Ilm meaning in Islam. Importance of Islamic knowledge

Bismillahir Rahmani Rahim, today’s topic of discussion is what is the meaning of the word Ilm in Islam, the importance and virtues of Ilm, verses about Ilm, the importance of teaching religious knowledge, what is Ilm, the status of Ilm and scholars, etc.


What is the meaning of the Arabic word Ilm?

ILM is an Arabic word, which in Bengali means knowledge. Ilm is the opposite of Jahl (ignorance). The broad meaning of ‘Ilm is: to know something firmly about its real state.

Some scholars say that knowledge is knowing the true state of (something). And it is the opposite of unknown and ignorance. Other scholars have said knowledge is surely clearer than knowing the true state of (something). And here what we mean by Ilm (knowledge) is Ilm shari’i (Islamic knowledge). And what is meant by Ilm Shari’i is the knowledge (knowledge) of the clear proofs that Allah has sent down upon His Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace.

Shari’i Ilm

So the knowledge in which there is praise and praise is (the knowledge of revelation) and only the knowledge (knowledge) given by Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

Allah bestows upon him the right knowledge of religion.

Muttafakun Alaihi: Bukhari ha/71, Muslim, ha/1337.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) also said:

Verily, the Prophets (ordinary) did not make anyone the inheritor of dinars and dirhams (any worldly thing). Verily, they made (man) inheritors of ‘Ilm (Knowledge). If a person acquires ‘Ilm, then that person will surely get a full share of the inheritance of the Prophets (Pbuh).

Tirmidhi ha/2682, Abu Dawud ha/3641, Ibn Majah, ha/223.

Ilm meaning in Islam. Importance of Islamic knowledge

And it is known that the knowledge that the Prophets (PBUH) made (man) the inheritors of, is the knowledge of Allah’s Shari’ah (laws). It is not any other science. The Prophet (PBUH) did not make man the inheritor of technology, craftsmanship, and related sciences.

However, when the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) arrived in Madinah, he saw some people pollinating date palm trees. When he saw them pollinating, he said one thing there is no need to do it (pollination). Then they accepted the word and stopped pollinating. But the palm of the tree perished. Then the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, said, You are the most knowledgeable about your worldly affairs.

Sahih Muslim; Ha/2363.

Ilm meaning in Islam. Importance of Islamic knowledge

And if it (the knowledge of pollination) were the knowledge in which there is praise, then the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace, would have been most knowledgeable about it. The one who is praised the most because of his knowledge and deeds is the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa sallam. Therefore, Ilm Shari’a (Islamic knowledge) is that which contains praise. And praise is reserved for the seeker of knowledge. But still not denying the benefits of other sciences. If the other sciences help in obeying Allah and supporting the religion of Allah and if the servants of Allah benefit from those sciences; Then all that knowledge will be good and beneficial. In some areas sometimes it becomes wajib (compulsory) to teach them; When all that Ilm (knowledge) is included in this word of Allah Ta’ala,

(O Muslim community!) Prepare as much strength and well-equipped cavalry as you can to meet them (your enemies)”. Surah Al-Anfal 8:60.

Worldly knowledge

Most scholars have pointed out that learning technical/crafts is Fard e Kefaya (collectively obligatory). For some vessel is essential to man, employing which he cooks, drinks water, and performs other works, by which he benefits. Therefore, when no one can be found who will take charge of those works of art and build a factory (for them); Then teaching all those sciences is “forge kefaya”. (joint duty) will be. (The scholars have also said that) And this (Fard e Kefaya) is an area of ​​dispute among scholars. Always like to say,

“Surely that ‘Ilm (knowledge), which is the field and place of praise; That is ‘ilma shari’i (Islamic knowledge). Which is the understanding of the Book of Allah (Al-Qur’an) and the Sunnah of His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.”

And knowledge other than this (Ilm shari’i) will either be a medium for good deeds or a medium for bad deeds. Therefore, the law of that knowledge will be determined according to the work for which that knowledge will be the medium.

