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Allāh’s Easing the Path to Paradise for the Student of Knowledge

Imām Ibn Rajab

An explanation of the interpretations of Allāh’s easing the path to paradise for the student of knowledge.

On the authority of Abū al-Dardāʾ (رضي الله عنه) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Whoever takes a path with the goal of seeking knowledge, Allāh allows that path to lead him to Paradise”1, in another narration: “Allāh eases his path to Paradise by means of it”2.

Imām Ibn Rajab comments:

Taking a path with the goal of seeking knowledge may refer to taking a physical path by walking to the gatherings of knowledge. It may also be interpreted with a more encompassing, general meaning. That is, taking a metaphorical path that represents a means towards the attainment of knowledge. For example: by memorising, studying, becoming acquainted with books of knowledge, reviewing the information therein, seeking to gain an understanding of its contents, or contemplating it, and the likeness of such methods that lead to the attainment of knowledge.

As for his (صلى الله عليه وسلم) saying: “Allāh eases his path to Paradise by means of it”, it may be interpreted in several ways:

  1. Allāh makes the attainment of knowledge easy for the one who actively seeks it, embarking upon its path. For, indeed, the attainment of knowledge is a path that leads to Paradise. This is like the saying of the Most High:

    وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ

    “And indeed, We have made the Qurʾān easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)?”
    (Al-Qamar, 54:40)

    A party among the pious predecessors said regarding this verse: Is there one who seeks the attainment of knowledge such that his attainment may be made easy?

  2. It may also be interpreted to mean that Allāh makes acting in accordance with the knowledge that is attained easy for its seeker, as long as his seeking of knowledge is done seeking the Face of Allāh. Thus, Allāh makes his attainment of knowledge a means towards his guidance, deriving true benefit from what he has learnt, and acting in accordance with it. For such is among the paths to Paradise which facilitates one finally reaching it.
  3. From its interpretations as well is that for the one who seeks knowledge with the intention of acting in accordance with what he has learnt: Allāh—the Most High—also eases his attainment of other beneficial forms of knowledge. Such that they represent another path which leads him to Paradise. This is similar to the saying: Whoever acts in accordance to that which he learns will be given knowledge of that which he did not know. Or as it has been said: The reward of a good deed is another one after it. This is also alluded to in the saying of the Most High:

    وَيَزِيدُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا هُدًى

    “And Allāh increases in guidance those who walk aright [true believers in the Oneness of Allāh who fear Allāh much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden), and love Allāh much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained).”
    (Maryam, 19:76)

    And His saying:

    وَالَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا زَادَهُمْ هُدًى وَآتَاهُمْ تَقْوَاهُمْ

    “While as for those who accept guidance, He increases their guidance, and bestows on them their piety.”
    (Muḥammad, 47:17)

    So whoever seeks knowledge with the goal of being guided in light of it [acting in accordance with it], Allāh will increase him in guidance and allow his attainment of other beneficial fields of knowledge all of which stipulate enacting deeds of righteousness. All of these paths will allow him to reach Paradise.

  4. From its interpretations as well is that Allāh—the Most High—allows the seeker of knowledge to benefit from his knowledge in the hereafter. Allowing him to embark upon the path of goodness that ultimately leads to Paradise—which is his traversing the Path [on the Day of Judgement] and that which comes after it. While also taking the path of goodness with regards to that which is before it from the magnanimous horrors of that day, and the severe, extremely difficult punishments associated with it.

The reason for the seeker of knowledge finding a path of ease to Paradise, provided the student of knowledge seeks only the Face of Allāh—the Exalted in Might—desiring only His pleasure, is that the attainment of knowledge proves the existence of Allāh in the easiest, most plainly evident way. Thus, whoever seeks its path, without deviation of any kind, will arrive before Allāh and Paradise from the easiest and shortest of routes. Thus, all of the various paths that ultimately lead to Paradise in this worldly life and the hereafter are made easy for him.

As for the one who embarks upon a path he believes is a path to Paradise while he actually possesses no knowledge of such an assertion, then he has embarked upon one of the most difficult paths, rife with hardship and toil. All the while, despite this difficulty, he shall never arrive at his intended destination.

Endnotes:
1. Authentic: narrated by Aḥmad and Ibn Ḥibbān and graded authentic by Shaykh al-Albānī in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Jāmiʿ: 6297.
2. Authentic: narrated by Muslim: 2699

Source: Majmūʿ Rasāʾil Ibn Rajab 1:12-13
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: December 26, 2023
Edited: December 26, 2023

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