Which knowledge must be acquired?
In this article, you can learn about the following:
KNOWLEDGE THAT IS OBLIGATORY, COMPULSORY AND NECESSARY
Learning five types of knowledge is obligatory for every sane and Baaligh Muslim:
1. Islamic doctrine, i.e. knowing those beliefs that lead one to become a true Muslim, and rejecting which would result in one leaving the folds of Islam or becoming a deviant
2. Necessary rulings of worship (e.g. Salah, Fasting, Hajj, Zakah, et and interpersonal relations (e.g. employment, business and other matters of such nature pertaining to an individu
3. Matters of Permissibility and Impermissibility (e.g. eating food, clothing, beautification, trimming of the nails, cutting of the hair, naming, borrowing items for temporary use, taking out or giving a loan, being entrusted with or entrusting an item, giving or receiving gifts, taking an oath, making a will, distributing estate, et. Knowing the essentials of outward sins also falls under this category
4. Essential knowledge about the acts that lead to destruction and the methods of protecting oneself from them
5. Essential knowledge relating to acts that lead to salvation and the methods of attaining them.
طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِیْضَۃٌ عَلٰی کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ
The Holy Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated: ‘طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِیْضَۃٌ عَلٰی کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ’ ‘Seeking Knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.’ (Ibn-e-Majah, vol. 1, p. 146, Hadith 224) It is not the contemporary worldly education of schools and colleges that is referred to in this Hadith, rather it is the obligatory religious knowledge. For this reason, it is necessary to first gain knowledge of Islamic doctrine. Then, the obligations and preconditions of Salah should be learnt, including those things which render the Salah as correct and those that invalidate it. Upon the arrival of the blessed month of Ramadan, the one who has a religious obligation to fast must learn the necessary rulings of fasting. The individual who is obligated to give Zakah must learn the necessary rulings of Zakah. Likewise, it is an individual obligation for the one upon whom Hajj is obligatory, the one wishing to have his Nikah performed, the businessman in relation to his business, the purchaser in relation to buying, the employee and the employer in relation to wages, and similarly, upon every sane and Baaligh male and female Muslim to learn about the rulings pertaining to their current circumstances. Likewise, it is obligatory upon everyone to learn about the necessary rulings of Halal and Haraam. Moreover, it obligatory upon every Muslim to learn about the matters that are linked to the heart (i.e. obligatory knowledge about one’s inner state) and how to attain them such as humility, sincerity, reliance on Allah Almighty, etc. and inner sins, such as arrogance, ostentation, showing off, jealousy, negative assumption, enmity and rancour, rejoicing at another’s loss, etc. and how to cure them. (For detailed information, read the written work of A’la Hadrat, Maulana Shah Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه from pages 613 to 624, volume 23 of Fatawa Razawiyyah. It is also obligatory to learn about those actions which lead to destruction, such as breaking promises, lying, backbiting, tale telling, falsely accusing, unlawful gazing, deceiving, causing harm to Muslims, etc. and all major and minor sins so that one can refrain from them. (Nayki ki Da’wat, p. 135-136)
Recommended books on Obligatory Knowledge
1. To learn about Islamic doctrine, at least the following books should be covered: 1. Level: (1) ‘Deen ki Zaroori batain’ Part 1, 2, 3 and 4 (on Farz Uloom website) (2) ‘Kitab-ul-‘Aqaaid’ (by Mufti Na`eem-ud-Deen Muradabadi رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه) (3)‘Bunyadi ‘Aqaaid Aur Ma’loomat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat’ 2. Level: (4) ‘Bahar-e-Shari`at’ (part 1) (5) Kufriyah Kalimat kay Baray mayn Suwal-o-Jawab (6) ‘Das ‘Aqeeday’ (A simplified version of ‘Ala Hazrat Maulana Shah Imam Ahmad Raza Khan’s booklet اعتقاد الاحباب فی الجمیل و المصطفیٰ والاٰل والاصحاب with footnotes
2. To learn about necessary rulings [of worship], at least the following should be covered: 1. Level: i. ‘Deen kay Masaayil’ Part 1, 2, 3 and 4 (on Farz Uloom website) ii. Laws of Salah iii. 50 Madani Pearls of Earning Halal Sustenance (for employees and employers) 2. Level: v. Deen kay Masaa`il Part 4 vi. Read Bahar-e-Shari`at¬¬ from part 2 to part 8, from part 11 بیع وشراء (necessary rulings of buying and selling), from part 10 شرکت (partnership) and read about Ijarah from part 14 (for necessary rulings for an employer and employee) Note: It is necessary to learn about all those things that one is associated with. For example, it is necessary for someone who wishes to collect donations for an Islamic institute to learn about the important rulings of collecting donations. (For this, read the book, ‘Questions and Answers about Donations)
3. For important Islamic rulings of Halal and Haraam and necessary knowledge about outward sins, at least the following should be covered: 1. Level: i. 101 Madani Pearls ii. 163 Madani Pearls iii. Gunahaun kay `Azabaat (All parts) 2. Level: iv. Sunnatayn aur `Adaab v. Parday kay Baray mayn Suwal-o-Jawab vi. Tajheez-o-Takfeen ka Tareeqah (to learn about a woman’s waiting period and bereavement) vii. Bahar-e-Shari’at (part 16 from beginning to end) and a booklet, ‘Qasam kay Baray mayn Suwal-o-Jawab’ (regarding taking an oath); the chapters on `Aariyat (regarding borrowing items), Amanat (entrusting items) and Hibah (giving and receiving gifts) from part 14 of Bahar-e-Shari’at; the chapters on Qarz (loan) and Riba (usury) from part 11 of Bahar-e-Shari’at; the chapter on Wasiyyat (Islamic will) from part 19, viii. Talaaq kay Aasan Masa’il (regarding divorce) ix. Don’t be Deceitful about Inheritance (regarding distribution of estate etc.)
