The value of ilm(knowledge)
A man was teaching ilm ul-fiqh to a student and he told the student, “I am giving you something, which has more value than gold, silver, pearls and jewels. Every mas’alah is very precious.” The student was very happy about this. When he finished his lesson he went home and his mother asked him to buy some vegetables. He went to the greengrocer and ordered the vegetables. The greengrocer charged him 50 pence. He said to the merchant, “I do not have 50 pence. Instead I have something that is more valuable than gold and silver. I shall explain to you a mas’alah. My teacher said that each mas’alah is so precious that it is more valuable than gold, silver, pearls and jewels.” The greengrocer was annoyed by this statement as he did not appreciate the value of ‘ilm. Therefore he told him in a harsh way, “Away with you! Go and give it to others. I need my 50 pence.” The student was dejected. He turned back to his teacher and told him. “You told me that each mas’alah is more valuable than gold, silver, pearls and jewels – yet it is not even worth 50 pence in the sight of the greengrocer.” The teacher told him, “My son! You went to the wrong place! I shall ask you to do something. Here is a precious stone, take it to the greengrocer and try to get your vegetables in exchange for this precious stone.”
The student went to the greengrocer and handed over the precious stone to him in exchange for the vegetables. The greengrocer declined his offer and said, “I need my 50 pence and not this small stone!”
The student went back to his teacher and narrated the incident to him. The teacher told him, “Now, my son, take the precious stone and go to the jeweller and offer it to him.” When he reached the jeweller, the latter was bewildered at the fact that this young boy was in possession of such a valuable stone. He looked at him from head to toe and asked him, “Where did you get this precious stone from? It seems as if you stole it from somewhere. A boy like you cannot possess such a valuable stone!” The boy explained to him, with difficulty, where he obtained it from and claimed his money.
Thereafter he went back to his teacher and told him what had happened. The teacher told him, “You went to the greengrocer. He does not know the value of a precious stone. How would you expect him to appreciate it? The greengrocer's shop was not the place where a precious stone could be appreciated. Yes, a jeweller is an expert in his field. Hence he knows what is the price and value of this stone. He knows the reality of it.”
Therefore this ‘ilm that Allah has linked us to, in whatever way and form, we cannot expect the greengrocer, the rich, the worshipper of status to appreciate and honour it. Only those fortunate ones upon whom Allah has bestowed this art of recognizing its value can dignify this ‘ilm. In our present day, this art of recognizing its value is missing. Therefore, we do not appreciate ‘ilm, and not know it's value. Those who were aware of its reality; that is of appreciating ‘ilm, used to say, ‘Radeena qismatal Jabbaar fi na lanaa ilmun walil juhhaali maalu.’ (We are pleased with what Allah has allotted for us. We have knowledge and the ignorant have wealth.) These were the people who valued ‘ilm. Even if the wealth of the whole world was placed at their feet, they did not give it any importance. They knew the value of ‘ilm. Allahu Akbar!