Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) Argues Muslims to Seek Knowledge

Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, talked very much about the importance of knowledge. He urged Moslems to seek knowledge, for it is the first pillar on which the lives of nations and peoples depend. He, peace be on him, praised the virtue of scholars, for they are the source of culture and guidance for the community. The following are some of what has been reported on his authority in this respect:

1. The Virtue of Knowledge

Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, glorified knowledge. He summoned Moslems to cling to it. He urged them to seek it. He lauded those who sought it.

He said: "Learn, for learning is protection. Seeking knowledge is worship, studying it is glorification (of Allah), looking for it is jihad, teaching it (to others) is alms, and giving it to those who are appropriate for it is proximity (to Allah).

Knowledge is the signpost of the garden. It is an intimate in lonesomeness, a companion in exile, a friend in estrangement, a guide to ease, a help against affliction, adornment with friends, and a weapon against enemies. By it Allah promotes some people to make them Ima`ms (leaders) for good. So, (people) follow their example and report their works. All wet and dry things, the whales and vermin of the see, and the animals and livestock of the land ask (Allah) to bless them.(Ibn Hamadun, al-Tadhkira, p. 26)

No words glorify knowledge, praise scholars, and embrace its fruits and advantages as these golden words do. Thus, they are worthy of writing in the institutes and universities of knowledge.

2. The Virtue of the Scholar

Ima`m al-Ba`qir, peace be on him, lauded the virtue of the scholar. He explained his social rank, and the plentiful reward which Allah has prepared for him. The following are some of the sayings which have been reported on his authority:

A. He, peace be on him, said: "The scholar of whose knowledge (people) make use is better than seventy thousand worshipers.( Jami' Bayan al-Ilm wa Fadlah, vol. 1, p. 32)

B. He, peace be on him, said: "Whoever teaches a door of guidance, will have the same reward of those who put it into practice. Nothing of the rewards of those (who put guidance into practice) will be decreased. Whoever teaches a door of error, will have the same burdens of those who put in into effect. Nothing of the burdens of those (who put error into effect) will be decreased.

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