
Or "What is the door number of the house at the end of your street?"
You will be dumbstruck, but he may know inside and out!
What of those who look down upon a person who cannot speak English?
You consider their status to be below your very feet!
Yet little do you realize this person is fluent in 2+ languages you know nothing about!
So who know has become the foolish?

True knowledge is to know you know nothing.
The more you learn the more you know... that you don't know.
Yasir Qadhi said: "Some of the scholars of the past said, "True knowledge is to know one's ignorance."
Only when a person realizes that he does not know will he appreciate how little he does know." —['An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'aan' by Yasir Qadhi, p. 19]
Imam Shafi'i said: "Whenever I set myself the task to learn, I realize how little I know and the more I learn, the more I realize how ignorant I am." 

Isaac Newton, a famous scientist who formulated several laws of physics and discovered the force of gravity, said this of himself: "I am like a child collecting pebbles on the sand, while vast ocean of truth lies undiscovered before me."


Dear Student:

The one you look down upon may exceed you in knowledge pertaining to another subject.
Likewise you may exceed him in knowledge pertaining to a different subject.
So be humble and let us all spread our knowledge for the benefit of humanity.
Let us gain and spread knowledge for the sake of Allah, the Ever-lasting.
Rather than for the sake of our temporary egos, fame and vanity.

Dear Student: 
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "None shall enter Paradise who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride." [Muslim 1:165]
Recall your enemy, Satan, who worshipped Allah for more than thousands of years,
but the vanity of one moment ruined all his efforts. 
"He refused and he was proud, and he was one of the unbelievers." (Quran 2:34)



Dear Student:
Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd said under his heading, 'The sanctuary of the seeker of knowledge':
"The sanctuary of the scholar is "I don't know",
and he destroys this [his sanctuary] by refusing to say it out of pride,
and by answering instead "It was said...such-and-such".
Therefore, if half of knowledge is saying "I don't know",
then half of ignorance is saying, "It was said...such-and-such", or "I think...such-and-such."
—[At-Ta'aalam, p. 36] ['The Etiquette of Seeking Knowledge' (Hilyatu Taalibil-'Ilmi) by Shaykh Bakr Aboo Zayd. Translated by Abu Abdullah Murad ibn Hilmi As-Shuweikh, p. 72]

Al-Haytham said: “I witnessed (Imam) Malik being asked 48 questions, he replied to 32 of them: 'I don't know.'" 
—[Al-Jami'al-Bayan il-'Ilmwa-Faduhi, 2/25]

Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (رضي الله عنه) said: "O people! He who has the knowledge of any matter may convey it to the others. And he who has no knowledge thereof should say, 'Allahu A'lam (Allah knows best).' It is a part and parcel of knowledge that a man who has no knowledge of a matter should say, 'Allah knows best.' Allah said to His Prophet: 'Say (O Muhammad): No wage do I ask you for this (the Quran), nor am I one of the Mutakallifun (those who pretend and fabricate things which do not exist).'" [Bukhari 6:60:297] [Riyadh as-Saliheen, Chapter 301, No. 1656]

With "I don't know" you think brings shame,

but speaking without knowledge is from ignorance and seeking fame.
Imam Shabi was asked about an issue and he replied, "I don't know."
It was said to him, "Are you not ashamed of stating that you do not know, especially being the Islamic jurist of Iraq?"
He said, "But the angels were not ashamed when they said that they have no knowledge except what Allah taught them."
"We have no knowledge except what You have taught us." (Quran 2:32)

But do you know the dangers of speaking without knowledge?
Do you know the dangers of being too arrogant to say "I don't know"?
Umar ibn Al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه) said: "Verily, the followers of opinion are the enemies of the Sunan (the teachings of Allah’s Messenger as passed down in hadith); they were unable to preserve them and their meanings escaped them, and when asked [questions] they were too embarrassed to say 'We don’t know,' so they opposed the Sunan with their opinions." [Ibn Abi Zamanin, Usul Al-Sunnah article 8; Al-Lalaka'i, Sharh Usal I'tiqad Ahl Al-Sunnah article 201 et al]

Dear Student:

Adopt the attitude of humility that good is from Allah and mistakes are from you.
"All that is correct in this work and of benefit to the readers is from Allah, and all that is incorrect is from myself and Satan (Shaytan)."
This statement is based upon a statement of the Companion Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (رضي الله عنه), who, after responding to a question, would make this statement. —[Musnad Ahmad, 6/137]
Allah said, "He who finds good should praise Allah and he who does not find it should not blame anyone but himself." —[Hadith Qudsi by Muslim, see Riyaad as-Saliheen, p. 62-63]

