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Islamic Education- Knowledge of Hearts- Lesson (22-54): The pious are masters; the scholars of fiqh are leaders, and their company is of benefit
   
 
 
In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful  
 

Leaders are of two kinds:

 It has been transmitted by Ibn Mas’ud:

((The pious are masters; the scholars of fiqh are leaders, and their company is of benefit.))

[Tabarani in Al Mu’jam Al Kabeer, on the authority of Abdullah Bin Mas’ud]

 The pious people are those who fear Allah, and that is why they are people's as well as their own leaders (by controlling their desires); and they have command over their matters. Hence, they deserve happiness in this worldly life and in the Hereafter.

((The pious are masters; the scholars of fiqh are leaders, and their company is of benefit.))

[Tabarani in Al Mu’jam Al Kabeer, on the authority of Abdullah Bin Mas’ud]

 The best among people are of two kinds: divinely oriented men of knowledge and knowledge seekers on the way to salvation, whereas the rest constitute the mass who have never been inspired by knowledge and who have never sought any powerful support to resist their desires, so beware of being of either of them.
 Hence, the best of people are the knowledgeable and the learning, and there is no goodness in the rest.
 Seeking knowledge gives balance to your human nature. Furthermore, the knowledgeable and the learning share the same reward (in the Sight of Allah) as both are longing for the best, either by giving away what Allah has bestowed on them, which is case of the former, or by taking of what Allah has favored them with –the case of the latter.
 The Arab masses according to the most recent definition are those who go along with every fad and blindly imitate sh3er in everything.
 The pious are leaders and the true leadership consists in reaching a higher level and being able to retain it. The worldly life is nothing but levels (different positions occupied by different people) which are taken away by death.
 Therefore, success is to occupy the best position in the Hereafter as the positions in the worldly life are evanescent.

"See how We prefer one above another (in this world) and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preference. "

[Al-Isra’, 21]

 Once I paid someone a visit to complete a business deal. His 1400-square meter house was in one of the classiest neighborhoods in Damascus. He began by telling me about the Italian tiles, imported to Syria by plane, which had been used in the construction of the house, while the furniture had been brought from France, and he couldn’t help describing every detail of the house, including its views and how he had acquired it. I said to him: I wish to offer you advice, but you have to tell me first whether there is any way of comparing your house with a 60-square meter basement in one of the poorest areas in Damascus. He said there was no way of doing it. Then I asked if there was any way of comparing a marshal with a private, and again he said there was none. Then I asked if there was any way of comparing a university professor with a small town primary school teacher. Again he responded in the negative. Then I asked if there was any way of comparing the president of the Chamber of Commerce with a street vendor, and again I received the same answer. Then I went on mentioning similar cases, apparently paradoxical, and eventually I reauthord to him the following ayah:

"See how We prefer one above another (in this world) and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preference. "

[Al-Isra’, 21]

 Then I said: You can’t compare a heart surgeon who is paid 200 thousand for 5 hours of his work with a nurse who deals with vomits, bandages, cleaning and similar chores, and is paid a salary which goes a very short way. You can’t compare a teacher in a rundown part of a small town who takes several buses to reach his work, carrying his lunch with him, with the head of a university faculty who works five hours only. Yet, the ranks and positions in the worldly life are meaningless and sometimes they imply the opposite since it is the positions and grades in the Hereafter that count. Hence, if you want to be a true winner, you should occupy a constantly high position in the Sight of Allah.

((The pious are masters, the scholars of fiqh are leaders- indicating the person who guides you to Allah the Almighty, to the path of happiness, and to the Divine method, and congratulations if you apply it and woe to you if you don’t, as you should abide by all the instructions, orders and ayaat - and their company is of benefit.))

