فَضْلُ الْعِلْمِ وَالْعُلَمَاءِ

 

THE EXCELLENCE OF KNOWLEDGE

AND THE ULAMA

 

by

Taajul Ulama wal Aarifeen, Raeesul Muhaqqiqeen,

Aarife-Billah, Badrul Foqaha Imam Muhammad Naqi Ali Al-Qaadiri Barkaati

t

 

  

Translated by

Durwesh Abu-Muhammad Abdul-Haadi

 Al-Qaadiri Barkaati

 

 

 

Published by

Imam Ahmad Raza Academy

 (Durban South Africa)

 

 

A Barkaatur-Raza Publication

COPYRIGHT

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

 

Name of Original Kitaab: Fadlul-I’lm-wal-Ulama

Author: Taajul Ulama wal Aarifeen, Raeesul Muhaqqiqeen, Aarife-Billah, Badrul Foqaha Imam Muhammad Naqi Ali Al-Qaadiri Barkaati t

Translator: Durwesh Abu-Muhammad Abdul-Haadi Al-Qaadiri

 

First edition: Muharram 1421 - April 2000

No. of copies: 3 000

Publishers: Barkaatur-Raza Publications

Design and Typesetting: Raza Graphics

 

 

Available from:

Imam Ahmed Raza Academy

Imam Ahmed Raza Building

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Website: http://www.raza.co.za

E-mail: raza786@mweb.co.za

Dedication

 

This book is dedicated to my beloved Parents. My father, the late Al-Haaj Sheikh Abdul-Wah’haab Chishti Nizaami

(رحمة الله عليه) and my mother, Haleema Bibi, who were a great source of inspiration for me in my quest for knowledge.

 

They had made immense sacrifices for me both financially and emotionally and always motivated me to continue my studies. I sincerely pray to Allah I with the Waseela of His Beloved Rasool e to grant my father Jannatul-Firdous. May the Almighty Allah I also give my Beloved mother long virtuous life and good health so that she may make Du’as for me to continue my services for the Deen.

 

May the Merciful Allah I bless their Souls.

Aameen

العلم نور يزاد النور بالنور الحديث

Knowledge is light and light only increases with light.

 

 

A BRIEF LIFE SKETCH OF

BADRUL FOQAHA IMAM MUHAMMAD NAQI ALI AL-QAADIRI BARKAATI t

 

Allama Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan t, was born in Jamadi-ul-Akhir 1246 A.H. (1830). He was the son of the great Aarif and Scholar, Allama Khaja Raza Ali Khan t,  s/o of Allama Mohammed Kaazim Ali Khan t, s/o Allama Shah Mohammed Azam Khan t, s/o Allama Sa'adat Yaar Khan t, s/o Allama  Sa'eedullah Khan t.

 

Allama Raza Ali Khan’s t father was one of the greatest Sufis of his time. Khaja Muhammad  Raza Ali Khan t was born in the year 1224 A.H. He was also a great warrior and fought with General Bakht Khan against English invaders in the year 1834. He received his early education at the hands of Allama Molwi Khaleerur Rahman Rampuri t. At the age of 23, he had already completed his Islamic education, earning certificates of distinction in various fields of knowledge. His speciality was the field of Tasawwuf. He passed away in Jamaadi-ul-Awwal 1282 A.H. (1866).

 

It is interesting to note that the forefathers of Allama Mawlana Naqi Ali Khan t  migrated from Qandhaar (Kabul) during the Mogul rule and settled in Lahore. Allama Haafiz Sa'eedullah Khan t, the first forefather of Ala’ Hadrat, Imam Ahmad Raza t, held a high government post when he arrived in the Indo-Pak sub-continent. His son, Allama Sa'adat Yaar Khan t, after gaining victory in the city of Ruhailah, was elected as the Governor of that city.

 

Allama Hafiz Kaazim Ali Khan t, the son of Mawlana Azam Khan t, was a Tax collector in the city of Badayun (Home and birth place of Khaja Sultaan Nizamudeen Mehboob-e-Elahi t). His son, Allama Khaja Muhammad Raza Ali Khan t, the illustrious grandfather of Ala’Hadrat t, did not serve in the Government. It was from this generation that the heads of the family began to adopt Tasawwuf as their way of life.

 

Allama Naqi Ali Khan t, received his education at the hands of his father, Allama Raza Ali Khan t.  Allama Naqi Ali Khan t was a great Mudarris (Teacher) and a prolific writer. Most of his time was spent in teaching and instilling the excellence of knowledge in the hearts of the people. His students posed intricate questions to him thinking that the Ustaaz will not be able to reply to them. But to their amazement, the Master replied instantaneously with a smile. His deep insight in complicated matters dazzled the contemporary Ulama of his time so much so that they conferred the title of Ra’eesul-Muhaqqiqeen (The Master of the Research Scholars) on him. Indeed, this title befitted him.

 

He wrote more than 50 books on various subjects, among them, Suroorul Quloob fi Zikri Mouloodul Mahboob and Al-Kalaamul-Awdah fi Tafseer Sura Alam-Nash’rah, which received very high distinctive stature amongst Islamic literature. His treatises are characteristic in its condemnation of the enemies of Islam, both internally and externally.

