Televised Lectures and Symposiums- Jordan- Masjid At-Taqwah – (006): Man is the Top Creature

2014-09-05

Why is man ordered to read? 

Dear noble brothers, in the first Ayah of the first Surah that was   descended in the Quran, Allah the Almighty says:    

(Read!)

[Al-Alaq, 1]

Why is man ordered to read? To answer this question let me tell you these facts. The inanimate object is tangible, it has three dimensions, and it occupies a space. Like the inanimate object, the plant is tangible, it occupies a space, it has three dimensions, but it grows. Similarly, the animal is tangible, it occupies a space, it has three dimensions, it grows and it moves. As for man, he is tangible, he occupies a space, he has three dimensions and he grows, moves and 'thinks'.   

Allah the Almighty created in man the cognitive power, which some scholars call the sublime need of man. Man's mundane needs are the need to eat, drink and have sexual intercourse with his wife, while the sublime need is seeking knowledge. Hence, the minute man neglects fulfilling this need he descends to a rank that does not suit him his nature as a human being. This point explains why Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, describes the one who does not seek knowledge as follows:   

((They are) dead, lifeless, and they know not when they will be raised up.)

[An-Nahl, 21]

Allah the Almighty also says: 

(As if they were frightened (wild) donkeys.)

[Al-Muddathir, 50]

Allah the Almighty says: 

(The likeness of those who were entrusted with the (obligation of the) Taurat (Torah) (i.e. to obey its commandments and to practise its legal laws), but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is as the likeness of a donkey who carries huge burdens of books (but understands nothing from them).) 

[Al-Jumu'ah, 5]

He also says: 

(Or do you think that most of them hear or understand? They are only like cattle; nay, they are even farther astray from the Path. (i.e. even worse than cattle).)

[Al-Furqan, 44]

He the Almighty says: 

(They are as blocks of wood propped up.)

[Al-Munafiqun, 4]

Whoever does not seek knowledge descends from his rank as a human being to a lower one that does not suit him. Seeking knowledge should be treated as the need of food and oxygen, because of its importance. When you seek knowledge, you will get acquainted with your Creator, you will know the truth of the worldly life, you will know your mission in this life, and you will know what comes after death. These facts explain why the first word in the first Ayah of the first Surah in the Quran is the following:    

(Read!)

[Al-Alaq, 1]

Reading: 

Allah the Almighty says: 

(Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists),)

[Al-Alaq, 1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1st type of reading: Reading for understanding deeply for comprehending  and believing: 

Thus, seeking Islamic knowledge should lead you to have belief in Allah:    

(Read! In the Name of your Lord,)

[Al-Alaq, 1]

Concerning this point Einstein, the great physicist, is the one who discovered the theory of relativity, and he also discovered the absolute speed of light, once said, "Whoever does not believe that there is a Great Might that surpasses all types of power, and that this Might is the Most Merciful ever, and the Most Omniscient is a living dead person."  

Actually, the first type of reading we are ordered to perform is the one that aims at understanding the Quran deeply   and having belief in Allah the Almighty. Hence, seeking Islamic knowledge should result in believing in Allah the Almighty. 

The 2nd type of reading: Reading for showing gratitude to Allah:

There is another type of reading. Allah the Almighty says:

(Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists)* Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).)

[Al-Alaq, 1-2]

This indicates that the path to believe in Allah is pondering over the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the first step in this path is reflecting on the creation of yourself. Allah the Almighty says:  

(Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).)

[Al-Alaq, 2]

Accordingly, the second type of reading is for the purpose of showing gratitude to Allah and acknowledging His Blessings upon man. Allah the Almighty says:  

(Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists)* Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood)* Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous,)

[Al-Alaq, 1-3]

What is the greatest blessing upon man? It is the blessing of his existence. Allah the Almighty says:  

(Has there not been over man a period of time, when he was nothing to be mentioned?)

[Al-Insan, 1]

Allah the Almighty created you when you were nothing, and after creating you, He has bestowed upon you the blessing of sustenance. He provides you with air, water, food, a wife, a child and so on. Also, He has given you the blessing of guidance, and the blessing of acquiring knowledge, which is the greatest blessing ever. 