Importance of knowledge

The importance of knowledge in Islam is immense. In Islam, the acquisition of knowledge is given more importance than worship. Rasulullah (SAW) said, “Acquiring knowledge is more desirable to Allah Almighty than worship.” The Prophet (PBUH) also said, “A large amount of knowledge is better than a large amount of worship.” The root of Deen is piety and piety.

Mishkatul Masabih, Hadith No. 238

1. Knowledge is the root of all goodness

The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Knowledge is the root of all goodness, and ignorance is the root of all evil.” Knowledge is a wonderful gift of God. Allah enriches whom He wills with this blessing. On the authority of Ibn Abbas (RA), the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Allah enriches the one whom He desires with the knowledge of religion.

Sahih Tirmidhi, Volume Five, Hadith No. 2645

2. Ilm is like a lamp

Similarly, knowledge is like a lamp. Just as a lamp dispels darkness, knowledge dispels ignorance and improves the mind. Even if hundreds of thousands of lamps are lit from one lamp, the fire of that lamp never diminishes, so knowledge is never exhausted, no matter how much it is distributed. Hazrat Ali (RA) said, “Knowledge is better than wealth. Because knowledge guards you, but money has to guard the opposite. Knowledge is the ruler, and money is the ruler. Spending money exhausts it but spreading knowledge increases it.”

Imam Ghazali, Ehyaul Ulum, 1/17-18

3. Knowledge is power

Knowledge is power; Knowledge is the eternal friend of man. Even if all friends abandon you in danger, knowledge will never abandon you, rather this knowledge will keep you safe in hundreds of dangers. Knowledge makes people strong in self-respect and teaches them to live with their heads held high. Proximity to God can be achieved by doing the best for people through knowledge. Hazrat Mu’az bin Jabal (RA) said, “You gain knowledge. Because seeking knowledge from Allah means fearing Him.

Aspiration for knowledge is special worship. Practicing knowledge is equal to reciting tasbih. The pursuit of knowledge is part of Jihad. Giving knowledge to the ignorant is charity. Spending it on appropriate occasions is a reason to gain nearness to Allah. And it is the standard of knowing Halal and Haram, the friend of loneliness, the companion of loneliness, the companion of happiness and sorrow, the beauty of character, the means of getting to know strangers. Allah ennobles man with knowledge which keeps him permanently following.”

Akhlaqul Ulum, 34-35

4. Acquiring knowledge is better than nafl prayer

Knowledge practice is better than nafal prayer. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said to the companion Abu Zar (ra), “O Abu Zar! If you learn one verse of the Quran, it is better for you than performing 100 rakat prayers. And if you are Learning one chapter of Ilm, practiced or not practiced, it is better for you than performing 1000 rakat prayers.

Sahit Targib, 1/54, 2/232

5. Acquiring knowledge is the best work

One day a man asked the Prophet (PBUH), O Messenger of Allah! Tell me which works best. Then the Prophet (PBUH) said twice, “Knowledge of Allah the Exalted and His Deen.” Then the man said, O Messenger of God! I asked about the great work and you told me about wisdom. Then the Prophet (PBUH) said, “A small amount of work done with knowledge is very valuable, on the other hand, a large amount of work done with ignorance is also worthless.”

6. Ilm is one of the three Sadkaya Zaria

Just as knowledge or knowledge gives welfare to people in this world, it also helps people to get liberation in the hereafter. At the time of death, all human relations with the world are severed and the wealth left behind is of no further use to the deceased. But acquired knowledge does not leave a person even after death. The knowledge left in the world continues to send rewards to the deceased even after death. A hadith was narrated from Hazrat Abu Huraira (RA) in which the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “When a person dies, all his activities cease from him. But the rewards of the three periods continue, a. The reward of charity work, b. (Leaves) knowledge from which people continue to benefit and c. Leaving a child who (always) prays for him.

