The Difference between a student of Knowledge and a student of the Internet

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

A student of knowledge is a lofty position to hold and becoming a successful one isn’t awarded to everyone by Allah. We have some people who embarked upon their studies but didn’t achieve any level, while others have advanced. All in all the ultimate achievement from being a student of knowledge is Jannah.

Allah said:

وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا

And say: “My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” [Ta-Ha:114] 

The Path of the Student of knowledge.

The Prophet [ﷺ] said: The Messenger of Allah said: “Ask Allah for beneficial knowledge and seek refuge with Allah from the knowledge that is of no benefit.[1]

The student of knowledge begins with manners and learning the etiquettes of being a student. When it comes to manners then they should be learned directly from the scholars,  and although we have numerous books that describe the way the Muslim should interact with others, learning by practical experience is better.  The first practice the student needs to acquire and understand is learning Islam is worship, so since its worship, it has two conditions. The first condition for the acceptance of worship is sincerity along with the practice the way the Prophet [ﷺ] did it. Seeking knowledge for a position in a school, in a university or in a masjid is a waste. Allah mentioned in the Quran. “Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter; to them, We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein.They are those for whom there is nothing in the Hereafter but Fire, and vain are the deeds they did therein. And of no effect is that which they used to do.[ Hud:15-16]

Being a student of knowledge then rising to the rank of a scholar can be risky. The scholar is among first people to be placed in the fire on the Day of Judgment. The Messenger (ﷺ) said: The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them. [ The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I fought for you until I died a martyr. He will say: You have lied – you did but fight that it might be said [of you]: He is courageous. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire. [Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Quran. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Quran for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – you did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: He is learned. And you recited the Quran that it might be said [of you]: He is a reciter. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.[2] 

The student needs to follow the way of the Salaf [The Righteous predecessors from the 1st three generations] and following their way isn’t restricted to a particular time period which doesn’t fit in today’s world.  Shadowing their path in knowledge and actions in every aspect of our religion is a must. There are some people who follow the Salaf in some things, but not in others, and this is incorrect. By abandoning the actions of the Salaf in this way misguidance is bound to befall that person. For example, you have a person who follows the Salaf in the section of Allah’s names and attributes, but not in Iman, so in this case, he’s left off a portion of the Salafi Methodology. And when he follows the Salaf for Allah’s names and attributes along with their understanding in Iman, but then acts with the rulers unlike the way the Salaf did and commanded, he couldn’t be considered a follower of the Salafi methodology.

The student of knowledge must fear Allah by obeying Him and distancing himself from acts of disobedience. Gaining the fear of Allah is done by having knowledge of Allah, His Might and ability to punish whomever He wills whenever wills.  The student of knowledge needs to be mindful that Allah is All-Aware of what he does.

The student of knowledge must learn to be patient and endure harms from others and submit to the truth from any direction it comes to him. The seeker of knowledge must maintain integrity and manliness while avoiding all types of manners which aren’t suitable for him. This includes all speech and actions. Therefore the student of knowledge avoids all gatherings where vain and idle speech is spoken and sinning is done. By doing this the student safeguards his time and instead uses it for the obedience of Allah. The student of knowledge avoids entering conflicts where there’s unrest between people and he isn’t able to determine who’s right or who’s wrong.

The student of knowledge has gentleness, but this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t refute falsehood. Before the student embarks on anything he thinks about the outcome of his speech and actions. He tries to always choose the right words before talking.

The student of knowledge chooses a scholar to stick to and learn from and selects the proper reading material. When the student meets these two requirements he gradually progresses in his studies from level1 to level 2 and so on.  He must avoid reading the extensive works until he’s grounded in the smaller books. The student of knowledge must learn the terminologies of the scholars and prepare himself to memorize texts and pieces of evidence. The student mustn’t allow himself to get bored. During his studies with his teacher and more specifically in the beginning of his studies he should avoid the issues of differing until he’s well-grounded in the foundations and principles. It’s crucial that a student doesn’t act by every book he reads until he asks the scholars of his era. The student must learn to respect his sheik. He shouldn’t irritate his teacher by asking him questions which aren’t any benefit. When questioning your sheik listen carefully so that you can comprehend the answer, thus avoid asking him again.  The most important thing a person can benefit from his sheik is manners. The student of knowledge writes and records the words of his sheik only after getting his permission.

