The Advice of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib Concerning Knowledge

  ʿAbdu-Ilāh Laḥmāmī

As part of the seminar, Knowledge: Its Path, Its Etiquettes and Its Importance at TROID, Aug. 2017; our respected teacher and elder, Ustādh ʿAbdu-Ilāh Laḥmāmī goes through the Advice of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib to Kumayl ibn Ziyād concerning the importance of knowledge.


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From the beneficial points made by our noble teacher:

  • Whomever Allāh wishes to guide, Allāh will open his heart to accept the dīn of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿāla) and whomsever Allāh misguides, he causes his heart to become constricted.
  • The hearts of the innovators and the people of desires are in a state of constant constrainment. As for the people of sunnah and tawḥīd, their hearts are content with what Allāh has given them; they are pleased with Allāh as their Lord, Islam as their dīn and Muḥammad (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) as their Messenger.
  • The people of sunnah and tawḥīd are the happiest people on the earth; a happiness attained through the study of the dīn of Allāh, and theirs is a happiness which money cannot buy. Shaykh Muqbil (raḥimahullāh) would say, 'If you were to give me the whole world to leave this dīn I would not accept it.'
  • Worldy possessions are worthless in comparision to the true guidance of Allāh. This dīn which Allāh has guided us to, there isn’t anything more pleasing to the fiṭrah than this, and that is why we must guard it in order to attain eternal happiness. We must constantly be in a state of checking ourselves, for none of us are safe from falling into misguidance.
  • The Rabbānī are the ones who fear Allāh the most because they have the most knowledge of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿāla).
  • We must protect us ourselves by returning back to the Qurʾān, the sunnah and the ijmāʿ which the Ṣaḥābah were united upon; protect ourselves by going back to the āthār of the Companions (raḍī allāhu ʿanhum ajmaʿīn) because they called us to that which was good.
  • What is appropriate for this conference is the great advice that ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib gave to Kumayl ibn Ziyād, a tabiʿī who was imprisoned in the year 882 AH and killed by Hajjāj al-Thaqafī due to his adherence to the sunnah.
  • The reality is that the one who calls to tawḥīd and sunnah will always be reviled, they are strangers; as Shaykh ʿUbayd al-Jābirī always mentions, do not think that you will have flowers laid out in front of you, since when one holds on to the sunnah and tawḥīd everyone becomes your enemy, all except for the companions of the sunnah, and how can it not be when the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said, 'My Ummah will split into 73 sects, 72 threatened with the fire and only one of them salvation.' The Companions asked, 'Which one, O Messenger of Allāh?' He said, 'The Jamāʿah.' And in another narration, 'That which I and my Companions are upon.'
  • Ibn Masʿūd (raḍi allāhu ʿanhu) said, ‘The Jamāʿah is whatever adheres to the truth, even if you are alone.’
  • The path is one, there are not many paths; the Jamāʿah is one, there are not many Jamāʿāt, and that is the sabīl of Allāh in ikhlāṣ. We do not call to ourselves, for indeed all of us will perish and leave this world, however the guidance of Allāh will remain.
  • This dīn is ikhlāṣ and ittibāʿ, it is not about opinion; rather it is adherence to the best path, the path of the ṣaḥābah.
  • This dīn requires sincerity and fighting your nafs and the shayṭān daily, asking Allāh for guidance and tawfīq to make your heart firm upon this dīn; because how many people came and went astray, how many people have slipped? Not one of us is guaranteed dying upon Islām, the matter is serious; it is Jannah or Nār, and that is why we have to hold on to these narrations, as can be seen from the statements of the Salaf who would say, ‘Upon you is to hold on to the āthār of the Salaf, even if the people abandon you' and, ‘Upon you is to follow the ḥadīth and its people, for opinion is night whilst ḥadīth is clear, and it can be that a youth cannot see the guidance while the sun is shining in its splendour.'
  • The ʿUlamāʾ are shining, and you don’t know who they are. Learn the Qurʾān, the sunnah and statements of the Companions and you will know who the ʿUlamāʾ are when you seek knowledge.
  • There are two things which the people waste most; free time and good health. Do not waste time. Learn the narrations and memorise aḥadīth and Qurʾān with understanding, and set your goals high. Ask Allāh for tawfīq.
  • This statement of ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib is narrated by Ibn al-Qayyim, Abū Nuʿaym and others. Ibn al-Qayyim (raḥimahullāh) says: ‘That which has been reported by Kumayl ibn Ziyād al-Nakhaʾī: "ʿAlī took hold of my hand and he took me to the area called Jabbāna (this area is an open barren land like a desert place) in order to advise me. So when he reached this land he said, after taking a deep breath, (indicating the heavy nature of this advice, “ O Kumayl ibn Ziyād, the hearts are like vessels, the best of these hearts are those that gather, memorise and understand..."'
  • The Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said, 'Whomsever Allāh wishes good for, He gives him understanding of the religion.’
  • People memorise as though they are memorising data, but as for understanding, then this is only given to those whom Allāh blesses, guides and loves.
  • The Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) made duʿāʾ for Ibn ʿAbbās (raḍī allāhu ʿanhu), to give him understanding of the religion and teach him tafsīr of the Qurʾān. Ibn ʿAbbās was from the most knowledgable concerning the Book of Allāh.
  • The opposite of knowledge is ignorance. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muljam was from the Khawārij. He memorised the Qurʾān and he was sent to Egypt to teach Qurʾān but he married a Khārijīyyah, those who call to revolution and those who went out against ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib. He became a Khārijī because she requested that her dowry be for him to kill ʿAlī; and so he partook in the killing of the 4th Caliph ʿAlī ibn Ṭālib (raḍī allāhu ʿanhu), the one whom the Messenger mentioned in the narration, 'Tomorrow I will give the flag to the one who loves Allāh and Allāh loves him.'
  • The Khawārij did not have understanding, yes they memorised much, however memorisation is of no use if it is not coupled with understanding.
  • Shaykh Rabīʿ ibn Hādī (ḥafiẓahullāh) said: the one who memorises but lacks understanding is dangerous; this is because the people think he has knowledge, yet he does more harm than good due to his lack of understanding.
  • The ʿĀlim Rabbānī is the one who teaches the important affairs, the affairs of tawhīd.
  • The one who seeks knowledge and learns is upon the path of salvation - not every ṭālib al-ʿilm is successful.
  • A person is upon the way of his friend, so look to whom you befriend, indeed the best companion is the ʿālim.
  • Knowledge is better than wealth, ʿilm will guard you, but you have to guard your wealth. Knowledge increases when you practise it and increases when you call to it, but when you spend your money it decreases.
  • The ʿālim benefits others by calling them to the obedience of Allāh.
  • The ʿUlamāʾ continue to remain and are always remembered with good.  

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