The Holy Quran is said to be "the highest miracle of Islam". But why would a book turn out to be the proof of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) prophethood? What does it reveal about Islam's attitude toward the issue of learning or seeking knowledge? How does a true Muslim seek knowledge?
There are many verses in the Quran about acquiring knowledge. The very first verse of the Quran that was sent to our Prophet starts with an imperative form of the verb "read" (Ighra) . Literacy and having knowledge is so important in Islam that Quran equals illiteracy to being in darkness [i]. Accordingly, it is the duty of any Muslim to try to learn. Besides, many Islamic scholars advise Muslims to strive for achieving knowledge. One of them is a quotation (hadith) from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “Seek knowledge, even if it is in China”. Considering the distance between the Arabian Peninsula (where the Prophet lived) and China as well as the lack of transportation 14 centuries ago, one can imagine how arduous it was to travel there. In addition to many life-threatening dangers, it is no exaggeration to say that it took several months to arrive there. This shows the emphasis on the importance of learning.
When the prophetic mission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) started, most people in his land were illiterate, so, he asked the literate ones to teach Muslims; even prisoners of war were granted freedom provided that they taught literacy to at least ten Muslims. It has been said that once, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) entered a mosque and saw two groups of people; one group was praying and the other was sharing knowledge. He stated that both of them were doing a good job, and then continued his speech by saying that he was sent to people by God “to teach” them. So he went and sat in the second group . When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was alive, there were places like schools where both women and men had the freedom to take part in classes. And, different fields of knowledge were learned including religion, literature, poetry, rhetoric, medicine, astronomy, etc .
A human being is curious by nature. We have been created with an inquiring mind. It has been said that all human beings are bestowed a gift, that is the brain as well as the desire for learning. The desire to learn is in our nature . In Islamic instructions, there is a huge emphasis on the value of seeking knowledge. It has been quoted from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP): “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”. It is a must for every Muslim regardless of their age, race, or gender . All people must have the ability and liberty to learn, teach, exchange, and share information. It does not matter from whom you are learning. As long as they have the knowledge, it would be perfect. There is an Islamic hadith from the fifth Imam of Muslims, Imam Muhammed Al-Bagher (AS), quoted from Jesus Christ (AS) saying that: “Learn knowledge from someone who has it and does not look at their deeds.” There is no kind of prejudice whatsoever in choosing the teacher. The only important thing is the learning itself. Besides, ignorance has been known as the root of many miseries; and knowledge is like a vast amount of treasure that never runs out.
- Ahamiyate Danesh-Andoozi az Nazare Eslam Akhlagh va Irfan
- Morteza Motahari, "Talim va Tarbiyat Dar Eslam [Education in Islam]", Sadra, p. 22, 2008.
- Soheyla Jalali, Derakhsheshe Zanane Mosalman Dar Arseye Elm va Farhang Dar Sadre Eslam Pajooheshgahe Oloom va Farhange Islami
- Morteza Motahari, "Moghadame'I bar Jahanbiniye Eslami. [An Introduction to Islamic Ideology]", Sadra, p. 274, 2004.
- Faeze Azimzade Ardebili, Hghe Amoozeshe Zanan Dar Eslam va Gharb [The Right of Learning for Women from Islamic and Western Viewpoint
This world is a bridge, pass it and don't get attached.
Sheikh al-Mufid, Al-Amali, p.43.
Everyone is after the reward [that comes at the end], and no one will get it except through hard work.
Mizan al-Hikma, hadith no. 22083.
Good for the ones who pray at the heart of the night; those are the ones who will inherit a lasting light.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.510.
A tree is perfected only through giving fruit, as faithfulness is only accomplished through avoiding what is forbidden (Haram).
Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.511.
Be careful about what you are looking at since the mere act of looking [at something inappropriate] will put the seed of desire in your heart, which would later turn into a disaster.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.502.
Good for the ones who make amends among people; those are the most cherished on the Day of Judgement.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.501.
O' servants of the world! You are like a lamp that gives light to people and burns itself instead.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, Hadith no.500324.
As you present modesty and humbleness among people in public, be modest and humble with regard to God in private.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, Hadith no.500325.
Verily, planting is only possible on arable land, not a barren one. Similarly, wisdom only grows in a humble and ready heart, not an arrogant and prejudiced one.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, Hadith no.500332.
