SHAFAQNA – During a meeting with a group of seminary students, Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, in addition to praying for success in their studies and propagation of Islam added: ’One of the miracles of the Holy Prophet (s) was his support for knowledge, the scholar and academic., as the era when he (s) appeared was an era of ignorance that was found everywhere. However, the Quran is full of commendation towards learning and acquiring knowledge.’
In explaining that the first thing that was revealed to the Holy Prophet (s) was regarding knowledge and learning, the Ayatollah added: ‘The first revelation to the Holy Prophet (s) emphasized on reading. This is an extremely important point in helping us to understand that to what extent Islam defended knowledge during the dark days of ignorance. Seventy verses in the Holy Quran were revealed about thinking, pondering and contemplation, and this repetition is not something we can glance over quickly.’
‘After the Holy Prophet (s), his successor, Imam Ali (a) also greatly emphasized on this issue; as Nahj al-Balagha contains many of these traditions. For example in one of the wisdoms, Imam Ali (a) says that knowledge is superior than wealth; however, today wealth is seen as being superior to knowledge.’
By pointing to the main issue of society today, he said: ‘Today everyone is chasing wealth, and see knowledge as being the servant of wealth. Imam Ali said: “Knowledge has five qualities over wealth, one, knowledge protects a person, whereas wealth must be protected; two, when wealth is given it decreases, however, when given, knowledge only increases.’”
‘The third difference between knowledge and wealth is that when a person associates with someone because of their wealth, when that wealth goes, so does the association; however knowledge always ensures this association lasts. The fourth difference is that those who seek wealth are dead even whilst alive; however, a scholar is always alive esven after his death, as his effects and thoughts remain e.g. Shaykh Ansari and Shaykh Tusi.’
‘The last difference is that knowledge rules whereas wealth must be ruled i.e. a person must manage and organize his wealth, but knowledge is not as such.’
He added that Islam gave importance to knowledge 1400 years and said: ‘Regretfully, wealth and money are controlling the World. So much so, that Saudi Arabia can even threaten the General Secretary of the UN with its petrodollars so that their name is removed from the list of child abusers.’
‘It is here that it becomes clear that even the General Secretary is not immune from their bribes! In other places we see American evidence of Saudi involvement in the destroying of the Twin Towers, but their name was removed via these very threats. Wars and killings that are occurring today are because of this very rule of money. If knowledge was predominate, we would not witness these atrocities,’ he added.