Pursuing Islamic Studies but Worrying About Provision
Question: Assalamualaykum, I wish to partake in studying for quite a few years with Allah’s blessing, but I am afraid that I will not have the income to do so. I have full trust in Allah, but I’m also trying to see how I can also ‘tie the camel’. What should I do in my situation?
Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
May Allah reward you for your intention to seek sacred knowledge and may He give you ease in your path.
Virtues of Seeking Sacred Knowledge
The path to seeking sacred knowledge is of the most exalted deeds and one of the most rewarding and most beneficial actions that the servant can partake in.
Allah Most High says, “Can those who have knowledge be equal to those who have not knowledge?” [Qur’an; 39:09].
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever Allah wishes good for He gives him a deep understanding of the religion” [Bukhari].
Also: “Whoever travels a path, seeking therein (sacred) knowledge, Allah will facilitate a path for them to Paradise” [Bukhari].
Tying the Camel
With that being said, it is important not to jump hastily into anything no matter how virtuous that thing may be. Take the following steps to ensure that this is truly the path you want to take.
(A) Pray the Istikhara prayer (the prayer for seeking good).
(B) Consult respected people of your family/community or possibly the Imam of your local mosque.
If after these steps you are determined to seek sacred knowledge then you should make a plan. Where will you study? How much will it cost? Who can you get to sponsor your studies? Etc…
Having a Good Opinion of Allah
One should not let others drive them to have a bad opinion of Allah Most High.
Allah Most High says, “O you who believe, if you help (the religion of) Allah, Allah will help you and make firm your feet” [Qur’an; 47:07].
Also: “…and whoever is mindful of Allah, He will make for them a way out (of every difficulty), and provide him from where he can not imagine and whoever puts their trust in Allah then He is sufficient for them…” [Qur’an; 65:02-3].
It is inconceivable that a person has high intentions of seeking sacred knowledge of the religion, takes the proper steps of praying the prayer of seeking good (istikhara), and seeking counsel (Mushawara) – which are Prophetic teachings – that Allah would not look after their needs thereafter.
Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that there were two brothers at the time of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace). One of them used to come to the Prophet (i.e. to learn) and the other would earn a living. Then the one who earns a living complained to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) about his brother. So He (the Prophet) said, ‘Perhaps you are being provided due to him” [Tirmidhi].
The seeking of sacred knowledge often does entail great sacrifice. But like all sacrifice, it proves to have been worth it in the end.
Take the steps mentioned above, make lots of du’a to Allah, see where your heart inclines, and place your trust in Allah Most High.
Check the link below for more advice:
Istikhara: The Prayer of Seeking Guidance
How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)?
The Intentions for Seeking Knowledge – Imam Abdullah al-Haddad
May Allah increase you and all of us in knowledge and understanding of the religion and make us of his righteous servants who are beacons of light in times of darkness.
Hope this helps
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.