Two: The Importance of Seeking Knowledge
by Shaykh Salih al-Ghursi
The following article presents the second set out of four counsels. These were recorded by the esteemed Shaykh Salih al-Ghursi for SeekersGuidance. They have been translated and transcribed with subtitles – the video can be found here.
Shaykh Salih al-Ghursi is a senior theologian and scholar of the rational sciences based in Konya, Turkey. He delivers a class for Dar al Fuqaha Seminary in Istanbul.
In the Name of Allah, the Encompassingly Merciful, the Particularly Merciful.
All praise belongs to Allah. Blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his followers, his companions, and those who follow them.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of sacred knowledge, or the Islamic sciences, is that it is the inheritance of the prophets (upon them be blessings and peace). On the other hand, wealth and power are the inheritance of other than the prophets. This is the greatest of merits of sacred knowledge: that it is the inheritance of the prophets. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Prophets do not leave behind dinar or dirham, but they leave behind religious knowledge, so whoever takes it has taken a great share.”
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) also said, “Whomever Allah wishes well for, He grants deep understanding of the religion.” Thus, of the distinguishing merits of these sciences is that they are a sign that Allah wishes well for the one who seeks them.
Another merit of the Islamic sciences is that its scholars are the inheritors of the prophets due to it. There is no humanly conceivable role greater than the role of the inheritors of the prophets. The one role that is higher than that of the prophetic inheritors is that of prophethood. And the role of prophethood was concluded with our master Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), the Seal of Prophets. The highest role attainable by human beings after the Seal of Prophethood is being an inheritor of the prophets. And the inheritors of the prophets are the scholars of Islam. A student of knowledge is in preparation to be an inheritor of the prophets. A student of knowledge should always be aware of this matter, keenly aware that they are being trained to be an inheritor of the prophets. This awareness will lead the student to observe Islamic character & etiquette and lead them towards striving and struggling towards what they are seeking from knowledge, which is the inheritance of the prophets. Thus, the student’s striving will be intense and persistent to attain the rank of the inheritors of the prophets.
In addition, the student of knowledge is being trained to lead the Prophetic community (ummah), leading the Prophetic community and driving it towards preeminence and leadership in the world. In Islam, prophethood was sealed by our master Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). Those after him who assume this leadership are the scholars and students of knowledge. The Prophet (Allah Most High bless him and grant him peace), says in the noble hadith: “The Children of Israel used to be presided over by prophets: Whenever a prophet died, another prophet would take over his place.” As for the nation of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), it has first presided over the Messenger of God (Allah bless him and give him peace). After him, the scholars have presided over it; and they will preside over it until the Final Hour. As is stated in another hadith—which, though its narration is weak, is sound in meaning—“The scholars of my community are like the prophets of the Children of Israel.” Just as the prophets of the Children of Israel were the ones who presided over the Children of Israel, the Prophetic community is presided over by the scholars.
The true leadership of the Ummah consists of the scholars of the community. As for political leadership—caliphs, emirs, and monarchs—their rule is but on the outward aspect of people,
in addition to the external protection of the boundaries of the state. On the other hand, the scholars are always those who have taken on rectifying the Ummah – protecting its religion, creed, faith, character, and understanding. They are the ones who lead it towards awareness regarding struggle in the way of God, and spending one’s self & wealth in the path of spreading Islam, and making God’s word the highest. Thus, those who truly preside over the Muslims are the scholars of the Umma. And the true leaders are the scholars of the Umma. Those who stand guard over the structure of the Umma are the scholars of the Umma, and they are the ones who move forth with it. This is because this community has been placed by God as a leader to the world, pre-eminent and giving instruction; and this is not realized except with the guidance from the scholars, their leadership, and their directing of the Ummah towards these virtues.
And peace be upon you, and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
Shaykh Salih al-Ghursi and Dar al Fuqaha
It is an honour to have Shaykh Salih teach within the Dar al Fuqaha seminary in Istanbul. Read about him here.