Pitfalls in the Quest for Knowledge

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  • Pitfalls in the Quest for Knowledge



    Some Ways to Protect Ourselves from these Pitfalls

    There are many ways that a young student can protect himself from these errors.Among them are the following:

    1.A student of religious knowledge should read works written on the etiquettes of seeking knowledge.Many scholars have written on this issue.A few of the more important of these works are as follows: 

    • · Ibn `Abd al-Barr –Jâmi`Bayân al-`Ilm wa Fadluhu (A Compilation Expounding Knowledge and its Virtues)
    • · Al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî –al-Jâmi`fî آdâb al-Râwî wa Akhlâq al-Sâmî (A Collection of Etiquettes for the Narrator and the Listener)
    • · Ibn al-Jawzî –Sayd al-Khâtir (The Pursuits of the Mind)
    • · Al-Sam`ânî –Adab al-Imlâ’wa al-Istimlâ’(Etiquettes of Writing and Dictating)
    • · Al-Nawawî –the Prologue of his work entitled al-Majmû`(The Collected)
    • · Al-Ghazâlî –the Prologue of his work entitled Ihyâ’`Ulûm al-Dîn (The Revival of the Sciences of the Faith)
    • · Ibn Jamâ`ah –Tadhkirah al-Sâmi`wa al-Mutakallam (A Reminder for the Speaker and the Listener)
    • · Al-Dhahabî –Bayân Zaghal al-`Ilm (An Exposition on False Knowledge)
    • · Al-Shawkânî –Muntahâ al-Arab fî Adab al-Talab (Reaching the Goal:Etiquettes of Seeking Knowledge)
    • · Sheikh Bakr Abû Zayd –Hilyah Tâlib al-`Ilm (Adornments of the Seeker of Knowledge)

    2.A student should be ever vigilant in monitoring himself.Whenever he does something, he should consider his state of mind and ask himself what prompted him to do what he did.He should not be unmindful of his own affairs.He should not rush headlong into things recklessly.He should think and ponder his moves,making sure he is not indulging his personal desires in the name of the Prophetic Sunnah.

    3.A student of religious knowledge should take his knowledge from trustworthy scholars.He should sit before them in humility and show them courtesy and deference so he can learn from them both knowledge and proper conduct.

    4.A student should keep the company of other students.He should give them advice and accept advice from them.These students need to act as mirrors for each other and point out each other’s faults and errors.

    5.A student needs to have a sound approach to acquiring knowledge.His desire for knowledge should not let him get carried away collecting information haphazardly.This may afford him some measure of “culture”,but it does not lead to any real knowledge.

    6.A student of religious knowledge must avoid major and minor sins.He should be as Ibn al-Mubârak says in verse: Disdain the sins great and small,for this is piety. Like a man treading on thorns,be wary of what you see. Belittle not the smallest sins,for mountains of pebbles be.

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