Home > Islam, Knowledge, Sayings of the Salaf > The Manners of the Salaf with regards to the Importance of Knowledge

The Manners of the Salaf with regards to the Importance of Knowledge

The Manners of the Salaf regarding the Importance of Knowledge

compiled from the statements of various scholars 

It is incumbent for Muslims to seek beneficial knowledge which will bring them closer to Allah and better his status on the Day of Judgment hoping for Allah’s Mercy. We should understand that through the seeking of knowledge our path to Jannah is made easier for us with Allah’s Permission as we find in the hadeeth:

Abu Hurairah (radiAllahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sulAllahu alaihi wa salaam) said:

“Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them amongst those who are in His presence.”

(Recorded by Imam Muslim)

When we traverse on this path, we should always be mindful of our intentions and make them solely and purely to please Allah and come closer to Him, the Mighty and Majestic. We should constantly remind ourselves about our purpose for traversing on this path in order to ward off any whispers of the Shaytaan that may lead to arrogance and evil intentions due to the severity of this matter as we find in the hadeeth:

Jaabir (radiAllahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sulAllahu alaihi wa salaam) said:

Do not acquire knowledge in order to compete with the scholars, nor to argue with the ignorant, nor to gain mastery over the gatherings. Since whoever does that, then: The Fire! The Fire!

(Reported by Ibn Maajah (254) and others. This hadeeth has a witness from the hadeeth of Ka’b ibn Maalik reported by at-Tirmidhee (2654) and others and also from the hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah reported by Ahmad (2/338) and others)

With this in mind, the Salaf and those who ascribe to their way would say regarding their love for knowledge and its importance:


1. ‘Uthmaan (radiAllahu anhu) said:

Knowledge is better than wealth; Knowledge protects you and you (have to) protect wealth.”

(al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih – Volume 1, Page 15; Mabaahith fee Ahkaam al-Fatwa – Page 12)

2. Abu Zur’ah ar-Raazee (rahimahullah) (died 264A.H.) said:

“My ears have never heard anything of knowledge except that it has rested upon my heart (i.e. I have memorized it).

Whilst I would walk through the market of Baghdad, I could hear the sound of female singers from the rooms, so I would put my fingers in my ears (to block out the sound) out of fear that it may rest upon my heart (i.e. I may end up memorizing the words.”

(al-Hifth – Ahammiyyatuhu, ‘Ajaa.ibuhu, Tareeqatuhu, Asbaabuhu – Page 19

Taareekh Baghdaad – Volume 15, Page 333)

3. Muhammad ibn Muslim az-Zuhree (rahimahullah) (died 125A.H.) narrated:

There is nothing I have (ever) memorised and then (later) forgotten.

(al-Hifth – Ahammiyyatuhu, ‘Ajaa.ibuhu, Tareeqatuhu, Asbaabuhu – Page 15

Hilyatul-Awliyaa. – Volume 3, Page 364 al-Jaami’ lil-Khateeb – Volume 2, Page 264)

4. al-Haafith Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalaanee (rahimahullah) said:

“I drank some (Zam Zam water) once, whilst I was (just) beginning my studies in hadeeth, and asked Allah to bless me with the level/calibre of ath-Thahabee in memorizing hadeeth. I then performed hajj after a period of about 20 years, and found myself to have exceeded that level/calibre. So I asked Allah for more than that, and I hope that Allah will grant me that.”

(al-Hifth – Ahammiyyatuhu, ‘Ajaa.ibuhu, Tareeqatuhu, Asbaabuhu – Page 65
Juz. fee Hadeeth ((maa.u Zam-Zam limaa shuriba lahu)) libni Hajar – Page 37)

5. ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullah) said:

Knowledge is that which benefits, not that which is memorized.

(Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa. – Volume 10, Page 89)

6. On the authority of Sufyaan ath-Thawree (rahimahullah)  who said:

We do not know of anything better than seeking knowledge with (a sincere) intention (for the sake of Allah)

(Siyar A’laam an-Nubalaa. – Volume 7, Page 244)

7. al-Hasan al-Basree (rahimahullah) said:

Seeking knowledge when one is young, is like etching on a stone.”

[In other words, the knowledge which one memorizes when one is young will be so strong in one’s memory, that it is as if it had been etched on a stone, wa Allahu ‘alim].

(Mabaahith fee Ahkaam al-Fatwa – Page 28)

8. Maalik ibn Anas ((rahimahullah) said:

Whoever does not love knowledge, then there is no good in him; So there should not be any acquaintence between you and him, and nor any friendship.”

(al-Khateeb in al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih – Volume 1, Page 15;

Mabaahith fee Ahkaam al-Fatwa – Page 12)

9. The Shaykh al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) mentions:

There is no doubt, the more a person increases in knowledge, naturally he increases in learning and differentiating the truth from the falsehood, and the harmful from the beneficial, and like this he reaches a level whereby Allah bestows understanding upon him. This is because taqwa is a means for strengthening understanding, and strong understanding assists in increasing knowledge.

So you see two men memorizing an ayah from the Book of Allah, one of them can extract from it three rulings, whilst the other is able to extract more than this, according to that which Allah has blessed him with in understanding.”


10. With reference to the important virtues of knowledge, Shaykh al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullah) mentions:

That he who has knowledge does not become tired in protecting it.

This is because, if Allah bestows knowledge upon you, then its place is in the heart and there is no need for containers or keys or the like.

It is protected in the heart and soul, and in time itself it is a protector for you, because it protects you from danger, with Allah’s permission.

So knowledge protects you, whilst with property, you protect it by placing it in locked up containers, and despite all this, you still remain insecure about it.


Source: fatwa-online

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