Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Aquiring Knowledge
الحَمْدُ للهِ، الحَمْدُ للهِ الذي خَلَقَ الإِنْسانَ، وعلّمه القرءانَ والبيان، وأخرجه من ظلام الجهل والكفر إلى نور العلم والإيمان، نَحْمَدُهُ تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، مَنْ يَهْدِ اللهُ فلا مضل له، ومَنْ يُضلِلْ فَلاَ هَادِيَ لَهُ، ونَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِيكَ لَهُ، له الملك وله الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشْهَدُ أَنَّ سَيِّدَنَا ومولانا مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُه وَرَسُولُهُ، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمّة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحقّ، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعَلَى آلِهِ وأَصْحابِهِ ومَنْ تَبِعَهم بإِحْسانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّيْنِ. أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَيَا عِبَادَ اللهِ اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون، يا أيها الذين آمنوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا، يُصْلِحْ لَكُم أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا، يا أيها المسلمون اتقوا الله فيما أوصى وأمر، وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر. قال الله سبحانه وتعالى في كتابه الكريم: “هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ”
Allah says in His Noble Quran, the translation of which is, “Are they the same - those who know and those who do not know?”
وقال: “يَرْفَعُ اللهُ الذِينَ ءَامَنُوا والذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ”
and He says in another aya, the translation of which is, “Allah will raise in rank those who believe and those who have knowledge”
وقال: “شَهِدَ اللَّهُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ وَأُولُو الْعِلْمِ قَائِمًا بِالْقِسْطِ”
and He says in another aya, the translation of which is, “Allah bears witness that there is no god but Him, as do the angels and the people of knowledge, upholding justice.”
The excellence and importance of knowledge -‘ilm cannot fail to be clear to anyone who reads and reflects on these ayas and the many others like them. For example, in the third aya quoted above, Allah mentions the people of knowledge in the same breath in which He mentions Himself and His angels, and links them to Himself directly by means of the particle wa - meaning ‘and’; while in the second aya, Allah mentions that the cause of a person’s rank with His Lord being raised is by means of the acquisition of knowledge.
Thus it is only by seeking knowledge that one attains to true nobility. ‘Ilm raises the weak and ugly over the strong and beautiful, and the downtrodden slave over the mighty sultan. It has been narrated that Salim ibn abi-l-Ja‘d said,
اشتراني مولاي بثلاثمائة درهم فأعتقني، فقلت في نفسي “بأيِّ حِرَفٍ أحترف؟” فاخترتُ العلمَ على كلِّ حِرف فلم يمضِ بي كثيرَ مدة حتى أتاني الخليفة زائرا فلم آذنْ له.”
“My master bought me for three hundred dirhams and then set me free, so I began to think about what profession I might take up, and, in the end, chose the path of knowledge over professions. And it was not long until even the Khalifah came to visit me and I refused him the permission to enter.”
وقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “إن العلماءَ ورثةُ الأنبياء”
The Messenger of Allah said, “The ulama are the inheritors of the Prophets.”
وقال: “يشفَع يومَ القيامةِ ثلاثةٌ: الأنبياءُ ثمّ العلماءُ ثم الشهداء”
And he also said, “There will be three who have the power of intercession on the Day of Rising: the Prophets, then the ulama, and then the martyrs.”
وقال: “فضلُ العالمِ على العابدِ كفضلي على أدناكم، إن الله عز وجل وملائكتَه وأهلَ السماواتِ والأرضينَ حتى النملةِ في جحرِه وحتى الحوتِ ليُصلّون على عالمِ الناسِ الخير”
And he also said, “The superiority of the ‘alim over the worshipper is like my superiority over the lowest amongst you, Allah, His Angels, and the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth, even to the ants in their homes and the fish [in the sea], call down prayers upon the one who teaches people good.”
There is no better way for a person to occupy his time in this world then by learning or by teaching, regardless of whether he is a scholar, a trader, a builder or anything else. The successful human being is the one who spends all his time in these two practices, for someone who is on the straight path is either learning something or teaching something in every moment of his life.
قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: “كن عالما أو متعلما أو مستمعا أو محبا ولا تكنِ الخامسةَ فتُهلَك”
The Prophet said, “ Be an ‘alim or a student or a listener or a lover (of knowledge) but do not be the fifth or you will be destroyed.” The fifth means hating knowledge and the people of knowledge. So the meaning of the hadith is that you must either have knowledge, or seek to acquire it, or listen to those possess it, or love those who possess it, but you must not despise them or think little of the knowledge that they possess, since that will bring punishment and ruin down upon your head.
وعَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: “مَنْ سَلَكَ طَرِيقًا يَلْتَمِسُ فِيهِ عِلْمًا سَهَّلَ اللَّهُ لَهُ طَرِيقًا إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ”
Abu Hurayra narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever sets out on a path in which he seeks knowledge, Allah will make easy for him a path leading to the Jannah. The angels spread their wings over the seeker of knowledge, in contentment for what he is undertaking. And everyone in the heavens, everyone in the earth and the fish in the depths of the sea ask for forgiveness on behalf of the man of knowledge.”
Seeking knowledge is the way of the Muslim, and that requires him to wander the earth and search for those who possess it wherever they might be, even if that be in China as is mentioned in the famous saying. So, if you find yourself in a place of ignorance and darkness, or living in a community lacking the knowledge or people to set its affairs in order, then there are but two choices open to you: you either bring the knowledge and the knowledgeable to you, or you go to them. There is no third option - you must do one or the other.
And do not fall into the trap of thinking that true ‘ulama no longer exist and are but a thing of the past, and use that as an excuse for you to not concern yourself with it and do nothing. For the Prophet himself has promised us that there will never be a time empty of ‘ulama, and that there will always be people in every age who keep the knowledge of the deen alive. He said,
“لا يزالُ أمرُ هذه الأمةِ مستقيما لا يضرهم مَن خالفَهم حتى يأتي أمرُ الله.”
“The affair of this umma will continue to be upright, unharmed by those who oppose them, until the Command of Allah comes.” For as long as this world continues to exist, the human being will always have access to knowledge. And acquiring that knowledge, as we have seen, is very important to the deen of Allah. But that does not mean that it does not have its dangers. So I would like to finish this first khutba with a word of warning. The acquisition of outward knowledge alone without working to purify one’s heart at the same time can lead to arrogance and hardness of heart. The perfect example of that is the Banu Israil, who devoted themselves to understanding the minutiae of their laws and working out ways of circumventing them, and whose hearts Allah hardened as a result, as Allah mentions in surat al-Baqara:
ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُكُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ فَهِيَ كَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً وَإِنَّ مِنَ الْحِجَارَةِ
the translation of which is, “Then your hearts became hardened after that, so they were like stones or even harder still.”
True humility is the only way of preventing such a thing happening to you, so in the course of your studies, remember that knowledge is an attribute which is borrowed from our Creator - we have no knowledge except for that which He has taught us - and that there is always someone who knows more than you do. Allah says,
وَفَوْقَ كُلِّ ذِي عِلْمٍ عَلِيمٌ
the translation of which is, “Over everyone with knowledge is a Knower.” i.e. One who has more knowledge than you. No matter how many laws of the deen you understand, no matter how many hadith you memorise, no matter how good your Arabic becomes, the full extent of what you know will only ever be a single grain of sand in the desert of things that are knowable. The more you know, the more you realise you do not know. Remember that, and perhaps your knowledge will bring you benefit. We ask Allah to grant us knowledge that will benefit us and protect our hearts from hardness and our ‘ulama from arrogance and pride. We ask Allah to give us understanding of the deen and enable us to put what He teaches into practice. We ask Him to give us the knowledge that will enable to put our society right and bring it back to life. We ask Him to give us knowledge of Him.
أقول قولي هذا و أستغفر الله لي و لكم و لسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيمالحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الله عز وجل في كتابه العزيز: “إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ”
Allah says in His Mighty Book, the translation of which is, “ Only those of His slaves with knowledge have fear of Allah.” And the Prophet said,
“طلبَ العِلمِ فريضةٌ على كلِّ مسلم ومسلمة”
“Seeking knowledge is an obligation on every Muslim, man or woman.” Muslims, in light of the emphasis that the deen places on the acquisition of knowledge, this mosque has convened a series of daily classes teaching the basics of the affair upon which we are on, focussing on a number of key areas, including fiqh, Quran and seera. The benefits of attending these classes are innumerable. The Prophet said,
إن باباً من العلم يتعلمه الرجل خير من أن يكون له أبو قبيس ذهبا فأنفقه في سبيل اللَّه
“It is better for a man to learn one chapter of knowledge than to have a mountain of gold and spend it all in the way of Allah.”
And he also said,
من أحب أن ينظر إلى عتقاء اللَّه من النار فلينظر إلى المتعلمين، فوالذي نفس محمد بيده ما من مؤمن متعلم يختلف إلى باب العالم إلا كتب اللَّه له بكل حرف وبكل قدم عبادة سنة، وبنى له بكل قدم مدينة في الجنة، ويمشي على الأرض والأرض تستغفر له، ويمسي ويصبح مغفوراً له، وشهدت له الملائكة ويقولون هؤلاء عتقاء اللَّه من النار
“Whoever desires to set eyes on those whom Allah has kept free of the Fire should look at the students of knowledge. By the One who has the soul of Muhammad in His hand, no believer frequents the door of an ‘alim seeking knowledge but that Allah writes down for him for every letter he learns and every step he takes the worship of an entire year, and builds for him a city in the Garden. When he walks over the ground, the ground asks forgiveness for him. Indeed, he spends his day, morning and night, forgiven. And the angels all bear witness on his behalf and say, ‘This is one of those who are freed from the Fire.’”
