رَبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا
Rabbi zidnee ‘ilmaa
“My Lord, increase me in knowledge.”
Surah Ta-Ha Ayat 114
- When you study the context in which this du’a was revealed you’ll understand the message behind this du’a is similar to the idea of quality over quantity. It’s very difficult to learn under pressure, to really understand and to know comes slow.
- This teaching, to be patient in learning, and to take your time is more relevant now than ever. The technology of today is vying to capture and keep your attention. They have the brightest scientists looking for ways to addict your brains to their platforms. We play an active role because we’re pursuing constant pleasure for no purpose other than to be entertained. We fail to realize the negative long-term effects this kind of addiction can have. We have one brain (surprise) and we use it for everything. We don’t consider the ramifications of how we’re training ourselves.
- If you want to have an impact on the world you need to learn, you need knowledge. The pursuit and spread of knowledge is one of the most virtuous and honorable acts in Islam, Narrated Abu Hurairah: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Whoever takes a path upon which to obtain knowledge, Allah makes the path to Paradise easy for him.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2646)
- It was narrated from Jabir that: The Messenger of Allah said: “Ask Allah for beneficial knowledge and seek refuge with Allah from the knowledge that is of no benefit” (Sunan Ibn Majah 3843). Knowledge in not all equal, there are somethings you can learn that can be harmful or be of not benefit. So just as important it is to seek knowledge, we must be careful in the information we take in. It’s very hard to unlearn something the deeper it goes, so we must make du’a for beneficial knowledge and be careful of getting knowledge which is of no benefit.
“So high [above all] is Allah, the Sovereign, the Truth. And, [O Muhammad], do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur’an before its revelation is completed to you, and say, Rabbi zidnee ‘ilmaa “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (20:114)
This verse begins highlighting the purpose of Islam which is Allah (swt).
Everything, our whole objective must be done with him being at the center of our attention. He is the highest, there is nothing greater than Him. In the full verse it mentions two of his unique attributes of being, “Al-Malik” or the King, the one with complete control or dominion, and “Al-haqq” meaning the embodiment of truth.
Next, Allah tells Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to not be hasty in the recitation of the Qur’an. Whenever a new Surah or ayat were revealed to him, he became overjoyed and tried to capture the ayat quickly.
This message is also repeated in Surah Qiyamah, “Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with the recitation of the Qur’an.” (75:16). Instead say Rabbi zidnee ‘ilmaa meaning, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge”.
Allah was assuring him, this ayat has been sent down with a definite purpose and will not be lost, take your time to understand and soak in what is being said.
Is there a lesson we can learn?
When we’re struggling with something, if we find a topic difficult to understand we should turn to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and ask him to make it easy for us and to increase us in knowledge. Through his miraculous ways, he may reveal a teacher or a mentor at the right time, he may bestow upon you the unique ability to reason and to solve problems.
With Allah’s help we can find a way.
We can also treat the message of this du’a similarly to the idea of quality over quantity.
It is better for you to read and understand one good book well than it is to say you have read many books. The goal is not to speed-read an easy book but to find a difficult or thought-provoking subject and struggle your way through it. By avoiding what is easy and doing what is hard you will see an increase in knowledge which will be beneficial for you.
This teaching, to be patient in learning and to take your time is more relevant now than ever.
The technology of today is vying to capture and keep your attention. They have the brightest scientists looking for ways to addict your brains to their platforms. We play an active role because we’re pursuing constant pleasure for no purpose other than to be entertained. We must be weary of the television, tablets, laptops, computers, and phones when they are not serving us.
We fail to realize the negative long-term effects this kind of addiction can have. We have one brain (surprise) and we use it for everything. We don’t consider the ramifications of how we’re training ourselves to prefer reading headlines and 280-character tweets than to actually go to the source and read about a subject deeply.
Will power and patience is a muscle that needs to be exercised and this new technology is corrosion for the mind the way it is being misused.
We are at a crossroad.
If you want to get ahead or stand out from the crowd you need to ignore all these distractions and to not be lazy in the pursuit of beneficial knowledge.