Everyone looks upon the stars, but none finds his/her way using them, except the one who knows their places and how they work. Similarly, you will learn wisdom, but only the one who practices wisdom will be guided.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, Hadith no.500336.
Any offensive and inappropriate word that you say today will be responded later on the Day of Judgement.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, Hadith no.500341.
Water puts the fire out, just as patience calms anger down.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, Hadith no.500347.
Water and soil are the determining factors for a good harvest, just as knowledge and manner are the keys to perfect faith.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, Hadith no.500350.
The one who is only after this world is like a person drinking seawater; the more he drinks, the more he gets thirsty and finally will bring him death.
Warram b. Abi Firas al-Hilli, Tanbih al-khawatir wa nuzhat al-nawazir, vol.1, p.149.
Jesus Christ (PBUH) said to the apostles: "As much as you get tired in this world, you will rest in the other world, and as much as you rest in this world, you'll get exhausted on the world that is to come."
Ismaiil Jawuhari Farabi, Al-Sahah, vol.1, p.225.
Beware that the root of all evil lies in loving this world extremely.
Warram b. Abi Firas al-Hilli, Tanbih al-khawatir wa nuzhat al-nawazir, vol.1, p.129.
Loving this world and striving for the other world cannot come together in a believer's heart, as water and fire cannot be put together on a plate.
Warram b. Abi Firas al-Hilli, Tanbih al-khawatir wa nuzhat al-nawazir, vol.1, p.131.
If you want to be among God's friends and chosen ones, be kind to the one who does you wrong, and forgive the one who has done you an injustice, and greet the one who turns his face from you.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.503.
Whoever knows and brings what he knows into practice and teaches others, is considered a magnificent person in Allah's regard.
Warram b. Abi Firas al-Hilli, Tanbih al-khawatir wa nuzhat al-nawazir, vol.1, p.82.
The most wretched among you is the one who is only known by his/her knowledge, not his/her deeds.
Bihar al-Anvar, vol.2, p.52.
Another year has come around and another Hajj (holy pilgrimage) period has started for Muslims from all around the world. Those who have decided to take part in this year’s Hajj may have already made some preparations for this holy journey or are in the process of gathering their stuff and making arrangements. But even when we think we are more than ready, we find ourselves saying: “Oh, I forgot that!” right on the way to the airport!
Hajj is a journey that every Muslim is required to participate and loves to do so. However, according to Islamic principles, before deciding to take part in this occasion, you should ask yourself these three questions:
1. Can you afford Hajj financially? [i] (This includes buying tickets, hotel expenses, and your expenses during your stay in Mecca and Medina, etc.)
2. Are you physically able to perform Hajj rituals? [ii]
3. Is the route to Mecca and Medina (to which I recommend you to travel and have a plan for it) safe and open? [iii]
If you are positive about all the above questions, you are considered to be Mustati (i.e., obliged to take part in Hajj) . Then you can start preparing yourself for this journey. If not, don’t get disappointed. Pray to Allah to give you the necessary abilities for participating in the next year Hajj.
Hajj is first and foremost a spiritual journey. A journey to the depth of your soul. If you don’t know why you are taking all these difficulties, then your effort will lose its meaning. Like any other action in Islam, you should perform Hajj with the intention of Allah’s satisfaction and surrendering to His will.
Search for a travel agency which offers various Hajj packages and consult with them about the necessary documents you need in order to ask for visa from Saudi Arabia. You can also visit the website of Saudi Arabia‘s Ministry of Hajj for more information.
You can also ask your friends or acquaintances who have taken this journey before about the best travel agency for Hajj. Or you can visit the nearest mosque or Islamic center in your city, and ask the Muslims there about travel agencies.
Either way, make sure you know about the date, duration, accommodation, your representative there, and the type of transportation your agency offers within Mecca and to Medina. You can find some useful questions to ask from travel agencies on this website.
The best way is to google it. Try to have a clear view of all the places you will visit during Hajj such as Mina, Arafat, etc. You can download a map and see the locations. Also make sure you check the weather, to know which clothing best suits you. Typically Saudi Arabia is hot during Hajj rituals so be ready for a hot and sunny journey!
Since Hajj rituals take much energy and need a healthy body to complete the tasks before everything visit your doctor and have a check-up. If there are any medicines that you should use during your journey, make sure you get the prescription from the doctor and buy the medicines beforehandedly.