 

He was a senior Mureed and Khalifa of the Grand Master Ghousul-Waqt Khatimul-Akaabir Sayyid Ale’Rasool Ahmadi Al-Husaini Barkaati t and also received the Ijaza of Hadith Shareef from the Murshid. The Murshid was a student of the celebrated Muhaddith, Allama Sha Abdul Azeez Muhaddith Dehlawi t. Allama Naqi Ali t also received Ijaza of Hadith in Makkah Mukarrama from the illustrious Ustaazul-Ulama Sheikhul-Haram Sayyid Ahmad Zaini Dahlaan Makki t.

 

It was in the 19th Century (13th Hijri) that Allama Naqi Ali t laid the foundation of a Darul-Ifta in Bareilly Shareef. This Darul-Ifta later became the nucleus and fountainhead of Fiqah in the whole world. Allama Naqi Ali t was a great Jurist. He personally groomed his noble son, Imam Ahmad Raza t, and perfected him as a Master Jurist at the tender age of 13 years.

 

It is recorded that once a person came to the Darul-Ifta at Bareilly Shareef with an Islamic query and presented it to Allama Naqi Ali t. He, in turn, referred the questioner to the Ifta office. The man went there and returned saying that there was no Mufti present there, but that only a child was sitting behind the desk. Allama Naqi Ali t smiled and lovingly said: “Nowadays he is the appointed Mufti and he will answer all your questions. Go to him and hand him your question”. The man stood in amazement and then said, “Moulana! I have traveled a long way for a Fatwa on a very important issue and you are in a mood of joking.” Allama Moulana Naqi Ali t said to the man, “I do not have time for jokes and I regard joking a serious offence especially in matters of the sacred Sharee’ah. Please take your question to the Mufti and Insha-Allah, he will give you your answer.”

 

However, the man went to the 13-year-old child (Imam Ahmad Raza) and presented him with the question. The young man instantly wrote the answer without consulting any Kitaab for reference. He then gave the paper to the man and asked him to verify it with his father who was in the other room. Allama Moulana Naqi Ali t read the flawless answer with great joy and verified it. He thanked Almighty Allah for bestowing His Divinely blessed Knowledge (Ilme-Ladunni) on his son.

 

Imam Ahmad Raza t records this incident in his own words as follows: “This question was regarding the ruling of Sharee’ah if the milk of a woman some how enters the throat of an infant. Will foster-ship apply? My reply to this question was as follows: ‘If the milk of a woman enters through the nostril or mouth of a child and reaches the stomach, then the law of foster-ship will apply. That child will be regarded as the women's foster child.’  This was the very first Fatwa I had answered on 14th Shabaan 1289 Hijri and it was on this date that I was appointed a Mufti (Mansabe-Iftah). It was also on this day that Salaah became Fard on me (age of puberty).  I was born at the time of Zohr Salaah on Saturday 10 Shawwaal 1272 Hijri, coinciding with 14 June 1856. My age was 13 years, 10 months and 4 days when I was blessed with the title of Mufti.  Alhamdulillah, till this day I am constantly engaged in the service of Deen”.  

 

The noble Imam, Imam Ahmad Raza t, (May Allah I sanctify his soul) passed away on Friday 25 Safar 1340 Hijri, 28 October 1921).

 

Allama Naqi Ali t was a great lover of the Beloved Habeeb Sayyiduna Rasoolullah e and also remained engrossed in this love all his life. Once he fell very ill and was confined to bed. He laid there in a very depressed mood. The beloved Habeeb e saw the state of pain and depression of his true Aashiq and blessed him. One night, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah e appeared in his dream and compassionately gave him a cup of water to drink. As soon as he drank it, he was instantly cured. He awoke the next morning totally cured and once again healthy. It seemed if he was never sick.  

 

Allama Naqi Ali t passed away in Jamadi-ul-Ula 1297 A.H. (1880) and was laid to rest besides his illustrious father, Taajul-Aarifeen Imam Muhammad Raza Ali t. His Mazaar Shareef is in Bareilly Shareef, India. Every moment of his life was devoted to Allah I and His Rasool e and the service of Islam. Due to this sincerity, the last thing that he wrote on a piece of paper was لبسم الله الرحمن الرحيم  . The last word that he uttered before he passed away was الله . May Almighty Allah I sanctify his soul and grant him proximity to his Creator I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

لبسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله رب العالمين والعاملين و الصلوة و السلام على سيدنا محمد

* و اله و أصحابه أجمعين

   

A

ll Praise is due to Allah I and Choicest Salaams upon His august Habeeb e.

 

I (Imam Muhammad Naqi Ali Khan Al-Qaadiri t) compiled this brief book on the excellence of Ilme-Deen (Sciences of Religion) and pray that this book will enlighten the hearts and encourage my Muslim brothers to acquire the knowledge of Deen.

