As Salamu’ Alaykum WaRahmatullahi WaBarakatuhu 🙂
I hope you all are doing well InShaAllah!
Abu Musa (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “The parable of the guidance and knowledge, that Allah has sent me with is like that of rain which falls on a land. A fertile part of it absorbs the water and brings forth profuse herbage and pasture and the solid ground patches retain the water by which Allah benefits the mankind, who drink from it, irrigate their crops and sow their seeds. The infertile part of it neither retains the water nor does it produce herbage. Such is the parable of the person who develops the understanding in the Deen (religion) of Allah and benefits from what Allah has sent me with. Then he learns it and teaches it and such is the parable of the one who does not pay attention, and rejects the guidance of Allah, with which he has sent me.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
SubhanAllah this is such a profound hadith;
When it rains in a certain area, does all of that land benefit equally? Does all of that land absorb the rain and produce vegetation and herbs? The answer is no. But why? I mean, the same rain that is falling on soil is the same rain falling on the road and mountains, so shouldn’t it have the same effect on the whole land? The same question goes for us humans; when we are in a class with say, 70 people, does every single one of those students benefit equally? All of the students are receiving the same knowledge from the same teacher at the same time, so then why doesn’t everyone benefit equally?
How we benefit from the knowledge and guidance that we are given is completely up to us. Some people attain knowledge and benefit from it so much so that it shows in their actions and words. These type of people do not keep the knowledge to themselves. They become a source of benefit for others as well, taking the best out of what they learned. But how can one benefit like this? By completely absorbing what is taught to them, at the time that it is being taught. By being present as a student, physically and mentally. This student is just like the soft soil on which it rains; the land absorbs all of the rain, uses that rain to grow plants and vegetation, and therefore becomes a source of benefit for many others.
In that same area, there is also land that is hard, concrete. The same rain still falls on the concrete, but the beneficial outcome is different. Likewise, in that class of 70 people, there are those who benefit in the same way as the concrete. They receive the same knowledge as the other students, and they retain it, but it does not absorb. With this knowledge, they are able to benefit others by teaching it, but do not benefit from it personally. Rain that falls on concrete is retained, puddles are formed, but the concrete itself does not absorb this rain water. Rather, it becomes drinking water, like a river or lake from which animals drink from. These kind of students are partially successful in that whoever learns from them and whoever benefits from what they teach, they will still obtain some of the reward, If Allah wills.
And finally, the last category that the Prophet (SAW) mentioned in this hadith; the completely infertile, hard land. This is rocky, uneven, and hard land. Yes, the same rain is falling on this land as well but there is no benefit whatsoever. Not even a little bit. When rain falls on uneven, rocky terrain, such as mountains, what happens? The rain water slides right down. None of it gets absorbed, even puddles do not form. This is like the student who comes to class, but doesn’t retain any knowledge. No benefit is derived. Just information passing over the head, going through one ear and out the other.
So, we must analyze ourselves. Which category do we fall in? What portion of the land are we? How much effort are we putting in to our education? Remember, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) isn’t just referring to any education in this hadith, He (SAW) is specifically referring to knowledge of the deen (religion) and the guidance that He (SAW) was sent with. When we learn about Islam, what land do we resemble? Do we leave the beneficial knowledge at the door when leaving? Or do we absorb it and benefit from it in the best way? Or are we that middle ground?
But before asking ourselves all these questions, we should ask, what are we doing to actually attain knowledge of the deen? Are we even striving towards that? Benefiting from it is a far fetched goal if we haven’t even begun to strive towards receiving that knowledge in some way or another. May Allah give us all the tawfiq and desire to learn about the deen and fulfill our duty of implementing and teaching all that we learn, Ameen!