In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy

Imaam Ibn Rajab [rahimahullaah] said: All praises and thanks be to Allaah, the Lord of Aalameen [mankind, jinns and all that exists]. And may Allaah exalt and grant Muhammad a lot of peace, his family and Sahaabah. To proceed:

These are brief statements regarding the meaning of knowledge and its categorization into ‘Beneficial knowledge’, ‘Unbeneficial knowledge’, Blameworthy knowledge’ and a notification regarding the virtue of the knowledge of the Salaf [i.e. the pious predecessors] over the knowledge of the khalaf [i.e. those who came after the Salaf]. Therefore, I say- and Allaah’s aid is sought, I place my trust in Him and there is neither strength nor power except with Allaah.

The Meaning of Knowledge and Its Categorization

Indeed, Allaah mentioned-sometimes- knowledge in His Book with praise and that is [in reference to] ‘Beneficial Knowledge’.  And at other times, He mentioned knowledge with dispraise and that is [in reference to] ‘Unbeneficial knowledge’. As for the first type [i.e. Beneficial Knowledge], then its example is mentioned in the statement of Allaah [The Most High]:

[قُلۡ هَلۡ يَسۡتَوِى ٱلَّذِينَ يَعۡلَمُونَ- Are those who know equal to those who know not? [39:9]

And the statement of Allaah [The Most High]: [شَهِدَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّهُ ۥ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُ وَأُوْلُواْ ٱلۡعِلۡمِ   – Allah bears witness that La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness) [3:18]

And the statement of Allaah [The Most High]: [وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدۡنِى عِلۡمً۬ا   -And say: “My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” [20:114]

And the statement of Allaah [The Most High]: [إِنَّمَا يَخۡشَى ٱللَّهَ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِ ٱلۡعُلَمَـٰٓؤُاْۗ – It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah. [35:28]

And what Allaah has stated regarding the story of Aadam- when Aadam was taught the names of those things and were then presented to the Angels, so the Angels – [as Allaah informed us] – said: [سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ لَا عِلۡمَ لَنَآ إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمۡتَنَآ‌ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ ٱلۡحَكِيمُ – Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. [2:32]

And what Allaah [The Most High] has stated regarding the story of Moosaa [alayhis-salaam] and Khidr- that Moosaa said to him: [هَلۡ أَتَّبِعُكَ عَلَىٰٓ أَن تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمۡتَ رُشۡدً۬ا – “May I follow you so that you teach me something of that knowledge (guidance and true path) which you have been taught (by Allah)?” [18: 66]

This is beneficial knowledge


To be continued…InShaaAllaah

[Fadl Ilmis Salaf Alaa Ilmil Khalaf’ pages 42-43. Slightly paraphrased]