 

Hujjatul-Islam Imam Muhammad Al-Ghazaali t states that knowledge is the foundation of every action and the pivot of religion. The goodness in this world or the Hereafter cannot be achieved without knowledge, nor can belief (Imaan) be perfected without it. The wise say:

كه بي علم نتوان خدا را شناخت *     

An ignorant cannot recognise Allah I.

 

Therefore, it is said:

العلم باب الله الأقرب و الجهل اعظم حجاب بينك و بين الله * 

There is no path that leads to Allah I that is faster than knowledge and the biggest obstacle between one and

Allah I is ignorance.

It is also recorded:

و لنعم ما قيل لا تعجب على الجهول حيلته  فذالك ميت و ثوابه كفن *

Knowledge is the basis of life. In fact, it is life itself, ignorance is the basis of death, in other words, death itself.

 

If there was anything more excellent and revered to Allah I than knowledge then it would have been given to Sayyiduna Adam u in opposition to the Angels. The Tasbeeh (Glorification) and Taqdees (Sanctification) of the Angels could not equal to the knowledge and names of things blessed to Sayyiduna Adam u, then what would not be the height and uniqueness of the other spiritual sciences bestowed upon him?

 

Almighty Allah I states in the Holy Quran:

شهد الله انه لا اله إلا هو و الملائكة و اولو العلم قائما بالقسط *

Allah I bears Witness that there is none is to be worshipped other than Him and the Angels and Ulama too standing with justice.

 

There are three qualities of knowledge found in the above Ayah. Firstly, along with Him and His Angels, Allah I mentions the Ulama. This is a unique status that has no bounds. Secondly, Allah I classifies the Ulama with His Angels as witness to His Divine Tauheed and regards their testimony as a proof of His Divinity. Thirdly, similar to the Angels, the testimonies of the Ulama are accepted as authentic. 

 

In another Ayah, Allah I regards His testimony and that of the Ulama as sufficient. Thus, Allah I says:

قل كفى بالله شهيدا بيني و بينكم و من عنده علم الكتاب *

Say you, Allah I is sufficient as a Witness between you and me, and he who has knowledge of the Book (Quran).

 

The third Ayah states:

يرفع الله الذين أمنوا منكم و الذين اوتو العلم درجات *

Allah I will raise, in degree, those of you who believe and those who are endowed with knowledge.

 

We understand from the above Ayahs that knowledge elevates Imaan.

 

The fourth Ayah states:

و الراسخون في العلم يقولون أمنا به كلّ من عند ربّنا و ما يذكّر إلا اولوا الألباب *

And those of firm knowledge say, “We testify that everything comes from our Lord Allah I and only the knowledgeable accept the advice (from Allah I).”

 

The above Ayah confirms the high status of Imaan and unique intelligence of the learned.

 

The fifth Ayah records:

إنما يخشى الله من عباده العلماء *

Verily, the servants who fear Allah I are the Ulama.

 

The reason for this distinction is obvious. Surely, one cannot understand and develop the fear and Anger of Allah I, the punishment of Hell and the hardship of Qiyamah without knowledge. Therefore, no one can understand these realities besides the Ulama!

 

The sixth Ayah of the Holy Quran states:

و لاكن كونوا ربّانيين بما كنتم تعلّمون الكتاب و بما كنتم تدرسون *

And become the true servants of Allah I through the Ulama of the Quran and through those who teach the Quran.

 

This Ayah tells us that the demands of the Ilme Deen is that one must divorce oneself from the mundane world and totally submit oneself to the Almighty Allah I. The Merciful Allah I must always be one’s goal. Therefore, a knowledgeable person is called a Mowlawi.  Mowlawi refers to Mowla (Allah I), meaning a man of Allah I.

 

The seventh Ayah says:

من يؤتى الحكمة  فقد اوتى خيراً كثيراً *

When wisdom is given, a great blessing is given.

 

The eighth Ayah reads:

و تلك الأمثال نضربها لنّاس و ما يعلمها إلا العالمون *

And these examples are mentioned to the people and only

the learned understand them.

 

This Ayah explains that besides the Ulama no one can better understand the Words and Secrets of Allah I.

 

The ninth Ayah says:

و قال الذين اوتوا العلم ويلكم ثواب الله خير لمن امن و عمل صالحاً *

And the learned said, “Destruction to those who do not

understand that piety and blessings of Allah I is only

for those who believe in Allah I and do good”.

 

This proves that an ignorant person can never attain the status of an Aalim. It is recorded in Tirmidi Shareef that two persons were mentioned in the presence of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah e, an Aabid (worshipper) and an Aalim (learned). The Beloved Prophet of Allah e said:

فضل العالم على العابد كفضلي على أدناكم *

The merit of an Aalim over an Aabid is like my prominence

over an insignificant amongst you.

 

It is also reported that on the Day of Judgement, when Allah I will Ascend His Divine Throne to Judge His servants, He will Compassionately say to the Ulama:

انّي لم اجعل علمي و حلمي فيكم إلا و أنا أتريد اَن اغفر لكم و لا اُبالي *

Verily, the only reason that I gave you knowledge and wisdom was that I may Bless and Forgive you and I do not care (for anyone because I am the Almighty I).