4 and 5. For knowledge of spiritual diseases and acts leading to salvation, Study: Level 1: i. ‘Pakeezah Zindagi’ Part 1, 2, 3 and 4 (on Farz Uloom website) ii. Baatini Beemariyon ka `Ilaj iii. Najaat Delaney wale A`maal ki Ma`loomat iv. Baitay ko Naseehat Level 2: v. Minhaj-ul-`Aabideen vi. Backbiting: A Cancer in Our Society vii. Kimiya-e-Sa’adat. Books on Rectifying One’s Intention i. Sawab Barhanay kay Nuskhay ii. Bahar-e-Niyyat Level 3: (Additional helpful books on Obligatory Knowledge) i. All books and booklets of Shaykh-e-Tareeqat, Ameer-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat, Allamah Maulana Muhammad Ilyas `Attar Qadiri Razavi دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ ii. Tamheed-ul-Iman iii. All of Bahar-e-Shari’at iv. Ihya-ul-`Uloom (Complete) v. Fatawa Razawiyyah (Complete) vi. Jahannam main Lay Jaanay Walay A`maal vii. Jannat main Lay Jaanay Walay A`maal Note: 1. All the points mentioned in the above books are not relevant to ‘Farz Uloom’. However, all these books are surely helpful in acquiring Farz Uloom. 2. It is not necessary that every ruling relating to one’s need is found in these books. In order to learn the rulings related to one's needs, one should remain connected with the noble scholars, Muftis and Dar-ul-Ifta Ahl-e-Sunnat in order to gain knowledge of rulings related to one's need, besides reading these books.
1. All the aforementioned books can be purchased from Dawat-e- Islami’s Maktabah-tul-Madinah
2. Classification of levels from 1 to 3 is for the purpose of ease. However, parents are advised to teach their children the level 1 books, in accordance with their level of understanding, before they become Baaligh, or make arrangements for someone to teach them, (or make them study these books [that are] available on www.farzuloom.net. according to age). The best way would be to have question and answer sessions with the children about these works on an ongoing basis. A boy may become Baaligh at the age of 12, whereas a girl may become Baalighah at the age of nine. On page 560, volume 11 of Fatawa Razawiyyah, it is stated (summarised): A boy can become Baaligh at the earliest at the age of 12, and a girl can become Baalighah at the age of nine.
3. Through Dawat-e-Islami’s department ‘Faizan Academy (Online)’, Some types of obligatory knowledge can be learnt (it is to be noted that a fee is charged in this department). Parents must remember that whether our children are educated and nurtured by a Sunni scholar or Qaari [with sound beliefs] or are admitted into any Sunni institute, the development of the child’s character and learning (of obligatory knowledge) should be reviewed. In order to achieve this, parents must also develop this ability within themselves.
4. Before marriage, youngsters should endeavour to learn how to manage domestic affairs, and immediately after marriage, they should spend time in the company of experienced scholars (who are married) to learn how to nurture children.
5. Someone who has become Baaligh and remained negligent in gaining obligatory knowledge, he should repent to Allah Almighty and instantly engage in acquiring this knowledge. The level 1 books should be consulted and understood first. One should remain connected with the noble scholars, Muftis and Dar-ul-Ifta Ahl-e-Sunnat in order to gain knowledge of of the rulings related to one's needs.
