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In the Name of God بسم الله

What Is Knowledge/ilm?

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  • Advanced Member

Salam Alaikum

I was wondering what exactly knowledge is according to the Ahlul Bayt (as) when they speak about it. Is it awareness of something? Is an alim defined as a person who is aware of things even if only in a limited number of fields of knowledge? Is he defined as one who knows about things, forms his own opinion about them and chooses with conviction what is right. The more depth of knowledge an alim has, the more authoritative he becomes.

If knowledge is awareness, then all people 'experiencing' are gaining knowledge? As I walk, I look at the colour of the wall, I become aware about it. So would that also be counted as knowledge? This doesnt sound right to me. I mean how can anyone experiencing with his senses be gaining knowledge?

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Advanced Member

Knowledge can have more than two meanings, sure by looking at the wall and gaining insight to that particular colour gives you knowledge. It can be also be other means of knowledge such as basick knowledge or advanced kowledge whatever suits you will be the choice of cause and effect.

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Salam.

Knowledge is awareness of the "real essence" of something. We as humans will never have "knowledge" to everything. We may have some knowledge of something for our survival. Even that knowledge is not to the "real essence" at the highest level.

However, as for the Prophet and Imams, they have the "access" to all knowledge upto to the level of "real essence". This happens with permission from Allah swt.

The Prophet said "I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is the gate". It the knowledge that the Prophet (as) mentioned was limited to "religious" knowledge? Or is it all types of knowledge that applicable to humans such as engineering, akhlaq, figh, atronomy, etc...? Definately, the type of knowledge that are revealed to Ahlulbayt (as) cover all possible knowledge that applicable to humans.

Therefore, if we want to be knowledgeable with guidance for our survival, we need to be with Ahlulbayt (as). Ahlulbayt (as) can guide us to be the best scientist, engineer, marja, general workers, clerk, accountant....you name it. Once that attachment to ahlulbayt (as) is made, the real knowledge will flow in to the person for his survival in this world and hereafter.

Hold on to Qur'an and Ahlulbayt (as), you will never go astray... Ahlulbayt is like the ship that we should embarked on, and we have no other choice. Other choices will not lead us to "gate" and the "city" of knowledge. We can only understand this after we are dead or in the hereafter.

Layman

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Salams,

Well I am speaking from my own kind of undestanding, in that there are different organs for gaining knowledge - for example you see colours with your eyes, your brain processess and records the information.

But how do you see for example, goodness, or if you like, the Divine, Allah (SWT) wants us to get closer to Him and to know Him - surely there must be a way or organ of knowing more about how to do that. And that organ is our soul, or heart - which orientates itself towards him. That is why someone may have a lot of theoretical knowledge and be very knowledgeable about science, arts, crafts, engineering - but their hearts maybe in a very sorry state because they have not looked after it and it has gained no knowledge - and therefore all those academic endevours have really come to nothing because he will not have achieved the role he was put on the earth for in the first place

wsalams

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  • Advanced Member

There is a difference in what is traditionally understood to be knowledge, and what Islam refers to when it speaks of knowledge. Traditionally (i.e., according to secular thought), if you believe something to be true, and you have good reason(s) for believing it is true, and it in fact is true, then you "know" that thing. For example, if you read up someone's telephone number in the phone directory, then you have gained knowledge that you did not have before. But in Islam such "knowledge" that is not related to understanding God is not really considered "true" knowledge. For example, we read in Lantern of the Path:

Knowledge is the basis of every sublime state and the culmination of every high station. That is why the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'It is the duty of every Muslim, man and woman, to seek knowledge,' that is, the knowledge of precaution (taqwa) and certainty. Imam 'Ali (peace be upon him) said, "Seek knowledge, though it be in China,' meaning the knowledge of gnosis of the self, in it is contained knowledge of the Lord.

http://www.rafed.net/english/books/narrati...esbah/02.html#8

In fact there are hadith that explicitly state that knowledge is NOT obtained through learning:

áóíúÓó ÇáúÚöáúãõ ÈöÇáÊøóÚóáøõãö. ÅöäøóãóÇ åõæó äõæÑñ íóÞóÚõ Ýöí ÞóáúÈö ãóäú íõÑöíúÏõ Çááåõ ÊóÈóÇÑóßó æóÊóÚóÇáì Ãóä íóåúÏöíóåõ. ÝóÃöäú ÃóÑóÏúÊó ÇáúÚöáúãó ÝóÇØúáõÈú ÃóæøóáÇð Ýöíú äóÝúÓößó ÍóÞöíÞóÉó ÇáúÚõÈõæÏöíøóÉö. æóÇØúáõÈö ÇáúÚöáúãó ÈöÇÓúÊöÚúãóÇáöåö. æóÇÓúÊóÝúåöãö Çááåó íõÝúåöãúßó.