 

It is reported in Bay’haqi that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah e said: “Allah I is Most Generous and I am the most charitable amongst mankind, and after me the most generous amongst you is he who seeks knowledge and propagates it.” 

 

Imam Zah’bi t reports that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah e said that on the Day of Judgment, the inkpots of the Ulama and blood of the Martyrs will be brought forward. The ink of the Ulama will be superior to the blood of Martyrs.

 

There is a chain of narrations in Ahyaul-Uloom that Allah I will order the Ulama and Shuhada to enter Jannah. The Ulama will say, “O Allah I! It is we who taught the people to worship You and make Jihad.”  Allah I will Say: “To Me, you are like My Angels. Seek pardon for whom you desire and I will accept it.”  The Ulama will intercede for the people and they will be sent to Jannah.

 

It is reported in the Hadith Shareef that if one dies while seeking knowledge, one will meet Allah I in a state that, besides the sacred station of Prophethood (Nubuwwah), one will be in the same level of the Prophets.

 

Another Hadith Shareef says: “If a person seeks one section of knowledge to educate others, Allah I will bless him with the reward of seventy Siddiqeen.”

 

It is recorded in Mu’aalimut-Tanzeel that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah e said: “When a person travels in search of knowledge, the Angels spread their wings under his feet; the earth, skies and fishes of the ocean make Du’as for him.”

 

Imam Ghazaali t reports that a single sight of the face of an Aalim is more virtuous than an entire year’s devotion of Salaah and Fasting.

 

Both, Bukhari t and Tirmidi t reported the following Sahih Hadith Shareef, in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah e said:

من يرد الله به خيرا يفقّهه في الدين *

When Allah I Ordains to do good to anyone, He makes

 him knowledgeable in the matters of Deen.

 

Ishbaa’un-Nazaa’ir records that no one is certain about one’s end (death) besides a Faqhi (Jurist). This is so because he is certain about the assurances of Allah I Who promised salvation for them.

 

Durre-Mukhtaar reports that Imam Isma’eel bin Abi-Rajaa t said that he saw Imam Muhammad t in a dream and inquired of his welfare. The Imam t said that Allah I Pardoned him and Said: “If I had Ordained to punish you then I would not have blessed you with knowledge.”

 

Imam Abu-Da’ood t narrates from Sayyiduna Abu-Darda t that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah e said: “If one takes a single step in search of knowledge, then Allah I will lead him on one of the paths of Jannah, and verily, the Angels spread their wings of mercy for a student. Indeed, all the dwellers of earth, the skies and also the fishes of the oceans seek pardon for a scholar of Deen. And, verily, the prominence of a scholar over a worshipper is similar to the excellence of the full moon over the stars. Undoubtedly, the Ulama are the successors of the Prophets and they do not leave any wealth behind besides knowledge. Hence, one who has acquired knowledge has indeed achieved a great share of wealth.”

 

Sahih Muslim reports: “When a person travels in search of knowledge, then Allah I makes his journey easy towards Jannah. And when people leave the Musjid and assemble to recite the Holy Quran and teach it, Divine Mercy (Sakeena) descends on them and the Rahmah of Allah I enshrouds them. The Angels of Mercy also surround them while Allah I Praises them and tells the Angels how pleased He is with them.”

 

Sayyiduna Abu-Zarr t narrates that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah e said: “To be present in the Majlis of an Aalim is better than performing thousand Rakaats of Salaah, visiting thousand sick people and being present in thousand Janazas.” Someone asked, “Ya Rasoolullah! And what about the Tilaawat of the Quran?” (Referring to the presence of an Aalim in a Majlis as better than the recitation of the Quran?) Sayyiduna Rasoolullah e replied, “Can one derive the benefits of the Quran without knowledge?” (It means that reading the Quran without knowledge is like giving a blind man a bunch of roses to admire.)

 

Imam Muhyus-Sunnah Baghawi t records in his Ma’aalimut-Tanzeel that the Beloved Prophet of Allah e said: “A single Faqhi (Jurist) is more heavy on the Cursed Shaytaan than a thousand worshippers.” This is obvious because a worshipper worships to save his own soul while a Faqhi educates and saves a nation from the evils of the Shaytaan.

 

Imam Tirmidi t records that indeed Allah the Almighty I, His Angels, the dwellers of the earth and skies, the ants in their holes and the fishes collectively send blessings on one who seeks knowledge and teaches others.

 

Imam Muhammad Ghazaali t records in his Ahyaul-Uloom that the Glorious Prophet of Islam e said, “The closest rank after Prophethood is that of the Ulama and Mujahideen. This is so because the Ulama propagate the message of the Prophets and the Mujahideen defend it with their swords.”

 

Sahih Muslim narrates that all the deeds of a person, besides three things, ceases when he dies. They are, any continuous charity by which people benefit, or any knowledge from which people benefit or a virtuous son that prays for him. The deceased will continue enjoying the rewards of any one of the above deeds as long as they exist.

 

Once, Almighty Allah I said to Sayyiduna Ibra'heem u, “Ibra’heem! I am Aleem (Most Knowledgeable) and I love every Aleem.” This means that knowledge is an Attribute of Allah I and whoso adorns this attribute, becomes the beloved of Allah I.

