Anyone with baking experience knows that you have to follow the exact recipe, step by step, with its precise measurements. Make one mistake and you’ll still have a cake, but the taste and look will be totally off.
The same idea can be applied to seeking knowledge. When it comes to embarking on this sacred journey, there is an ancient code of conduct abided by Ahl-ilm. The first and most important is memorizing the Quran.
Sh. Muhammad Ali Aadam al-Ityoobi حفظه الله beautifully said,
ولتبدأن من الدروس بالأهم … ثم بما يلي من العلم الأعم
فاحفظ كتاب الله بالتجويد … صبر عليه النفس بالتعويد
قد كان ذا أهم عند السلف … إذ كان هديهم لمن جا يحتفي
بطلب العلم ولم يحفظ فلا … يعلمونه وعاد خجلا
Begin with the primary lessons followed by the most common science. (First,) memorize the Book of Allah with Tajweed and habitually make the soul patient with that. This was most significant to the Salaf. It was their guidance to not teach anyone who arrived to seek knowledge and did not (complete) memorization of Quran. Thus, they would return (back to their land/people/home) ashamed.
Memorizing Quran has numerous benefits that will assist the student for the rest of their lives. It is seriously impossible to enumerate, so I’ll suffice with 7 that come to mind right now that directly relate to seeking knowledge:
- It develops honest sincere love for Allah and the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. This motivation will drive you day and night, even through exhaustion.
- It softens the heart. How could the Paradise, Hellfire, and Hereafter not do so?
- It teaches patience and consistency. Days and nights of repetition prepare you for what lies ahead in studying the other sciences.
If you cannot be patient with reading, memorizing, recalling, and understanding the perfect words of Rabbul Alamin, how successful do you think you’ll be with regular (sometimes even extremely confusing) books?
- It enriches and opens up the mind. Many educated parents have their children read often in order to heighten their sense of thought. What type of effect do you think reading, memorizing, understanding, and implementing the Book of Allah has on a person?
- Your reliance in Allah and humility will increase.
- You will truly realize the meanings of لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله and سبحانك لا علم لنا إلا ما علمتنا
- It protects you against wasteful people and actions & you recognize the extreme importance of time. 5 minutes means much more now.
Note that some of these are only applicable to those who memorize with understanding.
You can begin seeking knowledge without memorizing the entire Quran, but just like a cake that is missing a step or correct measurement, the end product won’t be as fruitful.