Pitfalls in the Quest for Knowledge
Praise be to Allah;we praise Him,seek His forgiveness,and turn to Him in repentance. We seek refuge with Him from the evils of our souls and the evils of our deeds.Whomever Allah guides,none can misguide,and whomever Allah leads astray,none can guide.I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone without partner,and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.
One of the most exciting aspects of the present Islamic Awakening is that a large number of our young people are going forward to seek Islamic knowledge.By doing so,they ensure that this awakening is firmly grounded in a correct understanding of Islam and that it will continue to be distinguished by right guidance.
It is the duty of the scholars to embrace these students,teach them,guide them,and honor them.The students of today will be the scholars and leaders of tomorrow.
One of the first things that a student of religious knowledge needs to know is how to go about the task of seeking knowledge.He needs to be shown clearly the proper way to attain Islamic knowledge and how to avoid the pitfalls that lie in his path.
Being heedless of these pitfalls can lead to unfortunate circumstances that can be very hard to remedy.They can send the student right off the path of knowledge into all forms of deviance.
The quest for knowledge is a passion that can lead to hastiness.There is a tendency among students to pluck fruit,so to speak,before it is ripe.
This is why I see it as my duty towards the next generation of promising students to point out to them the different mistakes and forms of deviation that new students are prone to.I speak from my personal experience in my own quest for knowledge and from the experiences of my peers and colleagues.I will cite real examples from the world we live in today.
It cannot go unnoticed that times change.Each generation has its own problems and circumstances.Therefore,we need to address topics like these over and over again in order to provide fresh insights.This may be the reason why scholars of every era have written on this topic,from the time of Ibn `Abd al-Barr and al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî until today.Each of these scholars had to wrestle with the problems of his time.He has to face a unique set of obstacles and hindrances and determine how to overcome them. I hope that this brief treatise will help to guide the student on his way.I ask Allah to guide us and put our affairs right.I pray that He lets us recognize the truth for what it is and helps us to follow it,and that he lets us see falsehood for what it is and helps us to avoid it.And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon his family and Companions.