Knowledge is not acquired by learning. It is only a light which Allah (Blessed and High is He) penetrates in the heart of one whom He intends to guide. So, if you desire knowledge, then first seek in yourself the reality of servitude. Then seek knowledge for its application. Ask Allah for its understanding, He will make you understand it.

http://www.al-islam.org/salaat/12.htm

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There is a difference in what is traditionally understood to be knowledge, and what Islam refers to when it speaks of knowledge. Traditionally (i.e., according to secular thought), if you believe something to be true, and you have good reason(s) for believing it is true, and it in fact is true, then you "know" that thing. For example, if you read up someone's telephone number in the phone directory, then you have gained knowledge that you did not have before. But in Islam such "knowledge" that is not related to understanding God is not really considered "true" knowledge. For example, we read in Lantern of the Path:

Knowledge is the basis of every sublime state and the culmination of every high station. That is why the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'It is the duty of every Muslim, man and woman, to seek knowledge,' that is, the knowledge of precaution (taqwa) and certainty. Imam 'Ali (peace be upon him) said, "Seek knowledge, though it be in China,' meaning the knowledge of gnosis of the self, in it is contained knowledge of the Lord.

http://www.rafed.net/english/books/narrati...esbah/02.html#8

In fact there are hadith that explicitly state that knowledge is NOT obtained through learning:

áóíúÓó ÇáúÚöáúãõ ÈöÇáÊøóÚóáøõãö. ÅöäøóãóÇ åõæó äõæÑñ íóÞóÚõ Ýöí ÞóáúÈö ãóäú íõÑöíúÏõ Çááåõ ÊóÈóÇÑóßó æóÊóÚóÇáì Ãóä íóåúÏöíóåõ. ÝóÃöäú ÃóÑóÏúÊó ÇáúÚöáúãó ÝóÇØúáõÈú ÃóæøóáÇð Ýöíú äóÝúÓößó ÍóÞöíÞóÉó ÇáúÚõÈõæÏöíøóÉö. æóÇØúáõÈö ÇáúÚöáúãó ÈöÇÓúÊöÚúãóÇáöåö. æóÇÓúÊóÝúåöãö Çááåó íõÝúåöãúßó.

Knowledge is not acquired by learning. It is only a light which Allah (Blessed and High is He) penetrates in the heart of one whom He intends to guide. So, if you desire knowledge, then first seek in yourself the reality of servitude. Then seek knowledge for its application. Ask Allah for its understanding, He will make you understand it.

http://www.al-islam.org/salaat/12.htm

Masha Allah Bro!

The hadith that you qouted really confirmed many things that I have in mind.

May Allah swt bless you.

Layman

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Abu `Abdillah (prayers be upon him) has narrated from his ancestors (the Imams (prayers be upon all of them) that the Prophet of Islam (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said the following:

"Once a man came to the Noble Prophet (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) and said, 'O Messenger of Allah what is knowledge?'

The Prophet replied, "It is silence."

The man then asked, "Then what?"

The Prophet said, "It is listening."

The man asked, "Then what?"

The Prophet said, "Then it is remember."

The man asked, "Then what?"

The Prophet said, "Then it is to practice according to what you have learnt."

The man then asked, "Then what O' Messenger of Allah?"

The Prophet said, "Then it is to propagate what one has learned."

also see http://www.shia.org/sayings.html

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  • Advanced Member

(bismillah)

(wasalam)

Hello every one!!!

Well, I am not aware of what shia ulama think what is knowledge and the above examples do not actually say what is knowledge in itself, to tell you the truth I have never read a hadith or naration which give gives detail account of what knowledge is. The best account what from Imam Jafar (as) which said "knowledge is anything you can learn" but this description is indeed too general and lack detail.

I believe the best description of knowledge you can find is in epistemology (field of philosophy that deal with knowledge) which says "knowledge is justified true belief". So for some thing you know you need to believe it and be capable of justifying it and it need to be true. Philosophers differ on what it means to justify it. Some believe that there are aprior truth (True in itself without using experiments to prove it), e.g. I think therefore I exist. then you can find other truth using these aproir truths as a foundation. They are called foundationalists. But there is another group called reliablist, whom claim that for something to be justified it needs to be justified through a reliable method, e.g. scientific method.

Of course there are difference in view of justification. But in the end all philosophers accept that the description of knowledge is more or less correct, meaning if we are wrong the correct answer is very very very similar to ours.

