There is no one worthy to be worshipped but Allah, Muhammad is His (last) Messenger.
First, a little introduction about Knowledge – religious knowledge is like light passed from Rasulullah (SalLalLahu Alehe WaAlehe WaSabehe WaSalLam) down through the Sahabah and further down until it reaches the students of knowledge. It is up to us to ascertain how we can gain maximum benefit from this light, but if we don’t respect it, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) can and will take it away from us.
1. There are some areas of knowledge that are fard (obligatory) for every Muslim to know. It is important for us to first understand our religious obligations e.g. how to pray, fast, make wudu, etc. Essentially, every student should have a thorough knowledge of the basic fara’id – the fard `ayn.
2. Every student should make sure that their intention is only to please Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) and NOT to gain fame, wealth, or become well-known. If we have incorrect intentions then whatever we gain and benefit would be for that purpose and not for Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala).
3. You should choose the most learned, pious, and the most advanced person in age as your teacher. The most elderly person should be selected because of the experience they possess. If this is not possible then at least the most learned and pious. Once that teacher is selected their opinion should be taken on what you should study and their opinion should be respected. This means that you shouldn’t go to your teacher and say, “I think I’m ready to study Sahih Bukhari” when he/she wants you to learn Arabic first. You can say that you feel weak in a certain area and would like to study that asking for suggestions on what books you should study.
4. All students should have complete respect for the knowledge they are studying andof their teachers. In regards to teachers, they should not be questioned too much. In regards to knowledge, we shouldn’t place our books on the floor, and in fact, we shouldn’t put our pens on top of our notes or doodle in the margins! Furthermore, no matter how many items you are learning something you should have the same reverence for it.
5. Students should be regular and consistent. They should not miss their classes and be there on time. If a student is continuously missing classes it means that other things are more valuable to them.
6. Reliance on Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) is key. We should develop ourselves so that we have trust in Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) that all of our worries will be taken care of. We should look for a means and then rely on Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) that He will sustain us through those means. Also, we should not underestimate the power of du’a, the more you ask the more likely your prayers will be answered. Du’a should not be restricted to the hereafter, it is said that even if you need new shoes you should ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) for the means. Whatever we need we should ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) for it, we don’t know what obstacles lie in our path which Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) will remove.
7. Take advantage of your time. Learn during your youth, study after fajr and between Maghrib and `Isha. As a student of knowledge, time should not be wasted, use the night and tahajjud time to revise unless you are really tired.
8. A student should be a kind and compassionate person, not jealous, harsh, or mean. These are not characteristics of the Prophets (Alehe Salam) or our pious predecessors. You must have a clean heart to take on this knowledge.
9. Seek benefit from scholars and learned people. Also, don’t try to memorize the knowledge your gaining, take good notes.
10. Abstain from sins and haraam. Stay away from doubtful food. The students of the past would not go out and eat in the market place for fear of the doubt in the food and what effect it would have on their hearts. The very least we can do is make sure everything we eat is halal; how do we expect this noor to penetrate the haraam? Also do not neglect the Sunnah of RasulAllah (SalLalLahu Alehe WaAlehe WaSabehe WaSalLam), if you neglect it you are deprived of his (SalLalLahu Alehe WaAlehe WaSabehe WaSalLam) practices. Think of the fara’id as a house, the sunnah as the fence surrounding that house, and the etiquettes are the gate surrounding the community that you live in. If the gate isn’t there, Shaytan can penetrate your fence, if the fence isn’t there he can penetrate the fara’id.
Furthermore, we have to realize that there is knowledge, and then there is the acceptance and application of that knowledge. If you have no application, no one will benefit from your knowledge. Always ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Tala’a) to accept the knowledge you are seeking. He doesn’t need us to spread His deen. He can always replace us. We must act upon and teach the knowledge we are gaining, it is not meant to be hidden.
Many people wonder as to how a person with a scientific and logical temperament, can lend any credence to the belief in life after death. People assume that anyone believing in the hereafter is doing so on the basis of blind belief.
There are more than a thousand verses in the Glorious Qur’an containing scientific facts. Some have been discovered by science and others will be discovered as science advances.
The concept of peace and human values or good or bad is useless without the concept of hereafter. One thing or act can be bad in the eyes of a person but could be good or beneficial for another one.
