Knowledge is an Obligation of every Muslim

Veröffentlicht: 29. Januar 2013 in Knowledge is fard ayn

Knowledge of the Deen al Haqq
by Shaykh Habib Ahmad

• Prophet Muhammad (saws) said: „Seeking Knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim.“ (Related by Ibn ‚Adiyy, Al-Bayhaqi & Al-Tabarani)

• Though this Hadith is known and memorised by most Muslims, the essence, the amount, and the kind of knowledge referred to in this Hadith remains misunderstood by many.
• If it is true that the knowledge incumbent upon every Muslim pertains to religious knowledge, or al-‚Ilm al-Shar’i, how deeply does one have to pursue his quest of this knowledge to fulfil his duties and discharge the learning obligations placed upon him? In other words, what are the minimum teachings that every Muslim – male or female – is required to know about his Deen?
Muslim scholars classify knowledge into two categories:
Obligatory Knowledge (fardh ‚ayn)

• This refers to knowledge of the fundamentals of Islamic beliefs which every Muslim must know Seeking this knowledge is an obligatory duty upon every Muslim. All obligatory knowledge deal exclusively with al-‚Ilm al-Shari’i, that is, knowledgepertaining to Islamic faith, acts of worship, and the necessary transaction in the daily dealing of a Muslim.

• This is not a duty required of every individual, but rather it falls upon the community as a whole. Hence, if a group of individuals in the community undertake to acquire this kind of knowledge, all other individuals will be exempted from this duty, and the whole community will be free from responsibility or negligence to acquire this kind of knowledge. Examples of such knowledge include studying Islamic law and other basic sciences, industries and professions which are vital for the welfare of the society.

• Unlike obligatory knowledge, optional knowledge covers part of Islamic knowledge and all worldly knowledge. The former is called al-‚Ilm al-Shar’i al Kifa’i (optional Islamic knowledge), while the latter is called al-Ilm al-dunyawi (worldly knowledge).

• Religious sciences: These cover all branches of Islamic Shariah, such as: tafsir (Qur’anic exegeses), fiqh, hadith sciences (known as mustalah al-hadith or ‚Ilm usul al-hadith), seerah (the Prophet’s biography), Islamic political science, (As-siyasah al-shar’iyah), Islamic history, etc.

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