(Surat Taha: 114)
And say my lord increase my Knowledge
Amirul Mumineen Maulana Ali SA spoke the words “knowledge is better than wealth” to his trusted companion, Kumayl bin Ziyaad, to assert the importance of knowledge in a world that is obsessed with materialism. The statement and its explanation are simple, yet profound and timeless. The words from Amirul Mumineen SA are especially relevant in the context of the ‘ilm and knowledge of Aale Mohammed SA but these words also apply to all types and categories of knowledge.
Amirul Mumineen SA said, “knowledge is better than wealth” (al-ilmu khayrun minal-maal). He added that, “knowledge protects you and you must protect your wealth” (al-ilmu yahrusuka wa anta tahrusul maal). He further added, “spending wealth decreases it, and knowledge increases when imparting it” (al-maalu tanqusuhun-nafaqah, wal-ilmu yazku alal-infaaq).
These statements are timeless. The pursuit of knowledge, whether of deen or dunya, is the noblest venture. The knowledge of Aale Mohammed encompasses all knowledge as explained in great detail in the Rasa’il Ikhwanus Safa. This week we begin the publication of the ‘ilm sub-series of the Ikhwanus Safa Articles, that will especially discuss the importance of ‘ilm in fulfilling our purpose of being on this Earth (see section on Ikhwanus Safa below).
The True Dawat, Dawat-ul-Haqq, has been through times of both great prosperity and extreme difficulty: from the peak of the Fatimid Empire to the time where Tayyib Imam AS went into seclusion; from extreme persecution in the time of Syedna Qutbuddin Shaheed RA to the peak of Dawat in the time of Syedna Ismail Badruddin Bawa RA. Oscillations are a part of life, just as there is night after day and day after night. Although each shift or oscillation may come with a cost, the mission of Dawat is never extinguished. Dawat survives because of the true knowledge of Aale Mohammed which lives within each Imam, and each Dai in his seclusion, who safeguards this ‘ilm and passes it on to his successor. It is with this knowledge that the Sahibuz-zaman offers spiritual nourishment to mumineen and guidance in the context of their times. It is this knowledge that has sustained Dawat for centuries, and it is this knowledge that will sustain Dawat till the end of time.
The heritage of this knowledge is with the successor of the 51st and 52nd Dais, Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin TUS. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA stated in his waaz that Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA had prepared many souls. Syedna Burhanuddin then referred specifically to himself and to his Mazoon and Mansoos, Syedna Qutbuddin as being prepared by Syedna Taher Saifuddin. The preparation of the soul is through the nourishment of knowledge.
Fortunate are those who follow Syedna Qutbuddin and nourish their souls with his knowledge. As the Qur’anic ayat quoted above says, we pray to Allah Ta’ala “O Lord increase our knowledge”.