Advice to Students of Knowledge / General / Motivational / on Knowledge

Imam Ahmad’s Quote on Knowledge

“Imam Ahmad on Knowledge”


Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (Allah have mercy on him) beautifully remarked as quoted by al-Hafiz Ibn al-Qayyim:

قال الإمام أحمد : الناس محتاجون إلى العلم أكثر من حاجتهم إلى الطعام والشراب لأن الطعام والشراب يحتاج إليه في اليوم مرة أو مرتين، والعلم يحتاج إليه بعدد الأنفاس

“People are more in need of knowledge than food and drink because they only need food and drink once or twice a day – but they need knowledge with every breath they take…”[1]


  • Ignorance is not a praiseworthy quality.[2]
  • It could be that an action based on total ignorance of its ruling lead a person into direct sin or disobedience to Allah.
  • It could be that an action based on total ignorance of its rulings causes that action to be invalid and hence unacceptable to Allah (cf. integrals of acts of personal worship, e.g. Prayer, Fasting, etc.).
  • The student of knowledge must seek knowledge and give it utmost importance.


[1] Ibn al-Qayyim, Dar Miftah al-Sa`ada, 1:66. Cf. Ibn Taymiyya’s warning on lacking knowledge for actions at and Imam al-Ghazali’s advice to combine knowledge and action at

[2] See Imam al-Haddad, al-Nasa’ih al-Diniyya, pp.95 on the dangers of ignorance.


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