Giving Priority To The Qur’aan

Author: Shaykh Aboo Anas Hamad al-‘Uthmaan

Source: An-Nubadh fee Aadaabit-Talabil-'Ilm (pp.61-66)

Published: Wednesday 26th October, 2005

Knowing One's Priority

Hudayfah (radi-Allaahu 'anhu) said:

The Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) related two matters to us. I have seen one of them, and I am waiting for the other. He informed us: "Trustworthiness was sent down in the depths of the heart of the people, then they learnt it from the Qur'aan, and then they learnt it from the Sunnah." [Related by al-Bukhaaree (no.7086)]

Al-Haafidh Ibn Hajr (825H) - rahimahullaah - said:

"His saying: "then they learnt it from the Qur'aan, then they learnt it from the Sunnah." So it occurs in this narration with the repetition of "then", which contains an indication that they would learn Qur'aan before learning the details of the Sunnah. And what is meant by the details of the Sunnah is anything that they would learn from the Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) - whether it was obligatory or recommended." [Fathul-Baaree (13/39)]

Al-Maymoonee said:

I asked Aboo 'Abdullaah (Imaam Ahmad) which is more beloved to you, that I should begin teaching my son the Qur'aan or the Hadeeth? He said: "No! The Qur'aan." I said: Shall I teach him all of it? He replied: "Unless that is difficult, in which case teach him some of it." Then he said to me: "If he begins reciting first, then he will learn correct recitation and will persevere in it." [Related by Ibn Muflih in Al-Aadaabush-Shar'iyyah]

Ibn Muflih - rahimahullaah - said:

"Upon this are the followers of Imaam Ahmad right up until our time." [Related by Ibn Abee Ya'laa in Tabaqaatul-Hanaabilah (1/41)]

Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) - rahimahullaah - said:

"As for seeking to memorise the Qur'aan, then this is to be given preference over many of the things that the people consider to be knowledge, but are - in reality - either totally useless, or having little benefit. It is also to be given precedence in learning especially by those who wish to acquire knowledge of the Deen, its principles and its particulars. Since what is prescribed for such a person at this time is that he should begin by memorising the Qur'aan, as it is the foundation of the branches of the knowledge of the Deen. This is contrary to what is done by many of the people of Innovation from the non-Arabs and other than them, in that one of them will pre-occupy himself with superfluous parts of knowledge; such as kalaam (rhetorical speech) and argumentation; or very rare matters of differences; and blind-following; which there is no need for; or very strange and rare ahaadeeth, which are not established, nor of benefit; and many discussions which do not establish proofs. And he abandons memorising the Qur'aan which is more important than all of this." [Fataawaa al-Kubra (2/54-55)]

Muhammad ibn al-Fadl said:

"I heard my grandfather say: I asked my father for permission to study under Qutaybah so he said: "First learn the Qur'aan and then I will give you permission." So I memorised the Qur'aan by heart. So he said to me: "Remain until you have led the people in prayer with it (i.e for Taraweeh Prayer)." So I did so, then after the 'Eed he gave me permission, so I left for Marw." [Related by adh-Dhahabee in Tadhkiratul-Huffaadh (2/722).]

Ibn 'Abdul Barr (d.463H) - rahimahullaah - said:

"Seeking knowledge is of levels and is of different stages which should not be skipped over. Whoever skips over them altogether, then he has overstepped the path of the Salaf - may Allaah have mercy on all of them. Whoever deliberately takes a path other than this has seriously deviated. However, whoever oversteps due to an ijitihaad (a knowledge based judgment that a qualified Scholar makes, intending to reach the truth), then such a person has erred. So the first knowledge is memorisation of the Book of Allaah and seeking to understand it. And it is obligatory to seek everything which will aid in understanding it. However, I do not say that is obligatory to memorise all of the Qur'aan, but I do say that it is obligatory and essential for anyone who wishes to become a scholar - not that it is something obligatory in itself." [Jaami' Bayaanul-'Ilm wa Fadlihi (pp. 526-528)]

Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee (d.463H) - rahimahullaah - said:

"It is fitting for a student that he begins with the memorisation of the Book of Allaah - the Mighty and Majestic. Since it is the greatest of the branches of knowledge and that which should be placed first and given precedence." [Al-Jaami' li-Akhlaaqir-Raawee wa Aadaabis-Saami' (1/106)]

Al-Haadfidh an-Nawawee (d.676H) - rahimahullaah - said:

"So the first thing he should begin with is memorisation of the mighty Qur'aan, which is the most important branches of knowledge. And the Salaf did not use to teach Hadeeth or Fiqh, except to one who memorised the Qur'aan. So when he has memorised it, then let him beware of pre-occupying himself from it with Hadeeth, Fiqh or other things, to the extent that it leads him to forget anything of the Qur'aan, or makes that likely." [From the introduction to Al-Majmoo' Sharhul-Muhadhhab (1/38)]

