Oct 27, 2012


pp. 25-26


We have taken the oath of allegiance from the Messenger of Allah, on whom be the regard and salutation of Allah, (that) if we do not find anyone from whom we can learn the shara'i knowledge in our own country we would travel to a country wherein is the knowledge, and in that case it is a migration obligatory on us, as ما لا يتم الواجب إلا به فهو واجب [that which does not complete the obligation except by it is (in itself) an obligation]. This covenant has been breached by many and they died in their ignorance, despite the fact that the 'ulama' in their country could have been their neighbours. Some scholars have said whosoever performs salat ignorant of the manner of performing the ablution and salat itself or anything other than both of them his 'ibadah will not be valid even if it conforms to the validity in respect of it.  Supporting this is the valid hadith whose chain of narration reaches the Prophet: كل عمل ليس عليه أمرنا فهو رد [Every matter in which there is no command of us is rejected].

Therefore whosoever performs his salat, marriage, allegiance, fast, and pilgrimage according to what he see of people doing it only then his 'ibadah is fasid (vain). And ponder (about the condition of) one who has doubt  when the Munkar and Nakir question him about his religion and his Prophet, on whom be the regard and salutation of Allah, says: "I don't know  I heard people saying something then I said it" how would they strike him with an iron rod (mirzibbah) had he pounded the hill with it, it would have certainly been razed down., as it has been narrated (in a hadith). You know that the Lawgiver has made it obligatory on you to know the stages of 'ibadat, and it is not suffice for you to follow the people according to what they do without knowledge.

Tirmidhi narrated and validated by Ibn Majah and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih whereas al-Hakim.opines that the chain and expression are valid according to Ibn Majah tracing the chain to the Prophet  (as he having said) :ما من خارج خرج من بيته في طلب العلم إلا وضعت له الملائكة أجنحها  رضا بما يصنع  [No one leaves his house in search of knowledge except that the angels lay down their wings for him pleasing with what he has wrought].

Al-Tabarani narrates by providing a chain without any obvious objection thereto leading to the Prophet  (as having said): من غذا  إلى المسجد لا يريد إلا أن يتعلم خيرا أويعلم كان له كأجر حاج تاما حجه  [whosoever leaves for masjid early morning not intending anything except to learn something good or to teach, for him a portion equal to the reward of a pilgrim who completed his hajj (pilgrimage).

Post script

In this the author, by citing relevant ahadith, emphasizes the need to travel in search of knowledge. The notion of rihalah fi talab al-ilm (journey in search of knowledge) was the hallmark of Muslim learning in the past and alhamdulillah even today. This physical journey which is strenuous on many of us, despite the improvement in transportation, is increasingly shortened by the introduction of on-line learning. Even this achievement does not depart from the idea of rihlah as we are traveling in cyber space. We still get the same reward and the angels still do lay down their wings for us. So we need not necessarily insist on undertaking costly and arduous physical journey in search of knowledge that is already available locally and easily accessible via on-line.  Perhaps it is high time Muslims explore homeschooling as a better option to normal schooling, but then can these homeschooling really work when both parents are busy working?

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