And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided…(3:103)

Who is an ‘Alim’ in its real sense?

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وَمِنَ النَّاسِ وَالدَّوَآبِّ وَالْاَنْعَامِ مُخْتَلِفٌ اَ لْوَانُهٗ كَذٰلِكَ اِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللّٰهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمٰٓؤُا اِنَّ اللّٰهَ عَزِيْزٌ غَفُوْرٌ (28)

Quran Ayah Data not found….for Surah:35, Ayah:28 and Translation:24

Quran Surah:35 Ayah:28

“And among humans and beasts andcattle, there are those having differentcolours as well. Only those of Hisslaves fear Allah who areknowledgeable. Surely Allah isMighty, Forgiving.”

A number of facts have been described in the brief verse mentioned above. They are as follows:

  • In this verse, there appears a word ‘Al-Ulama’ which is generally referred wrongly to those who have the knowledge of Qura’n, Hadith (Prophetic Traditions),Fiqh(Islamic Jurisprudence)andKalam(dialecticism). But, in reality, this is nothing but a terminological and customary sense, since, according to the Holy Qura’n, the word ‘Ulama’ does not refer only to these types of people. Rather, in its real sense, contextually it refers to those Ulama who are blessed with the noble characteristic of Allah’s recognition through deep consideration in the natural phenomenon. Thus, it includes also those scientists and intellectuals who explore Allah, the Almighty based on their discovery and research.

Similarly, it also applies to those who although do not know how to read and write, yet they recognize Allah, the Exalted through the appropriate use of their intellect. In short, the word ‘Ulama’ here refers to those who have the great characteristic of Allah’s recognition either it is through the teachings of the Holy Qura’n, Hadith or the procedure of pondering into the universe.

Thus, we reach the conclusion that one cannot be referred as an ‘Alim’ if he does not possess the extraordinary characteristic of Allah’s recognition however man of knowledge he is.

The second fact is that word ‘Ilm’ refers to the fear of Allah, the Almighty while the fear refers to a sense felt due to the reverence or awe of something great and elevated. What is meant to reveal here is that the acquisition of knowledge of Allah’s person and attributes should result in His awe. One’s heart should be trembled with the sense of His ultimate power and authority and the sense of His awe must remain in his heart every moment of his life. By chance, if one does not have such type of sense even after the acquisition of knowledge, it is of no avail and he is not worthy of being labeled as an ‘Alim’. As a well-known Tabi (the successor of Prophet’s Companion), Hazrat Rabi Bin Anas (R.T.A.) is quoted to have said:

مَن لَّم یَخش فَلَیسَ بِعَالِمِ

One who does not fear Allah is not an Vim.

Similarly, a well-known commentator of the Holy Qura’n is reported to have said:

لَیْسَ الْعِلْمُ بِکَثْرَۃِ الْحَدِیْثِ وَلٰکِنَّ الْعِلْمَ بِکَثْرَۃِالْخَشِیَّۃِ

Meaning, Memorizing many ahadith (or, talking a lot) is no ‘Um (knowledge). Instead, (real) knowledge comes when one has the awe and fear of Allah with it.

With regard to Allah’s awe, we must realize the fact that the attainment of Allah’s pleasure is possible only through the medium of it. As Allah, the Almighty says describing the excellence of the blessed companions of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.):

جَزَآؤُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنّٰتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِىْ مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْاَنْهٰرُ خٰلِدِيْنَ فِيْهَاۤ اَبَدًا رَضِىَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوْا عَنْهُ ذٰلِكَ لِمَنْ خَشِىَ رَبَّهٗ (8)

Quran Ayah Data not found….for Surah:98, Ayah:8 and Translation:24

Quran Surah:98 Ayah:8

“Allah is well pleased with them, and they are well pleased with Him. That (reward) is for him who has awe of his Lord.”

In the verse mentioned above, the attainment of Allah’s pleasure has been conditioned with His awe, since its attainment is possible only through His awe while it is attained only through knowledge. Thus, knowledge is a basic and fundamental thing. Hence, the acquisition of knowledge too is has been declared as an strict obligation in these words:طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِیْضَۃ عَلیٰ کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ وَ مُسْلِمَۃٍ۔

  • The third fact known through this verse is that Allah’s awe is not something demanded temporarily, rather, permanently. It is for this reason that the word ‘يخشي’ used here is in the form of present present perfect. Thus, when Allah’s awe is demanded permanently, knowledge too comes in the same category. Hence, it is commanded that:

اُطْلُبِ الْعِلْمَ مِنَ الْمَھْدِ اِلَی الّلحدِ

“Seek knowledge from cradle to the grave.’ No aspect of our life should be devoid of knowledge.”

In fact, those who having obtained knowledge to a certain extent presume that now they need not to seek any further knowledge are certainly on wrong side. Because, knowledge is such a deep ocean that it knows no boundary and limit. The more you dive in it they more you benefit from it and to the same proportion you will attain Allah’s awe.

Normally, it is supposed that since after one grows old he becomes extremely busy and he can hardly spare his time to obtain knowledge, and on the same pretext they deem it not necessary to seek further knowledge which is totally irrational.One requires knowledge so long as he is alive. Then, what was the reason that a noble companion like Hazrat Umar Bin Khattab (R.T.A.) made an agreement with one of his neighbors that, during the whole day, he (his neighbor) would collect the pearls of knowledge attending the blessed gathering of the Holy Prophet ﷺ while he himself would be engaged in earning livelihood while he would narrate all that he learnt from the Holy Prophet ﷺto him in the evening. Similarly, it would be his turn the next day.

Do we not have lesson in this way of learning which can urge us to spare our time also from our hectic schedule for this noble cause rather than paying no heed towards it and keep it aside forever?

May Allah, the Almighty save us against such a gravest negligence!

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