Thariqah ‘Alawiyah – On Knowledge by al-‘Allamah al-Habib Zain bin Sumaith

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
اللّهمّ صلّ على سيدّنا و حبيْبنا وشفيْعنا رسوْل الله محمّد ابْن عبْد الله و آله و صحْبه و سلّم

Excerpts from the Book al-Manhaj as-Saawiy, Syarh Usuul Thariiqah as-Saadah Al Ba’Alawi

Know that the seeking and teaching of knowledge is the highest and foremost act of worship/divine service, a means to get closer to Allah ta’ala based on numerous proofs beyond enumeration.

Allah witnesses that there is no deity except Him, and [so do] the angels and those of knowledge – [that He is] maintaining [creation] in justice. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
(3:18)

Allah ta’ala begins the verse with His Self Exalted is He, followed by His Angels and then the people of knowledge. This is sufficient as an exaltation and veneration for the people of knowledge.

Our Master al-Imam al-Habib ‘Abdullah al-Haddad r.a. said, “Ignorance is the root of every evil and source of every danger.”

Hadiths on the Importance of Knowledge and Possesors of Knowledge

Muawiyah said, ‘I heard the Messeger of Allah s.aw. said, “Whoever Allah desires good (for him/her) He shall grant him/her understanding in religious matters.” (al-Bukhari, 71 & Muslim, 1037)’ The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said, “Nothing is of more utmost importance for ‘ibadah save understanding of religion.” (al-Baihaqi, Syu’ab al-Iman 1583)

The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. also said, “One Faqih (a person whom is granted understanding of religion) is more feared by Satan than a thousand ‘abid (a person who merely engages is divine worship).” (at-Tirmidhi 2681)

Sayings of the Salaf on the importance of Knowledge and its superiority over excess divine worship

al-Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Thalib said, “Knowledge is better than wealth. Knowledge protects you, while you have to protect your wealth. Knowledge increases when you share, while wealth decreases with sharing. Knowledge empowers while wealth is that which is overpowered. Knowledge grants the knower obedience in his life and a good reputation after his demise. Love for knowledge is a religious injunction. While wealth loses its good/benefit when it is no longer in one’s possession. The possessors of wealth are dead while still living, while the possessors of knowledge live on forever. Physically their have perished but they continue living in the heart.”

He k.w. also said, “Sufficient is knowledge as an honour. One who does not possess it loves claim towards it. Feels pleased to be associated to it (i.e. to be considered as a knowledgeable person). Sufficient is ignorance as an abasement as the ignorant one wants to be free from it and is angered when he/she is associated to it (considered ignorant).”

From Abu Dharr and Abu Hurairah r.a. both of whom said, “One chapter of knowledge that we learn is more beloved to us than a hundred cycle of optional prayers, and one chapter of knowledge that we teach, be it those that we practice or do not is more beloved to us than a hundred cycle of optional prayers.”


Importance of Writing down Knowledge

The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. said, “When the son of Adam dies, his good deeds are no longer accounted save three, charity, beneficial knowledge and a pious son that supplicates for him/her.”

The scholars intrepret that the charity here as wakaf, while beneficial knowledge as writings, transmitted teachings and fatwas issued. Al-Imam An-Nawawi r.a. said, “A teacher should direct his attention towards writing down (knowledge) if he possess that capability. Through writing, one gains a deeper grasp of the realities of knowledge and its details. The knowledge will be more entrenched in the person as the act (of writing) pushes him to do research, careful analysis, study, discuss etc.”

On the Importance of Adab (etiquette) over Knowledge

Ibn al-Mubarak said, ‘We are in need of a little Adab more than a lot of knowledge”. Imam asy-Syafi’i said, ‘Imam Malik said to me, ‘O Muhammad, make your knowledge good and adab fine'”

‘Abdurrahman bin al-Qasim said, “I served Imam Malik for 20 years, 2 of which I took knowledge from him while the remaining 18 years I learnt adab. How I wish that I spent all the years learning adab only.”

It is related that Abu Yazid al-Bustomi r.a. went out to find a man who was well known for his piety. Abu Yazid waited for him outside the mosque and soon saw the man exit the mosque and spat at the outer-wall of the mosque. Abu Yazid immediately left without meeting the man. He said, “A person who is not careful of the adab of the Law, will not be entrusted to the secrets of Allah.”

Supplications and litanies that is of benefit to the seeker of Knowledge

In the book al-‘athiyyah al-Haniyyah, al-Imam ‘Ali bin Hassan al-Attas said, “Make as a remembrance of Allah – from the Asma ul Husna a means to aid you in memorizing knowledge, to understand meanings, and speak unique matters concerning them – two of these names, al-Mubdi-u (the Initiator of Creation), al-Khaaliq ( the Creator). Recite them at least 100 times with no maximum limit. The way to recite is to say, ‘ya mubdi-u ya khaaliq.’

He (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Recite before sleeping (not the translation of course),

“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason.” (2:164)

as it contains numerous benefits, among which include, aiding a person to memorise the Quran, and not to forget whatever that has been memorised. Therefore recite it anytime before sleep be it in the day or at night.”

Things that aid learning and those that hinders it

It is said that there are several things that causes forgetfulness among which include, doing cupping behind then neck ( the dent/space between the skull and neckbone), excessive consumption of fine coriander, eating sour apple, depression, looking upon still water and discharging urine in it, looking at something/one that is crucified, reading too many tombstone inscriptions…eating from something bitten by mice. These are known through personal experiences.

Imam ‘Ali k.w. said, “There are three that increases memory and decreases phlegm/mucus: using the miswak, fasting and Quran recitation.”

Scholars mentioned that consuming 21 red raisins daily helps to strengthen memory and cure many ailments.

“…and say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge!” (20:114)


اَللَّهُمَّ انْفَعْنَا بِمَا عَلَّمْتَنَا وَعَلِّمْنَا مَا يَنْفَعُنَا وَ زِدْنَا عِلْماً

“O Allah, grant us benefit from that which You taught us, teach us that which benefits us, and inrease us in knowledge” a supplication of our beloved Prophet s.a.w. (at-Tirmidhi 3599) copy and paste onto Word doc and enlarge to see the arabic text.

And Allah knows Best!

To be continued Insha Allah :)

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