Every human being wants justice: Do human law provide justice to all humankind?
The people who do injustice should be punished: Can we punish a murderer of 100 people as compared to a murderer of a single person?
This life is a test for the hereafter: If it is not, then why few people are wealthy and enjoying luxuries of life and why few are poor and don’t even have enough food to eat. Life is a test for both of them.
Final justice on the day of judgment. No human law can provide 100% justice to all humankind. There will be definitely a day of judgment for final justice.
When it is dead sure that there will be a day of judgment and life after death, one should follow the religion instead of passing life in his/her own style.
All religions basically exhort mankind to be righteous and eschew evil. But Islam goes beyond that. It guides us towards practical ways of achieving righteousness and eliminating evil from our individual and collective lives. Islam takes into account human nature and the complexities of human society. Islam is guidance from the creator himself. therefore, Islam is also called the “deen-ul-fitrah” (the natural religion).
we should hurry to ask Allah (SWT) for forgiveness and start following true religion before the last day of our life (who knows tomorrow we will get up from sleep or not!)
May ALLAH (SWT) show us the right path. Aameen
The Qur’an is the Book that brought humanity from the pre-scientific age to the age of rationality. The very first Book, which invited mankind to observe and contemplate the phenomena of nature, which we experience in ourselves and in the continuum surrounding us with our five senses of perception. The Qur’an said, “Verily in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alteration of night and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind, and the water (rain) which Allah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death and the moving (living) creatures of all kinds that he has scattered therein, and in the veering of the winds and the clouds which are held between sky and the earth are indeed signs for people of understanding.” (Qur’an, 2:164)
All these phenomena of nature contain the signs of God the Unique for the people to believe in His divine Omnipotence.
But the revelation of the Qur’an dates back to the 7th century of the Christian Era. This age is known as the age of ignorance. God intended to take out the benighted humanity to enlightenment, from ignorance to knowledge, from unawareness to intelligence. He sent the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a great blessing for humanity. The teachings of the Messengers before him were lost. The divine books, Torah, Psalms of David, and the Gospel were irretrievably lost. They were written four to five hundred years after their revelation. These Books contained only hearsay evidence of past events.
The very first revelation to the Prophet (peace be upon him) was to invite humanity to knowledge. “He Who taught man that which he knew not.”(Qur’an, 96:5). Literal translation. Arabic ‘Allama’ is in past tense meaning taught. Some have translated it into present perfect that, in many views, is not correct.
In that very revelation, the Qur’an disclosed a scientific fact as to the creation of man and said: “Read in the name of your Lord Who created, Who created man from something that clings.” (Qur’an, 96:1,2). Literal translation. Arabic word ‘Khalaq’ past tense meaning created, the word ‘Alaq’ means that clings. (Arabic-English, Lanes Lexicon). There are other verses that explain the stages of the embryo, I quote here a few of them:
“We created man from drops of mixed semen (sexual discharge of man and woman), in order to try him: so we made him hearer and seer.” (Qur’an, 76:2) “Then He made his offspring from semen of despised water (male and female sexual discharge).” (Qur’an, 32:8)
The beauty of the description in the Quranic verses is that modern science could not add any such fact relating to the processing of embryos in the womb which the Qur’an does not mention.
Before we discuss the science of the formation and development of the embryo, it may be noted that the views of Aristotle (384-322 BC) were predominant before the revelation of the Qur’an. He was of the view that the actual creation and formation of the embryo was from the menstrual blood. To him, the process resembled the curdling of milk into cheese.
In the first quarter of the 7th century (C.E.) the Qur’an brushed off the views of Aristotle telling that Allah created man from drops of mingled liquids of both male and female as referred to above. Ibn Kathir, while discussing the Arabic word ‘Amshaj (mingled liquids) said, “The root word is ‘Mashaja’ which means to mix and ‘Masheej’ means something mixed with another. Elias Modern Dictionary Arabic-English gave the meaning of ‘Masheej’ as gamete. Ibn Abbas explaining the verse said, “It means the semen of man and woman intermingled and then it passes through various stages. Allah said, “He created you in different stages.” (Qur’an, 71:14)
However, Europe remained stuck to the baseless notions of Aristotle until Redi in 1668 dealt a blow to his theory, and Pasteur in 1864 wrote the final obituary to the doctrine of spontaneous creation. Later, Van Banden in 1883 proved that both male and female participate equally in the formation of human zygote.