Dear Student:
How can you overlook the inferiority of the nature of man?
Al-'Imaad Al-Asfahaanee (d. 597 A.H.) wrote: "I have noticed than an author writes a book and finishes it, except that the next day he says, 'If I had only changed this part, it would have been better, and if only I had added this fact, it would have been appreciated more; and if I had only made this section earlier, it would have been easier to comprehend; and if I had only left this section out, it would have been more beautiful.' And this, in fact, is one of the greatest lessons and points to ponder over, for it is a clear indication of the inferiority of the nature of man." —[Duroos fi at-Ta'beer (IUM Press, Madeenah, 1986), p. 7]
Humans are prone to error and cannot claim any work of there's as complete perfection.
As Imam Ash-Shafi'i (d. 204 A.H.) wrote, "Allah has refused to allow perfection to any work except His Book." —[As-Sakhaawi, p. 34]
Only Allah is the Author of Perfection.
O arrogant one! To the inferiority of man pay attention!

Dear Student:

Attain knowledge by means of humility, and not through arrogance.
An-Nawawi (d. 671 A.H.) said, "The student should show humility towards his teacher and be well behaved with him, even if the teacher is younger than him, less famous, of lower lineage, less righteous, and so on. He shows humility with regard to knowledge, and attains it by means of his humility. Some have said in verse:
'Knowledge destroys the arrogant youth, like the torrent erodes high ground.'"
—['Al-Tibyan fi Adab Hamalat al-Qur'an' (An Exposition on the Etiquette of the Bearers of the Quran) by Imam Al-Nawawi, translated by Musa Furber, p. 20]

Dear Student:
Shaykh Muhammad Bazmool said: "Accept the truth, even if someone you hate were to bring it to you."
Your pride does not allow you to accept the truth from someone you perceive to be lower than you,
but if you possess humility, you will accept the truth no matter whose mouth it comes through.

"To be humble is to accept the truth and submit to it even if you heard it from a child or someone who is uneducated or ignorant." — Fudayl ibn Iyyad


Accept the truth, whoever it comes from:
A man came to Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (رضي الله عنه) and asked, "Teach me some comprehensive and beneficial words." 
Ibn Mas'ud (رضي الله عنه) replied, "Worship Allah and do not associate any partners with Him, and be with the Qur’an wherever it is. And whoever comes to you with some truth – whether he is young or old, even if he is hated by you – then accept [that truth]. And whoever comes lying to you – even if he is beloved and close – then reject it from him." —[Abu Bakr Al-Khara'iti, Masawi Al-Akhlaq wa Madhmumiha, p. 72]

To reject the truth is a characteristic of the foolishly arrogant.
Arrogance is not only lifting yourself above others and looking down upon people,
Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people." —[Tirmidhi, Book 27, Hadith 105[Al-Adab al-Mufrad - Al-Bukhari, 251:556]

Ibn Al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah said: "Indeed, Allah the All-High censures one who rejects the truth when one whom he hates brings it to him and accepts it when one whom he loves says it, for this is a characteristic of the people of wrath [the Jews, who drew Allah's wrath upon themselves]. One of the Companions said: 'Accept the truth from whoever says it, even if he were someone detested; and reject falsehood from whoever says it, even if he were someone beloved.'"} —[Madarij al-Salikin baina Manazil Iyyak Na'budu wa Iyyak Nasta'in, v. 3, p. 482]


Imam Al-Ghazali said: "People of knowledge are in greater danger of arrogance than anyone else."

This is because the knowledge they have might cause them to look down on others who may not have the same level of knowledge.
In reality, the more one learns and gains of knowledge, the more they realize what little they actually know. Furthermore, a prideful person may have some knowledge, but his pride will not allow him to comply with the truth, as Allah says: "And they denied them those (Ayaat, verses) wrongfully and arrogantly though their ownselves were convinced thereof." (Quran 27:14)

Dear Student:

If you lower yourself to Allah, Allah will elevate you.
Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Whoever humbles themselves to Allah, then Allah will raise him." —[Reported by Abu Nu'aym in al-Hilyah - Sahih al-Jami' (6162)] [Bulugh al-Maram by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852 A.H.), p. 563. (Hadith no. 1573)]
Do not lose the reward of the elevation knowledge offers.
Ibn Al-Qayyim said, "When Allah granted Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) physical beauty, it caused him to be locked up in the prison; but when Allah granted him knowledge (when he interpreted the dream of the king) it not only took him out of prison, but elevated his rank in society, clearly showing us the virtue of knowledge and that physical beauty does not mean anything." —[Ibn Al-Qayyim in Al-'Ilm wa Fadhluhu wa Sharafuhu, p. 32]

Dear Student:

Remember knowledge is one of His countless blessings. 
"To me, books are better than the castles of the kings." — [Shaykh Hamad al-ansari, al-majmu (1/395)]

Ibn Al-Qayyim said: {The believer realizes that all blessings belong to Allah...if the servant fails to realize that, he might think that he deserves it and would become conceited thinking that he deserves this blessing and that he is better than others...

