Quest for Islamic Knowledge between Wealth and Poverty


Ash-Shaykh al-Muhadith al-Faqeeh Aboo Abdillaah Muhammad bn ‘Alee bn Huzaam al-Fadlee al-Ba’daanee – may Allaah preserve him on goodness – said:

The best for a seeker of the Islamic knowledge is to remain of seeking knowledge, and that he should ask Allaah for a middle course between wealth and poverty; and that Allaah should ease goodness for him. If he is rich, wealth may prevent him from knowledge, and if his poor, poverty may make him tired of seeking knowledge. So let him ask Allaah for a middle course the way the Messenger had sought it from Allaah.

‘Ammaar bn Yaasir led his comrades in a very short Sallaah, he was asked: O Father of Yaqadhaan, why did you shorten the Prayer? He replied: ‘There is nothing against me over that except that I made a supplication therein which I heard from the Messenger of Allaah.’ A man then stood up and followed by another person called Aboo ‘Ataa, he then asked him about the supplication. He went back and said:

«اللَّهُمَّ بِعِلْمِكَ الْغَيْبَ، وَقُدْرَتِكَ عَلَى الْخَلْقِ أَحْيِنِي مَا عَلِمْتَ الْحَيَاةَ خَيْرًا لِي، وَتَوَفَّنِي إِذَا كَانَتِ الْوَفَاةُ خَيْرًا لِي، اللَّهُمَّ وَأَسْأَلُكَ خَشْيَتَكَ فِي الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ كَلِمَةَ الْحُكْمِ فِي الْغَضَبِ وَالرِّضَا، وَأَسْأَلُكَ الْقَصْدَ فِي الْغِنَى وَالْفَقْرِ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ نَعِيمًا لَا يَبِيدُ وَأَسْأَلُكَ قُرَّةَ عَيْنٍ لَا تَنْفَدُ وَلَا تَنْقَطِعُ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ الرِّضَا بَعْدَ الْقَضَاءِ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ بَرْدَ الْعَيْشِ بَعْدَ الْمَوْتِ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ النَّظَرَ إِلَى لَذَّةِ وَجْهِكَ، وَأَسْأَلُكَ الشَّوْقَ إِلَى لِقَائِكَ فِي غَيْرِ ضَرَّاءَ مُضِرَّةٍ، وَلَا فِتْنَةٍ مُضِلَّةٍ، اللَّهُمَّ زَيِّنَّا بِزِينَةِ الْإِيمَانِ، وَاجْعَلْنَا هُدَاةً مُهْتَدِينَ»

‘O Allaah [I beseech You] with Your Knowledge of the Unseen and Your Ability over the creation, that you should cause me to live when You know that living is better for me, and cause me to die when You know that death is better for me. O Allaah I ask You for being fearful of You in secret and open, I ask You for the just word in anger and pleasure, I ask you for a middle course in wealth and poverty. I ask you for an unending bliss, I ask You for a delight of the eyes that does not finish or cease, I ask You for pleasure after decree, I ask You for cool living after death, I ask You for looking at the delight of Your Face, I ask You for longing to meet You without harm or evil, or a misleading trial. O Allaah, clothe us with an adornment of Faith, make us guides who are guided.’ Recorded by An-Nasâ’ee in his Sunan.

Whoever turns to knowledge with a clear and truthful intention to Allaah the Mighty and Most Sublime, Allaah the Mighty and Most Sublime will not let him down.

The world is fleeting.

How will Allaah let down someone who has surrendered all his soul to Allaah, who is truthful to Allaah the Mighty and Most Sublime, who is seeking goodness for himself and the generality of the Muslims, who is seen as striving in the path of Allaah the Mighty and Most Sublime, and seen as being beneficial to himself and the Ummah; how will Allaah let down such a person?

Allaah will indeed put the world under him, the world will seek him, so far he has a clear intention and is truthful to Allaah the Mighty and Most Sublime.

So do not give any importance to the world in your heart, if you do, you have attained one of the doors of Shaytaan.