6. Based on one’s circumstances, a schedule should be formed with time allocated for acquiring obligatory knowledge, recitation and understanding of the Noble Quran, and in particular, for nurturing children. If someone is competent at acquiring obligatory knowledge through self-study, then proceed with this. And if someone is not able to do this, then one must study with a teacher (Madrassa-tul-Madinah) Online’s facility can be utilised for this. In allotting time for self-study, consideration should be given to one’s daily routine, health, business and domestic matters. For example, once you become free after Fajr Salah, if you feel fresh enough to read for half an hour or an hour, then you should so. Or if someone has his own business and has time after Zuhr Salah, then he should study “Obligatory knowledge” in that time. In the evening or before going to bed, time should be spent with children whilst creating an environment conducive to reading, educating and discussion. Never forget to say this statement to your children: ‘Is there anything I can do for you my child?’ (اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه you will witness the benefit of saying this). If half an hour can be allocated after Maghrib, then the books of Ameer-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat, Allamah Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Attar Qadiri Razavi دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ should be read. Attend Madrassa-tul-Madinah Baalighan in the evening. If this is not possible, then make arrangements to study the Holy Quran online.
Note: If one has Qada (the missed) Salahs to perform, he should make it part of his schedule, for it is necessary to perform these [Qada Salah] as soon as possible. However, it is permissible to delay performing these missed Salahs because of the upbringing of children and the provision of their basic needs. Therefore, one can keep doing a job and perform Qada Salahs as well in his leisure time until they [Qada Salahs] are complete. (Durr-e-Mukhtār, pp. 646, vol. 2) Similarly, one (especially Islamic sisters) should complete Qada fasts as soon as possible. The ruling is that one should complete Qada fasts before the arrival of the next Ramadan-ul-Mubarak. It is mentioned in a Hadith: “The one who has to keep fasts of the previous Ramadan-ul-Mubarak ad Qada but he does not keep [fasts], his fasts of the current5 Ramadan-ul-Mubarak will not be accepted.” (Majma’-uz-Zawāid, pp. 415, vol. 3)
7. Personal targets should be set for self-study, and also for children’s lessons. Allocate 22 days in a month for reading. A day’s gap should be fixed every week, as should a day for any other urgent matters. This is so that studying does not become an obstacle in serving one’s parents and fulfilling the needs of the family and children. In regards to the timing and book you have selected, count the number of pages you have read in one day and based on this, a target should be set for the entire month and you should review it on a monthly basis. اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه the benefit of doing so will become apparent.
8. Upon completing the books of all the levels, as well as revising them, one should consult Islamic scholars who are experts in obligatory knowledge to recommend additional books.
In addition to this, what else is necessary to learn?
In addition to obligatory knowledge, it is also important to learn the following: i. Being able to recite the Holy Quran with correct pronunciation [Tajweed]. ii. Correct recitation of the Azkaar of Salah (i.e. all of what is recited other than the Tilawat). iii. Whatever has been memorised from the Quran must be retained. iv. Knowledge that is compulsory A’la Hadrat Imam of Ahl-us-Sunnah, Maulana Shah Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه has stated as follows: ‘to learn enough Tajwīd that one is able to correctly pronounce every letter and save himself from mistakes in recitation is Farḍ-e-‘Ayn [compulsory for every single Muslim].’ (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 6, p. 343) (Tilawat ki Fazeelat, p. 19) If anyone mispronounces a letter of the Holy Quran, it is compulsory for him to learn how to pronounce it correctly. In fact, numerous Islamic scholars have not placed a limit on attempting to pronounce it correctly and issued the ruling that one should spend day and night throughout his life in correcting its pronunciation; and this effort should continue making effort until one has learnt how to recite the Holy Quran correctly. (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 6, p. 262)
1. In Salah, if such a mistake occurs in the recitation of the Holy Quran or Azkaar of Salah (recitation of other than the Holy Quran in Salah) which distorts the meaning, the Salah will become Faasid (invalid). (Durr-e-Mukhtar ma’ Rad-dul-Mukhtar, vol. 2, p. 473) (Namaz kay Ahkam, vol. 75) Islamic scholars have stated the Salah of the one who recites the عَظِیْم of سُبْحٰنَ رَبِّیَ الْعَظِیْم as عَزِیْم (ز in place of ظ) is invalid. Therefore, anyone who cannot recite ‘عَظِیْم’ correctly should recite سُبْحٰنَ رَبِّیَ الْکَرِیْم. (Qanoon-e-Shari’at, p. 186) (Namaz kay ahkam, p. 38)