Thus what was said by the Prophet (peace be upon him) disclosing the Qur’anic fact was finally upheld by the scientists after about 1300 years of the ignorance of science regarding the creation of man. The Qur’an said, “Was he not a Nutfah (drops of sperm) which gushed forth.” Al-Mawrid Arabic-English, A. Yusuf Ali; (Qur’an, 75:37)
It is also now proved that the total semen ejaculated contains an average of 200 to 300 million spermatozoa, only one out of these huge numbers fertilizes the ovum to form the zygote, which grows into a fetus.
The Arabic word Nutfah translated as sperm is singular, thus we can safely say that Nutfah is that spermatozoa that cause fertilization. Arabic words ‘Nutfah Amshaj’ further establish the meaning that male spermatozoa with female cells cause fertilization to form zygote. This fertilization stage is described in the word ‘Alaq’ as something that clings in the uterus (womb).
The Qur’an describes the next stage as ‘Mudgha’ in the verse 23:14. It literally means chewed lump (Al-Mawrid Arabic-English). That is a mass of flesh having teeth marks on it. In the early 7th century, no one in the world could know this stage of embryos’ development. Only in the 20th century, gynecologists could observe it, and they call it a somite stage. After this stage there comes another stage as told by the Qur’an. “Then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh.” Literal translation (Qur’an, 32:14)
It was impossible for a man living in the early 7th century to have come up with such facts, so it is foolish to say that Muhammad (peace be upon him) wrote the Qur’an. One has to admit that this is the Book of God the Unique (Allah). He in His very first revelation to His Prophet (peace be upon him) described the creation of man by fertilization ‘Alaq,’ i.e. by clinging of the male and female cells to each other.
Certainly, the Qur’an taught the man things which he doesn’t know.
– By Ahmad Wahaj Al-Siddiqui
The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will): Nor did the People of the Book dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the Signs of Allah, Allah is swift in calling to account. [3:19]
It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it). [61:9]
And they have been commanded no more than this: To worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true (in faith); to establish regular prayer, and to practice regular charity; and that is the Religion Right and Straight. [98:5]
He has prescribed for you the religion which He enjoined upon Noah and which We revealed to you (O Muhammad), and which We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus, commanding: “Establish this religion and do not split up regarding it.” What you are calling to is very hard upon those who associate others with Allah in His Divinity. Allah chooses for Himself whomsoever He pleases and guides to Himself whoever penitently turns to Him. [42:13]
And Abraham instructed his sons [to do the same] and [so did] Jacob, [saying], “O my sons, indeed Allah has chosen for you this religion, so do not die except while you are Muslims.” [2:132]
It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, to show that it is above all [other] religions, however much the idolaters may hate this. [9:33]
He is the Ever-Living: there is no god but He. So call upon Him, consecrating to Him all your devotion. All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the whole Universe. [40:65]
It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion: and enough is Allah for a Witness. [48:28]
To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and on earth, and to Him is duty due always: then will ye fear other than Allah. [16:52]
Indeed, We have sent down to you the Book, [O Muḥammad], in truth. So worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion. [39:2]
“And [commanded], ‘Direct your face [i.e., self] toward the religion, inclining to truth, and never be of those who associate others with Allah; [10:105]
Say: “Verily, I am commanded to serve Allah with sincere devotion; [39:11]
So invoke Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, although the disbelievers dislike it. [40:14]
(O Prophet and his followers), turn your face singlemindedly to the true Faith and adhere to the true nature on which Allah has created human beings. The mould fashioned by Allah cannot be altered. That is the True, Straight Faith, although most people do not know. [30:30]
And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. He [i.e., Allah] named you “Muslims” before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakāh and hold fast to Allah. He is your protector, and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper. [22:78]
Lo, religion is exclusively devoted to Allah. Your religion is entirely consecrated to Him. As for those who have taken others than Allah for their guardians, (they say): “We worship them only that they may bring us nearer to Allah.” Allah will judge between them concerning what they differ about. Verily Allah does not guide anyone who is given to sheer lying, is an utter unbeliever. [39:3]
