RE: Seeking Knowledge Quote
Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Where is the famous quote from Sayyiduna Mu`adh (Allah be pleased with him) on acquiring knowledge from?
It was related by Ibn Abdal-Barr in his "Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm wa Fadlihi," and Mundhiri related it through him in his "Targhib wa'l Tarhib." Some attributed the saying to the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), though the scholars of hadith (such as Imam Zabibi in his monumental 10-volume commentary on Imam Ghazali's "IhyaUlum al-Din") explain that it is more authentically attributed to Mu`adh in Jabal (Allah be pleased with him). Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali quoted it in his work, The Heirs of the Prophets.
Mu`adh ibn Jabal [Allah Most High be well pleased with him] relates:
“Acquire knowledge because doing so is good. Seeking it is worship. Reviewing it is glorifying Allah. Researching it is jihad. Teaching it to the ignorant is charity.
Serving the scholars is a way of drawing near to Allah because knowledge is the path of ascension to the stations of Paradise . It is a companion in isolation and a comrade in distant lands. It speaks to you in solitude. It is a guide to prosperity and a shield against adversity. It beautifies one among friends and is a weapon against enemies. With it Allah elevates people and makes them guides and bellwethers of good.
“The scholars are people whose words are sought and whose actions are imitated. The angels long for the scholar's company and comfort them with their wings. Everything, the fish of the sea, the beasts of the earth, the predators of the land and sea, and the cattle pray that blessings come upon him.
“This is because knowledge enlivens the heart against ignorance, illuminates the eyes against darkness, and strengthens the body. It transports the servants to the mansions of the select and the righteous and to the highest ranks in the world and in the Hereafter. Contemplating it is equivalent to fasting, and reviewing it is equivalent to the Night Prayer vigil. With it, kinship is united and the lawful is distinguished from the unlawful. Knowledge is an imam which leads to righteous actions. It is craved by the people destined for Paradise and shunned by people destined for Hell.”
Source: al-Hanbali, Imam Ibn Rajab (d. 1392 CE). Warathatu'l-Anbiya'. Translated with Introduction as The Heirs of the Prophets by Zaid Shakir. Chapter 8, pgs.37-38. Chicago , U.S.A. : The Starlatch Press, 2001.