The foundation of existence and sustenance is based upon knowledge. It is the extent of knowledge that makes us differ in our characteristics – both physical and spiritual. It is the ability of a being or an individual to imbibe the knowledge which classifies it into a variety of Creations. The divine corpus of the Knowledge always remains constant since the beginning of Creations till Eternity. What we see in this World are different forms of that constant Knowledge which remained unchanged with changing times. Every one of us is either a teacher or a student in various perspectives throughout our life. No one is free from this responsibility. It is this basic relationship between a teacher and a student which keeps Knowledge flowing from the Superior (teacher) to the Inferior (student) and it is a process which is the essence of our existence. We keep on learning new things and imparting our experiences to others everyday – knowingly or unknowingly. Communicating with others is nothing but a simple exchange of information and experiences. If we remove the colour of Knowledge from our conversation then our picture of life becomes pale and shabby.
First teacher of all of us is none other than the Mother. The physical relationship with Mother is the external reflection of a divine internal essence of teaching which a Mother gives to her child. She teaches the best of her Knowledge to her child. She dictates what is right and wrong for her child. She gives a vision through which her child sees and interprets the world around it. It is a well known fact that we may forget numerous things in our life but we always remember our teacher. And we are always delighted to meet our teacher and when we happen to see him, we give a spontaneous verbal response, ‘Look he is my Teacher’, ‘He used to teach me a particular subject in my school, college etc’. We always remember a person who has taught the most useful things in our life. As the child grows, the world around him turns out to be the vast pool of Knowledge in which he feels confused and perplexed. It is his school, college or a teacher who shows him the right goal to achieve according to his abilities.
Knowledge is like water. We find it in many forms – oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, ponds, reservoirs etc, though its source is one – rain or snow – which falls from the clouds. Thus one type of water falling from the sky takes different forms according to the land over which it falls. Falling on the high mountains, it freezes; falling into the ocean, it turns saline; falling on the land, it forms lakes; falling on a dumping ground, it gets contaminated. It is a known fact that less than 1% of total water on earth is fresh and potable. We drink water very cautiously after assuring that it is filtered and clean. Most the dangerous diseases are water borne. And last but not the least, Life originated in Water. Knowledge behaves in the same way like Water in our lives. Not all Knowledge is useful for us (like less than 1% of total water). We have to be very cautious in acquiring the Knowledge like Water. Water takes the form according to the land over which it falls; likewise, Knowledge changes its form according to our understanding and intellect. It is our intellect which either purifies the Knowledge or contaminates it.
Hence a teacher is very essential for us who can give us correct Knowledge according to our intellectual and mental power of grasping and storing it. Paradoxically not all intellects can digest the given Knowledge. Only the one which is guided by the Almighty Allaah and His representative can absorb the Knowledge and utilise it correctly. Knowledge is never at fault. It is the Creation over which the Knowledge is presented – is at fault. Hence we need not blame others for the innovative thoughts and contaminated ideas in the religion, but its practitioners who failed to apply its principles correctly and misinterpreted its basic principles.
Without water, we would have ceased to exist. Water is essential for all the basic metabolic processes in our body. Water is the physical form of the life and Knowledge is its spiritual form. Water supports life at the physical level and the Knowledge injects the essence of life on the spiritual plane. We meet physical death without water but absence of Knowledge leads us to spiritual death. There is no difference between a dead body and an ignorant person who leads life without Knowledge. We drink water to quench our physical thirst but acquiring Knowledge quenches our spiritual thirst. We are for Allaah and we all are going to return to Him – but not without Knowledge. If eating and drinking is the cause of our physical growth in this World then Knowledge is the cause of our spiritual ascension in the Hereafter. Every religion especially Islaam encourages in acquiring Knowledge – from the Cradle to the Grave. We all are student throughout our life. He is a foolish person who claims that he knows everything.
True, undistorted and clean Knowledge is difficult to find just like a cool, fresh water spring gushing from the ground. Useless and worthless Knowledge is easy to get just like contaminated and spoiled water is easy to spot nearby. There are numerous so-called teachers who claim to be very learned and intellectual but they are behind the fame and wealth, they misguide the innocent knowledge seekers. May Allaah bless us with a true mentor or teacher, who is capable of explaining the realities of life in its true sense.
To get the enlightenment of Knowledge from a teacher was not easy. Everyone is in search of a source from where he could get some learning in its purest form. Acquisition of Knowledge is a systematic process – it does not happen abruptly. To remain silent is the first step in acquisition of knowledge, the next step is to listen carefully and the third step is to assimilate or comprehend whatever is heard or learned. This is a pivotal step. There is no room for a mistake in it. It is here where most of us make blunders. Water remains fresh as long as it keeps flowing. Same is true for the knowledge; it remains fresh as long as it is spread. Stagnant Knowledge like water gets spoiled and stale.
A teacher selflessly imparts knowledge to his student because he sees his own reflection in the student. This relationship of knowledge between the giver and seeker transcends all the physical relations of the World. We are truly blessed that Allaah the Almighty has made us disciples, believers and students of Ambiyaa, A’immat and Du’aat (sa) who are of divine and angelic nature. Through the spiritual bond they impart us with the knowledge which will benefit us not only in our worldly life but make us victorious in the eternal life. Their purity and sanctity will cleanse us with all dirtiness of body, soul and actions that accumulates during the course of our life.