The student of knowledge must be on alert when choosing friends. He should choose those who help him in his quest for knowledge and uphold obedience to Allah, His messenger, and the Muslim rulers. As a seeker of the Shariah, the student should plan to travel to scholars who can teach him. Travelling to learn is the way of the Salaf.[3]

The Path of the Student of the internet

The student of the internet and social media is rude and hateful. He doesn’t display Islamic manners when interacting with others over the net. You’ll notice the student of the internet rarely begins and ends his conversation with “ As –Salamu Alaykum.”

The student of the internet struggles with sincerity He enjoys writing posts which others share and like on Social media. The student of the internet is unable to remain quiet, he loves joining forums, whats app chat rooms and twitter feeds to show he has some knowledge. The time he spends studying is way less than the actual time he spends on the internet bouncing from website to website; from a Facebook page to another looking for the slips and mistakes of any and every Muslim he can find on the net.

The student of the internet prefers to follow the majority actions of others on social instead of clinging to the Salaf. This student of the World Wide Web feels a sense of loneliness with the real world; therefore on the internet, he feels accepted and has a sense of satisfaction once his post is liked and shared.

The student of the dot net, dot com, and ,doesn’t build his education on a foundation; however, instead, he fixes himself with browsing and surfing web pages to gain information on issues that can’t be fully understood and grasped without that foundation. In other words, he reads about issues and avoids learning the principles.

The student of the internet takes pleasure in the freedom of the speech that the internet provides and as a result of this he writes carelessly and is heedless that while he’s writing so are the Angels. As a consequence his level of God-consciousness is low.

The student of Social media is impatient and harms others in his fight to make others agree with his opinions in posts or the views in his references. The student of the internet enters and chimes in on forums, tweets and messages where back-biting is practiced and unfortunately he stays there long enough until his participation is record against him. This all results from him not thinking about the outcome of the letters he enters with his keystroke.

The student of the internet doesn’t choose a reputable website of a scholar to learn from, but as a substitute bookmarks webpages that mainly publish and share gossip and slander. If only the student of the internet would visit sites from the senior scholars where their recordings of classes are hosted, then sat in the comfort of his house and listened to those audios taking notes, this would much better for his education.

The student of the net gets bored with real classes and lectures. In fact his attention span for reading and studying decreases day by day. He spends approximately 3-5 hours daily off and on surfing and browsing the net. So when we add up his time spent in cyber space, then for  every 8 days he’s spent a total of 24 hours , a complete day, on the net. Imagine that! He’s wasting his time!

The student of the internet hasn’t any manners when dealing with scholars. He’s only calls or writes them to establish his an argument in his favor , so that he can rush and spread it on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. In many cases he doesn’t even ask the sheikh’s permission to record the conversation, or if he asks him to record it he doesn’t get his permission to spread it. To take it step further , if the sheikh allows him to record it and spread , he’ll place his own title on the on the talk and use it for other than what the sheikh intended and Allah is a Witness to this treachery

The student of the internet is reckless in his choice he makes friends with; as befriends them through social media. Generally speaking he befriends all those who agree with him and unfriends and blocks those who don’t agree with him.

The student of the net doesn’t return his affairs back to the Quran and sunnah, rather he refers back to websites, YouTube videos and Twitter.

The student of the internet doesn’t follow any program of study other than daily site visits and when it comes to finding a fatwa, unlike a student of knowledge who asks the scholars, the student of the net prefers to hit Google, and then take it from there. So whichever website he’s redirected to based on his search he takes that answer and implements the best way he sees fit. Allah’s aide and help are sought.

Written and prepared by,

Abu Aaliyah Abdullah Battle

Academic/Khateeb Qatar [1439H]

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[1] Sunan Ibn Majah 3843[ Graded as Hasan, by Imam Al-Albani]

[2] Sahih Muslim 1905

[3] Refer to Sharhu Hilyati Talibil Ilm by Shaykh Sa’d Ash-Shitri

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