Prioritizing the Qur’an When Seeking Knowledge

Hudayfah - radiallâhu ’anhu - said:

The Messenger of Allâh sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam related two matters to us. I have seen one of them, and I am waiting for the other. He informed us: “Trustworthiness was sent down in the depths of the heart of the people, then they learned it from the Qur‘ân, and then they learned it from the Sunnah.” [Related by al-Bukhârî (no.7086)]
Al-Hâfidh Ibn Hajr (825H) - rahimahullâh – said about this hadith:

“His saying: “then they learned it from the Qur‘ân, then they learned it from the Sunnah.” So it occurs in this narration with the repetition of “then”, which contains an indication that they would learn Qur‘ân before learning the details of the Sunnah. And what is meant by the details of the Sunnah is anything that they would learn from the Prophet sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam - whether it was obligatory or recommended.” [Fathul-Bârî (13/39)]

Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) - rahimahullâh - said:

“As for seeking to memorise the Qur‘ân, then this is to be given preference over many of the things that the people consider to be knowledge, but are - in reality - either totally useless, or having little benefit. It is also to be given precedence in learning especially by those who wish to acquire knowledge of the Dîn, its principles and its particulars. Since what is prescribed for such a person at this time is that he should begin by memorising the Qur‘ân, as it is the foundation of the branches of the knowledge of the Dîn. This is contrary to what is done by many of the people of Innovation from the non-Arabs and other than them, in that one of them will pre-occupy himself with superfluous parts of knowledge; such as kalâm (rhetorical speech) and argumentation; or very rare matters of differences; and blind-following; which there is no need for; or very strange and rare ahadîth, which are not established, nor of benefit; and many discussions which do not establish proofs. And he abandons memorising the Qur‘ân which is more important than all of this.” [Fatâwâ al-Kubra (2/54-55)]

Al-Hâdfidh an-Nawawî (d.676H) - rahimahullâh - said:

“So the first thing he should begin with is memorization of the mighty Qur‘ân, which is the most important branches of knowledge. And the pious predecessors did not use to teach Hadîth or Fiqh, except to one who memorized the Qur‘ân. So when he has memorized it, then let him beware of pre-occupying himself from it with Hadîth, Fiqh or other things, to the extent that it leads him to forget anything of the Qur‘ân, or makes that likely.” [From the introduction to Al-Majmû’ Sharhul-Muhadhhab (1/38)]

Seeking Knowledge in Due Amounts

Allâh, the Most High - said:

“And this is a Qur‘ân which We have divided into parts, in order that you recite it to men at intervals. And we have sent it down in stages.” [Sûrah al-Isrâ 17:106.]

Al-Khatîb al-Baghdâdî said:

“It is fitting that he take care in acquiring knowledge and that he should not take too much in one go. Rather, he should take a little at a time, such that he can bear it, memorize it and be able to understand it. Because Allâh - the Most High - says: “And those who disbelieve say: Why is the Qur‘ân not sent down to him all at once? Thus (is it sent down in parts) that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages.” [Sûrah al-Furqân 25:32]  [Al-Faqîh wal-Mutafaqqih (2/101).]

Supplicating for an Increase in Knowledge [19]

Allâh - the Most High – said:

“Say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” [Sûrah Tâ Hâ 20:114]

Atlas bin Mâlik - radiallâhu ’anhu – said:  I heard Allâh’s Messenger sallallâhu ’alayhi wa sallam supplicated: “O Allâh! Benefit me with knowledge. Teach me that which will benefit me, and provide me with knowledge from which I can derive benefit.” [Related by Hâkim (1/510) and he said: “It is authentic upon the condition of Muslim.” Adh-Dhahabî also agreed.]