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The Worth of Knowledge

How about the worth of your knowledge?

Knowledge you need to navigate and operate through your life after death?

What is the due of those who spread knowledge, the paramount capital with which people can save their eternal afterlife?

Hadhrat Ali (ra) enlightens us with his prodigious words:

“I will be a slave for forty years to one who teaches me a single word!”

The worth of any knowledge is determined by the benefit it gives. So, the worth of the knowledge pertaining to the life after is by definition, infinite, just as life after death is!

We can never pay the due of the Rasul of Allah (saw) who taught us about the reality of the afterlife and who informed us of what we need to heed and how we need to prepare for this eternal journey, even if we pray for him for the rest of our lives! 

The Rasul (saw) warns us about learning and teaching this invaluable knowledge for worldly gains with the hadith:

Narrated by Ka’b bin Malek (ra): The Rasul of Allah (saw) said; 

“Allah will send to hell the one who acquires knowledge for the sole purpose of competing with the learned, to dispute with the crowd, and to establish esteem over the people! For he has exchanged knowledge of infinite value with a trivial worldly profit!”

How about those who simply retain knowledge to teach others? Or those who take this knowledge, decipher its meaning, make new connections and unveil new depths?

The Rasul of Allah (saw) says:

“May Allah enlighten the one who hears a hadith from me and holds it in his memory (to teach it to others). For sometimes he may not understand it himself but may teach it to someone with a greater level of discernment.”[Tirmidhi]

There are many people who simply memorize knowledge and pass it on. They are clever! But it takes an intellect, not cleverness, to decipher and discern knowledge. There are more clever people in the world than there are intellectuals. Cleverness serves to resolve daily situations in one’s best interest. The intellect, on the contrary, is far more comprehensive; it allows one to make deep contemplations and connections regarding a wider scope of topics, encompassing all times. Hence the hadith above refers to the intellect. 

Let us ponder on a few more hadith about the importance of knowledge:

“When Allah wishes good for someone, He bestows upon him the understanding of Religion.”

“He who is asked about knowledge (of religion) and conceals it, will be bridled with a bridle of fire on the Day of Judgment.”

“The superiority of the learned scholar over the devout worshipper is like my superiority over the most inferior amongst you. Allah, His angels, the dwellers of the heaven and the earth, and even the ant in its hole and the fish(in water) supplicate in favor of those who teach knowledge.”

“He who follows a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will make the path of Paradise easy to him. The angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like the brightness of the full moon to the rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Rasuls who bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.”

“Envy is permitted only in two cases: A man to whom Allah gives wealth, and he disposes of it rightfully, and a man to whom Allah gives knowledge, that he applies and teaches.” [Bukhari]

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