The Qur'an is comprehended according to Arabic:

 There is another important point of view that should be mentioned here. Allah the Almighty says:

"It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah "

[Fatir, 28]

 We reauthor the Noble Qur'an for the blessing it gives without really paying attention to its meanings, whereas the real blessing lies in checking all the little details of each ayah.
According to the ayah, it is only those who have knowledge among people that fear Allah. Hence, the Arabic language is crucial in comprehending the Noble Qur'an as Allah the Almighty made Arabic to be the language of the Qur'an. He says:

"In the plain Arabic language."

[Ash-Shu’ara, 195]

 The "language" is all about the terms through which we communicate with one another and it would be unacceptable if I asked someone for a drink and were offered some food! If "drink" is not a well-known term among the people who use the same language, then it is meaningless. Therefore, language is all about terms, and he who tries to comprehend the language using his own ways and interpretations that have not been intended by Allah is contradicting the objective of the language in the first place.
Allah the Almighty says:

"In the plain Arabic language."

[Ash-Shu’ara, 195]

 Hence, the comprehension of the Qur'an should be based on the Arabic language and its grammar.

Taking the path of knowledge is a guarantee to attain piety:

 "Innama", the Arabic word for "it is only", is an exclusive and limiting article. Namely, if we say "the only (innama) the poet is Shawkee, it is different than saying "Shaukee is a poet". The latter means that he is a poet (doing nothing else), just as any other poet. The former means that there is no poet on earth better than Shawkee. Allah Most High says:

"It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah."

[Fatir, 28]

 Thus, the above ayah uses the word "innama" in describing the knowledge of the people who fear Allah. Hence, if you want to be somebody pious who fears Allah, then seek knowledge.
I recommend that we should all use the expression "knowledge seeker" to describe a person rather than "knowledgeable" as the latter is a very strong word in its use and none of us is up to its implications, not to mention the fact that a person is knowledgeable as long as he keeps seeking knowledge. The minute he thinks that the process of learning is complete, he becomes ignorant. Indeed knowledge seeking is of higher rank, and I, for one, am more delighted when I am acknowledged to be a "knowledge seeker" than when I am said to be "knowledgeable".
It was one of the most remarkable scholars of Damascus who described the word "knowledgeable" as a particularly strong word when used to describe a person. Hence, a knowledge seeker is a person who is pious enough to fear Allah the Almighty.
 When a person watches his tongue, his moves and moments of quietude as well as his earnings, he will be abiding by the Divine method, and this reflects his knowledge through which eventually and unconsciously he is urged to obey Allah. This kind of sequence can be called the "butterfly effect" and can be compared to the case of someone who eats unhealthy food full of steroids. If it is eaten on one occasion, the damage is not permanent. However, if one becomes addicted to it, we can talk of the "butterfly effect", which, in this case, may lead to cancer.
On the other hand, when someone seeks knowledge, he will be accumulating through the butterfly effect beliefs and conceptions which will build up the reason behind his righteousness in talking, walking and acting.

Seeking knowledge grants you rank among the believers:

 For that, Allah the Almighty says:

"Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqun (pious) "

[Al-Hujuraat, 13]

 This high position is acquired by seeking knowledge and there is no other way, and one should bear in mind that man's love for his own self and his existence will urge him to follow the right path of knowledge.
 It has been said that the first step in solving any problem is to acknowledge it.
 Similarly, the first step on the way to repentance is to acknowledge your wrongdoing.
 The pit into which most people fall is to commit millions of sins and assume that everything is fine since their faith is in their hearts, drawing thus a distinction between the faith they have in their hearts and not abiding by Allah’s laws, which leads to wrongdoing, all due to lack of knowledge by which one can attain a higher position.
 I tackled the issue of wisdom in the previous lecture and now wish to stress the point that unless you seek knowledge, you won’t reach the right position among the believers. Allah Most High says:

"Race one with another "

[Al-Hadid, 21]

 And He says:

"And march forth "

[Aal-‘Imran, 133]

Every order given in the Qur'an implies obligation.