2. The Holy Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said: ‘Whoever recites the Quran and then forgets it will meet Allah Almighty on Judgement Day as a leper.’ (Abu Dawood, vol. 2, p. 107, Hadees 1424) Sadr-ul-Shari`ah, Badr-ut-Tareeqah, Allamah Maulana Mufti Muhammad Amjad `Ali A’zami رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه states: Learning the Quran and then forgetting it is a sin.’ (Bahar-e-Shari’at, vol. 1, p. 552) Whoever memorises verses of the Holy Quran and then forgets them will be resurrected on Judgement Day as blind. (Part 14, Surah Tauha, verse 144) `Ala Hazrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه states: ‘Who is more foolish than the one whom Allah Almighty bestows with such spirit and he loses it with his own hands. If he had known the value (of memorising the Holy Quran) and the reward and status that has been promised for this, he would have held it dearer than life.’ Ala Hazrat رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه further adds: ‘As much effort as possible should be made in [encouraging] its recitation and memorisation, as well as retaining it oneself. This is so that the reward that has been promised for doing so is attained and salvation is gained from being resurrected on Judgement Day as a blind leper. (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 23, p. 445-447) (Beemar `Abid, p. 28)
3. Acquiring knowledge of those things that are an obligation upon individuals is an individual obligation; acquiring knowledge of those things that are a communal obligation is a communal obligation; acquiring knowledge of those things that are compulsory is compulsory; and acquiring knowledge of those things that are preferable is preferable. (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 23, p. 687) Through following our given syllabus (i.e. its levels), knowledge that is compulsory will also be acquired, as will knowledge of the emphasised Sunnah اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه. Acting upon the emphasised Sunnah and [possessing] knowledge of it holds great significance. The emphasised Sunnah is that Sunnah whose abandonment on a rare basis is something bad and making a habit of leaving it out is a sin. (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 1, Mukherrajah, p. 595, Summarised)
Some Suggested Madani Pearls
1. In order to act upon the aforementioned Madani pearls, admit your children (boys and girls) to Madrassa-tul-Madinah and from time to time, review their progress.
2. Islamic brothers should participate in Madrassa-tul-Madinah Baalighan, and Islamic sisters should attend Madrassa-tul-Madinah Balighat
3. Islamic brothers should participate in Madrassa-tul-Madinah Baalighan, and Islamic sisters should attend Madrassa-tul-Madinah Balighat
4. Whether it is a matter of correcting the recitation of the Holy Quran or one’s Salah, do not forget your relatives, in particular your parents, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, neighbours, employees, etc. In short, do not forget those who you know. During every ceremony, dinner party and any other occasion, do not forget to better the hereafter of those who you know. If elder members of the family or one’s parents are present, humbly advise them in relation to reciting the Quran correctly, acquiring obligatory knowledge, offering Salah and getting their children occupied with such matters. (اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰہ Dawat-e-Islami offers a Madani Qa’idah and Nazirah course, as well as a Salah Course). Similarly, online classes are conducted to rectify one’s recitation of the Holy Quran and to teach the method of Salah. Nevertheless, it is not the case that all courses result in one having complete knowledge of those things that are obligatory to learn or that one’s recitation of the Quran definitely becomes correct.ک
5. Make a habit to recite the Holy Quran daily and complete its recitation at least once in a year
6. This time, if possible, complete the recitation of the Quran by keeping a notebook with you to note down every verse, Ruku’ and Part (Juzz) of the Surah that you have memorised. Store this information somewhere (using the search facility in Al-Madinah Library to add items to a file is not difficult). Then, if possible, try to go over this every week, or every 10 or 15 days or every month.
7. Get the practical method by which you perform Salah checked by a Sunni Islamic scholar every year or at least once in a lifetime and recite [Azkaar of] Salah, etc. to an expert Qari. ۔
Acquiring Mubah (permissible) knowledge that is after acquiring obligatory knowledge
Provided that certain conditions are met, whoever acquires knowledge that is obligatory can [now] acquire knowledge that is permissible. It is stated on page 846 in volume 23 of Fatawa Razawiyyah: ‘For the one who completes acquiring the aforementioned knowledge that is obligatory to [now] study Geometry, Mathematics, Trigonometry, Geography and other [permissible] sciences in which there is nothing contrary to Shari`ah is a permissible act. This, however, is contingent upon there being no interference with matters that are deemed compulsory by Shari`ah’ (i.e. nothing compulsory should be forsaken because of it; and no sin should be committed). It is stated on page 693 in volume 23 of Fatawa Razawiyyah: ‘Subsequent to acquiring what is obligatory and learning the Holy Quran, there is no harm in studying any non-religious Urdu or Gujarati book in which there is nothing that opposes religion, [promotes] immodesty or negatively impacts one’s character or habits. The female teacher must also be a Sunni Muslim who is pious and modest. Allah Almighty knows best.
