How to find a good Teacher - Part 1 INTRODUCTION

>> Friday, September 5, 2008

I have always heard people asking "who is knowledgeable" and "who should we go to for knowledge" or "what Islamic university should we go to?" etc. And the main question that pops up is "HOW DO WE FIND A GOOD TEACHER?" SubahanAllah, Islam Teaches us the signs of the learned men but we do not bother to open a book and read to find out what those signs are. This is Part 1 of several parts (I say several because I do not know how many parts there will be) on how to find a good teacher. This part is a general overall analysis on learned men.

In The Words of Imam Ghazzali

Evils of knowledge and signs of the learned men of the hereafter:
We have enumerated the excellence of knowledge and learned men, but a great warning has come about the dishonest learned men. For this reason, one should know the differences of the learned men of this world and the learned men of the hereafter. What I mean by the learned man of the world is that his object of learning is to live in ease and comforts and to get honour and prestige from the people. The Prophet said: The most severely punished among men on the Day of Resurrection will be a learned man whom God has not blessed on account of his knowledge. The Prophet said: Nobody can be learned unless he puts his learning into practice. He said: Knowledge is of two kinds-knowledge by tongue which is open proof of God for the children of Adam and the science of soul which is useful. He said: In the later days, there will be ignorant worshippers and sinning learned men. He said: Don't acquire knowledge to boast over the learned, nor dispute with the ignorant and gain popularity among the people. He who does this will go to Hell. He said: He who conceals his knowledge will be given by God a bridle of fire. He said: I fear most for one who appears as Anti-Christ than Anti-Christ himself. Someone asked him: Who is he? He said: I fear most for the misguided leaders. He said: He whose knowledge is great but guidance less is away from God. Jesus Christ said: How can you guide the night travelers along the right way when you yourself are perplexed? These and other traditions show that a learned man faces eternal happiness or eternal damnation.
Sayings of Wise Men
Hazrat Osman said: I fear most for this nation the hypocrite learned men. People asked: How can a hypocrite be a learned man? He replied: He has verbal knowledge, but his mind and his actions are ignorant. Hazrat Hasan Basri said: Don't be included within those persons who are learned in wisdom and knowledge but are equal to the ignorant in actions. Khalid-b-Ahmed said: There are four kinds of men-(1) One who has real knowledge and knows that he knows. He is a real learned man. (2) One who has knowledge but he does not know that he knows. Be careful of him. (3) One who has no knowledge and knows that he does not know. Such a man is fit to be guided, so guide him. (4) One who has no knowledge and does not know that he knows not. Leave him alone. Ibn Mubarak said: A man is learned till he searches for knowledge. When he thinks that he has knowledge, he becomes ignorant. Hazrat Hasan said: Death of the heart is the punishment of a learned man. The death of the heart is search of the world with the actions of the hereafter. A poet said:
“Woe to one who buys misguidance in lieu of guidance; Woe more to one who buys the world in lieu of the hereafter; Woe still more to one who fosters irreligion in lieu of religion.”
The Prophet said regarding a wicked learned man: Some learned men will suffer such intense agonies of torture that the inmates of Hell will seek refuge on seeing their tortures. They are the wicked learned men. The Prophet said: On the Resurrection Day, a learned man will be brought and will be thrown into Hell. His bowels will gush forth and he will roam with his bowels as a donkey moves round a millstone. The inmates of Hell will move along with him and ask: What is the matter with you? He will reply: I used to enjoin the people to do good but I was not myself accustomed to do it. I used to prohibit them evil but I myself used to do it. God says : The hypocrites will remain in the lowest abyss of Hell (4 : 144) as they refused to accept truth after they acquired knowledge.
There is a story of Balam-b-Bauza about whom the Quran says: Narrate to them the story of one to whom I revealed My signs. He rejected them. So the devil followed him and he became one of those who were misguided. He is therefore like a dog which lulls out its tongue whether you chase it or leave it alone (7:175). This has been said about the wicked learned man. Balam also got God's book but he kept himself busy in Worldly affairs and was therefore likened to a dog. Jesus Christ said: The wicked learned man is like a rock which has fallen into the source of a stream. It neither absolves any water itself, for permits it to flow out and reach the plants. The wicked learned man is also like pipes which come out of a garden full of stench smell as it has got graves of dead men. Its outer part is cultivated but its inner part is full of dead men's bones. These Traditionsand historical narratives show that the learned man who is given to lust and the worldly love will be disgraced and put to endless tortures and one who is a leanred man of the hereafter will get salvation and gain nearness of God.