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IslamQA: Is seeking knowledge better than worship?

Assalam brother, Islam encourages us to seek knowledge and in one of the hadith said it is better to seek knowledge than to perform the daily spiritual activities (e.g. zikr, reads quran, perform sunnah), my question is what kind of knowledge do we need to seek according to the hadith? I think I'm lacking in those knowledge seeking, thank you in advance for your kind answer.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I have read it in multiple sources that seeking knowledge is better than worship. My own view is that for a Muslim who wishes to be extraordinary, a minimum amount of daily worship is always necessary. Seeking knowledge does not take away this requirement. In my own case I spend an hour every day listening to the Quran. This is the minimum amount of worship that I believe to be acceptable.

Without performing that worship, seeking knowledge alone can lead to many kinds of evils. A person can become arrogant and proud, or suffer from envy. It is absolutely essential that we do what is needed to keep our egos in check daily. Merely seeking knowledge without subduing the ego can easily lead to a bad character.

As for seeking knowledge, what is normally meant is to seek religious knowledge, especially to do your best to understand the Quran and to read the important books of hadith.

Once you have done that, you can go on to study other aspects of Islam. Ideally we should seek all essential beneficial knowledge, therefore for the extraordinary Muslim I believe the study of some literature and philosophy is also necessary. Please check out the page The Modern Islamic Studies Curriculum on our site which contains a list of books that I believe all capable Muslims should attempt to read.

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