Understanding the concept of knowledge in Islam

By Hamka Rosli

“Ignorance is the curse of God, knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.” That is one beautiful quote from William Shakespeare about knowledge.

Knowledge is essential for us to help guide our life, and not only have we used knowledge for earthly matter, but also to guide us to the heaven. Being ignorance is a matter of self-preference.

Many believe to acquire knowledge is by attending school and reading books. However, knowledge is not merely about education. Even a smallest insight, like cooking an egg, is considered as valuable knowledge. It shows that knowledge can be anything that brings benefit to us, or even more, to the society as a whole.

Islam has taught us to search for ‘Ilm because it is one of important components as a Muslim. We can be a successful Muslims once we have the knowledge. As a student, we should feel lucky to have the opportunity to attend classes and acquire knowledge from lecturers because students are actually among those who will enter the paradise. Allah loves those who are seeking for knowledge.

I still remember my Ustaz in study circle’s class who preached about knowledge in students’ life. He told us in the class that seeking for knowledge in Islam has a few steps. These steps will determine whether the knowledge that we get will be blessed or not. The first step is to correct our intention, which is the niyya must be because of Allah.

He said that we cannot attend classes and learn for the sake of passing the subject because that will be a waste of time. Instead, we should come to the class because we really want the input. About passing the subject, my Ustaz added that if we learn because of the ‘Ilm and because of Allah, surely the ‘A’ will be in our hands and the knowledge that we get will remain in our hearts.

The second step, as my Ustaz continued his preach, is to listen carefully when in class. This is more on ‘adab or manners while in class with the lecturer. Students nowadays are often immersed with their handphone which makes some of them playing their phone rather than listening to the lecture.

There are also some who like to talk with their friends while their lecturer is talking in front. When we lack in manners with our teacher, the ‘Ilm that we get will not be blessed. After carefully listening to the lecture in class, we then need to understand and try to grasp the input. A good student will not give up if the subject is too hard to understand.

Trying hard is also part of getting the knowledge. However, understanding needs to be followed with memorising the subject and its contents. It may be easy to understand the topic in class but to retain it is another matter. We need to retain the knowledge that we get because it is part of the step in acquiring knowledge, and to memorise what we learned is by practising it.

For example, when we study new mathematical solution, we need to practice the solution in order to retain it in our memory. I still remember when I was in high school, I got low marks for mathematics because I did not do much of its exercises. So, practice makes perfect, and it also trains our brain to retain information. Not only that, we can also apply the knowledge in our daily life so that knowledge can be part of us. In other words, put into practice what you learnt!

The final step of seeking knowledge, according to Islamic concept, is to share and spread what you have known. My Ustaz backed that up by saying that it is part of our responsibilities to spread the knowledge to other people.

We should not keep what we know only to ourselves because that will not help our society to grow. The wisdom behind sharing knowledge with others is to increase ours too. We may know what people do not know and vice versa.

In short, other people’s knowledge may be increased and indirectly we may gain something from them, at the same time sharing the knowledge. That is what our Muslim scholars did when they preached to their society.

In the end, with all the ‘Ilm that we have, we should not be arrogant and be proud of it. We should feel grateful instead. Regardless if we managed to get an ‘A’ for the subject or not, if we were arrogant with it, it shows that we are just being contemptuous. It is a soft reminder for us that all the knowledge in this world does not belong to us, but to our Creator the Almighty. ***

Picture taken from Quotesgram
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