Getting engaged with optional acts after leaving obligatory acts
It is also mentioned in the narration of Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah رَضِىَ اللهُ عَـنْهُ that the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated: ‘Allah Almighty has said, “Whoever shows enmity to a friend [Saint] of Mine, then I declare war against him. And My bondsman does not draw close to me with anything more beloved to me than the religious worships that I have obligated upon him. And my bondsman continues to draw close to me through optional acts until I love him.’ (Bukhari Shareef, vol. 4, p. 248, Hadith 2502) In relation to the part of the Hadith where it states, ‘My bondsman does not draw close to me with anything more beloved to me than the religious worships that I have obligated upon him’, Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه writes: ‘There are many ways to draw close [to Allah Almighty], but the most beloved to Allah Almighty is through the fulfilment of obligations. This is the reason for Sufis to assert that optional acts are not accepted without fulfilment of the obligatory acts; their source [for this claim] is this Hadith. Shame on those people who are lazy in obligatory acts of worship but place strong emphasis on optional [Nawafil] acts of worship.’ Commentating on the part, ‘And my bondsman continues to draw close to me through optional [acts] until I love him’, he further writes: ‘A Muslim bondsman continues to perform optional acts of worship in addition to obligatory acts of worship until he becomes beloved to Allah Almighty; this is because he is someone who gathers obligatory acts of worship and optional acts of worship (i.e. he acts upon both).’ (Mirat-tul-Manajih, vol. 3, p. 308) The purport of this Hadith is not that one should leave out obligatory acts of worship and perform optional ones. Devotion refers to perfect devotion. (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 7, p. 410, Summarised) Remember that it is far more significant to gain knowledge of those things that are obligatory [Faraaid], compulsory [Wajib] and emphasised Sunnahs [Sunnah Muakkadah] and act upon them than it is to busy oneself in optional acts of worship. The Imam of Ahl-us-Sunnah, Sayyidi A’la Hadrat, Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه states: ‘Regardless of how virtuous a preferable [Mustahab] act is, if it is a cause of leaving out an emphasised Sunnah [Sunnah Muakkadah], it no longer remains preferable [Mustahab] —in fact, it will now be termed as a bad act.’ (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 23, p. 648, Summarised) Rather, he went as far as saying: ‘Much reprimand has been mentioned in Hadiths about the one who leaves out obligatory acts and busies himself in voluntary acts. That [voluntary] virtuous act of his has been declared as unacceptable. In another place, Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه writes: ‘O honourable man, an obligation [Fard] is a divine loan (i.e. it has been ordained by Allah Almighty), whereas an optional act [Nafl] is a gift. Is it acceptable to send unnecessary gifts and not return the loan? Especially in the court of the wealthy king of kings who is not in need of the universe and creatures?’ `Ala Hazrat رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه, then mentioning a Hadith, stated: ‘When the final moments of his blessed life arrived, the Prophet’s successor [Khalifah], Sayyiduna Siddeeq-e-Akbar رَضِىَ اللهُ عَـنْهُ called for the Leader of the Believers, Sayyiduna Farooq Al-A`zam رَضِىَ اللهُ عَـنْهُ and said, ‘O Umar, fear Allah Almighty and know that there are some duties to Him that are to be performed in the day, and if they performed at night, He will not accept them. And there are some duties to Him that are to be performed in the night, and if they are performed in the day, He will not accept them. And be warned that no voluntary act is accepted until the obligatory act is fulfilled.’ Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه further comments that Sayyiduna Ghaus Al-A`zam رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه has presented excellent examples in his book (فتوح الغیب) in reaching out to those who leave out obligatory acts of worship and instead perform optional acts of worship. Ghaus Al-A`zam رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه, said: ‘The example of such a person is like the one who is called by a king to serve him, and he does not present himself before the king. Instead, he remains busy in the service of the [king’s] servant.’ Further on, He رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْه mentions the saying of the Leader of the Believers, the Master of the Muslims, Sayyiduna Maula Ali Murtada کَـرَّمَ الـلّٰـهُ تَـعَـالٰی وَجۡـھَـهُ الۡـکَـرِیۡم: فان اشتغل بالسنن والنوافل قبل الفرائض لم یقبل منہ واھین ‘If one engages in Sunnahs and optional [Nafl] acts of worship whilst leaving obligatory [Fard] acts of worship, these will not be accepted, and he will be disgraced.’ (Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 10, pp. 179-180, Summarised)
(Department: Faizan e Farz Uloom)
Miscellaneous Islamic courses:
For acquiring obligatory knowledge: