There is one word in the Quran that is so beautiful and deep in teaching us the etiquette of being a student of knowledge. One word; so comprehensive, and so deep. Such is the Quran; the more closer you learn from it, the more deeper you dive into its ocean of wisdom.
‘Ar Raasikhoona fil ilm’, meaning ‘those who are firmly rooted in knowledge’: Allah swt uses the word ‘Raasikh’ which comes from its roots, ra seen kha; rusookh, giving us the meaning of being firmly grounded, like a nail pinned/hammered so deep into a wall such that even if you hang something heavy on it, it won’t fall, because a large portion of it is pinned in the wall.
Meaning, the one who is firmly rooted in knowledge is not only the one who has a lot of knowledge, but that knowledge is strongly connected to the actions in their lives; there is literally no disconnect between their knowledge and their lives, their words and their actions. In other words: they are firmly rooted in their knowledge that it is manifest through their implementation of it. We see their knowledge in their actions.
And no matter how heavy a matter is hung on the nail, no matter how difficult or tempting a situation they face, the nail doesn’t easily uproot from the wall, they do not easily give in; instead they follow the straight path. Such are the Raasikh, the people who are firmly and deeply rooted in their knowledge.
One can read and study books upon books completely filled with notes, one can have many degrees from big universities, but one is a Raasikh, only when they have fully understood all that knowledge and implemented it and USED it. The more a person acts upon knowledge, the more he remembers it.
Allah SWT describes these people and mentions this word in two places in the Quran. In Surah Ale Imran verse 7 and in Surah Nisa verse 162.
Now, Who are these people? How do we recognize their characteristics or strive to be like them?
But those firm in knowledge among them and the believers believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you. And the establishers of prayer [especially] and the givers of zakah and the believers in Allah and the Last Day – those We will give a great reward. [Surah Nisa, 162]
- They believe in the revelations of Allah
- They firmly establish prayer [Side note: In this verse, the scholars say that this point of establishing salah has been given so much emphasis and honor due to grammatical explanations I won’t go into here] It is sufficient to know that the state of our prayer is a huge criteria of our faith and our level of being a raasikh or not.
- Are givers of Zakah
- Believe in Allah and the Last Day
Ibn Al-Mundhir recorded in his Tafsir that Nafi` bin Yazid said, “Those firmly grounded in knowledge are those who are modest for Allah’s sake, humbly seek His pleasure, and do not exaggerate regarding those above them, or belittle those below them.” They don’t compromise for the sake of others, neither do they seek respect from others; they tell people what is correct and don’t show arrogance or bad character or bias in saying the truth. And they don’t complain if people don’t accept/acknowledge them.
The Prophet SAW was asked about the ‘rasikhooona fil ilm’ and he said he is the one who does not swear false oaths and he speaks the truth and his heart is firm upon faith. [my teacher said this but I can’t find the exact hadeeth online to link here]
Dua of those firmly grounded in knowledge:
Even though they are so deeply and firmly tied to knowledge, they understand the value of being rightly guided and yearn to never lose it, so they make this supplication:
رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ
“Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower. [Ale Imran, 8]
The question now is, how deep is my nail rooted today?
Is it rusted? Is it rotten? Is it falling apart already? or Is it strong enough?