15 Nov Studying and Learning.Part3
One of the most esteemed Companions of the Prophet, Ibn Abbas, gave the following advice:
“Tell people one hadith per week. If this does not seem enough, recount two or three. And never cause people to become bored with the Qur’an! When people are talking amongst themselves, never let me see you walk up and interrupt them to teach them something. When they are speaking, be quiet and listen. If they come to you and ask you to talk, then you should teach them on their request.”
In addition to choosing the appropriate time, it is also important when teaching ethical principles or religious knowledge to choose a level that can be understood by one’s audience. Some people try to appear knowledgeable by using a style and manner which is not clear or understandable. This is wrong, as it goes against the proper manners of speaking to people in a way that makes sense to them. No less a person than Ali ibn Abu Talib said,
“Tell people things they can understand. Do you want to be responsible for making God and His Messenger misunderstood?”
He meant that plain and clear speech should be used, especially when speaking of spiritual matters. Ibn Mas’ud also said,
“If you say something to a gathering which is above their intellectual capacity, it will certainly lead some of them into mischief.”
Someone who lives an exemplary life and tries to please God by teaching other people and sharing knowledge is on the Path of God, and God is indeed pleased by such a person. Kathir ibn Qays explains,
“I was in the Mosque at Damascus sitting beside Abu al- Darda. A man came and said, ‘O Abu al-Darda, I came from the Prophet’s city of Medina to ask about a hadith that I have heard you are relating.’ Abu al-Darda, in order to find out whether this was really the man’s intention, asked, ‘Could you also have come to do business (trade)?’ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘I did not come to do any such thing.’ He asked again, ‘So you did not come for any- thing else other than to hear a hadith?’ The man replied, ‘No, I came only because I heard that you know hadith.’ Only when he had established that the man had truly come to win God’s pleasure did Abu al-Darda say, ‘I heard the Prophet of God say, “God will make the path to Heaven easy to anyone who takes to the road looking for knowledge. Angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. All the creatures in the earth and sky, even the fish in the sea, pray for God’s help and forgiveness for those who acquire knowledge. The superiority of the scholar over the worshipper is like the superiority of the moon over the stars (i.e., in brightness). Scholars are the heirs to the Prophets. For the Prophets left neither dinar nor dirham (units of money) but knowledge as their inheritance. Therefore he who acquires knowledge has in fact acquired an abundant portion.”’
The following points can be deduced from the hadith:
- Any effort or endeavor that is expended on acquiring knowledge is counted as effort or struggle made on God’s way, and this leads a person to Paradise. To put it simply, the path of knowledge is the path to Heaven; what a beautiful path it is. The angels come to the aid of one who is on this path, and all creation offers prayers for them.
- The difference between the scholar and the follower is like the difference between the moon and stars, for knowledge is a light that illuminates a person’s whole surroundings and the community of the knowledgeable person. It shows the right path to everyone. However, a person who simply follows, even if they perform a great deal of supererogatory worship, does not benefit others in the same way. Their worship benefits only themselves. Those who choose knowledge, on the other hand, bring blessings down upon themselves and all those around them.
- Scholars are the heirs to the Prophets; the only thing the Prophets left as an inheritance was knowledge. When scholars choose the path of learning and the pursuit of knowledge, they win the honor of inheriting the legacy of the Prophets.
One of the Prophet’s Companions, Abu Hurayra, was almost always at the Prophet’s side. He would listen to all the Prophet’s teachings, carefully memorizing his sayings. One day in Medina, he spoke aloud to the people milling about on the street: “The Prophet’s inheritance is being divided up; why are you wasting time here? Go and claim your share!” The people said, “Where is it being dis- tributed?” Abu Hurayra said, “In the mosque.” So they ran to the mosque. But soon they turned around and came back, and Abu Hurayra asked, “What’s happened?” They said, “We went to the mosque, but we did not see anything like what you said being distributed.” So he asked, “Was there no one in the mosque?” They answered, “Yes, we saw some people; some of them were praying salat, some were reading the Qur’an, and some were talking about the permissible and the prohibited.” Hearing this, Abu Hurayra told them, “Shame on you. That was the Prophet’s inheritance.”