Dear brothers and sisters in Islam, Know, may Allah have mercy on you, that the high status of knowledge has been established very strongly in Islam through explicit texts in the Qur'an and the Hadith as well as in the writings of the scholars of Islam. Allah said in Surat Al-Mujadalah, Ayah 11
يَرْفَعِ اللهُ الَّذِينَ ءامَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْعِلْمَ دَرَجَاتٍ
Which means:[ Allah raises the ranks of those among you who believe and those who were granted the knowledge].
Also, Allah said in Surat Az-Zumar, Ayah 9:
قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لا يَعْلَمُونَ
Which means:[ Those who know are not equal to those who do not know.]
Also In Surat Fatir, Ayah 28, Allah said:
إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ
Which means: [Those who have the knowledge fear Allah the most.]
The Prophet, who is the best of the creation, in his hadith related by at-Tirmidhiyy, said:
فَضْلُ العالِمِ على العابدِ كفَضْلِي على أدناكُم
Which means:[ The merit of the true scholar over the true worshipper is like the difference in merit between my status and the status of the lowest Muslim. ] The difference in merit between the Prophet and the lowest Muslim is extremely great and likewise is the difference between the true scholar and the true worshipper--i.e. the scholar who satisfied the conditions of being a scholar, and the worshipper who satisfied the conditions and integrals of worshipping.
Moreover, Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam, to praise the status of knowledge, its teachers and its students. Ibn Majah related that the Prophet said: [ O Aba Dharr, if you go and learn one verse of the Qur'an it will be more rewardable for you than praying one hundred rak^ahs of the optional prayers; and if you go and learn a chapter of the knowledge, it is more rewardable for you than praying one thousand rak^ahs of the optional prayers. ]
Imam ^Aliyy Ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph, said: "Knowledge is better than money because knowledge protects you whereas you protect money." Knowledge rules over things, whereas money is ruled over. Money diminishes as you spend it, whereas spending the knowledge by teaching it to others increases your reward.
Islamically, the issue of knowledge is held in high regard. This knowledge is not any knowledge per se, but rather, the knowledge of the Religion of Islam.
Allah said in the Qur'an in Surat at-Tahrim, Ayah 6:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءامَنُوا قُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ
Which means:[ O believers, protect yourselves and your families from Hellfire which is fueled by people and stones.] Imam ^Ata' Ibn Abi Rabah who was among the followers of the Companions, interpreted that verse of the Qur'an. He said: "One protects himself and his family from the torture of Hellfire by learning how to pray, fast, sell, buy, marry, and divorce. "
In what was related by Imam Muslim, Imam Ibn Sirin said:
إنَّ هذا العلمَ دينٌ فانظروا عمّن تأخذُونَ دينَكُم
Which means: "This knowledge is part of the Religion, so look thoroughly at whomever you take your religion from." One should stop for a moment and remind himself of far simpler matters. If one was seeking a particular university, one would spend a great deal of time looking into and checking the different levels of universities to determine which was better. If one needed a treatment from a doctor, one would usually look for a recognized specialist; if one wanted a house to be built, one would search for the best qualified in that field. Most definitely the knowledge of the Religion is a far higher priority, and one needs to look thoroughly at whom he will take that knowledge from.
Dear brothers in Islam, Learning the Obligatory Knowledge of the Religion makes one able to discriminate between what is lawful (halal) and what is unlawful (haram), what is valid and what is invalid, what is acceptable and what is rejected, in addition to what is classified under the Religion as good or bad.
With the knowledge of the religion, one knows how to speak, what to speak and for what reason one is speaking. One would also remain silent while knowing the reason behind remaining silent. With the knowledge of the religion, one knows how to buy and sell and how to conduct a marriage contract. With the knowledge of the religion, one knows how to be obedient to his parents and how to treat his relatives and neighbours kindly.
Based on the aforementioned, our advice to you is to commit yourselves to the sessions and circles of the Islamic Knowledge. Listen, learn, comprehend, and ensure that the notes are accurate. In addition, try to pass on this knowledge to others exactly as was taken without any addition or omission.
We ask Allah, the Exalted, to grant us the knowledge that is beneficial for us and to increase our knowledge. Amin.