STUDENTS OF THE DEEN AND ULAMA
Offering some naseehat for those pursuing the Knowledge of the Deen, Hadhrat Hakimul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh) said: “I address the Students of the Deen with utmost respect. I have some advice to offer.
Your need (to the community) is only on account of Ilm (Knowledge) and Amal (Righteous Deeds). ‘Without these you have no value. Remember that the more delicious a food is, the quicker and the more does it deteriorate and develop foul odour. Just as it is beneficial in its condition of goodness, so too will it be corrupt and harmful in its state of corruption and decay. It is, therefore, essential that you become concerned with your islaah (moral reformation).
Your islaah can be achieved in two ways. The one way is to search for a pious Ustaadh from whom you can acquire the knowledge of the Deen. Never join the company of an irreligious Ustaadh. The time of acquiring Knowledge is the period for sowing the seeds. Secondly, after having spent some time in the acquisition of knowledge, stay in the suhbat (company) of some Ahlullaah (Saint of Allah). Only then will you gain the qualification for becoming a servant of the Deen. Only then will people wash your feet. (However, this should never be the motive for pursuing Ilm-e-Deen.) Nowadays students deceive themselves with the notion that they will practice righteousness after completion of their studies. This is a downright shaitaani ploy which will deprive the student from amal throughout his life. He will not gain the taufeeq for amal. Remember that first impressions do not return. The initial impression and effect should be valued. The impression which one gains while acquiring knowledge and the effect of having gained awareness of deeds of thawaab and sin are peculiar in the initial stage. If the student takes advantage of this initial impression and acts accordingly, it will benefit him enduringly. If he ignores the impression (i.e. the taufeeq) and abstains from giving it practical expression in the form of righteousness and abstention from sin, the taufeeq will be eliminated. This ability will not return easily. If the exhortations and warnings of the Qur’aan and Hadith which you are pursuing academically do not exercise an influence on your heart during your student-days, what hope is there for the future. When you study with the preconceived notion of the days of knowledge-pursuit not being the time for amal, then, O my honourable friend, there cannot be hope for the knowledge to exercise a beneficial influence on you in later life.”