We are all human beings enthroned with reason, the ability to identify what is true from what is not, with a goal to seek for the truth when we encounter contentious issues and challenges in this life. The ISIS article in Dabiq titled “The Wicked Scholars are Cursed” continue to confuse our fellow Muslims into thinking that scholars are solely to blame for the lack of proper knowledge, especially pointing out acting upon and implementing Jihad. With this, we are clarifying the process of seeking knowledge as a Muslim with evideces from our religion – the Holy Quran and the Hadith.


Islam has given great importance the process of seeking knowledge. The first verse that descended on the Prophet Muhammad Was Iqra, meaning “read,” opening the door to read, write, and ponder. The Quran urges mankind to think, ponder, reflect and acquire knowledge that would bring them closer to God and his creation. 


Another important component of seeking knowledge is by acting on it because knowledge without action is useless. But acting upon knowledge does not translate to Jihad per se but a general term that used to translate any Islamic knowledge into action. In the Dabiq article released, the correlation between knowledge and fighting is absolute in which a person should join the fight whenever he learns knowledge. But this is not always the case, there are several Hadith stating action upon acquiring knowledge but this applies to all Islamic knowledge not only in fighting. Fighting is just a part of these Islamic knowledge that are only applied when needed. And Islamic scholars laid down several conditions before joining a fight that are based on Prophets teachings and his companions. One example is when man asked permission from the prophet to join Jihad. Abdullah b. ‘Amir reported that a person came to Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) and sought permission to participate in Jihad, whereupon the Prophet said: Are your parents living? He said: Yes. Thereupon the Prophet said: You should put in your best efforts in their service.


Furthermore, action without knowledge will be an affliction and misguidance for a person. Why? Because actions should always be based on how the Prophet and his Companions understood it. The Prophet said “Whoever does an action which our affair is not in accordance with, then it will be rejected”[1]


Al-Imam Al-Ghazali in his book Minhaj Ul-‘Abideen, tells us that in order for us to perform our acts of worship and to be safe from error, we must first know God before worshiping Him. How can we worship Him without knowing His Divine Names, Qualities and Essence? 


He then continued saying that we must know what is necessary to perform the religious duties and to know that which requires us to abstain from what is prohibited.


On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), who said:            I heard the Messenger of Allah say: The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them. [ The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I fought for you until I died a martyr. He will say: You have lied – you did but fight that it might be said [of you]: He is courageous. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.[2]


Remember that not all died martyr will enter the paradise absolutely, especially those entered Jihad without prior knowledge of what they are fighting for, there will a lot of martyr who will enter the Hell-fire mainly because they did not follow the teachings of the Prophet .


Seek Islamic knowledge first before entering into something you do not know, it may bring you harm nonetheless failure on the Day of Judgement. When a group of the Companions passed a ruling, without knowledge, to the wounded man that he should have a full bath – which eventually lead to his death, the Messenger of Allah supplicated against them saying: “They killed him, may Allah kill them, should they not have asked if they didn’t know?! Verily the cure of all ignorance is to question! It would have been enough for him had he performed tayammum.”[3]


Another emphasis that we want to talk about in this article is the injurious insult they are portraying to the (Mashaekh) Islamic scholars. The Prophet said: “It is not one of us, he who does not respect old people, shows mercy to young people, and knows the rights of scholars”. Remember that Allah gave  so much importance to those Islamic scholars by mentioning them in his book. Allah says: “Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge.”[4]. And yet there are people who are dragging them down, discrediting them and humiliating their presence.


And lastly Ibn Asaakir [rahimahullaah] said: Know O my brother! May Allaah grant us and you His Pleasure and make us from those who have awe and fear of Him as He should be feared. Indeed, the flesh of the scholars is poisonous and Allah’s way of disclosing the hidden affairs of those who diminish their worth is well known.


May Allah guide you the right path!


[1] Narrated by Al-Bukhari

[2] Narrated by Muslim

[3] Narrated by Abu Dawud

[4] Surah Al-Mujadalah:11