You worship not besides Him except [mere] names you have named them, you and your fathers, for which Allah has sent down no evidence. Legislation is not but for Allah. He has commanded that you worship not except Him. That is the correct religion, but most people do not know. [12:40]
Or have they partners [i.e., other deities] who have ordained for them a religion to which Allah has not consented? But if not for the decisive word, it would have been concluded between them. And indeed, the wrongdoers will have a painful punishment.. [42:21]
When waves engulf them (in the sea) like canopies, they call upon Allah, consecrating their faith solely to Him. But when He delivers them safely to the land, some of them become lukewarm. None denies Our Signs except the perfidious, the ungrateful. [31:32]
So direct your face [i.e., self] toward the correct religion before a Day comes from Allah of which there is no repelling. That Day, they will be divided. [30:43]
And verily Judgment and Justice must indeed come to pass. [51:6]
So what yet causes you to deny the Recompense? [95:7]
There is no compulsion in religion. The Right Way stands clearly distinguished from the wrong. Hence he who rejects the evil ones and believes in Allah has indeed taken hold of the firm, unbreakable handle. And Allah (Whom he has held for support) is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [2:256]
Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion [i.e., way], so do not wrong yourselves during them. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him]. [9:36]
Say, [O Muḥammad], “My Lord has ordered justice and that you direct yourselves [to the Qiblah] at every place [or time] of prostration, and invoke Him, sincere to Him in religion.” Just as He originated you, you will return [to life] -” [7:29]
Allah does not forbid that you be kind and just to those who did not fight against you on account of religion, nor drove you out of your homes. Surely Allah loves those who are equitable. [60:8]
Allah only forbids you from those who fight you because of religion and expel you from your homes and aid in your expulsion – [forbids] that you make allies1 of them. And whoever makes allies of them, then it is those who are the wrongdoers. [60:9]
Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] religion [i.e., worship] is [acknowledged to be] for Allah. But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression [i.e., assault] except against the oppressors. [2:193]
And fight against them until the mischief ends and the way prescribed by Allah – the whole of it -prevail Then, if they give up mischief, surely Allah sees what they do. [8:39]
But if they repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, then they are your brothers in religion; and We detail the verses for a people who know. [9:11]
Call your adopted sons after their true fathers; that is more equitable in the sight of Allah. But if you do not know their true fathers, then regard them as your brethren in faith and as allies. You will not be taken to task for your mistaken utterances, but you will be taken to task for what you say deliberately. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate. [33:5]
And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn [i.e., advise] their people when they return to them that they might be cautious. [9:122]
Compiled by: Dr.Masood Tariq
The Muslim believes that exercising his mind and seeking knowledge and discovering the signs of Allah in the universe is an obligation, because of the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him):
“Seeking knowledge is a duty on every Muslim.” (Bukhari)
Therefore the Muslim must continue to pursue knowledge, as long as the breath of life remains in his body. The fact that Allah has raised the status of those who have knowledge, and described them alone as truly fearing Him, should be enough to encourage the Muslim to apply himself to seeking knowledge. For Allah said:
“…Those truly fear Allah, among His Servants, who have knowledge…” (Qur’an 35: 28)
No one truly fears Allah except those whose minds are enlightened enough to see the greatness and power of Allah manifested in the creation of the universe and all living things, and these are the people of knowledge. So Allah has preferred them over those who have no knowledge:
“…Say Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?’ It is those who are endued with understanding that receives admonition.” (Qur’an 39: 9)
Safwaan Ibn ‘Assal Al-Muradi came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the mosque and said, “O’ Messenger of Allah, I have come seeking knowledge.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) told him:
“Welcome, O seeker of knowledge! Truly the angels surround the seeker of knowledge with their wings, gathering around him in ranks one above the other, until they reach the first heaven, out of love for that which he seeks.”
The texts from the Qur’an and Hadith that extol the virtue of knowledge and exhort its pursuit are many, therefore the true Muslim is either a scholar or a seeker of knowledge, and cannot be anything else.
