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Chapter 8. Characteristics Of The People Of Knowledge

The Commander of the Believers has described this category from the carriers of knowledge with certain attributes:


Among them is that: “Through them, the knowledge is fortified upon the reality of evidences.”


The meaning of this is that the knowledge directs them to the highest of goals and this is the awareness of Allah. Thus they fear Him and love Him to the point that everything that is difficult upon others becomes easy for them.


So they do not look for a way towards that which others seek a way towards, from those who stop with this worldly life, its attractions and its pleasures. And from those who have pride in that and do not spread the knowledge, exaltation and honoring of Allah in their hearts. Rather, they are the ones who turn towards that which the self-sufficient ones have abandoned.


Verily, the self-sufficient one, who has fallen and given into the desires of the world and its pleasures, finds difficulty in abandoning its desires and pleasures. This is because there is no substitute that could replace his desire for this world if he were to abandon it. So he does not have the patience to abandon it.


In the hearts of this type of people, for what they seek a way towards, is the biggest substitute over the desire to acquire the knowledge of Allah and the love and honor for Him. This is as Al-Hasan (ra) used to say: “Verily, the ones who love Allah are only those who inherit the good life and taste its pleasures due to what they seek a way towards, such as the private attachment to their Beloved (Allah), and due to what they find from the sweetness of their love for Him in their hearts.”


These individuals only befriend that which the ignorant feel repelled by because those who are ignorant about Allah are opposed to abandoning the worldly life and its pleasures. And this is because they don’t know anything that can compare to it (i.e. the worldly life) and thus it is that which they love and befriend. On the other hand, these individuals feel repelled by that and instead find love in Allah, His remembrance, awareness of Him, love for Him, and the recitation of His Book. Meanwhile, those who are ignorant about Allah feel repelled by these things and do not find any love or enjoyment in them.


Another of their attributes, which the Commander of the Believers described them with, was that: “They accompany the world with their bodies while their souls are drawn towards the great abode.”


This indicates that they do not take this world as their home nor are they content with it as a place of residence or a place of rest. Indeed, they only see it as a transition and they do not take it as a final abode. All of the messengers and revealed Books advised towards this aspect. Allah informed us in His Book of the believing man from the house of Pharaoh who said to his people while he was lecturing them:


“O my people! Truly, the life of this world is nothing but a (quick passing) transition, and verily, the Hereafter that is the home that will remain forever." [Surah Ghaafir: 39]


The Prophet said to Ibn Umar: “Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a passer-by.”


So it is to be in this world as if you did not exist and in the next life as if you did not cease to exist.


And in another report it is stated: “Count yourself amongst the inhabitants of the graveyards.”


From the advice that the Maseeh Isa gave, was his words to his companions: “Pass through it and do not become an inhabitant of it.”


And he also said: “Who is the one who will build a home upon the waves of the ocean? This is the worldly life, so do not take it as a home that will last forever.”


Thus, the believer, in this world is like the stranger crossing through a land other than his own, longing for his homeland and the day when he will return to it. He makes provision of what is necessary for his path back homeward. He does not compete for status with the people of the land he is passing through. Nor does he grieve over the degradation he experiences while amongst them.


Al-Fudayl bin ‘Iyaad (ra) said: “The believer in this world is worried and distressed. His main concern is to repair his equipment (as one who is stranded fixes his vehicle).”


Al-Hasan (ra) said: “The believer in this world is like a stranger. He does not become upset when it (the world) degrades him, nor does he compete with others with regard to what it gives of honor. For him is a condition and for the people is a condition.”


In reality, the believer is a stranger in this world because his forefather (Aadam) used to originally reside in the eternal abode and was then cast out from it. So he is constantly longing to return to his first place of residence. And he is always concerned with returning to the home from which he was cast out of.


This is as is said: “Love of one’s homeland is part of Faith.”


And as it is said:


"How many homes in the world does the young man take charge of. Yet his longing will forever be for his first home."


Some of our scholars have said:


“So rush to the Gardens of Eden for indeed It is your original home, and in it is a place of rest. However, we are in the captivity of the enemy, so don' you see? Shall we return to our homes and find peace? And it has been determined that when the stranger is far away and his home has disappeared, then he is lost. So what type of strangeness is greater than our strangeness which the enemies amongst us have manifested?"