Seeking Knowledge in Due Amounts [From An-Nubadh (pp.67-69)]

Allaah, the Most High - said:

"And this is a Qur'aan which We have divided into parts, in order that you recite it to men at intervals. And we have sent it down in stages." [Soorah al-Israa 17:106]

The Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said to 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'Aas (radi-Allaahu 'anhumaa):

"Read the Qur'aan in every month."[/i] I said: I find that I have more strength than that. "Recite it in every twenty nights." I said: I find that I have more strength than that. "Then recite it in every seven days and do not increase upon that." [Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 5052) and Muslim (no. 1159) and the wording is from Muslim)]

'Abdullaah Ibn 'Amr Ibn al-'Aas (radi-Allaahu 'anhumaa) also related from the Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) that he said:

"He does not understand the Qur'aan who recites it in less than three days." [Saheeh: related by Aboo Daawood in his Sunan (no. 1394) and it was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Saheeh Sunan Abee Daawood (no. 1294).]

'Umar ibn 'Abdul-Waahid - a companion of al-Awzaa'ee - said:

We read al-Muwatta to Maalik (d.179H) in forty days, so he said: "A book that took me forty years to compile, you take from me in forty days! How little you understand of it." [Related by Ibn 'Abdul-Barr in at-Tawheed (1/77)]

Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee said:

"It is fitting that he take care in acquiring knowledge and that he should not take too much in one go. Rather, he should take a little at a time, such that he can bear it, memorize it and be able to understand it. Because Allaah - the Most High - says:

"And those who disbelieve say: Why is the Qur'aan not sent down to him all at once? Thus (is it sent down in parts) that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages." [Soorah al-Furqaan 25:32]

" [Al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/101)]

Al-Khateeb - rahimahullaah - also said:

"And know that the heart is an organ from the organs. It is able to bear some things and unable to bear others - just like the rest of the body. Thus, some people are able to carry one-hundred pounds, whereas others are unable to carry even twenty. Some people are able to walk a number of mites in a day without tiring, whereas others are unable to even walk a mile in a day before they become tired... So let each person limit himself to what he is able without expending all his energies, because that will better aid him in learning with a good mind, from a arm and proficient teacher." [Al-Faqeeh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/107)]

Supplicating for an Increase in Knowledge [An-Nubadh (pp. 97-99)]

Allaah - the Most High - said:

[quraan]"Say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge." [Soorah Taa Haa 20:114][/quote]

Umm Salamah - (radi-Allaahu 'anhaa) - said:

Allaah's Messenger (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) used to supplicate in the morning Prayer: "O Allaah! I ask you for beneficial knowledge, righteous action and pure sustenance." [Hasan: related by Ahmad (6/305) and at-Tiyaalasee (p.224). It was authenticated by al-Haafidh Ibn Hair in Nataa'ijul Afkaar (2/313)]

Atlas bin Maalik - (radi-Allaahu 'anhu) - said:

I heard Allaah's Messenger (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) supplicate: "O Allaah! Benefit me with knowledge. Teach me that which will benefit me, and provide me with knowledge from which I can derive benefit." [Related by Haakim (1/510) and he said: "It is authentic upon the condition of Muslim." Adh-Dhahabee also agreed]

Aboo Bakr Muhammad ibn Ja'far said:

I heard Ibn Khuzaymah (d.311H) being asked: From where did you acquire this knowledge? So he said: "Allaah's Messenger (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said: "Zam-zam water is that for which it is drunk." [1] So when I drunk the Zam-zam water, I supplicated to Allaah for beneficial knowledge." [Related by adh-Dhahabee in Tadhkiratul-Huffaadh (2/721)]

Shaykhul-lslaam Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmoo'ul-Fataawaa (4/39):

"The reality of this matter is that the servant differs in what he asks of knowledge and guidance, and of what he seeks to ask. So with remembrance of Allaah and turning towards Him, Allaah guides such a person - as He said: "O My servants! All of you are misguided, except whomsoever I guide. So seek your guidance from Me." [Related by Muslim (no.2577) from Aboo Dharr (radi-Allaahu 'anhu)]

And as the Prophet (sal-Allaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) used to say:

"O Allaah! Lord of Jibreel, Mikaeel and Israfeel. The Originator of the heavens and the earths. Knower of the Unseen and the apparent. You judge between Your servants in that which he differs. So guide me in that which I differ from the truth - by Your permission. Indeed, You guide whomsoever You please, to a path that is straight." [Related by Muslim (no.770) from 'Aa'ishah (radi-Allaahu 'anhaa]


[1] Hasan: It has been narrated by many different ways. Refer to al-Maqaasidul Hasanah (no. 928) of as-Sakhaawee for its authentication and sources.


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