I would like to give you an example to understand how great the blessing of having knowledge is. If a child from a middle-class family collects the money his relatives give him on the day of Eid, he will say, "I have a great deal of money", while we expect that it is no more than 100 Dinars. On the other hand, if an official from the Pentagon says, "We allocated a great deal of money for the war on Iraq", how much do you expect this amount was? We expect that it was about 2 billion Dollars. Well, how about describing something great by the King of all kings? Allah the Almighty says:          

(… and taught you that which you knew not. And Ever Great is the Grace of Allah unto you (O Muhammad PBUH).)

[An-Nisa', 113]

Based on the above-mentioned Ayah, the greatest blessing at of all is knowing Allah. When you get to know Allah, you will know everything else, but if you miss knowing Him, you will miss knowing everything. 

Let me repeat the types of reading we have mentioned so far. The first type is reading for the purpose of understanding the Quran deeply and having belief in Allah thereof. 

(Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists))

[Al-Alaq, 1]

You are ordered to read, so that you will get to know your Creator. As for the second type of reading, pay attention to the following Ayah: 

(Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous,)

[Al-Alaq, 3]

Allah the Almighty has bestowed upon you the blessings of existence, sustenance, and guidance. Thus, the second type of reading is performed for the purpose of gratitude and acknowledgement. 

The 3rd trpe of reading: Reading for understanding the Revelation:  

The third type of reading is manifested in the following Ayat: 

(Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists)* Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood)* Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous* Who has taught (the writing) by the pen [the first person to write was Prophet Idrees (Enoch)]* Has taught man that which he knew not.)

[Al-Alaq, 1-5]

Man has been taught the eloquent speech. Allah the Almighty says: 

(The Most Beneficent (Allah)* Has taught (you mankind) the Qur'an (by His Mercy)* He created man* He taught him eloquent speech.)

[Ar-Rahman, 1-4]

Man can express his feelings by through speech; by audio auditory parts of speech which are the language itself. Such an audio auditory usage of the language is very important in some cases. For instance, if the government imposes a curfew, and it is announced on the radio, people will obey the orders and stay in their houses, lest they will be shot dead . Hence, using the language is the best means of communicating among people. Had there been no language, the government would have appointed people to catch everyone in the street and get him into his house. Due to the language, in one announcement on the radio, all people will respond and stay at home. Accordingly, language is the beast best communication means ever. Allah the Almighty says: 

(The Most Beneficent (Allah)* Has taught (you mankind) the Qur'an (by His Mercy)* He created man* He taught him eloquent speech.)

[Ar-Rahman, 1-4]

Teaching others orally requires meeting with them. For instance, the students should be present to listen to the scholar while learning from him. On the other hand, teaching by writing materials to others does not require the attendance of the students or the knowledge seekers. For example, a scholar of interpreting the Noble Quran may have met one hundred people in his lifetime whom he taught. However meet only 1% of the people  who know him from his books.  Yyou may find an interpretation of the Noble Quran that was written 1000 years ago, because it is a written material (not an oral one). 

The art of translation can be interpretation (in this field interpreters communicate with others orally) and it can be translation. The Interpreter requires audience to communicate with them, while the translator does not need an audience since he writes down his translation to for others to read. 

I sometimes refer to the interpretation written by al-Qurtubi, a well-known scholar, and once while I was reading some paragraphs from it, I said to myself, "This man died 1000 years ago, but his book of interpretation is still printed in thousands of copies letting hundreds of thousands of people to get benefit from it. Hence, knowledge has been acquired by one generation after another due to the written materials. Furthermore, the translated books have made knowledge widely spread among nations. 

I repeat the point I have mentioned previously, by oral teaching, there should be audience, while the writing written materials enable people to learn without the need of meeting with the authors of these materials. 

As for translation, it has spread knowledge all over the world.  

Dear noble brothers, Allah the Almighty says:

(Who has taught (the writing) by the pen [the first person to write was Prophet Idrees (Enoch)]* Has taught man that which he knew not.)

[Al-Alaq, 4-5]

This is the Revelation we are ordered to read and comprehend, and which is the third type of reading; reading for the purpose of comprehending the Revelation and acting upon Allah's Orders which are mentioned in it. 

Let me mention the three types of reading we have discussed so far; reading for the purpose of deep understanding and believing, reading for the purpose of showing gratitude and acknowledgement to Allah, and reading for the purpose of comprehending the Revelation and acting upon Allah's Order. Allah the Almighty says: 

(The Most Beneficent (Allah)* Has taught (you mankind) the Qur'an (by His Mercy).)

