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Do the virtues of seeking knowledge apply to secular education?

Question

In the following Hadith:

من سلك طريقًا يلتمس فيه علمًا سهل الله له طريقًا إلى الجنة

Whosoever sets out in search of knowledge, Allah Ta’ala will ease the way to Jannah for him.

What is meant by ‘knowledge’ in this Hadith? Is it specifically the seekers of Islamic/Shar’i knowledge or is worldly knowledge also included in this like engineering for example? If not, is it possible for them to be included in this Hadith according to their intentions?

 

Answer

This Hadith is recorded in Sahih Muslim. (Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2699)

 

The commentators explain that this Hadith specifically refers to those seeking knowledge of Shari’ah and Din [i.e. Learning Quran and Hadith or knowledge based on understanding Quran and Hadith, as seeking this knowledge is regarded to be an ‘ibadah]

(Refer: Al Mufhim, Hadith: 2592, Mirqat, Hadith: 204, As Sirajul Munir, vol. 3 pg. 365)

 

Although this specific reward and other rewards mentioned in Hadith for the seekers of knowledge refer to knowledge of Din, a person can be greatly rewarded otherwise, if he intends to benefit the Muslims and humanity at large when seeking secular knowledge.

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

 

Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar,

Similarly, one who studies natural sciences with the intention of marvelling at the power (Qudrah) of Allah, will also be greatly rewarded.

Reward is always based on the correct intention.