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'Ilm 5 – The Value of Knowledge-Religious & Secular

22 July 2016

The Ikhwan explain that the supreme purpose of this life is for the individual soul to rejoin its Divine Origin, and the process of unification and purification of the soul begins with Ma’refat and Walayat/Muhabbat (recognition and love) for the representative of the Divine in this world, the Imam uz Zamaan.  After Ma’refat and Muhabbat (recognition and love) of the Imam and his Dai, for the further purification of the soul the following virtues are required: 

  1. Acquisition of knowledge – ‘ilm 
  2. Good actions in accordance with this knowledge – ‘amal 
  3. Good character traits and virtues – akhlaaq.

This week’s article is the fifth article in a 10-part-sequence of articles on ‘ilm. This article outlines the Ikhwan’s emphasis on the value of all types of knowledge, whether religious or secular. “The Ikhwan us Safa maintain that all the many types of knowledge, secular and religious, practical and philosophical, are noble and confer respect and honour. Knowledge is life for the heart from the death of ignorance as rain is life for the dead earth… but by far they say, the most noble, subtle, exalted and wondrous of all knowledge is the knowledge of deen… Ilm of deen is food for the soul; in its pursuit is right-guidance and ultimately salvation.” Encouraging the reader in the pursuit of knowledge, the article concludes that “there is a vast chasm between ignorance and knowledge, in the eyes of society and of God; those who have not made any effort to learn will simply not understand or esteem the value of knowledge.”