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Virtue of Knowledge and the Duty of Scholars

Duty of Scholars
The author of the book “Montahi al-Yawaqit” has quoted Imam Reza, Imam Ali (A.S.) and the Holy Prophet (SAW) as saying: “Pursuit of knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim, man or woman.”

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“Therefore seek knowledge from its source and learn it from those entitled to it.”

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“Learning for the sake of God is good and rewarding and seeking knowledge is as worship of God, debate on scientific issues is as the glorification of God and acting to it is as Jihad.”

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“Teaching knowledge to those who lack it, is a kind of charity and giving to those entitled to it, leads to nearness to God.”

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“Since lawful and unlawful can be distinguished through knowledge, it enlightens the path to paradise, a help at the time of fear and a companion in loneliness, a company in private, a guide in happiness and sorrows, a weapon against enemy and an ornament on friends.”

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“God makes some nations superior through knowledge and promotes them to the extent that He makes them leader so that others will follow them, set their deeds as examples for them, and seek their advice.”

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“Angels wish to make friends with them, rub their wings on them and send greetings to them in their prayer.”

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“All creatures on the earth and in the seas seek forgiveness for them, even fishes, beasts and quadrupeds.”

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“Knowledge enlivens hearts from the death of ignorance; it is the light of eyes in darkness and strengthens bodies against weakness.”

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“Knowledge makes man to be ranked among the best in the assembly of the righteous and promotes his rank in the world and the Hereafter.”

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“Occupying one’s thought with knowledge is as keeping fast and discussion of knowledge is as keeping vigil in prayer.”
“Ties among kinfolk and distinction of God’s lawful and unlawful through knowledge is servitude to God.”

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“Knowledge is as a leader and practice is its subject.”

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“God inspire knowledge to the fortunate and deprives the wretched from it.”

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“Therefore happy is the person whom God has not deprived from the blessing of knowledge.”
Warning: Coordination between Knowledge and practice.
Dear reader! May God bless you? Think of the saying of the Holy Prophet that “Action is subject to knowledge” and that these two go together and that none of them has any benefit without the other. Therefore a scholar has to act according to what he knows. He should know that knowledge by itself can not lead to success.
The same idea is expressed in the saying of the Holy Prophet (SAW):
“One whose knowledge increases but his conduct is not improved, does not gain any benefit from it other than keeping away from God.”
Practice without knowledge does not have any benefit as acknowledge by the Holy Prophet (SAW): “One who acts without discernment, is as one who chooses a by-way instead of the main path. The greater pace he takes the farther he will be from the main path.”
Therefore knowledge and practice go together. None of them can stand on its foot without the other. Every book written and every speech made revolve round the axis of these two precious elements. Heavenly books as well as prophets were sent for the same purpose. Even heavens and the earth as well as the Verse 12 of the Quranic Chapter, Talaq, reads:
“Allah is He who created seven heavens, and of the earth the like of them; the decree continues to descend among them, that you may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah indeed encompasses all things in (His) knowledge.”
This single verse is sufficient to prove the importance of knowledge of monotheism. Verse 56 of the Quranic Chapter, Zariat reads:
“And I have not created the Jiin and the men except that they should serve Me.”
This verse too is sufficient to prove the importance of prayer and devotion. Therefore man should engage in nothing other than these two, labor for nothing other than them and be attached to nothing else. Everything is futile except them.
Now let it be known to you that between these two gems, “the gem of knowledge” is superior to “the gem of prayer” for the Holy Prophet (SAW) has said: “The virtue of knowledge to God is higher than the virtue of prayer.”

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“The superior of a scholar to a pious man is as the superior of moonlight to stars in a full-mooned night.”

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“O Ali, the sleep of a scholar (learned man) is better than the prayer of pious man. O Ali! Two rak’at prayer performed by a learned man is better than seventy-rak’at prayer performed by a pious man.”

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“O Ali! When a learned man leans on his bedclothes pondering over his knowledge, it is better than seventy years of prayer.”
Visiting the face of a learned man or the doorway of his house is the same as prayer.
It has been reported on the authority of Imam Ali (AS):

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“Spending one hour with the learned men to God is better than one thousand years of prayer. Visiting a learned man to God is better than seventy circumambulations of Ka’ba and better than seventy accepted major and minor Hajj. God promotes the learned man as much as seventy degrees and sends down Mercy upon him while angels testify that paradise is his due.”
Nevertheless, a learned man should not ever be content with his knowledge nor should he ever fail to worship God, for in that case, his knowledge will go into waste since knowledge is as a tree and prayer as its fruit. The value of a tree lies in its fruit or it is good for firewood to be burnt. Therefore a believing man must have both of them. Nevertheless, knowledge is superior, for it is both the basis of action and as the Quranic verse said, knowledge leads practice (deed) and practice is subject to knowledge. This leading role of knowledge puts two duties on your shoulder.
Firstly- You have to recognize God and the One whom you worship, for one can not worship an unknown God and obey Him. Logical reasons support this principle.
Secondly-You have to know what your duty is towards God and obey how you have to obey and worship Him so that you will not do as an act of obedience what He does not like.
A learned man was asked which was better: knowledge or practice? He said: knowledge is better for an ignorant person and practice for learned man. In addition, you know that knowledge without practice will not only have any benefit in the Day of Judgment but it will be a source of trouble for the learned man.
Have you not heard the Holy Prophet of Islam saying:

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“The inhabitants of Hell are annoyed by the bad smell of a learned man who did not practice what he had learnt. The utmost regret among the inhabitants of Hell belong to a person who invited someone to the way of God and that person accepted it and God made him enter paradise but he himself entered the Hell since he abandoned what he had learnt and followed his carnal desire.”
Saeed Ibne Hesham has reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq (AS) as saying about verse 94 of the Quranic Chapter, the Shuara:

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“So they shall be thrown down into it, they and the erring ones”

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“The erring ones are those who recognized the truth but acted against it.”
The Imam has also said:

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“The most severe punishment is for a learned man who does not benefit from his knowledge.”