Hajj is a one-month journey, so you will need many things during this time. Here is a list of some necessary or useful things to pack in your baggage for Hajj:
An extra set of clothing (white underwear, trousers, hijab, white socks, etc.)
Waist Pouch (Fanny Pouch)
slippers (flip-flops, thongs), sneakers
towels (2 large, 2 small)
elastic eye-glass holder
sunglasses (or clip-on sunshades)
travel alarm clock
A scent-free lotion or Vaseline
A scent-free sun protection free
A medical face mask
toothbrush and toothpaste
small shampoo bottle
some plastic bags
Saudi Arabia’s Money (Rials)
Guidelines for Hajj
pen, pencil, notebook
A praying mat
A small copy of Quran, prayer and Dua books, Tasbeeh
Foods/Snacks/Water (some light food, like biscuits, cereals, nuts, dried fruits, etc.)[vi]
During Hajj rituals you will walk a lot. You should walk around Kaaba, walk the distance between Safa and Marva, etc. So, it’s important to have enough strength and be physically in good condition to be able to keep up with this endeavor.
Try to do some exercises and eat healthier food sometime before embarking on your journey to Mecca.
Yes, you need to write a will! Even if you are 25! But don’t worry it doesn’t mean that you won’t come back home. It’s just a way to make sure you have arranged all your worldly concerns properly, and you can start a spiritual journey with light and free soul. Make sure you consult with your lawyer after writing your will and legalize it.
You remember what happened at Mina two years ago, right? Many families were worried about their children, husbands, wives, etc. but they couldn’t reach out to them. So, it is very important to predict a proper way of communication with your hometown. This can be a Saudi Arabia SIM card or even any other SIM Cards that work abroad. You can also ask the hotel staff for their WIFI information.
Have an idea of the actions you need to perform during Hajj. Salam Islam has a complete guide to these rituals: Hajj, The Holy Pilgrimage. You can also buy a booklet or download an ebook about these rituals to have it with you during the journey. Then, understand the reason behind those actions. You can read our Philosophy of Hajj Rituals, to get a better grasp of the reason behind these rituals. This way, you will remember them more easily.
Most of the rituals during Hajj are time-bound. For example, you have only a few hours to perform stoning Jamarat. Also, the process of Ihram and actions in the Arafat need to be done during a certain time. So, you need to work on your time management so that you won’t lose any of those actions.
Hajj is not an easy journey. It is not a summer vacation. It is an Islamic obligation and a life-changing journey. During this time, you will face many difficulties, and sometimes you may find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of interesting yet difficult physical activities or prayers you are required to do.
However, think of it as a chance to be purified and as an opportunity to strengthen your patience. For, every precious reward comes after consistency and patience.
As you are well aware, Muslims are not just of a certain nationality or country. In every country and with every nationality, you can find people who believe in Islam. Hajj is a chance for this huge community to gather together and be unified despite their differences.
So, during your journey, you may encounter people with different colors, languages, outfits, etc. Try to be respectful and modest toward everyone, no matter where they come from or how they look.
During Hajj you might have to join a group. And you will be with them every day of this one month period. You will accompany them in every ritual and action. So, try to prepare yourself for more cooperation and sacrifice. Sometimes you may need your roommate’s help, and in return, he/she may need yours. Try to be nice and generous.
After all, you want to participate in Hajj for a good reason: Self-awareness. This is a journey to find out who we are and why we are here. So, practice on the good in you and try to improve them. Be the best you can be. And prove that you deserve Allah’s invitation.
[i] One of the requirements for Hajj to be obligatory for a Muslim is financial ability – i.e., you have enough money to support yourself and your family on your journey .
[ii] Another requirement for performing Hajj is physical ability- i.e., Hajj is not obligatory for the sick, the old or those who are either unable or would face severe hardship .
[iii] Another requirement for obligatory Hajj is Sirbi ability - i.e., the route is open and safe .
[iv] To buy Ihram you can follow these links:
[v] Make sure about the kinds of medications you are allowed to have with you according to Saudi Arabia’s airport costume.
[vi] Make sure about the rules of Saudi Arabia with regard to carrying food in your packages at the airport.
- Hajj, The Holy Pilgrimage