Knowledge is considered to be one of the top most assets that an individual can ever possess. It is the stepping stone towards success as it never lets one down. Having proper familiarity with things and issues of interest is the key factor towards accomplishing one`s goals and objectives. For example, to thrive in any profession, one must first acquire enough information regarding different aspects of that field, only then it future efforts would be fruitful.
Generally speaking, the entire life of a person depends on gaining knowledge about all facets whether it is religious, social, professional or any other component of one`s existence. That is why Allah SWT has sent His Messengers for all nations to spread His Wisdom among them so that they could succeed both in this world and hereafter. The very revelation of the Holy Quran upon the Holy Prophet ﷺ also was about importance of acquiring understanding.
“Recite in the name of your Lord who created – Created man from a clinging substance. Recite and your Lord is the most Generous – Who taught by the pen – Taught man that which he knew not.” [Quran, 96: 1-5]
The Last Apostle of God, Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ acted as the greatest example for His followers and extended a pile of insight and awareness of all matters of life.
Narrated by Abu Musa (R.A):
“An example of the guidance and knowledge with which Allah has sent me is that of a rain that falls on different kinds of lands. One land is good; it accepts water and produces vegetation and grass in plenty. Another kind of land is dry with a solid bed that preserves the rain water so that people can drink and irrigate from it. The third kind of land is porous that can neither retain water nor produce vegetation. This is the example of those who acquire knowledge of the Deen and benefit from that which Allah sent me with, and of those who do not take heed and insist on rejecting Allah’s Guidance.” (Bukhari)
In the above mentioned Hadith, the Holy Prophet ﷺ has compared His comprehension of things with that of a rain just like it provides life to the earth surface and heart of a man to a soil which has to soak up fallen water from rain in order to benefit from it. Rasulullah ﷺ has further divided heart of a person into three kinds of soils: first one resembles soil which is fertile and is helpful for the masses because of its ability to absorb rainwater, produce a harvest which a lot of people benefits from; second kind of heart is similar to that land which only stores the rainfall, from which others drink water but it is does not use that hose itself and is unable to produce any crop out of it; third one is like that surface of ground which neither stores or absorbs water because of its emptiness and lets it go. These are the examples with which the Messenger ﷺ of the Almighty Lord used to teach wisdom to His companions and the believers in common.
Now let us discuss these 3 kinds of soil in detail:
i) First Soil: Heart Acquiring, Spreading and Benefiting from Knowledge:
In the Hadith under discussion, Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ has beautifully symbolized His Intellect with that of rain and heart of an individual as top of earth on which its water falls down. The first type of soil that is mentioned is the one which is productive in nature and is beneficial for others. This conveys a message that it is similar to that spirit of a person, which when comes across the teachings of Rasulullah ﷺ, it readily get familiar with and adopt them in its daily life. Then, it also spreads that acquired information to other people through a process of Dawah (Preaching) who benefit from the wisdom of Allah`s Messenger ﷺ. This ultimately leads to its triumph both in this world and the Day of Resurrection.
Sabl bin Mu’ddh bin Anas narrated from his father that the Prophet ﷺ said:
“Whoever teaches some knowledge will have the reward of the one who acts upon it, without that detracting from his reward in the slightest.” (Ibn e Majah)
It means that not only obtaining awareness of the Sunnah of Prophet ﷺ is a highly blessed action but its correct dispersal among others also results in great blessings and rewards from Allah SWT.
ii) Second Soil: Heart Getting, Spreading but Not Benefiting from Knowledge:
The second category of soil that Rasulullah ﷺ has talked about is the one which stores rainwater, which other people can benefit from but the ground itself is unable to use that water for producing something worthwhile like a yield. It means that this kind of heart of a human gets acquainted with the wisdom of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, transmits it forward as it is but the man itself is not capable of using that knowledge for its betterment.
“Knowledge from which no benefit is derived is like a treasure out of which nothing is spent in the cause of God.” (Tirmidhi)
It shows that there is no use of getting familiar with the teachings of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ until or unless one truly believes in them and set its life according to these guidelines.
iii) Third Soil: Heart Not Obtaining Knowledge:
The third and final kind of soil which has been compared to a human heart is the one which is porous in nature: it neither absorbs nor retains the rainwater, hence it lets go all the water in vain. Same is the case of a human spirit which when comes across the traditions of Rasulullah ﷺ, it ignores them completely and is left in a state of despair for doing so. The Creator of the world of the worlds also talks about the ignorant people in the Holy Quran as:
kinds of soil
“Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding. [Quran, 39: 9]
Therefore, those who pay no attention to the commandments of the Almighty Lord which Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ has clearly described them; such individuals are in complete worthless situation and can never be equal to those who acknowledge these instructions.
In short, the Messenger ﷺ of Allah SWT has very skillfully illustrated the importance of seeking knowledge and its consequences on life of a person in His Hadith. May the Gracious God give us first desire to acquire acquaintance with His Guidance, use it effectively in our lives and also benefit others from! Aameen!