 When you are on your own, you will be simply rushing. On the other hand, when you are among a group, you will be racing, and this is something merciful as you have company and can enjoy honest competition and healthy jealousy.

Competition can be bad or good:

 There is a neutral characteristic in every human soul that urges us to be jealous. Thus, when we see someone richer, we long to be like him; when we see someone more knowledgeable, we strive to be better; and when we see someone more pious, we work hard to be like him.
 The neutral nature of this characteristic means that it can be used for good or evil, and when it is used for evil, it turns into envy, whereas when it is used for good, it turns into a delightful feeling (of healthy envy).
 Excelling oneself and being ahead of sh3er is a characteristic installed in every one of us and it is the sick envy that is the reason behind conflicts, oppression, tyranny, and misery.

"Those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) did not differ except, out of mutual jealousy, after knowledge had come to them "

[Aal-‘Imran, 19]

 Competing with sh3er, jealousy, and superiority are totally neutral characteristics, in other words they are "raw". What does raw mean here"
 If we take a knife as the example, we can assume that it is neutral as it can be used to cut food or to stab a human being to death.
 Along the same lines –if one of us competes with sh3er in order to win Paradise, it can be said to be a virtue, a source of happiness, and a means to achieve superiority. However, if you compete for the sake of the worldly life, you turn into an envious, tyrannical and oppressive person.

"Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e. one of the Muttaqun (pious) "

[Al-Hujuraat, 13]

 And:

"And make us leaders for the Muttaqun" (pious)"

[Al-Furqan, 74]

 Most people are uninterested in the issues related to the Hereafter, yet extremely ambitious as regards the worldly life. Admittedly, most people are after a higher position, a heftier income, superior academic degree, the most beautiful wife, the biggest house, and the best car. In acting like this, what are they actually doing"
 They are using this characteristic for the purpose of competing in matters pertaining to this worldly life.
 Yet, competition for the sake of the worldly life is something ironic. It resembles a car race in which thousands of cars speed on only to fall down a precipice at its finish. So, eventually, the most expensive car and the cheapest one, the most beautiful one and the ugliest, the fastest one and the slowest will all end up at the bottom of the precipice.
 The same goes for the competition in the worldly life, as death (the finish line) will turn the rich and the poor as well as everyone else into dust.
 It is foolish to compete in the worldly life, as the destination of all competitors is the same; it is death.

Ways to Allah are countless:

 Therefore:

"And make us leaders for the Muttaqun" (pious) "

[Al-Furqan, 74]

 Those who seek a prominent status in the Sight of Allah as the believer should be occupied with longing for a higher rank in the Hereafter:

"Verily, The Muttaqun (pious), will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers (Paradise). "

[Al-Qamar, 54]

"In a seat of truth (i.e. Paradise), near the Omnipotent King (Allah, the All-Blessed, the Most High, the Owner of Majesty and Honour) "

[Al-Qamar, 55]

 Glory be to Allah! There is a subtle meaning here: There is no way for you to meet any of the worldly kings, not in a year, not in five years or ever at all. Yet, there are millions of ways to meet the King of kings (Allah), and all these ways are facilitated by Him to his servants out of His love for them.
 It has been said that there are as many ways to Allah as there are creatures. Wherever you head, there is a way to Allah the Almighty. There is a way in lowering your gaze, in spending on the poor, in rearing your son, in looking after your wife, in your sincerity at work, in doing your job in an excellent way, in offering advice to your fellow Muslims, in calling (to Islam), and in seeking knowledge. Therefore, Allah the Almighty says:

"And make us leaders for the Muttaqun" (pious)"

[Al-Furqan, 74]

 Most people are satisfied with entering Paradise following the easiest way and I will say to them to seek the highest levels in Paradise and beseech Allah to make you imam of the pious. This is what I call ambition, but the ambition to earn worldly boons is meaningless.
 One hears stories of deaths of celebrities and the wealthy. Some die on their yachts, some drowning in the sea, some in an ugly way, some while sinning, and some while indulging in pleasures. Eventually, all this wealth is reduced to nothing.
 On the other hand, if one follows faith, the line on his graph will never go down. On the contrary, it will keep going up even after his death.