Mishkatul Masabih, Volume 1, Hadith No. 193

7. The Prophet (PBUH) gave priority to the acquisition of knowledge

Rasulullah (SAW), the Messenger of Humanity’s emancipation, gave the highest priority to education. Several infidel warriors who were educated were captured in the Battle of Badr. To increase the literacy rate, the Prophet (PBUH) arranged for the release of many Muslim children and adolescents in exchange for teaching them education. 

Musnad Ahmad, 8/87

According to the traditional custom, the Prophet (PBUH) could release the captives by paying a ransom of gold coins or large sums of money. But instead of doing that, he arranged for the release of Muslim children in return for their education. From this, it is easy to understand how much importance the Prophet (PBUH) attached to education.

Virtues of Knowledge

Surely Allah Ta’ala praises knowledge and its bearers (wise/learned persons). And of course, he encouraged his servants to acquire Ilm arjan (knowledge) and gather the pathway from it. Acquiring knowledge is one of the greatest righteous deeds and one of the greatest and most important acts of nafl worship. Because acquiring knowledge is a form of Jihad in the path of Allah. The Deen of Almighty Allah is established only through two things.

Topic One: Acquiring Knowledge and Presenting Evidence.

Second Subject: War and Weapons.

So these two things are essential. Only through these two things is it possible to establish the religion of Allah and be victorious.

And of these two, the first subject (acquiring knowledge and evidence) is mentioned before the second subject (war and weapons). This is why the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam did not attack any tribe until the invitation to the religion of Allah reached them. Therefore knowledge must be acquired before war.

A person who acquires knowledge and a fool are not equal

Allah Ta’ala says,

“Whoever bows down and stands in prayer at night, fearing the Hereafter and seeking the favor of his Lord (is he equal to him who does not do it)?” Surah Az-Zumar 39:9.

Question: The one who submits to prayer at night while prostrating or standing, fearing the Hereafter (punishment) and hoping for the favor of his Lord, and the one who abstains from obedience to Allah; Are they both equal?

Answer: No! They are not equal.

Question: One who obeys, hopes for Allah’s reward, and fears the Hereafter (punishment); Are these actions of his ‘Ilm (occurred) due to knowing or not (occurring) due to lack of knowledge? Answer: (These actions of his) are (performed) due to knowing. And this is why Allah Ta’ala says,

“(O Prophet!) Say, those who know (about their Lord and the true religion) and those who know none of these, are they equal? Only the wise take advice”. Surah Az-Zumar 39:9.

Ilm meaning in Islam. Importance of Islamic knowledge

Just as the living and the dead, the hearing and the deaf and the sighted and the blind are not equal; Just as the one who knows (about his Lord and the true religion) and the one who does not, they are not equal.

“Ilm is the light by which man finds the right path and emerges from darkness to light. Allah Ta’ala raises whomever He wills from among His creatures because of knowledge. Allah Ta’ala says,

“Those of you who believe and those who have been given knowledge, Allah exalts them (with honor in this life and reward in the Hereafter).” Surah Al-Muzadalah 58:11.

That is why we see that the wise are the ones to be praised. Whenever they are discussed, people praise them. And this is their current status.

Ilm meaning in Islam. Importance of Islamic knowledge

On the other hand, those who call to Allah and act according to what they know; Based on that, they will be promoted to many positions in the hereafter. A true worshiper (servant) worships his Lord based on clear Shariah documents and to whom the truth is revealed. And this is the path of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace. Allah Ta’ala says,

“(O Muhammad!) Say you (polytheists), this is my path (calling to the Oneness of Allah). I call (man) to the (“worship) of Allah (solely) based on clear (Shar”e) evidence (from Allah) and whoever follows Me. And (from the partners) proclaim the holiness of Allah, in such a situation I am not of the mushriks (those who claim partners)”. Surah Yusuf; 12:108.

