Extracts from "Easy Good Deeds" by Mufti Justice Mohammad Taqi Usmani, Translated by Jamil Naqvi
Teaching religion is for more meritorious an act than learning religion, provided one does not expound religious to show off his own erudition but teaches to benefit others. Abu Umama has quoted the following words of our Prophet, may he be eternally blessed, “Allah the Most High and His Angels and all creatures of the Heavens and earth even the ants inside their ant-holes shower mercy one those who teach things of benefit to others.” (Jame-Tirmidhi)
Sahl bin Sa’d relates that once our Prophet upon whom be peace, addresses Ali as follows, “If Allah gives guidance to even one person through you it is far better for you than red camels.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Red camels were highly prized among the Arabs. Thus this hadith means that if your teaching benefits someone, it is better than all the wealth in the world.
Hence, whenever one gets a chance to teach others, particularly one’s own wife and children, any aspect of religion, one should avail it and continue doing this good deed because it is a perpetual source of merit.
To Learn Matters of Faith
It is the duty of every Muslim to know as much about his faith as to enable him to lead his life according to it; it is not necessary for everyone to become a theologian. Only necessary learning is necessary; e.g. important points about prayers, hajj and zakat (poor due) and what is allowed and what is forbidden in matters of everyday life.
While acquisition of knowledge is a duty, observance of religious duties in the light of this knowledge has obviously been promised much reward and merit. Every act of learning Faith is a good deed in itself and has been much lauded in Quran and also hadith. For instance, according to Abu Darda’, our eternally blessed Prophet said, “For the one who walks a path in order to acquire some knowledge, Allah makes the path to Paradise easy; and angels being pleased with this deed of the seeker after knowledge, spread their wings in his path.” (Abu Daud; Tirmidhi)
This encompasses not only those seekers of knowledge who study religion in a regular way but also those who seek answers to their problems by going to a learned person or by sitting in a sermon. Anas has quoted the following words of the Holy Prophet, “He who goes out of his home to seek knowledge is in the way of Allah till he returns."
Thus whatever step one takes to learn any aspect of the faith of Islam would, Allah willing, earn him the merit due to a seeker of knowledge; even study of religious books, provided they are genuine, earns for one the same merit and reward. Hence, one should choose one’s books in consultation with a learned man. One should never pass up an opportunity to learn anything of the faith. It will increase knowledge, improve one’s life and increase the good in one’s record. Knowledge is an unbounded ocean and the more one learns the more becomes his thirst for knowledge, and it should be so. Hadith tells us that one who is greedy for knowledge is never satiated. He is ever seeking more knowledge and thus the acquisition of merit goes on and one.
Fear of Allah
Allah - by virtue of His Greatness - should be feared, as has been enjoined time and again in Quran as well as ahadith. Abbas the uncle of our blessed Holy Prophet has related that once he and others were sitting under a tree with the Holy Prophet when dry leaves began to fall from the tree till only green leaves remained. The Holy Prophet said. "This (tree) is like a believer who trembles with fear of Allah and so sheds his sins leaving behind only good deeds". (AI Targhib, p. 227. vol. 5. ref Baihaqi)
To create fear of Allah, we should think of His Power and Greatness, of the straits of earlier ummahs and of the chastisement mentioned in Quran and hadith for the disobedient ones. This shall create Allah's fear in the heart and prevent one from wrongdoing, sinning and unlawful acts, and one shall attain piety which is the basis of all good and of deliverance and salvation in this world and in the next. May Allah grant unto us the opportunity for it all Amen.