Is studying at a university regarded as tahsil al-ilm (acquisition of knowledge/science)?

Details of the Question

Is studying or working at a university regarded as tahsil al-ilm (acquisition of knowledge/science)? How can it be possible to study both exact sciences and religious sciences, and to apply them in life? When we study the lives of Islamic scholars, we see that they invented many things. What can you advise to the people studying or working at a university? In what situations can an academician working at a university be a student or scholar who acquires knowledge/science? How can he be a student of ilm? In what situations can he get rewards from what he publishes?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

As you will accept, the phrase "learners of ilm (science/knowledge)" is a term used only for students. However, demanding science/knowledge is not limited with students in general; it includes teachers too.  In that sense, every teacher is also "learner of ilm". For, a teacher cannot teach without searching and learning science. He also gets the reward of teaching.

Then, whether an academician is included in the class of "learners of ilm" is related to his fulfilling his duty properly or not.

As it is known, the duty of an academician is not only informing a student about the subjects he is interested in but also equipping him with the information he will need in life. It becomes possible by teaching him all kinds of knowledge and information useful for this world and the hereafter and trying to realize it and making it practical.

"Proclaim! (or Read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created." (al-Alaq, 96/1)

In the first verse that was sent down, sciences are advised without categorization. The only condition is to read in the name of Allah.

In fact, all sciences remind us Allah; it is the duty of the teacher to open this window.

It is an indisputable fact that not only life in this world but also in the other world interest people.

Abdullah b. Amr b. As narrates: Once, Hz. Prophet (pbuh) saw two different groups form a circle in the mosque and said:

"Both groups are good. However, one of them is better than the other.

One group is praying to Allah and begging Him for their wishes. Allah will give them what they want if He wishes or will not give them.

As for the second group, they are learning fiqh and science and teaching what they know to those who do not know. Therefore, they are more virtuous. I was sent only as a teacher." Then, he sat near them. (Darimi, Muqaddima, 32).

As it is seen here, learning and teaching are shown to be together.

"Be a scholar or a learner or a listener; do not be the fourth; otherwise, you will be destroyed." (Ajluni, I/148)

In the hadith above, the virtue of being a teacher and a student is indicated.

That Hz. Prophet prayed as follows shows that science needs to be useful for both the world and the hereafter:

"O Allah, I ask You for beneficial knowledge, goodly provision and acceptable deeds." (Ibn Majah, Iqamah, 32)

"O Allah! I take refuge in you from the word that is not heeded, the deed that does not rise, the heart that does not fear/respect You and the knowledge that is not useful." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, III/192)

Since humanity need sciences like medicine, engineering, computing, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, business and administration, it is rewarding to help humanity through these sciences.

There is no doubt that the most honorable science is the one that makes man know Allah in the shortest way, places His greatness into hearts and opens a window from art to the Artist from boons to the Sustainer by showing His wonderful arts and boons. Primarily the sciences of aqaid (creed), which teaches the principles of belief, and the science of tafsir (interpretation of the Quran), hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) teach Allah and His orders and prohibitions.

The benefits of sciences like astronomy, geology, botany, gynecology, physics and chemistry in this sense are indisputable. The side effects here are the products of shabby ideas of those who misinterpret them and turn them into poison. The reason for this is having only one side. However, man, who was created for two worlds, has two important mechanisms. Those who do not satisfy both of them will be bound to be affected by hunger in terms of science and hence move to right and left and deviate as a result of the dizziness caused by this hunger.    

The light of consciousness is religious sciences. The light of the mind is modern sciences. Reality becomes manifest when they unite. With those two wings, the effort of the student flies. When they disunite, bigotry emerges in the former and doubt in the latter. (see B. Said Nursi, Münazarat)

Therefore, religious sciences need to be studied together with modern sciences lest bigotry and doubt should occur.

for more information, please click on the link given below;

What does dying as a learner of ilm (science) gain us? How does Azrail come to take our life? How can a person be a learner of science?

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