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“Learn whatever you wish but God will give you reward for your deeds not for your knowledge, for the learned men endeavor to utilize what they have learnt but the unwise attempt to collect words and quote them.”
In relation to the virtue of knowledge and learned men, there are many verses and Hadith including verse 18 of the Quranic Chapter, Alay Imran:

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“Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge.”
And verse 9 of the Quranic chapter, Zumar:

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“Are those who know and those who do not know alike.”
Imam Sadeq (AS) Says:

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“When the Day of Judgment comes, all people are gathered in a land; scales are put for measuring their deeds. Then they will measure the blood of martyrs with the pen of the learned men. In this measuring, the ink of the learned men’s pen is heavier than the martyr’s blood.”
In his interpretation of the aforementioned Hadith, a scholar says: The secret behind that superiority is that the martyr’s blood does not benefit others after his death but the ink of the learned man’s pen will benefit others after his death.
Imam Sadeq (AS) has also said:

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“If a believer leaves behind a sheet of paper on which some knowledge is written, this very sheet of paper will serve as a wall between him and the Hell and against each letter written on it, God will give him a city in paradise seven times this world.”
One must note that by knowledge we do not mean scientific issues either kept in mind or debated, rather we mean a kind of knowledge which increases man’s fear of God and creates joy in the deeds which will give us benefit in the Hereafter and will increase piety.
Imam Musa (AS) has said:

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“The best knowledge (science) which you should seek is the one without which your deed will become corrupt and the most worthy knowledge is the one about whose practice you will be questioned on the Day of Judgment. The most required knowledge is the one which shows you what is good or bad for you. The best knowledge is one which will increase your good deeds. Therefore, do not ever spend your life on learning something which, if you don’t know, is not important. Do not ever remain unaware of the knowledge the abandonment of which will increase your ignorance.”
If we look at the Holy Quran we will see that this character-building book describes the learned men as such in verse 28 of the Quranic Chapter, Fater:

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“Those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah....”
In this verse, God describes learned men as those who fear Allah. Therefore one who does not fear Allah is not learned. Verse 9 of the Quranic Chapter, Zomar, says:

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“What ! He who is obedient during hours of the night, prostrating himself and standing, takes care of the hereafter and those who do not know alike?”
In this verse, learned men have been described with:
-Keeping vigil in prayer
-Performing recommended prayer after mid-night
-Prostrating and bowing
-Having fear and hope
Verse 83 of the Quranic Chapter, the Foods (Maidah) reads:

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“....this is because there are priests and monks among them and because they do not behave proudly.”
Imam Sadeq (AS) has said:

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“Fear of God is the heritage of knowledge and knowledge is the light of wisdom and the spirit of faith. One who does not fear God, is not learned even if he splits an atom, for God has said: “Those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah....”
The Holy Prophet (SAW) says:

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“Do not ever sit with any one who calls you to his meeting, for he might change your faith into doubt, your devotion into hypocrisy, take away humility from you and make you proud, remove advisability and benevolence, sow the seeds of enmity in your heart, and finally change your piety into worldly love, rather go to a learned man who wishes to change your arrogance into humility, your hypocrisy into devotion, your doubt into faith and your worldly love to piety, and enmity into benevolence and advisability.”
Jesus (AS) has said:

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“The most wretched person is one who is known for his knowledge and unknown for his deed.”
Jesus has also said:

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“I visited a tablet with the inscription: Turn me over. When I turned it over, there was another inscription: One who does not practice what he has learnt, his knowledge will be to his loss and all he knows will be used against him.”
God sent the following revelation to prophet David (AS)

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“If a learned man does not practice his knowledge, I will afflict him with seventy inner punishments and torments the minimum of which is that I will take My sweet remembrance from his heart.”
It has been reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet (SAW):

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“A knowledge not put into practice is as a treasure not used, that is his possessor has put himself into trouble in gathering it but he has not gained any benefit from it.”
It has been reported on the authority of Imam Ali (AS):

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“Knowledge is accompanied with practice, anyone who has knowledge puts it into practice, and anyone who practices has knowledge. Knowledge invites its possessor to action with a loud voice. If he accepts this call, his knowledge will survive but if he rejects this call, his knowledge will depart.”
In the interpretation of the Quranic verse

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“Those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah....”, Imam Sadeq (AS) says:

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“A learned man is one whose deeds confirm his speech and one whose speech is not confirmed by his deeds is not a learned man.”
It has been reported on the authority of the Holy prophet (SAW) that:

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“God sent the following revelation to one of the prophets: Tell those who utilize knowledge in a way other than religion, and those who learn not for practice but seek the world instead of the Hereafter, are wolves in sheep’s clothing, their tongue is sweeter than honey and their deeds are more bitter than Sabr (a bitter plant): Are you playing trick with Me or mocking Me? I will afflict you with a calamity the learned men will be surprised at.”
The Holy Prophet (SAW) has also said:

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“One who has knowledge but does not put his knowledge into practice, is as a touch giving light to others but exposing himself to fire.”

Source:
Oddatatol Daee
(The Asset of Supplicant)


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