And he also said,
ما عبد اللَّه بشيء أفضل من فقه في الدين، ولَفَقِيه واحد أشدُّ على الشيطان من ألف عابد. وإن لكل شيء عمادا وعماد الدين الفقه
“There is no better way of worshipping Allah than by having fiqh of the Deen. A single faqih is harder on Shaytan than a thousand worshippers. Everything has a central pillar and the central pillar of the deen is fiqh.”
It is narrated that, one day, Muhammad ibn Sirin went into the mosque in Basra and discovered two circles of people therein, one doing dhikr and the other studying fiqh. After performing his prayers, he sat there debating with himself which circle to join, unsure which was better. And he continued to debate with himself for so long that both circles dispersed. Then, later that night, when he was sleeping, a visitor came to him in his dream and said to him, ‘If you were to have joined the circle of fiqh, you would have found Jibril himself sitting there.’
And it is narrated that Imam ash-Shafi’i said,
مجلسُ فقه خير من عبادة ستين سنة
“Sitting in a circle of fiqh is better than worshipping for sixty years.”
These classes are an opportunity that must not be missed. They take place every day except for Saturday and mostly take place around the time of the Maghrib prayer. There are details of these classes on the notice board in the entrance hall of the mosque.
And do not let your self convince you to stay away from the circles of knowledge because of the fact that you have difficulty remembering or understanding the lessons, or because of the fact that you do not consider yourself a ‘scholar’ or a ‘student type’. For seeking knowledge is about much more than memorising or understanding pieces of information - its benefits extend far beyond that.
For it is said that Allah still grants the one who sits in a circle of knowledge but finds himself unable to remember anything he has learnt seven blessings:
The first is that he acquires the excellence of those who learn;
The second is that he is protected against committing any wrong action for the entire time he is sitting there;
The third is that he is encompassed by Allah’s mercy from the moment he stepped out of his house to go the lesson;
The fourth is that while he is in the lesson, he partakes of the mercy and baraka that descend upon the alim while he is teaching;
The fifth is that for every moment he spends listening to the alim, a good action is written for him;
The sixth is that the angels spread their wings over the entire circle of knowledge of which he is a part;
And the seventh is that every time he raises his foot or sets it upon the ground while walking to the lesson, wrong actions of his are erased, his rank with Allah is raised and he increases in good action.
This is the reward for the student who learns nothing whatsoever. As for the one who does learn, he receives multiple times that reward!
Furthermore, the Prophet has said,
“مَن زار عالما فكأنما زارني...ومن جالس عالما فكأنما جالسني، ومن جالسني في الدنيا أجلسه الله معي يومَ القيامة في الجنة.”
“If you visit an ‘alim, it is as if you have visited me, and if you sit with an ‘alim, it is as if you have sat with me; And Allah will sit whoever sits with me in this world with me in the Garden on the Day of Rising.” May Allah make us number among their ranks! May He make us from among those who have knowledge, seek knowledge, love knowledge, act upon knowledge and listen to the people of knowledge. May He make these classes in the mosque a tremendous success and a source of increase for all of us, and He make them a means towards our better understanding our deen.
إنَّ اللهَ ومَلائِكَتَهُ يُصلُّونَ على النَّبِي يَا أَيُها الذينَ آمنوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وسَلِّمُوا تَسْليماً. اللهمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّم وبارِك عَلَيْهِ وعلى آلِهِ وصَحْبِهِ أجمعين.
وارض اللهم عن الخلفاء الراشدين المرشدين الحنفاء ساداتنا وأئمتنا أبي بكر وعمر وعثمان وعلي ، وعن سائر الصحابة أجمعين، خصوصا الأنصار منهم والمهاجرين، وعن التابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
اللهم اهد ولاة أمور المسلمين لما يرضيك ولاتباع سنة نبيك صلى الله عليه وسلم وثبت أقدامهم على الصراط المستقيم وأصلحهم يا رب العالمين.
اللهم بارك على شيخنا، و على أميرنا، وعلى جميع أمراء وزعماء المسلمين.
اللهم بارك على المسلمين في هذه المدينة ووفقهم لما تحبه وترضاه يا أكرم الأكرمين.
اللهمّ أَعِزَّ الْلإسلامَ والمُسِلمينَ (3) واَخْذُلِ الكُفْرَ والكافِرينَ، وانْصُرِ المُجاهِدينَ في سَبِيلِ اللهِ. واجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وكَلِمَةَ الكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلى.
ربنا ءاتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الأخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار.
اللهم لا تدعْ في مقامِنا هذا ذنبا إلا غفرْتَه، ولا عيبا إلا سترْتَه، ولا مريضا إلا شفيتَهُ وعافيتَه، ولا مسجونا إلا طلَقْتَ سراحَه، ولا مسافرا في برِّك وبحرِك إلا سلِمتَهُ وغنِمْتَه.
إن الله يأمر بالعدل والإحسان وإيتاء ذي القربى وينهى عَنِ الفحشاءِ والمُنكَرِ والبغي، يعظكم لعلكم تذكرون، ولَذِكْرُ اللهِ أكبر والله يَعْلَمُ ما تَصْنَعُون. وقُومُوا إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يرحمكم الله