Allaah the Mighty said:

الشَّيْطَانُ يَعِدُكُمُ الْفَقْرَ وَيَأْمُرُكُمْ بِالْفَحْشَاءِ وَاللَّهُ يَعِدُكُمْ مَغْفِرَةً مِنْهُ وَفَضْلًا وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

‘Shaytaan threatens you with poverty and commands you to evil. Allaah promises you with forgiveness from Him and honour. Allaah is all-encompassing and all-knowledgeable.’

If you give any importance to the world in your heart, it will trample you. If you make knowledge a means to attain the world, it will become a perdition for you; when you seek knowledge because of the world.

Allaah the Mighty said:

فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْ مَنْ تَوَلَّى عَنْ ذِكْرِنَا وَلَمْ يُرِدْ إِلَّا الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا * ذَلِكَ مَبْلَغُهُمْ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ ضَلَّ عَنْ سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اهْتَدَى

‘Turn from he who has turned from Our Remembrance and does not seek except the world. That is the height of the knowledge, your Lord knows who is lost in His path, and He knows who is guided.’

We seek refuge with Allaah.

Whoever is truthful to Allaah the Mighty and Most Sublime, and has good intention with Allaah the Mighty and Most Sublime, Allaah will ease all his affairs for him. He loves knowledge, he loves to server the Deen, he loves to call to Allaah the Mighty and Most Sublime; you will see all his affairs being made easy for him. He will have books, he will seek knowledge, Allaah will make his livelihood easy for him, he will easily get married, he will easily get a house, he will live better than the rich, and what is in his heart is love of knowledge, he gives no importance to the world.

But the other person that says, who will pay me? How will I get married? How will I build a house? And he forsakes seeking knowledge. This waste soul will say all such. You will see him wasting a year or two or three to seek what he will get married with. Then he will say he is ready.

As for the other person (the seeker of knowledge), he is in the Masjid (learning and teaching), Allaah has made him acceptable with the people; they all love him. Someone might come to him with an offer of giving him a daughter to marry because he has memorized the Qur’aan or the Sunnah. Allaah may make a lot of people to desire assisting him. It is Allaah that has eased all that for him.

The point is that nobody should make the world his only hope. If (a learner) needs some money such that he will work a day, two or three for it let him do it, we do not prevent this. In fact it is good for him so that he will not be depending on people, and he will not seek anybody’s assistance, so when he needs to work, let him do so to meet the need then he should return to his books and learning. The world is little. The world forsakes whoever competes over it. Whoever does not covet the world, Allaah will direct it to him. Zayd bn Thâbit said he heard the Messenger of Allaah – sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam - say:

مَنْ كَانَتِ الدُّنْيَا هَمَّهُ، فَرَّقَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ أَمْرَهُ، وَجَعَلَ فَقْرَهُ بَيْنَ عَيْنَيْهِ، وَلَمْ يَأْتِهِ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَا كُتِبَ لَهُ، وَمَنْ كَانَتِ الْآخِرَةُ نِيَّتَهُ، جَمَعَ اللَّهُ لَهُ أَمْرَهُ، وَجَعَلَ غِنَاهُ فِي قَلْبِهِ، وَأَتَتْهُ الدُّنْيَا وَهِيَ رَاغِمَةٌ

‘Whoever has made the world his hope, Allaah will cause a disarray in his matters, and make poverty obvious in his eyes, and nothing will come to him of the world except what has been written for him. But whoever has made the Hereafter his thought, Allaah will arrange his matters for him, and make his wealth his heart, the world will come to him desirously.’ Recorded by Ibn Maajah and others.

Look at he who is truthful with seeking knowledge, his soul will never cause him dirt, he will never put himself forward to ask for anything from anybody among the traders, he will not do that implicitly. But the bulk of those who are busy with the world will never cease to put themselves forward, they will make implicit statements in the presence of the rich [so as to get from his wealth].

It is therefore upon the seeker of knowledge to make efforts in getting something of the estate of the Prophet – sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam. It was narrated that one of the Salaf was passing by in a market and he saw people haggling over merchandise, he said to them, ‘Why are you haggling here while the property of the Prophet – sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam was being shared in the Masjid?’ They got there to find circles of knowledge, they got to know that he was referring to knowledge as the property of the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu alahyi wa sallam.

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