Ilm meaning in Islam. Importance of Islamic knowledge

Question: Is he like a person who attains purity knowing that he is on the Shari’i system; A person who attains purity because he has seen his father or mother attain purity? Which of the two is better in implementing worship? The one who achieves purity because he knows that Allah has ordered to achieve purity and that is the purity of the woman sallallahu Alaihi wa sallam. Therefore he attains purity for obeying the commands of Allah and following the Sunnah of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that person (the most excellent). Or another person who attains purity because it is a habit with him?

Answer: Undoubtedly, the best person is the one who worships Allah based on clear proof. So, this person and that person are equal? (never equal) though the work of each of the two was (externally) the same. But this person hopes for Allah (Paradise) because of knowledge and clear evidence, fears the Hereafter (punishment), and he knows that he is a follower (of the Sunnah) of the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace. And I will stop here and ask some questions.

Ilm meaning in Islam. Importance of Islamic knowledge

Question: Do we realize when performing ablution that we are obeying Allah’s commands mentioned in this word?

“O believers! When you stand up for prayer (willing to stand, in such a state that you are in a state of ablution), then wash your faces and both hands together with the elbows, and you massage your heads and (wash) your feet together with the ankles”. Surah al-Maida 5:6.

Do people remember the verse during his ablution? But he performs ablution to obey the command of Allah? And does he realize that this is the ablution of the Messenger of Allah, may God bless him and grant him peace. But he performs ablution to follow the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

Answer: Yes! The reality is that some of us remember it (and some don’t). That is why it is wajib (compulsory) to obey Allah’s orders through those acts of worship so that through it Ikhlas (sincerity) is realized between us and we must follow Rasoolullah sallallahu Alaihi wa sallam.

We know that performing Niyat is among the conditions of ablution. But sometimes it refers to the intention of the period.

Ilm meaning in Islam. Importance of Islamic knowledge

It is incumbent upon us to focus on one important issue. The important thing is that while performing Ibadah, we remember that we are obeying Allah’s order through Ibadah to implement Ikhlas (sincerity). And while completing the worship, we should also remember that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, performed this worship. We follow him to implement the following in this worship. Because sincerity and following are among the conditions of purity of deeds. Through both of these, this testimony is realized that,

“There is no (real) god but Allah and Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, is the Messenger (Messenger) of Allah.”

We (now) return to the discussion we made at the beginning of this chapter about the merits of acquiring knowledge. Because man worships his Lord based on a clear document (Qur’an-Sunnah) by acquiring knowledge. As a result, his heart is attached to ‘Ibadah, and his heart is illuminated by ‘Ibadah. And that person worships on the basis that it is a worship. Not because it is a habit. For this reason, when a person prays based on this angle of vision, it is confirmed for him that Allah the Exalted has informed him that prayer prevents indecency and evil deeds.

The most important virtues of knowledge

1. Knowledge is the legacy of the Prophets

The Prophets (Pbuh) did not inherit (anyone) dirhams and dinars. Only they have made (man) inheritors of knowledge. If a person acquires knowledge, then that person can get a full share from the inheritance of the Prophets (PBUH).

Therefore, in this fifteenth century, when you will be among the wise, you will be the heir of Muhammad sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. And this is the greatest benefit (of acquiring knowledge).

2. Knowledge is permanent and resources are exhausted

Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu Anhu was among the poor Companions. He would even fall (on the ground) fainting from hunger. I swear by Allah, I want to ask you, in our era, the hadith of Abu Hurayrah Radiyallahu Anhu is used or not? Yes! A lot of hadith was narrated by him. So the reward equal to that of Abu Hurairah Radiyallahu Anhu is that of a person who benefits from the hadiths he narrated. Then it is understood that knowledge endures, and wealth runs out. Therefore, O seeker of knowledge! ‘It is imperative upon you to hold on to knowledge. It is proven in the hadith that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said,

“When a person dies, all his deeds (the reward of all deeds) are cut off from him except for three deeds. Chadaqbaye Zaria, such Ilm (knowledge), by which one can benefit and such a righteous child, the child (after his death) makes dua for him”.

