(Regarding the acquisition of Religious Knowledge)
Translated By: - Saiyedi Hatim Zakiyuddin Saheb
1. Concerning this matter, it is related from the Imams on the
ultimate authority of the Prophet, who said: Four things are compulsory
on every member of my community who possesses keen understanding
and wisdom. The hearers asked: And what are these, O Messenger
of God? And he said: To pay careful attention to (the teaching
of) knowledge; to remember it; to act in harmony with it, and
to publish it.
2. From Maulana ‘Ali (a.s.). He said: There are four things
following which the riders were to urge their mounts so vigorously
as to exhaust them utterly, yet, this would be of little consequence:
Let not man have hope in anyone except his Lord; let him not fear
anything except his sin; let not the ignorant one be ashamed of
acquiring knowledge; and let not the learned one be ashamed of
admitting ignorance when questioned about something of which he
has no knowledge.
3. From Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.). He said: Seek knowledge and add
beauty to it with gentleness and self-respect. Show decency to
those whom you teach; do not be proud (with your pupils) otherwise
falsehood will overcome the truth you teach.
4. From Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.). He said: If I were to come across
a youth belonging to our party who did not know the law, I would
instruct him to attain skill in it.
5. From Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.), and from his father Imam Muhammad
al-Baqir (a.s.), and ultimately from Maulana ‘Ali (a.s.)
that the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) said: The people of my Household
(Ahlul Bait) are like Ark of Noah; he who boarded it was saved,
and he who turned away was lost. And he said: Gain knowledge from
a learned man belonging to the People of the House (Ahlul Bait).
Those who obtain knowledge from such a person will save themselves
from the Fire.
6. From the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.),
on the authority of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) and his ancestors. He
said: There is no (true) joy in life except for the learned man
who explains knowledge, or the hearer who preserves it. Two traits
will not be found in a person who thinks himself to be more virtuous
than what he is; correct understanding of religion or honesty
7. From the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.), on the authority of the
Imams: When God desires a man’s well being; He makes him
knowledgeable in religion.
8. From the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.). He said: When a man goes
out in the interest of learning, God grants him the plenty of
good works, and when such a person after knowledge meets a learned
man and talks with him about God’s orders, the angels cover
them (with their wings), and God says: “I have forgiven
9. On the authority of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) and his
ancestors. The Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) said: The beginning
of knowledge is silence; the second is hearing it with attention;
the third is action in accordance with knowledge, and the fourth
is the spreading of knowledge.
10. From the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.), on the authority of
Imam Ja’far and his ancestors. The Prophet (s.a..w.a.) said:
When a man instructs himself in his youth, it is as if his learning
is carved upon the stone; but when a man of advanced age acquires
knowledge, it is like something written on the face of water.
11. From the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.), on the authority of
the Imams. He said: The fear of the time after death leaves from
the heart of him who loves the world. When God grants knowledge
to a man, and yet the man increases his attachment to the world,
God never fails to increase His anger on him.
12. From the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.), on the authority of
the Imams. He said: The best minister of faith is knowledge; the
best minister of knowledge is gentleness; the best minister of
gentleness is affection, and the best minister of affection is
leniency (to be lenient).
13. From the Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.), on the authority of
the Imams. He said: It is the children of a learned man that take
the least (advantage of his learning); then, his relations; and
then, his neighbours (in that order), for they say: We can obtain
knowledge from him whenever we wish it (and fail to obtain it).
Now the man of learning is like a spring of water; the people
come to it and take the water (as they please). But, of a sudden,
when the spring dries up, the water disappears and the people
14. From Maulana ‘Ali (a.s.). He said: Nine things are ugly,
but in nine persons, they are even uglier than in others. In kings,
miserliness; in the rich, desire to acquire more wealth; in the
noble, pride (self importance); in judges, falsehood; in physicians,
habit to postpone the things; in womenfolk, misbehaviour; and
in those that possess authority, carelessness.
15. From Maulana ‘Ali (a.s.). He said: Excessive praise
is not the mark of a true believer; nor envy, unless it is in
the gaining of knowledge.16. From Maulana ‘Ali (a.s.). He
said: The interest of knowledge is compulsory on every Muslim.