Obstacles in gaining beneficial knowledge

aDespite Nabi salallahu alayhi wasallam being the nabi and the greatest of all creation, yet he was given the command of :

وَقُلْ رَبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا

(O My Rabb! Increase me in knowledge.)

Therefore, Nabi salallahu alayhi wasallam made the du`aafor the increase in knowledge.

There are two types of `ilm(knowledge):

  1. `ilm-e-naafi`(beneficial knowledge)
  2. `ilm-e-ghair naafi`(non beneficial knowledge)

The following du`aa was made for beneficial knowledge:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ عِلْمًا نَافِعًا

(O Allah! I beg of You for beneficial knowledge)

and the following du`aa was made for protection against non-beneficial knowledge:

اللهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ لَا يَنْفَعُ

(O Allah! I seek Your protection from non-beneficial knowledge.)

The question arises as to when will a person receive beneficial knowledge? The answer is that the following conditions have to be found:

  1. sound clear reasoning
  2. firm conviction in the knowledge
  3. firm determination to put it into practice
  4. irresistible endeavour to remove all obstacles.

Effort is generally made to acquire sound reasoning. Eight to nine years are spent in studying kitaabs, reading up their footnotes and researching their commentaries. However, no effort is made to build up a firm conviction. Where will it be acquired? One will not acquire it through reading up footnotes etc. One needs to sit in the company of the ahl-e-dil (pious) and then only will yaqeen-e-kaamil (firm conviction) be created.

Two aspects are necessary for sound reasoning:

  1. one should not have ghabaawat (deficient understanding)
  2. one should not have ghawaayat (perverse understanding).

Generally, these were the two main causes for the uprising of the deviated sects.

Treating ghabaawatis simple but treating ghawaayatis difficult. The treatment for ghabaawatis that the person should be made to understand the entire discussion.

However, a crooked minded person will conclude differently from what was intended in the discussion. Therefore, treating this problem is very difficult.

An example of perverse understanding:

A group of people had come to Moulana Thanwi rahimahulla and told him, “We have gambled. Will our lots be chosen?”

Was it Moulana’s responsibility to show them which digits would be chosen! Nevertheless, Moulana remarked, “Who are these people? Take them out of here. Send them outside.”

These people began saying, “Moulana has ordered that we be taken out. He actually meant that our digits would be chosen.”

This is what perverse understanding means.

An example of deficient understanding:

There was once a muhaddithwho used to perform witr salaah after relieving himself. Daily he would perform witr salaahon several occasions. When he was asked the reason for this he replied, “It appears in the Hadeeth:

ومن استجمر فليوتر

(Whoever relieves himself should perform witr.)”

He had understood the word: فليوتر to mean “perform witr salaah”, whereas in this context it does not mean witr salaah. It was then made known to him that in this context it refers to using an odd number of clay clods for istinjaa(cleansing). In short, these are the two obstacles for deriving benefit.


(Malfuzaat Faqeehul Ummah 1/215)

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