Ibn Al-Qayyim on knowledge, asking, listening, and silence

January 27, 2016

By Abu Amina Elias

In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Ibn Al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, writes in his book Miftah Dar As-Sa’adah:

Knowledge has six levels: First, asking good questions. Second, good practice of silence and listening. Third, acquiring good understanding. Fourth, memorization. Fifth, teaching. And sixth, and this is the fruit of all knowledge, to act upon it and be careful of its limits.

Among people are those deprived of knowledge due to their lack of asking good questions, whether by not asking at all or by asking about unimportant matters, such as one who asks about a matter whose ignorance will not harm him while he leaves that which he must know. This is the case of many ignorant students.

And among people are those deprived of knowledge due to their poor ability to remain silent. For them, speaking and debating issues are more beloved and preferred over being quiet. This is a hidden defect in many seekers of knowledge that prevents them from much learning, even if they are capable of understanding well.

Source: Miftāḥ Dār al-Saʻādah 1/169

قال ابن القيم رحمه الله وللعلم ست مراتب اولها حسن السؤال الثانية حسن الانصات والاستماع الثالثة حسن الفهم الرابعة الحفظ الخامسة التعليم السادسة وهي ثمرته وهي العمل به ومراعاة حدوده فمن الناس من يحرمه لعدم حسن سؤاله أما لانه لا يسال بحال او يسال عن شيء وغيره اهم اليه منه كمن يسأل عن فضوله التي لا يضر جهله بها ويدع ما لا غنى له عن معرفته وهذه حال كثير من الجهال المتعلمين ومن الناس من يحرمه لسوء انصاته فيكون الكلام والممارات آثر عنده وأحب اليه من الانصات وهذه آفة كامنة في اكثر النفوس الطالبة للعلم وهي تمنعهم علما كثيرا ولو كان حسن الفهم

1/169 مفتاح دار السعادة

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.