 

Sayyiduna Ali Al-Murtudah t states: “An Aalim is more superior than a Mujaahid, one who observes fast and stays awake all night in Ibadah.” 

 

Someone asked the great Mujtahid Imam Abu-Bakr t whether the recitation of the Quran for the Faqhi is more virtuous than teaching Fiqh? He replied: “Imam Abu-Muteeh t said that by merely  looking at the Kitaabs on Fiqh of our Elders without the intention of studying them is more excellent than staying awake all night in Ibadah.”

 

Sayyiduna Abu-Darda t states that he regards the learning of a single rule of Islam as more virtuous than staying awake all night in Ibadah.

 

Sayyiduna Omar Al-Farooq t states that the death of a thousand devotees, who stay awake at night in worship and observe fast in the day, is of no comparison to the Sabr (patience) that a single Aalim exercises on the Haraam and Halaal of Allah I.

 

Imam Ghazaali t records that Sayyiduna Esa u states: “A practising pious Aalim is called Azeem in the Heavens.  Azeem means mighty.”

 

There are many similar narration’s pertaining to the excellence of knowledge, which are too many to mention. All that is enough to understand the loftiness of knowledge is that it is an Attributive Quality of Almighty Allah I and His Beloved Rasool e. Salvation and prosperity in both the worlds can only be achieved through knowledge. In reality, an ignorant is an animal while the uniqueness and superiority of man is in his knowledge and speech. Hence, it very important for us to sincerely devote ourselves to attain this great wealth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obstacles in the Path of Knowledge

 

There are some obstacles to the path of seeking knowledge, which are as follows:

 

F

irstly, the strong resistance from the cursed Shaytaan. Be aware that the most hated and dangerous thing to the Cursed Shaytaan is the seeking of knowledge. Therefore, he uses all his powers and resources to stop a student from learning. The Shaytaan puts the most Waswasa (interference) on a student of Deen. No other deed or worship besides the seeking of knowledge experiences such intensified opposition. The methods of combating these interferences are very simple. All the student has to do is remember all the Ayahs and Ahadith pertaining to the excellence of Ilme-Deen and never pay attention to the obstruction of the evil Shaytaan. Surely, an intelligent man will not give preference to the Cursed Shaytaan over the Bounties of the Merciful Lord I.

 

S

econdly, carnal desires (Nafs) are very demanding. It hates hardship and loves relaxing. But when one realises that this world (Duniya) is temporary and that the Hereafter (Akhirah) is the everlasting and original abode, then indeed, the hardship of seeking knowledge becomes a pleasure. One must realise that the hardship of seeking knowledge lasts for a very short period and its benefits and pleasures are limitless. As time passes and the student gets the taste of knowledge, he will develop such pleasure that he will never be at peace without reading a book. No matter where he goes or what he does, he will never be relaxed if he does not read a book on Deen.

 

T

hirdly, association with the public. In the inception, set out some time to study in privacy and as one progress in this field, one will develop the love of knowledge so much so that everything else will have no value.

 

F

ourthly, it is obvious that the seeker of worldly fame is never successful and fades away in time to come. Worldly fame and honour is of no comparison to the honour of the Hereafter. How unfortunate are those who seek knowledge for this world and discard the wealth and dignity of the Hereafter? Such people destroy themselves by thinking that they are successful.

 

On the contrary, those who give preference to Ilme-Deen over worldly fame, the Merciful Lord I certainly blesses them with honour and integrity in both the worlds. Sheikh Abu-Aswad t states that there is no merit greater than knowledge. A King rules over the people and the Ulama rules over them. Have you not seen that rulers have no choice but to implement the verdicts of the Ulama when matters are brought to their courts?

 

Sayyiduna Abdullah ibne Abbas t states that the Prophet Sayyiduna Ibra’heem u was blessed with knowledge and with the wealth of this world. Allah I first asked him whether he preferred knowledge or the wealth of this world. He chose knowledge and Allah I gave him both, the kingdom of the world and Blessed Knowledge.

 

O Beloved! There is nothing more honourable and excellent than knowledge. Allah I gave Sayyiduna Adam u Divinely blessed knowledge and ordered the Angels to make Sajda to him. The Secret Sciences of Knowledge (Ilme-Ladunni) of Sayyiduna Khidr u earned him a scholar like Sayyiduna Moosa u. The dream interpretation knowledge of Sayyiduna Yusuf u achieved for him the Kingdom of Egypt. The profound knowledge of Sayyiduna Esa u cleared all accusations against his chaste mother, Sayyidah Maryam t.

 

Anyone who loves and appreciates knowledge will surely not give preference to the kingdom of the world over it. It is reported that a destitute went to a King for a job. The King said that he was ignorant and not fit to serve him. He left and humbled himself at the feet of Imam Ghazaali t to study Ilme-Deen. There, he learnt about the dangers of this world and harms of associating with Kings and the wealthy people. However, Imam Ghazaali’s company and tutorship made him an intellectual celebrity. One day, the King called him and assessed his profound knowledge. He was overwhelmed and said: “Now you are worthy of my service. What post would you like to take up?” The Aalim replied, “In the past, I was of no use to you and now you are of no use to me. Previously, you did not like me and now I do not like you.”

