Issue No. 956 - 21/Shawal/1432 AH
Corresponding to September 20, 2011 AD
* Mihrab Platform:
Understanding Religion Saves the Practitioners
Understanding Religion Saves the Practitioners
The main axes of the subject:
1- Understanding is learning religion
2- The best worship
3- The goodness that Allah favors.
4- Be not like the crude ignoramuses
5- Uniting Demands
Explaining the value of “understanding religion” and what does is stand for regarding the personality of the believer, the truth of being pious and the impact of this issue on the correctness and incorrectness of practice.
Exporting the Subject:
Imam al Kazim (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Learn the religion of Allah because understanding is the key to inception as it completes worship. It is also the reason that leads to high grades and values regarding religion and the world. Moreover, a scholar’s value to a servant is like the sun’s value to planets. He who does not understand his religion will not please Allah in any way.”1
Understanding is learning religion:
Understanding was quoted in the following verse of the Quran: “For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious.”2
Understanding means “learning religion and knowing how to understand.”3
This tells us that understanding resides between “Learning the verdicts of the Sharia and learning religion” coupled with the related issues and all other materials. This meaning was also indicated by the words of Imam al Sadiq (a.s.): “Race towards seeking knowledge, I swear in He who holds my soul that one Hadith on Halal and Haraam, learned from a believer, is better than this world with its gold and silver.”4
The best worship:
Seeking knowledge is an obligation that Muslims must practice and use all means for such a quest. For example, the Hadith narrates that the Prophet (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “Seek knowledge even in China. Seeking knowledge is a duty for each Muslim.”5
In a sermon that was addressed to the people by the commander of the faithful (a.s) as took to the rostrum in Kufa: “O people! Know that perfecting the religion is seeking knowledge and abiding in accordance. Seeking religion is a higher duty than seeking a living.”6
Understanding in this world is a higher duty than other duties of knowledge which man requires regarding his livelihood and the methods of life. Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “Allah (The Exalted) has never been worshiped in better ways than by understanding religion.”7
The prophet (s.a.a.w.) was also quoted as saying: “Everything has a pillar; the pillar of this religion is knowledge.”8
The goodness that Allah (The Exalted) favors:
Allah (The Exalted) in fact loves all his servants and will bestow his mercy upon all his creatures. However, there can be a special grace that Allah (The Exalted) may bestow upon certain servants than others; this – in no doubt – can be attained through Allah’s granted success.
In this field, we can understand the following quotation of Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.): “If Allah wishes to grant goodness upon a servant, he will make him understand religion, be ascetic in this world, and discover his flaws.”9
There is another Hadith that was quoted from the commander of the faithful (a.s.), which reads: “If Allah wishes to grant goodness upon a servant, he will make him understand religion, and will inspire him with certainty.”10
Be not like the crude ignoramuses:
Neglecting the knowledge of religion will distance man from the Islamic laws hence, will lead him towards being controlled by his modes and desires when practicing religion – and when understanding religion. This opens the way for the customs, tribalism and interests coupled with the application of discretion in legal matters. In the end, it will cause man to be extracted from the origins and will swerve the true religion and straight path towards the path of ignorance.
Commander of the faithful (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Let your youths imitate your adults, and let your adults be kind to our youths. Be not like the crude ignoramuses: neither they understand religion nor they are mindful of God.”11
The prophet (s.a.a.w.) dispraised those who do not give some of their time to learn the laws of Sharia and understand religion.
The prophet (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “Ugh to each Muslim who does not appoint one day a week in order to understand his religious issues and ask about his religion.”12
Scholar al Majlisi commented on the Hadith that reads: “One day a week can be any day, there is no specific day for learning.”13
This means one must appoint one day every week in order to learn the laws and issues of his religion. If not, he will be ignorant and lost; that is wasting the grace of belief that was bestowed by Allah (The Exalted) who granted man the shades of his mercy.
Al Shahid al Thani said: “The mere learning of these accounted issues is not understanding according to Allah (The Exalted), rather, understanding according to Allah (The Exalted) is that you cognize his power and majesty. He is the one that brings fear, awe and reverence.
Al Shahid al Thani (the 2nd martyr) said: "The mere learning of these accounted issues is not defined as understanding according to Allah (The Exalted). Instead, understanding according to Allah (The Exalted) is that man cognizes Allah's majesty and greatness, that Allah bequests fear, awe and humility and encourages man towards being pious and knowing the awful qualities so that he can avoid and the thankful ones so that he can adopt them…"14
This indicates two issues:
1- Understanding does not confine to only learning the laws of Sharia; it is also learning all the issues of the religion, topped by the true dogma and good qualities.
2- It is not only learning the laws and issues, rather one must also put them into practice.
These two points were verified through the words that were quoted from Imam Abu Abdullah (a.s.): "Allah will neither accept practice but through knowledge, nor accept knowledge but through practice. Therefore, whenever someone learns something, his knowledge will show him the way towards performance. He who does not put himself into action will lack knowledge. Faith is part of itself."15
1- Bihar al Anwar, Vol. 78, P. 321, H. 19.
2- Noble Quran, Surat al Tawbah, verse 122. It means “seeking specialism in understanding the ver-dicts of the Sharia”, this interpretation attributes to al Raghib al Asfahani in his book Gharib al Quran.
3- Tartib Kitab al Ayn, by al Khalil bin Ahmad al Farahidi, Vol. 3, understanding material, P. 1410.
4- Al Mahasin, by al Barqi, Vol. 1, P. 356. Mishkat al Anwar fi Ghorar al Akhbar, by al Tabarsi, P. 236.
5- Rawdat al Wa’ezin, by al Fattal al Naisabouri, P. 11. Mishkat al Anwar, P. 239. Bihar al Anwar, by Scholar al Majlisi, Vol. 1, P. 180, H. 64.
6- Al Kafi, by al Kulaini, Vol. 1, P. 30, H. 4. Tuhaf al Uqul, by Ibn Shu'bah al Harrani, P. 199.
7- Kanz al Ummal, by al Muttaqi al Hindi, H. 28752.
8- Kanz al Ummal, H. 28768.
9- Kanz al Ummal, H. 28689
10- Ghorar al Hikam was Dorar al Kalam, by al Qadi al A’midi, wisdom 4133.
11- Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 166.
12- Bihar al Anwar, Vol. 1, P. 176, H. 144.
13- Same above source.
14- Muniat al Murid fi Adab al Mufid wal Mustafid, by al Shahid al Thani, P. 157.
15- Al Mahasin, by al Barqi, Vol. 1, P. 315, H. 623. Al Kafi, Vol. 1, P. 44, H. 2.