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There is a difference in what is traditionally understood to be knowledge, and what Islam refers to when it speaks of knowledge. Traditionally (i.e., according to secular thought), if you believe something to be true, and you have good reason(s) for believing it is true, and it in fact is true, then you "know" that thing. For example, if you read up someone's telephone number in the phone directory, then you have gained knowledge that you did not have before. But in Islam such "knowledge" that is not related to understanding God is not really considered "true" knowledge. For example, we read in Lantern of the Path:

Knowledge is the basis of every sublime state and the culmination of every high station. That is why the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) said, 'It is the duty of every Muslim, man and woman, to seek knowledge,' that is, the knowledge of precaution (taqwa) and certainty. Imam 'Ali (peace be upon him) said, "Seek knowledge, though it be in China,' meaning the knowledge of gnosis of the self, in it is contained knowledge of the Lord.

http://www.rafed.net/english/books/narrati...esbah/02.html#8

In fact there are hadith that explicitly state that knowledge is NOT obtained through learning:

áóíúÓó ÇáúÚöáúãõ ÈöÇáÊøóÚóáøõãö. ÅöäøóãóÇ åõæó äõæÑñ íóÞóÚõ Ýöí ÞóáúÈö ãóäú íõÑöíúÏõ Çááåõ ÊóÈóÇÑóßó æóÊóÚóÇáì Ãóä íóåúÏöíóåõ. ÝóÃöäú ÃóÑóÏúÊó ÇáúÚöáúãó ÝóÇØúáõÈú ÃóæøóáÇð Ýöíú äóÝúÓößó ÍóÞöíÞóÉó ÇáúÚõÈõæÏöíøóÉö. æóÇØúáõÈö ÇáúÚöáúãó ÈöÇÓúÊöÚúãóÇáöåö. æóÇÓúÊóÝúåöãö Çááåó íõÝúåöãúßó.

Knowledge is not acquired by learning. It is only a light which Allah (Blessed and High is He) penetrates in the heart of one whom He intends to guide. So, if you desire knowledge, then first seek in yourself the reality of servitude. Then seek knowledge for its application. Ask Allah for its understanding, He will make you understand it.

http://www.al-islam.org/salaat/12.htm

nothing better than this. thanks a lot fyst.

MK

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  • Advanced Member
Salam Alaikum

I was wondering what exactly knowledge is according to the Ahlul Bayt (as) when they speak about it. Is it awareness of something? Is an alim defined as a person who is aware of things even if only in a limited number of fields of knowledge? Is he defined as one who knows about things, forms his own opinion about them and chooses with conviction what is right. The more depth of knowledge an alim has, the more authoritative he becomes.

If knowledge is awareness, then all people 'experiencing' are gaining knowledge? As I walk, I look at the colour of the wall, I become aware about it. So would that also be counted as knowledge? This doesnt sound right to me. I mean how can anyone experiencing with his senses be gaining knowledge?

It is exactly what the Imam (a.s) has said. a light God puts in peoples hearts.

the question we should ask is, when we look at a color, are we aware?

scientists and gnostics may look at the same color. what makes the gnostic different from a scientist? their awareness of the color is different. the gnostic "sees things as they are". the scientist just sees the form or outward appearance of it. the gnostics sees the color as an act of God. and an act of God is what makes one understand God's Names or Attributes.

MK

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  • 2 years later...

It is exactly what the Imam (a.s) has said. a light God puts in peoples hearts.

the question we should ask is, when we look at a color, are we aware?

scientists and gnostics may look at the same color. what makes the gnostic different from a scientist? their awareness of the color is different. the gnostic "sees things as they are". the scientist just sees the form or outward appearance of it. the gnostics sees the color as an act of God. and an act of God is what makes one understand God's Names or Attributes.

MK

I started getting afraid straight away that Allahs light is not in me.

Because if I would reject all this light in me, and all that ... then I would be alone without knowledge and alot of situations around me and I don't know how to handle them. But I have actually gone through a time in my life where I did trust on the so-called Allah based on Ignorance (without knowledge), and it got me nowhere except alot of suffering. Where is Allah that you speak of? Why is the light in your hearts better than the light that I have? It isn't.

Gnostic is a new term for me. I will look more into it. But I am also a little "siceintist". I have times when I depend on my sience and rejecet what my heart tells me in knowledge of its ignorance. And sometimes my heart is more knowledgeable than my brain. It does not matter which I use for solving a problem, because it does not matter if my task is accomplished how i did it.

My definitions:

Knowledge = Everything that you are aware of

Active knowledge = High power problem solving ability, restricted by term

Passive knowledge = Low power problem solving ability, not restricted by term

Sensitivity = Ability to pick up outputs

Wisdom = Something that you are aware of

There is probably a few other central definitions.

Peace

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