Sahih Muslim ha/1631, Sunan Abu Dawud ha/2880, Sunan at-Tirmidhi ha/1376.

3. The acquirer of knowledge does not feel any pain (in preserving) knowledge

Because when Allah gives you knowledge, He stores it in (your) heart. ‘Ilm does not feel the need for a chest or a key or any other thing (for preservation). It is preserved in (man’s) heart and heart. And in due course ‘Ilm (Knowledge) becomes your guardian. Because it protects you from danger with the permission of Allah. Therefore, ‘Ilm protects you. On the other hand, you store the wealth yourself in the chest behind the big door. And yet you are not confident of wealth.

4. People make science the means to be among those who bear witness to the truth

The proof of this is the saying of Allah,

“Allah Himself, established in justice, bears witness that there is no (true) god but He! The angels and the wise also witness that there is no (true) god but Him”! Surah Ale Imran; 3:18. (Here) does Allah say “rich people”? No! Rather, he said, wise people! So O seeker of knowledge! It is sufficient for your honor to be included with the angels who bear witness to the Oneness of God who testifies about God that there is no (true) god but Him.

5. The first of the two classes of Ulatul amr (authoritative persons) is Ahlul Ilm (scholars).

Those whom Allah Ta’ala has commanded to obey,

“O believers! Obey Allah, obey the Messenger, and (obey) the “Ulul Amr” (authoritative persons) from among you”. Surah An-Nisa 4:59.

Therefore, here “Ulat al-Amr” (the term) includes the words “rulers and judges” and “wise men (Ulamaye Kiram) and ‘seekers of knowledge (Shiksharat)”! So the authority of the wise men (Alims) will be in explaining the Laws (Shari’at) of Allah and in calling the people to it! And the authority of the rulers will be to implement the laws of Allah (in the state) and to compel the people to obey those laws.

6. The Ahl al-Ilm (scholars) will remain firm on the orders of Allah Ta’ala until the Day of Judgment takes place.

And the proof (evidence) for this is accepted by the (narrated) hadith of Muawiya Radiyallahu Anhu! He said, I heard the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, say,

“Allah bestows upon whomsoever He wills the knowledge of the religion.”

Sahih Bukhari ha/71, Sahih Muslim ha/1337, Sahih Ibn Hibban ha/89.

Verily I distribute (Revealed knowledge among you all by the command of Allah) and Allah bestows (the knowledge of religion upon all of you according to His will)! And this ummah (learned nation) will be steadfast on the true religion of Allah! Those who oppose them, can not harm them! Even Allah’s decree (Doomsday) will take place, (but they will remain so)! Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said about this group,

“If they are ‘Ahlul Hadith’ If not, then I don’t know who they are.”

Fathul Bari 1/164, Sharhun Nawabi; 13/67.

And Qazi Yad (RA) said:

Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (RA) addressed the “Ahlus Sunnah” and those who firmly believe in the Ahl al-Hadith ideology.


7. The Prophet (PBUH) encouraged envy of one another regarding knowledge

Allah (to His servants) which has bestowed blessings! The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, did not encourage anyone to be jealous of any of them! But about the two blessings (encouraged to envy each other).

A. To seek Ilm (knowledge) and act accordingly.

b. A businessman who spends his wealth on the cause of Islam.

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

“It is not permissible to be jealous (in any other case) except (only) in two cases! As for a person, to whom Allah has given wealth, then He has empowered him to spend it on great deeds! And in the case of such a person, to whom God has given wisdom! Then he acts according to it and teaches it to people (in the hope of reward)”.

Sahih Bukhari ha/73, Sahih Muslim ha/816, Sahih Ibn Hibban ha/90, Sunan Ibn Majah ha/4208, As-Sunanul Kubra lil Bayhaqi ha/20164.