Continually seeking knowledge until death. True knowledge does not mean obtaining a degree or diploma that will let one earn an income and guarantee a good standard of living, after which one turns away from learning and does not explore the treasure of knowledge any further; true learning means that one continues to read and study, increasing one’s learning day by day, in accordance with the words of the Qur’an:
“…But say, ‘O my Lord! Advance me in knowledge.'” (Qur’an 20: 114)
Our righteous predecessors never stopped seeking to increase their knowledge, no matter how high a level of learning they had achieved, and they would continue their pursuit until the end of their lives. They believed that knowledge was a living thing that would thrive if it were actively pursued, but would wither and perish if it were ignored and abandoned. Many sayings are attributed to them that eloquently express their respect for learning and their keenness to acquire knowledge. Examples of their sayings are given below.
Imam Ibn Abdul-Barr reported that Ibn Abi Ghassan said: “So long as you are seeking the knowledge you are knowledgeable, but as soon as you abandon this pursuit you become ignorant.”
Imam Malik said: “No one who has knowledge should stop seeking knowledge.”
Imam Abdullah Bin Al-Mubarak was asked: “How long will you seek knowledge?” He said, “Until I die, for probably I have not yet learned the things that will benefit me most.”
Imam Abu ‘Amr Bin Al-‘Ala’ was asked: “For how long does it befit a man to seek knowledge?” He said, “For as long as he has life in him.”
Imam Sufyan Bin ‘Uyaynah gave an excellent answer when he was asked, “Who is most in need of seeking knowledge?” He said: “Those who have the most knowledge.” He was asked, “Why?” and he replied, “Because if they make a mistake, it is worse.”
Such was Imam Fakhr ad-Deen ar-Razi (d. 606 AH), the great mufassir (Qur’anic exegete), and prominent scholar in philosophy (‘llm al-kalam) and other disciplines, who authored many books. Allah gave him such fame in the knowledge that people would come from all over to see him whenever he visited a city.
When he came to the city of Merv (in Turkmenistan), flocks of scholars and students came to have the privilege of listening to and learning from him. Among the seekers of knowledge who attended his circle was a young man, less than 20-years-old, who was very well-versed in literature and genealogy. When Imam Razi realized that this student was an expert in genealogy, a field in which he knew very little, he asked this student to teach him.
He did not find it unacceptable to become the student of his student, and he even made him sit in the teacher’s place while he himself sat at his feet. Such an act was characteristic of Imam Fakhr ad-Deen ar-Razi, and it did not detract from his high status, as he was the Imam of his age.
This remarkable story was told by the literary historian Yaaqoot al-Hamwi in his book Mu’jam al-Udabaa’ (Dictionary of literary authors), where he gives a biography of ‘Aziz ad-Deen Isma’eel Bin Al-Hasan Al-Marwazi An-Nassabah Al-Husayni, whom Yaaqoot met and spent much time with, so was able to write a comprehensive biography of him. In this biography he says:
“Aziz ad-Deen told me: ‘Imam Fakhr Ad-Deen Ar-Razi went to Merv. He had such a great reputation and was held in such awe that nobody dared to argue with him; they would barely breathe in his presence. I went to meet him, and I often went to study with him.
One day he said to me: ‘I would like you to write me a book giving the genealogy of At-Talibiyeen (the descendants of Abu Taalib) so that I may study it, for I do not want to remain ignorant of it.’ I asked him: ‘Do you want it presented as a family tree, or written down as a narrative?’ He said, ‘A family tree cannot be learned by heart. I want something that I can memorize.’ So I went away and wrote the book, which I called Al-Fakhri. When I brought it to him, he took it, then got up from his mattress, sat on the mat, and told me to sit in the place he had just vacated.
I thought this was too much, and told him: ‘I am your servant.’ He reprimanded me severely, saying, ‘Sit where I tell you!’ Allah knows, I felt that I had no choice but to sit where he told me. Then he began to read the book to me, while he was sitting at my feet, asking me about anything he did not understand, until he finished the book. When he had finished, he said, ‘Now sit wherever you wish, for in this field of knowledge you are my teacher and I am your student, and it is not right for the student to sit anywhere but at the feet of his teacher.’ So I got up, and he sat in his rightful place, and I began to read to him, sitting where he had sat previously.”
After quoting this incident, Yaaqoot said, “Indeed this is good manners, especially for a man who enjoys such a high status.”
