Importance of Knowledge

The purpose of seeking knowledge: Knowledge is the information that we use to perform daily functions and plan future actions. When a child is born, Allah (s.w.t.) gives him or her some basic knowledge known as instincts. For example, as soon as a baby is born, it automatically knows how to cry and move his arms and legs. As we grow older, our experiences teach us lessons in life. We gain more knowledge of the world and what our purpose on earth is. As we learn about the world and the natural laws that govern it, it becomes evident that there must be an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful superior being who created life. We know this being can only be Allah (s.w.t).
Because Allah (s.w.t) granted us intelligence, it is our duty to seek knowledge, so we can understand what Islam is and how we can best worship and serve Him. Rasulullah (saws) has said:
The search for knowledge is a duty for every Muslim, male and female. (transmitted by Bukhari)
Therefore, it is the duty of every Muslim, man or woman, to seek knowledge. By studying Allah (s.w.t)’s creation, we feel a deep sense of awareness and respect for Allah (s.w.t) as our Creator, and thus, strengthen our Iman. The Holy Quran says:
Those truly fear Allah, among His servants, who have knowledge. (35:28).
Knowledge also protects us from the pitfalls that the Shaitan may mislead us into. As Rasulullah (saws) said:
One scholar is harder on the devil than a thousand worshippers. (transmitted by Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
If we know how to recognize good from bad, we can avoid wrong beliefs and make an effort to win the pleasure of Allah (s.w.t) through sincere worship and good deeds. One who struggles in pursuit of knowledge becomes very dear to Allah (s.w.t). Rasulullah confirmed this in the following hadith:
Whoever travels in search of knowledge is on Jihad until he returns. (transmitted by Tirmidhi and Darimi)
In addition to preparing for the Day of Judgment, knowledge is a valuable tool for living in in this world. Allah (s.w.t) has provided us many natural resources. Without knowing how to access these resources, life would be very difficult. We would not have many vital technologies, such as electricity, improvement of crops, and farming techniques, building dams for irrigation, and hydroelectric power, developing medicines to cure disease, among many others.
Value of educators: Because they teach the fundamentals of knowledge, educators are greatly respected in Islam. Without good educators, students cannot develop a strong foundation for their knowledge base. In fact, Rasulullah (saws) is reported to have said:
The ink of the ‘alim (knowledgeable person) is more precious than the blood of the shahid (one who dies fighting for the cause of Allah (s.w.t). (transmitted by Tirmidhi)
Therefore, a knowledgeable person deserves respect and consideration, because as an educator, they provide an invaluable service to humanity.
What is meant by knowledge? A Muslim’s knowledge base must include a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of Islam. In addition, one should be well-versed in Islamic law (Shariah), the sciences, languages, mathematics, agriculture, medicine, arts and crafts, etc. However, on the course of his or her non-religious studies, the Muslim is taught something that is contrary to the teachings of the Quran and Hadith, he or she must only follow what Allah (s.w.t) and His Messenger have said. We must never forget that Allah (s.w.t)’s knowledge is perfect and complete. The limited knowledge human beings do possess was also granted by Allah (s.w.t).
Source: Islamic Tahdhib and Akhlaq by Aisha Lemu.

Decency of Dress and Good Manners

Throughout most of the world we are now experiencing the summer months. These months are welcomed by many people because these are the times when people are more likely to do recreational activities and simply relax with their friends and family. However, during these often very warm days many people, especially ladies, may become more likely to wear revealing or inappropriate clothing. This is why I’ve decided to create this brief post about the importance of decency of dress in Islam to simply serve as a quick reminder.

The Purpose of Clothing

Part of being a good Muslim is to be modest and in turn part of modest living is decency in behavior, speech, and even the way we dress. Our dress not only affects how we look outside but represents what we are inside. Allah (s.w.t) says in the Quran:

O you children of Adam! We have bestowed garments upon you to cover your shame, as well as to make you beautiful. But the garment of righteousness, that is the best. Such are among the signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition! (7:26).

The main function of our dress is to cover up our shame and enhance our outward appearance. Furthermore, being appropriately dressed brings out from within us a feeling of wholesomeness and modesty which may not be apparent to the naked eye but is obvious from our behavior. Dress has two more important functions for human beings. Just as animals have fur to keep their body warm, human beings need clothes to conserve body heat and protect them against changing weather. Unlike animals, however, human beings also need to cover their nakedness to preserve their dignity and provide comfort to their bodies. Some would even argue that the way a person dresses also affects his behavior. If one dresses modestly, they tend to behave modestly whereas, if one dresses indecently, they tend to behave indecently.

Islamic Dress Code: Satr

According to the Islamic dress code known as Satr, mature girls and women should cover the entire body, except the face and the hands when they are out in public, or when men other than their close relatives are present. They may wear whatever they like in private. However, they should avoid nakedness, even in front of other women and close relatives. Men are also forbidden from wearing gold jewelry and silk clothing. Both men and women’s clothing should be loose and thick enough, so the shape of the body is not obvious.

Modesty in Dress and Manners

Islam discourages nakedness and extravagance in dress and behavior. Even Rasulullah (saws) the leader of mankind, lived very modestly. If he had desired, he could have lived like a king, having big feasts and wearing silken robes. Yet, he never had elaborate meals and dressed in very simple attire. He even shared in household chores. He never acted as if he was greater than anyone else, but his incredible qualities made him great in everyone’s eyes. His modesty and humility endeared him to people. When one learns to live modestly, they no longer needs fancy clothing or jewelry, or extravagant cars and houses. Therefore, jealousy and envy never enter their mind, and Shaitan’s temptations do not lure them as easily. They can stay focused on more important things, such as the remembrance of Allah (s.w.t).
Source: Islamic Tahdhib and Akhlaq by Aisha Lemu