8. The acquirer of knowledge benefits others

In a hadith (narration about knowledge) narrated by Imam Bukhari (RA):

Abu Musa al-Ashari (RA) said that the Prophet (PBUH) said,

“Allah has sent me (to the world) with the guidance and the knowledge (of the Shari’i evidence)! It (the attainer’s) example is like sufficient rain falling on (a part of) the ground! (First type of soil) There are some good fertile soils, which absorb water! Then produce lots of fresh and dry grass and fresh grass! (Second type of soil) And there are some solid soils, which retain water! Then Allah benefits all people with that water! So they drink (themselves), (water their animals), and cultivate (with it)! (Third type of land:) Rain falls on some parts of the land, which parts are only flat! They do not retain water and are fresh and dry. Does not produce grassiness either.

Sahih Bukhari ha/79, Sharhus Sunnah ha/135.

So that (first and second type) land is an example of such a person! Whoever acquires knowledge of the religion of Allah and what Allah has sent me with, benefits him! As a result, he acquires knowledge and teaches it! And that (third type) land is an example of such a person! He who does not raise his head in this matter and does not accept the guidance with which Allah has sent me”.

Sahih Muslim ha/2699, Tirmidhi ha/2945, Ibn Majah ha/225.

9. Ilm (the path of inquiry) is the path to Paradise

The hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (ra) is proof of that. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

And if a person goes out in search of knowledge! Then Allah makes the path to Paradise easy for that person in return.

Muslim ha/2699, Tirmidhi ha/2646, Ibn Majah ha/225.

10. Allah gives knowledge of religion to whomsoever He wills

In the hadith of Mu’awiya (ra) which is narrated about knowledge, he said, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

“Allah bestows upon his knowledge of religion”.

Sahih Bukhari Ha/71, Sahih Muslim Ha/1337.

That is, Allah made him a jurist/expert regarding his religion! According to the scholars of Fiqh, it is not only (knowledge of the rules regarding specific deeds) that is intended by (knowledge of the Deen)! Rather, by this (the knowledge of God’s oneness), (the knowledge of the principles of religion), and the knowledge of other matters related to the law of God is intended! And if there is no proof of the Qur’an and Hadith except for this hadith in the field of knowledge acquisition! However, surely this hadith will be enough to encourage the pursuit and acquisition of the knowledge of Shari’ah.

11. Ilm is the light by which Banda is enlightened

The servant knows how he will worship his Lord and how he will interact with his servants! Therefore, in these matters, “His path is according to knowledge and clear evidence (of the Qur’an and Hadith).

12. Alim (wise) person is light

Surely the Alim (wise) person is the light by which people are guided in their religion and worldly affairs.

And the story of Bani Israel (who killed 100 people) is not a secret to most of us! When that man killed 99 people, he asked (the man) about one of the greatest scholars in the world! Then he was told about a righteous man! Then he (approached him) asked him! Is there any Tabah for him? Then the pious man thought the matter big! Then he said: No! (No repentance).

So he killed him and by him (the number of persons killed) completed 100! Then he went to a scholar! Then asked him! (Is there any repentance for him?) Then he informed him that there was repentance for him! (He further informed him that,) There is nothing that will stand between him and his repentance! Then he told him about a country, for him to leave for that country, whose inhabitants are honest! As a result, he came out! Then he died in the middle of the road! The incident is famous.

The incident is narrated in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. Sahih Muslim Ha/2766

So you notice the difference between ‘alim (wise) and Jahil (stupid).

13. Surely Allah exalts the wise in this life and the Hereafter.

Based on the duty they perform in calling to Allah, and based on acting according to what they know! Allah gives them high status among all his servants in the world! On the other hand, in the Hereafter He will raise them to high status based on these. Allah Ta’ala says,

“Those of you who believe and who have been given knowledge! Allah will raise them to many ranks (by honor in this life and reward in the Hereafter)”. Surah Al-Mujadalah 58:11.

Ilm meaning in Islam. Importance of Islamic Knowledge

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