How great was the love and respect these scholars gave to knowledge! How highly they regarded it, and how great is the need for the later generation to learn from the attitude of their forbears!
What Muslims need to know
The first thing that the Muslim needs to know is how to read the Qur’an properly (with tajweed) and to understand its meaning. Then he should learn something of the sciences of Hadith, the Seerah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and the history of the Sahabah and Tabi ‘een, who are prominent figures in Islam.
He should acquire as much knowledge of Fiqh as he needs to ensure that his worship and daily dealings are correct, and he should ensure that he has a sound grasp of the basic principles of his religion. This is the duty of the Muslim who is not a specialist in the sciences of Shariah. If he is a specialist in a branch of Shariah, then he does what every true Muslim should do, which is to do his best to learn his specialty thoroughly and be successful in it. It goes without saying that every Muslim also needs to learn Arabic properly.
He should be proficient in his specialty
Besides this, the Muslim turns to his own specialty and gives it all of his energy, and pays a great deal of attention to it. He approaches it like a Muslim who believes that it is a religious obligation to work in his field of specialization, whether it is in Shariah or in another area of religious knowledge, or in another field such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, astronomy, medicine, industry, commerce, etc.
Therefore he should become proficient in whatever field he has specialized in and should spare no effort to read whatever has been written about it, both in his own language and in others if he is able to. He should keep abreast of developments in his field through continual reading and study of all its aspects.
This is because, in these times, the smart Muslim is the one who achieves great academic success, which will raise his status in the eyes of other people. This in turn will enhance his Da’wah, so long as he presents it sincerely and earnestly, and in accordance with the spirit of Islam and its teachings about knowledge.
Islam has made knowledge a duty, whereby the one who seeks it draws closer to Allah and adopts it as a means of earning His pleasure. So we see that the scholars of the early generation used to emphasize these sublime principles in their introductions to their books, because through the knowledge that they spent their lives spreading, they were seeking to earn the pleasure of Allah, and they presented the results of their study purely for His sake.
Information about other fields
The smart Muslim does not restrict himself to his own field but is open to learning about other areas too. So he reads books and academic, literary, and cultural journals about various useful branches of knowledge, especially those that are related to his own field. In this way, he gains knowledge about many things, which enriches his mind and broadens his horizons.
He is proficient in a foreign language
He does not forget to pay attention to foreign languages, because these days, learning a foreign language is one of the most important tasks required of the active Muslim who understands the demands of contemporary Islamic life.
His religion gives the attentive Muslim a great incentive to learn foreign languages. Fifteen centuries ago, the Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged the study of foreign languages so that the Muslims would always be able to communicate with various nations and races and convey to them the message of truth that Allah has entrusted to them to proclaim throughout the world. We see evidence of this in the Hadith narrated by Zayd Bin Thabit (may All be pleased with him), in which he says that the Prophet (peace be upon him) told him:
“O’ Zayd, learn the writing of the Jews, for by Allah I do not trust the Jews to write anything down for me.”
(Zayd) said: “So I learned it, and it only took me a month to become proficient in it. Then I used to take down whatever letters the Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to send to them, and I would read for him the letters that they sent him.”
In another report, he said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) asked me, ‘Do you know Syriac? I have received a letter in this language.’ I said, ‘No.’ He said:
‘Then learn it.’ So I learned it.”
Similarly, Ibn az-Zubayr (may Allah be pleased with him) was proficient in a number of languages, but learning them did not distract him from his religion or preparing for the Hereafter. He had a hundred (male) slaves, each of whom spoke a different language, and he used to speak to each slave in his own language. If you were to see this man when he was dealing with worldly affairs, you would think that he was a man who did not give a moment’s thought to the Hereafter, and if you saw him dealing with religious matters, you would think that he was a man who did not give a second’s thought to this world.
Nowadays, more than ever before, the Muslim needs to be proficient in foreign languages so that he may know what is going on around him, both positive and negative, and so that he may understand what has been written about his Ummah and its heritage in languages other than his own, and thus be able to defend his Ummah from evil and speak up for its well-being.
– Taken from the book ‘The Ideal Muslim’ by Mohammad Ali Al-Hashmi, published by International Islamic Publishing House, Riyadh.