 

F

ifthly is the greed of wealth. It is obvious that the perishable wealth of this mundane world cannot be compared to the wealth of knowledge. When a man dies, his wealth does not accompany him to the grave, but the knowledge accompanies him to the grave and always assists him until he enters Jannah. Worldly wealth decreases when it is spent but knowledge increases when it is imparted. The wealthy have to protect his wealth while knowledge protects the Aalim.  Furthermore, Allah I does not leave one a destitute if one gives preference to the seeking of knowledge over business and trade. Imam Ghazaali t narrates in his Ahyaul-Uloom,

من تفقه في دين الله عزّ و جل كفاه الله تعالي ما اهمه و رزقه

 من حيث لا يحتسب

One who develops understanding in Deen, Almighty Allah I protects him from depression and provides sustenance for him from places he cannot imagine of.

 

S

ixthly is the destruction of wealth.  Man gets very worried and depressed when he thinks of his undetermined life span and shortage of time. Hence, he wrongfully deduces that knowledge is an ocean and one’s entire life span is too little to achieve it. This is absolute ignorance. No soul can reach the ultimate peak of perfection in knowledge in one’s lifetime, so much so that Allah I Commands His Beloved Rasool e

قل ربّ زدني علماً *

Beloved Rasool e, say, “O my Lord! Increase my knowledge”.

 

Taking all this into account, there is still no seeker of knowledge that is deprived of honour and excellence. A sincere student of Ilme-Deen will not experience embarrassment and failure.  All the branches of Ilme-Deen are certainly profitable no matter how little is acquired. The Hadith Shareef states that if a person dies whilst studying Ilme-Deen and did not complete his course, he will be raised amongst the Ulama on the Day of Qiyamah. Another narration says that if a student of Deen dies while studying, the Angels will complete his studies for him in his grave. Is this a small benefit that Almighty Allah I Divinely provides for the people of learning (Ulama)?

 

Faqhi Imam Abul-Laith Samarqandi t states that there are seven benefits for one who sits in the company of Ulama even though one does not understand the lectures.

 

1. As long as one remains in the company of the Ulama, one will be free from sins and disobedience,

2. One will be classified as a student of Deen,

3. One will receive the Thawaab of seeking knowledge for the period one sits in their company,

4. One will enjoy the Mercies of Allah I that will shower the gathering,

5. As long as one hears knowledgeable things, one will get Thawaab for it,

6. There are times when one hears intricate discussions of the Ulama and does not understand them. If one becomes sad due to one’s ignorance, then this sincere sadness is a virtue,

7. One will develop the distinction between the virtue of the Ulama and their knowledge and the evil of ignorance and its destruction.

 

S

eventh obstruction is not to get a compassionate teacher (Ustaaz). This is of paramount importance to a successful student. Surely, one will not be able to achieve anything if the Ustaaz does not teach correctly. Nowadays, there are very few sincere teachers of Deen that are dedicated to their students and this has greatly contributed to the dwindling number of good students.     

 

E

ighth obstruction is the most difficult one and that is the concern for livelihood. This refers to obtain just enough to carry on with one’s daily needs. Always remember that extra is always extra. The greed for extra is generally found in every human. This greed for extra has destroyed many people. The last two obstructions are serious problems because if one does not get a compassionate teacher what can one benefit from him and if one does not get enough food to eat then how is one to concentrate on studies? Weakness and hunger are serious problems that cannot be controlled by a student. Therefore, it is of very important for the wealthy to cater for the student.

 

Likewise, financial contributions of generous Muslims to Islamic Institutes will certainly remove these problems. There are enormous virtues for the teachers and students of Deen and even more so for those who financially keep these Institutes operational. The same will apply to those who encourage people to support such institution. The Hadith Shareef states:

الدال على الخير كفاعله *

The promoter of virtue is like the virtuous.

 

Besides the above Hadith Shareef there are numerous other Ahadith Shareef in the Siha-Sitta that speaks of the virtues on this subject. However, be mindful that the Thawaab of actions vary according to situations and moments. Therefore, the status of the noble Sahaba t are so lofty because they promoted the Deen and sacrificed their lives in the most difficult and volatile moments and situations in the history of Islam. Hence, if one promotes Ilme-Deen in these distraught moments of poverty, one will certainly achieve more Thawaab than the wealthy individuals and rich Kings of the past who promoted knowledge. This is so because firstly, the Kings had great resource available and secondly, they lived in the era when Ilme-Deen was well and alive, progressing day-by-day. The people too, were very honourable and loved to study the Deen.

 

On the contrary, nowadays, the Muslim public are generally so engrossed in the matters of this mundane world that they do not care or have time to study and promote the Deen. Most of their time is wasted in earning the profitless commodities of this world.  Ilme-Deen is rapidly decreasing and very few people are eager to teach or learn it. If this situation persists, then the traces of Ilme-Deen will eventually vanish from our society very soon. When knowledge disappears, then Deen too will become extinct. What will then happen to the Ummah?