Abdullah ibn Al-Harith ibn Nawfal mentioned the blessings and ownership that Solomon son of David possessed, then he recited: "This is by the Grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful." (Quran 27:40) He did not say: 'This is because of my honour.'


[On the other hand] Qarun thought that he deserved the blessings he received: "And truly, If We give him a taste of mercy from us, after some adversity (severe poverty or disease, etc.) has touched him, he is sure to say: 'This is for me (due to my merit).'" (Quran 41:50) That is to say, I deserve it and it is mine; I own it...

If We let him taste good (favour) after evil (poverty and harm) has touched him, he is sure to say: "Ills have departed from me." Surely he is exultant and boastful (ungrateful to Allah)." (Quran 11:9-10)

He failed to praise Allah, thank, and glorify Him when He removed the afflictions but Allah says that he said: "Ills have departed from me." If he had just said: 'Allah removes ills away from me by His mercy,' Allah would never dispraise him. But the servant forgets Who bestowed this blessing on him by ascribing it to himself and through feeling proud.} —[Al-Fawa'id, p. 338-339]


Dear Student:

Evaluate yourself whether you have acquired the signs of happiness and success
or whether you have acquired the signs of misfortune and loss.
"Take account of yourselves before you are called to account." —Umar ibn Al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه)

With wealth should come generosity,

But how often does generosity get thrown against the wall,
and instead gets replaced with living a miserly life of luxury?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: "Some of the signs of happiness and success are that whenever he becomes wealthier, he would be more generous...the signs of misfortune are that whenever he becomes wealthier, he would be stingier."

With knowledge should come humility and mercy,

But how often does humility and mercy get thrown against the wall,
and instead get replaced with arrogance and harshness?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: "Some of the signs of happiness and success are that whenever the servant's knowledge has been increased, he would be more humble and more merciful...the signs of misfortune are that whenever he becomes more knowledge, he would be more arrogant." —[Al-Fawa'id, p. 260-261]

The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "Allah, the Most High, has revealed to me that you (people) should be humble, so that no one transgresses another or boasts to the other." —[Bulugh al-Maram by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852 A.H.), p. 562. (Hadith no. 1570)]

Dear Student:

The more you grow in knowledge, the more you should grow in humility!
This world is only temporary and what you boast about is not from you, but from Allah.

Sheikh Al-Albani was asked if he has memorized 100,000 Ahadith (Hadiths), he didn't say 'yes'; rather he said: “All blessings are from Allah."


"It is not arrogance to appreciate what Allah has blessed you with; arrogance is to ascribe those blessings to yourself." — Yasir Qadi 

Dear Student:

"Indeed, Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful." ―(Quran 31:18)

Take the example of the tree.

What happens to its branches as it bears more fruit?

Sheikh Waliyullah ad-Dhahabi said: "When a tree bears fruit, its branches come down."


When you have a lot of knowledge, it is like you are bearing fruit - but what happens to your branches? They humble themselves. Therefore the more knowledge you have, the more humble you should become.




Dear Student:
Do not allow yourself to grow in arrogance as you grow in knowledge.

"When the heart knows its true home

this world no longer seems real
And the shimmer and temptation
will no longer hold appeal

Would I be able to stand if my Lord hadn't given me feet?
Had He not provided light,
which means would I use to see?
Would I even be alive,
if He hadn't taught me how to breathe?

Every soul will have what it has earned,
we face the lessons yet we seldom learn."
— Lillian Maaita


Dear Student:
Allah says: "Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow." (Quran 33:21)
The last and final Messenger of Allah (i.e. Muhammad) had a greater claim to boast than you!
He was the recipient of the Divine Revelation given to mankind!
Yet he (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was the humblest of those who walked on this earth!

Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنه) said, "There is no one that people loved to see more than the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم). But when they saw him, they did not stand up for him since they knew that he disliked that." [Al-Adab al-Mufrad - Al-Bukhari, 428:946]


Anas ibn Malik (رضي الله عنه) walked by some children and greeted them. He said, "The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to do that." [Al-Adab al-Mufrad - Al-Bukhari, 477:1043]


Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: "No one's good deeds will make him enter Paradise." They (Companions) said: "Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?" He said: "Not even myself, unless Allah bestows His favor and mercy on me." 
[Bukhari 8:76:474] 

Dear Student:
Islam does not allow an opportunity for you to big yourself up:

Bakr Ibn ‘Abdullaah Al-Muzani said: "If you see someone older than you then respect him saying: 'He has beaten me to Islam and righteous action.' If you see someone younger than you then respect him saying to yourself: 'I have beaten him in sins.'[Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Zuhd Al-Kabeer, p.100]


Dear Student:

What is there to boast about?
Were you not taught how to put food in your own mouth?!

Were you not dumb and taught how to speak?!

With sleep, food and water sustaining you
Surely man knows he is weak?

Were you not once taught how to properly clean yourself after going to the toilet?!

You could not even count to 10, yet you claim to be bigger than all men!
You could not even form a single sentence, yet you pride yourself in arrogance!

To die from thirst, to die of starvation

Surely man knows not a moment passes but he is in need.
Yet how strange that he continues to walk in pride, unaware of its delusion;
He thinks himself to be from an invincible seed!
Let man know that "Every soul shall taste death." (Quran 3:185)
Look at those arrogant ones before you; see their end.
What did Pharoah achieve after all his boasting and pride?
From the Angel of Death he could not hide!
Listen, O arrogant one, do not delude yourself,
if you disagree then save yourself from dying!
You will never be able to, even after all your methods of trying!
"Wherever you may be, death will overtake you,
even if you should be within towers of lofty construction." (Quran 4:78)

So look at your beginning and look at your end!

You started from a small helpless being and you will turn into a rotten corpse.
Al-Ahnaf ibn Qays said: "I find it amazing how anyone who passed through the urinary tract twice could ever be arrogant and haughty!"  [Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A'lam Al-Nubala, 4:92]
You came from the male's sperm and the female's private area yet you hold yourself so high and lofty!
Allah says: "Does man not consider that We created him from a [mere] drop of sperm, yet behold! He (stands forth) as an open opponent." (Quran 36:77)
This means: "Wasn't man once a weak drop of sperm from a despised fluid known as semen?" [Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 75:37]

'You and urine came out of the same place;
you began as a despised drop of sperm;
and you will end up as a rotten corpse;
and that in between you is a vessel for faeces.' — https://islamqa.info/en/9229
These are the facts that break your so-called loftiness to pieces!

You walk on the earth as if your feet were the Master of the ground beneath you.
Your steps so pompous as if you will break it [the earth] through!
The same earth you walked on with pride will one day be above you!
"Do not walk upon the earth with conceit and arrogance.
Indeed, you will never tear the earth [apart],
and you will never reach the mountains in height." (Quran 17:37)
"The slaves of (Allah) Most Merciful are those who walk on the earth in humility." (Quran 25:63)

Dear Student:

"Humility is a strange thing. The minute you think you've got it, you've lost it."  — Edward Hulse
Imam Ash-Shafi'ee said: "The loftiest in status are those who do not know their own status, and the most virtuous of them are those who do not know their own virtue." [Al-Dhahabi, Siyar A'lam Al-Nubala, 10:99]
Move away the attention and fame from yourself and move it towards Allah.
SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaha ill-Allahu, Allahu Akbar.

Recite: "Rabbi zidni 'ilma" (My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.) (Quran 20:114)

Ibn Rajab said: {The Messenger of Allah said, "...If someone treads a path in search of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him the path leading to Paradise..." [Muslim, no. 38/2699] ...Knowledge guides its students to Allah... Useful knowledge is a guide amidst the darkness of oppression and ignorance. For this reason, Allah called His Holy Book a light that guides people in the darkness of this life. Allah says, "Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light and a plain Book. Wherewith Allah guides all those who seek His Good Pleasure to ways of peace, and He brings them out of darkness by His Will unto light and guides them to a Straight Path." (Quran 5:15-16)} [Jami' Al-'Ulum Wal-Hikam (A Collection of Knowledge and Wisdom) by Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali (736-795 A.H.), pg. 471]

This knowledge is guiding you, but you throw thorns on your path every time you are arrogant.

The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) used to say: "O Allah! Grant me benefit in what You have taught me, and teach me useful knowledge and provide me with knowledge that will benefit me." [An-Nasa'i and Al-Hakim] [Bulugh al-Maram by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (d. 852 A.H.), p. 574. (Hadith no. 1608)]

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