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The Beloved Status of the Students of Knowledge: The Animate and Inanimate Seek Forgiveness for Them

Imām Ibn Rajab

Seeking Islamic knowledge as a path towards gaining the love of Allāh, living and even non-living things.

Narrated by al-Ṭabarānī on the authority of Jābir (رضي الله عنه), the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Every creature seeks forgiveness for the one who teaches the people goodness, even the whales in the seas.”1 It was also narrated on the authority of al-Barāʾ ibn ʿĀzib (رضي الله عنه), that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “The scholars are the inheritors of the prophets. They are loved by the denizens of the heavens. The whales in the sea seek forgiveness for them should they die until the Day of Judgement.”2

Just as forgiveness being sought has also been confirmed on behalf of the seeker of knowledge. Narrated in Musnad al-Imām Aḥmad on the authority of Qabīṣah ibn al-Makhāriq who said: “Upon coming to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), he said to me: “What has brought you?” I replied: “I have become old and my bones have turned soft. I have come to you such that you may teach me that which Allāh will allow me to derive benefit.” The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “O Qabīṣah! You did not pass by a stone, tree, or clod of earth except that it sought forgiveness for you.”3

يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا ‎﴿٤١﴾‏ وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا ‎﴿٤٢﴾‏ هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلِّي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلَائِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ ۚ

“O you who believe! Remember Allāh with much remembrance. And glorify His Praises morning and afternoon [the early morning (Fajr) and ʿAṣr prayers]. He it is Who sends ṣalāh (His blessings) on you, and His angels too (ask Allāh to bless and forgive you), that He may bring you out from darkness (of disbelief and polytheism) into light (of Belief and Islamic Monotheism).”
(Al-Aḥzāb, 33:41-43)

The saying of the Most High proves that Allāh and His angels send their blessing upon the people of remembrance. Engagement with Islamic knowledge is among the best forms of remembrance.

Also, narrated by al-Ḥākim on the authority of Sulaym ibn ʿĀmir who said: A man came to Abū Umāmah and said: “I saw in a dream that the angels send their blessing upon you every time you enter or leave and every time you stand or sit.” Abū Umāmah replied: “O Allāh! I seek forgiveness! Leave us be. For if you willed, the angels would likewise send their blessing upon you. Then he recited:

يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ ذِكْرًا كَثِيرًا ‎﴿٤١﴾‏ وَسَبِّحُوهُ بُكْرَةً وَأَصِيلًا ‎﴿٤٢﴾‏ هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَلِّي عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَلَائِكَتُهُ لِيُخْرِجَكُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ ۚ4

Some of the scholars have mentioned the wisdom behind every living creature seeking forgiveness for the scholars: It is because the scholars command the people with righteousness and to show goodness to all of the creation. Even that they display exemplary conduct when killing or slaughtering what has been made lawful for them among those creatures. Thus, the benefit of these scholars impacts every animal in existence. So, they seek forgiveness for them.

Also inherent in their seeking forgiveness is another matter. This is that all other created beings exist in a state of complete obedience to Allāh, completely submitting to Him, glorifying Him with praise and commemoration, except for the disobedient among the jinn and mankind. Thus, all of the obedient members of the creation love those who are likewise obedient. Is not those among them who truly know Allāh, fully recognise His rights, and are fully engaged in His obedience, more deserving of this forgiveness being sought? The one who can be described thus is loved by Allāh, purified from sin and praised by Him. Likewise, He orders His servants from the denizens of the heavens and the earth, and the rest of His creation, to possess love for them, and to invoke Him on their behalf. For such is their ṣalah on them [as mentioned in the aforementioned verse]. He instils in the hearts of His believing servants great endearment and love for them. As the Most High said:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَيَجْعَلُ لَهُمُ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وُدًّا

“Verily, those who believe [in the Oneness of Allāh and in His Messenger (Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم)] and work deeds of righteousness, the Most Beneficent (Allāh) will bestow love for them (in the hearts of the believers).”
(Maryam, 19:96)

This love is not only instilled in all living things, but even within inanimate objects.

[1] Authentic: narrated by al-Ṭabarānī in al-Awsaṭ: 6219 and graded authentic by Shaykh al-Albānī in Silsilah al-Ṣaḥīḥah: 3024.
[2] Weak: narrated by al-Daylamī in al-Firdaws 3:75 and graded weak by Shaykh al-Albānī in Ḍaʿīf al-Jāmiʿ: 3889, save for the statement “The scholars are the inheritors of the prophets” which was graded Ḥasan by Shaykh al-Albānī but confirmed in the ḥadīth of Abū al-Dardāʾ (see al-Taʿlīqāt al-Ḥisān: 88).
[3] Weak: narrated by Imām Aḥmad 5: 60 and graded weak by Shaykh al-Albānī in Ḍaʿīf al-Targhīb: 71.
[4] Ḥasan: narrated by al-Ḥākim in al-Mustadrak: 3565 and with two chains by al-Ṭabarānī, one was graded Ḥasan by al-Haythamī in Majmaʿ al-Zawāʾid 9: 387.

Source: Majmūʿ Rasāʾil 1: 28-29
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: June 22, 2024
Edited: June 22, 2024

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