Getting to know Allah is the foundation of Islam:

 Companions of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, were the leading lights of this nation. They are not dead as they are mentioned millions of times every day.
It has been said: O son! Those who guard money die while still alive, and ulama’a (knowledgeable persons) will live as long as there is life on earth. Although their bodies are buried, their life stories are alive in people's hearts.
 "Abdullah Ibn Mubarak was asked once: Who are people" He said: The knowledgeable. He was asked: Who are the notable people" He said: The wise. Then he was asked: Who are the kings" He said: The ignorant. He was asked: Who are the despicable" He said: They are those who sold their Hereafter for the worldly life."
 They are, thus, those who win the worldly life and lose the Hereafter, though there are many ways of earning money.
 Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, may Allah be pleased with him, used to pay frequent visits to M’aruf Al Karkhee, so his son asked him: "O father! You spend a lot of time with M’aruf. Does he have knowledge or know a narrator that you don’t know about" Ahmad said: O son! He has acquired the foundation of the Deen."
 Thus, our righteous ancestors differentiated between the minute details of the Deen (Divine laws and method) which constitute its branches and between its foundations (knowing Allah the Lawgiver).
 Some scholars excel in the branches of Islam and some in its foundations.
 Al Shaf’ee used to resort to Shaiban Al Ra’ee whenever he found difficulty in finding evidence from the Qur'an or the Sunnah for a legal matter, and he used to say to him: Abu Muhammad! What is your opinion in respect of the following matter" He used to sit before him and learn.

Humbleness in seeking knowledge:

 Knowing Allah is the most valuable thing one can attain. Yet, there are other levels. The Deen is very rich and there is no need to compete with each other. Rather, each of us can excel in some part of it.
 I am in the habit of mentioning a saying which should bring joy to scholars as well as people in general: Everybody is granted something which is his particular characteristic.
 On one occasion someone mentioned a statement in front of me that I liked a lot. He said: Everybody is dressed by Allah in a suitable garb which he can’t take off, and it doesn’t fit anyone else but him.
 Hence, we have people who excel in deriving Islamic laws, sh3er who excel in empirical knowledge, still sh3er who excel in 'aqidah, and sh3er who excel in the Sunnah of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and so forth.
 Ali Ibn Dinar, may Allah give rest to his soul, resorted to the judge of Khurasan in a legal matter that he couldn’t solve, and he sat before him saying: I want to ask you about a certain issue, to which the judge answered: Have you left all the scholars you know and come to me" Ali answered: I and you resemble a king who got lost in the desert. Would he ask another king or a shepherd about the way back"
 Humbleness in seeking knowledge is thus necessary, and sometimes you might find the piece of information you need with someone who is an expert in that topic though his knowledge on the whole might be less than yours.
 Two kinds of people will never learn: the arrogant and those ashamed of asking. Hence, the necessity of humbleness.
 The strongest evidence to support it is when Sayyidina Musa, peace be upon him, was asked by Allah to accompany Al Khadir and learn from him.
 Hence, as regards knowledge we can’t say this person is better than that, as each one excels in something.
 It is a well known fact in the field of medicine that a doctor might refer his patient to another doctor when he is sure that his colleague will serve this patient better than he can (because the other is specialized in this particular disease and he is not).
 Hence, searching and asking raise your rank among people, and the minute you assume that you know everything and can do without sh3er you will clash with the imperative of seeking knowledge, as the knowledgeable person is the one who asks and seeks sh3er’ opinion.
 Al Junaid, may Allah give rest to his soul, said: If the knowledge I teach sh3er came from me, it would probably fade away with the passage of time, but it starts with the truth and will turn into the truth.

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