 

They will be in total disarray. Who would they then consult regarding the matters of Deen? Who would they turn to for safeguarding themselves from the misguidance of the Shaytaan? They will eventually perish by going astray. Only namesake Muslim will be left on earth. Look around the world and what do you see? The Muslims have humiliated the Ulama, and therefore, the world is humiliating them. They have subjugated the Ulama and the Kuffaar have subjugated them. The Muslim public do not care for and respect the Ulama, and therefore, the world also does not care and respect them. The righteous Ulama are mocked and this has led to their mockery.  When the people will leave the Court of Allah I and turn to the Court of the Kuffaar, their identity and honour will be destroyed. What is the global situation of the Muslims after they broke links with the Allah I and His Rasool e and joined allegiance will the Kuffaar?  There is nothing besides the Divinely blessed knowledge of Deen that can preserve your identity and honour.  

     

Imam Mu’hiyyus-Sunnah Baghawi t reports from Sayyiduna Saeed bin Jubair t that the destruction of the Ummah will result in the deaths of the Ulama. This means that the passing away of the Ulama will cause the destruction of the nation. Imam Ata Khurasaani t interprets the this Ayah as follows:

أو لم يروا أنا نأتي الأرض  ننقصها من أطرافها *

Do they not see that We are coming, diminishing their

population from all sides.

 

The destruction of the earth actually refers to the death of the Ulama and Fuqaha. This means that if the Ulama do not exist, the people will then become senseless like the animals. They will roam freely like wild beasts. There will be no leaders to guide them. That will be the time when the administration of the world will be in total disarray. Immorality and bloodshed will be the agenda of the day. Disunity, discord and corruption will become a way of life. People will have no moral values and will behave like animals. Epidemics and natural disasters will be common and the decrease of human beings will slowly plague the world. Eventually, Qiyamah will occur. Certainly, the object of creation is to worship Allah I and achieve His Recognition and Pleasure. But who will worship Allah I if the Learned do not exist? When these two things (i.e. Ulama and Worship) become extinct, then the object of creating the world will be lost. Therefore, the existence of the world will be baseless and worthy of demolition. We clearly learn from this that, as it is difficult for Deen to exist with ignorance, similarly the existence of this world without the virtuous Ulama is useless. Therefore, negligence of this great wealth will certainly result in total destruction in this world and the Hereafter.

 

Therefore, beloved Muslim brethren! Awaken from your dreams of fantasies and seek the knowledge of Deen. This is your guide to success in the Hereafter. Why do you waste so much of time in fruitless activities in this temporary abode and pay no heed to the real success and salvation?  Spend some time to acquire Ilme-Deen so that you may distinguish between good and bad. Ignorance is no excuse in the Divine Court of Almighty Allah I. In fact, it is a sin on its own. This knowledge is helpful in all aspects of this world and the Hereafter. It will save you from embarrassment and humiliation. Spend some money and time to earn this great wealth. Do not wait for the last the moment before you think of studying.  It will be useless.

 

Some Muslim brothers hear this advice and make three excuses. Firstly, they say that they are in great debts and cannot give time for studies. If this is not true then it will be a great disaster because people will believe your lie and you will be answerable to Allah I. On the contrary, if it is true, then this is no excuse because great wealth is spent for the comfort of this world and it will be a tremendous ungratefulness not to spend it in the path of learning. If one fears the pains of debt then one will not live extravagantly and load one’s head with the burden of debts.

 

Secondly, they say, “According to our means we give charity to good causes in the path of Allah I.  If this is so, then why not spend some time to acquire Ilme-Deen too?  Otherwise, assess which of the two is more beneficial and adopt the more virtuous.

 

Thirdly, they say: “This is not a Fardh duty and those whom Allah I gives Toufeeq will acquire it. We can barely fulfil our Fardh duties because of our commitments!” So does this mean that one who does not keep Fast (Saum) must also not perform his Salaah? One is compelled to execute all Faraa’idh duties and also promote the Sciences of Ilme-Deen. If one cannot give enough time for this duty, then at least give as little as the percentage of Zakaat (2½ %). One cannot have excuses for Zakaat because this is the Command of Allah I and Fardh on all. If one does not pay one’s Zakaat here, then one will suffer great pains and torment in Qiyamah. Almighty Allah I states in the Holy Quran:

و الذين يكنزون الذهب و الفضّة و لا ينفقونها في سبيل الله فبشّرهم بعذابٍ اليم ط يوم يحمى عليها في نار جهنم فتكوى بها جباههم و جنوبهم وظهورهم *

And those who accumulate gold and silver and misses to spend it in the path of Allah I, give them news of a painful punishment. Their stockpile of gold and silver will be heated and their foreheads pierced with it.

 

In another Ayah they will be told:

هذا ما كنزتم لانفسكم فذوقوا ماكنتم تكنزون *

 This is what you have hoarded for yourselves, so now have

 the taste of hoarding!

