Is It Sinful to Seek Knowledge without Trying to Become a Scholar?

Answered by Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Question: I have two things running through my mind. First, is it okay for me to want to study arabic and the sciences of Islam and not have a pursuit to be a shaykh? Also I don’t always agree with interpretations from our scholars.

Secondly, could you enlighten me more about interfaith marriage keeping in mind that I am a revert?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

May Allah grant you His enabling grace in seeking knowledge and make it a means of increased guidance and nearness to Him. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.” [Ibn Majah, Tabarani].

One’s intention in seeking knowledge should be fulfilling this obligation and recognizing that it is through knowledge that one is able to worship Allah properly. One should not seek knowledge in order to become famous online or otherwise–it should be internalized first and foremost, sincerely seeking Allah’s good pleasure alone.

Seeking knowledge is a source of reward, blessings, and guidance for those who do so for Allah’s sake. Doubts about seeking knowledge or fear of being held accountable for what one knows are deterrents from the devil. Do not be scared about seeking knowledge, but recognize it as a duty, and seek Allah’s assistance in its pursuit and implementation.

Secondly, when it comes to not agreeing with interpretations of scholars, there are a few things to keep in mind. Without knowledge, one is not really able to accurately disagree with scholarly opinions. Just because we may not personally agree with something does not necessarily mean that it is not true or does not have a basis. Also, when one seeks knowledge, the opinions of the scholars begin to make more sense because we learn the proofs they base their positions upon. As Allah states in the Qur’an: “Ask those who have knowledge if you do not know.” (16.43)

When looking to get married, know that the most spiritually sound and emotionally fulfilling way of doing so is the way taught to us by Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) . As Allah the Sublime and Exalted says in the Qur’an: “Another of His signs is that He created spouses from among yourselves for you to live with in tranquillity: He ordained love and kindness between you. There truly are signs in this for those who reflect.” (Quran 30.21). Also, even where a Muslim man may marry a woman from the People of the Book, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encouraged foremost marrying a woman of piety and deep connection to Allah and His Messenger.

And Allah knows best and His assistance is sought.

Amjad Tarsin

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani