On one occasion, a certain Sahaabi asked Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), “When will Qiyaamah occur?” In response, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked him, “What have you prepared for the Day of Qiyaamah?” (Saheeh Bukhaari #6167)
In other words, when the knowledge of the precise moment of Qiyaamah’s occurrence is only known to Allah Ta‘ala, then this knowledge does not relate to you. Hence, you should rather concern yourself with that which relates to you, which is preparing for Qiyaamah, as it is not the knowledge of Qiyaamah but the preparedness for it that will secure one’s salvation.
On one occasion, a certain person approached Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) and asked him an intricate question of ‘aqaa-id (beliefs). Perceiving that this person was delving into a discussion which did not pertain to him and which was beyond his depth of understanding, Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) asked him a mas-alah (ruling) regarding wudhu. When the person was unable to answer correctly, Imaam Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullah) said to him, “You have neglected acquiring the knowledge of something which you require at least five times a day, and instead you wish to discuss intricate issues related to ‘aqaa-id!” (Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 51, pg. 381 and Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 10, pg. 26)
Sadly, for many people today, perusing literature and surfing the net, especially in the pursuit of ‘interesting’ and obscure pieces of information, is almost an obsession. Regrettably, they are unable to discern between that which is authentic and that which is unauthentic, and that which is beneficial and that which is harmful for them. Thus, they read anything that is forwarded over WhatsApp, watch or listen to any clip they stumble across, and study any literature they wish, without any guidance or supervision whatsoever.
As a result, over time, they form warped opinions and develop a distorted mindset regarding different aspects of Deen. This is not a matter to be taken lightly or trivialised, as in some cases, this can cause them to leave the fold of Islam! Furthermore, since they regard themselves to be educated and well-informed on the topic, they will refuse to listen to any reason or accept any correction.
In essence, the knowledge of Deen is not something to be trifled with or trivialised through reducing it to a mere hobby, pastime or means of entertainment. After acquiring the basic knowledge of Deen which we require, if any person wishes to acquire further Deeni knowledge, it MUST be with the guidance and supervision of trusted and qualified ‘Ulama. Finally, the motive for acquiring the knowledge of Deen must be to practice on it and use it to gain the proximity of Allah Ta‘ala.
If the knowledge of Deen is acquired with the correct intention and following the correct procedure, it will insha-Allah be a means of one’s progress in Deen. Otherwise, it can become the means of one retrogressing – Allah Ta‘ala forbid!
May Allah Ta‘ala bless us all with the true appreciation and respect for the knowledge of Deen, aameen.