 

It is recorded in Durre-Mukhtaar that it is permissible for a wealthy student of Deen to take Zakaat if he cannot leave his studies to conduct his business. It is also advisable for people who give their Zakaat to Islamic Institutes to instruct the authorities to spend it on poor students.

هذا والله اعلم بالصواب و إليه المرجع و المآب *

الّفه العبد المفتقر إلى الله الغني محمد نقي علي البريلوي عفي عنه *

 

Compiled by this humble servant

for the pleasure of my Beneficent Lord I

Muhammad Naqi Ali Al-Barelwi

May Allah I forgive him.

 

و الحمد لله رب العالمين اللهم لك الحمد حمدا يوافي نعمك  و يكافي مزيد كرمك  و غير ذالك  و الصلوة  والسلام على سيدنا و مولانا محمد و اله و أصحابه و أهل

بيته   و أو لياء امته  و علماء ملته و ابنه الكريم الغوث الأعظم الإمام الهمام و حزبه و بارك و سلم *

 

Translator’s Note:

I completed the translation of this book by the Divine Grace of Almighty Allah I on Sunday night the 19th of Jamadiul Aakhir 1420 / 1st August 1999.

مترجم

خادم العلم و العلماء  أبو محمد عبد الهادي القادري الرضوي عفي عنه *

 

THE IMAM AHMED RAZA ACADEMY

Promoting the cause of the Ahle Sunnah

 

The Imam Ahmed Raza Academy is an organisation that was established on the 5th of July 1986 (1406 A.H.) in South Africa with the sole purpose of serving the Muslim community and to provide some form of academic and spiritual direction to the Muslims.

 

The organisation has been named after the great Muslim scholar and Saint, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan Bareilvi t, who lived in India between 1856 and 1921, and was popularly known as "Ala’ Hadrat" in the Islamic world. Ala’ Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza Al-Qaderi t achieved the status of a versatile scholar and obtained a high distinction in over 50 branches of learning. On his visit to Makkatul Mukarramah and Madinatul Munawwarah, Imam Ahmed Raza Al-Qaderi t was treated with great dignity and was conferred the title of "Imam-e-Ahle-Sunnat" by eminent Ulema. He was also hailed as the Mujaddid or Revivalist of the Century. He acted as a shield against those who wanted to assault the principles of the Ahle Sunnah Wa Jamaah.

 

As a devout Sufi, Ala’ Hazrat Imam Ahmed Raza Al-Qaderi t was awarded the Ijaazah and Khilafat (Certificate of Spiritual Successorship) in the Qaaderiya Silsila (Order), as well as in 13 other branches of Sufism.  Imam Ahmed Raza Khan t was a prolific writer and has left to his credit more than a 1 000 books on 50 different sciences ranging from Tafseer, Logic, Grammar, Literature, Islamic Jurisprudence, Education, Sociology, Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics, History, Science of History, Engineering, Biographies, Philosophy, Mysticism to Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi Literature.

 

We are presently offering a variety of services to the community on a daily basis, from being a centre for imparting Islamic education for our children - to issuing Fatawa (Legal Islamic Decrees). At the same time, in the last few years, we have also developed as an organisation laying emphasis on the publication of pristine Sunni literature for the community and have thus far to our credit a regular newsletter – “Raza” and numerous titles of authentic Sunni books, and we will,  Insha-Allah, be adding more titles each year. We have already designed a set of madressa textbooks that are being implemented locally and, we are proud to add that these textbooks have gained international repute. Alhamdulullah! Presently about 65 Madaaris throughout the Muslim World are using our textbooks.

 

The key aim of the Imam Ahmed Raza Academy is to promote and propagate the pristine teachings of the Ahle Sunnah Wa Jamaah. In order to achieve this key objective we have dedicated ourselves to translate, compile, publish and distribute useful Islamic literature, books, magazines, brochures, periodicals, newsletters, pamphlets, etc. with special reference to the teachings of Ala’ Hazrat Imam Ahmed Raza Al-Qaderi t and his Successors t In this age of immorality and emergence of corrupted Sects claiming to be the beacons of salvation, it is our responsibility to save our society from such wickedness and adopt the correct perspective of Islam based on the teachings of the Ahle Sunnah. A vital ingredient in this work is the publication of Sunni literature in English – to which we have committed ourselves.

 

We need your help not only to retain but promote our Ahle Sunnah Aqaa’id at a time when we are surrounded and bombarded by non-Sunni publications, which have corrupted our Aqeeda and have made deep inroads in the minds of the youth. All such activities in Islam that helps in promoting Islam constitute an act of Jihad for which there will be an enormous reward. The celebrated Saint, Hadrat Sheikh Sirri Saqti t said, “That person can never become perfect until he does not give preference to Deen over his personal desires.”

 

The Imam Ahmed Raza Academy is an organization that relies solely on the assistance and Wasila of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah r and the Fuyooz and Barakaat of the Awliya Allah, and the support of our well-wishers, and our vision for the future and our dedication to the mission of A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed Raza t has a significant contribution to be made locally and in the world - a world in which, we pray, that Sunni Islam dominates. Insha-Allah!

 

General Secretary

Yunus Abdul Kareem al-Qaadiri