[Ar-Rahman, 1- 2]

The two Revelations are: the recited Revelation, which is the Noble Quran, and the non-recited one, which if the Prophetic Sunnah. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said about the two Revelations: 

(I have left two matters with you. As long as you hold to them, you will not go the wrong way. They are the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet.)

The 4th  reading: Reading for oppressing and transgressing purposes:  

We have mentioned up to now the reading for the purpose of understanding deeply and believing in Allah, the reading for the purpose of showing gratitude to Allah, and the reading for the purpose of comprehending the Revelation and acting upon Allah's Order. We come to the fourth type of reading which is for the purpose of oppression and transgressing the bounds. 

In the cluster bomb, there are thousands of iron balls, which mean that it falls on everything  and every person exists existing in a five hundred meter area. This bomb indicates man's high level of intelligence. In addition to this type of bombs bomb , there are vacuum bombs, chemical bombs, biological bombs, fission bombs, and incendiary bombs which can penetrate buildings that are built from cement, and they explode after two meters of penetrating these buildings. Such bombs are used to bomb warehouses. Believe it or not, Saddam's bedroom was bombed from Italy! 

The scientific progress is astonishing, but this progress aims at oppressing others and transgressing the bounds no matter what. 

I would like to repeat the four types of reading: the reading for the purpose of understanding deeply and believing in Allah, the reading for the purpose of showing gratitude to Allah, the reading for the purpose of comprehending the Revelation and acting upon Allah's Order, and the reading for the purpose of oppression and transgressing the bounds. 

Conclusion: 

Dear noble brothers, success lies in seeking Islamic knowledge, lest we will descend to a lower rank that does not suit us as human beings. In fact, we can seek knowledge from listening to religious lectures, from enrolling at an institute or a school for Shari'ah sciences, from an interview with a known scholar, or from an evening spent with scholars. The main point is seeking knowledge to prove your humanity, otherwise you will lose; as Allah, Exalted and Sublime be He, says:  

(As if they were frightened (wild) donkeys.)

[Al-Muddathir, 50]

Man spends his life striving and working hard to buy a new house in a high-class neighborhood, and then he keeps working to buy another house in on the coast. After that, he strives to travel and collect more money, but at last death comes and takes all his possessions in one second. It is reported in Hadith Qudsi that Allah the Almighty says:     

(O My worshipper, they left you alone here after they put you in the dust, and even if they stayed with you, they would not be useful. No one is left with you but I – Allah – and I am The Ever Lasting Who never dies.) 

Success lies in living in the future (thinking about it and working for it). Unfortunately, most people live in the present and keep talking about their past. Someone may say, "I studied at so and so university, and now I am an engineer." Well, how about the future? It is when we leave this life, and bear in mind that leaving it is the hardest event that takes place in man's life, because he will move from living in a 200 square meter house where there is his wife, children, sons and daughters in law and will move to lay in the grave. 

By Allah, once while I was attending a funeral, it came to my mind the fact that the most intelligent man on earth is the one who prepares for this inevitable hour. 

Dear noble brothers, 'Read' is the first word in the first Ayah of the first Surah in the Noble Quran. It indicates seeking Islamic knowledge, and there are a million ways to seek knowledge. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:  

(There is no good for me in a day that rises upon me and my knowledge does not increase that day.)

In another narration, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 

(May the sunrise of a day be not blessed for me when I fail to acquire the knowledge which might draw me nearer to Allah.) 

Dear noble brothers, this is the meaning of the following Ayat: 

(Read! In the Name of your Lord, Who has created (all that exists)* Has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood)* Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous* Who has taught (the writing) by the pen [the first person to write was Prophet Idrees (Enoch)]* Has taught man that which he knew not.)

[Al-Alaq, 1-5]

The last type of reading is the one which leads man to transgress all bounds. Allah the Almighty says:  

(Nay! Verily, man does transgress all bounds (in disbelief and evil deed, etc.)* Because he considers himself self-sufficient.)

[Al-Alaq, 6-7]

We seek refuge in Allah from being among those who perform the fourth type of reading. As for the first three types, they are required and important. 

Keep in mind that seeking Islamic knowledge is one of the characteristics of the believer, since the purpose of our existence is to know Allah the Almighty.