The word ‘knowledge’ in the scientific sense means the information or skills gained through experimentation, learning and experience. In the religious sense it means the guidance that leads us to salvation in the hereafter. Scientific knowledge is applicable to our worldly life and religious knowledge to our permanent life. Scientific knowledge is acquired through our senses whereas religious knowledge can be acquired only from the divine guides. No amout of personal endeavor can help us obtain this knowledge independently. Scientific knowledge is not obligatory and required only to the extent that it satisfies our worldly needs and helps us secure our livelihood. Religious knowledge on the other hand is obligatory on all of us.
Imam Musa (as) said: “There is no salvation (najat) without obedience (ita’at); no obedience without knowledge (ilm), and no knowledge without studying (ta’alam), and no studying without an intellect (aql) accompanied by belief (aqidah); and there is no knowledge except from the divine scholar (aalim-e-rabbani)”. [Source: Wasail us Shia H33095]
The above hadith requires a careful reading. By connecting the dots in the hadith we can conclude that there is no salvation except through learning the hadith.
We all want to be obedient servants of our Imams (as), yet we are far away from their teachings. How can we obey our master when we don’t know his commands? How can we please our master when we don’t know his likes and dislikes. How can we be followers of Ahlul Bayt (as) when we have not read their words? How can we be protected when we don’t heed to their advise? How can we hope for salvation in the hereafter when we have abandoned them in this world?
Nowadays we have taken a convenient shortcut and surrendered ourselves to the mullahs and mujtahids. We take our religion from them blindly without demanding proof from hadith. They manipulate the religion and introduce innovations based on their selfish desires. They are a barrier between us and the Ahlul Bayt (as). They have cast doubt on the authenticity of hadith – when most of our collections (specifically the kutub-e-araba) are compiled by reliable and trustworthy people. As a result, we have stopped reading the hadith. We have cut ourselves off from that knowledge which was made obligatory on us.
We all need to build a personal connection with the Ahlul Bayt (as) by reading and acting on their hadith. We need to take our religion directly from them. We need to take their words seriously for our success and protection in this world and the hereafter. When our actions are based on hadith we will be on a sound and secure footing. No power or force can shake our faith. No enemy can weaken or destroy us. Without knowledge of the hadith we are weak and lost.
The hadith quoted earlier states clearly that the religious knowledge can only be gained from the aalim-e-rabbani (the divine scholar). Without this knowledge we have no idea of how to conduct our life. We have no idea about the commands which we should obey. We have no idea about the guidelines on which to base and structure our life upon. We have no idea about how to become obedient servants of our Imams (as). Without this knowledge we are doomed.