The Quest for Knowledge
According to a tradition, the Prophet of Islam once remarked: “The remedy for ignorance is asking questions.” If the ignorant man does not inquire; his ignorance will stay with him. But if he has a questioning mind, some knowledgeable person will answer him, and he will no longer remain ignorant.
There is a saying in Arabic to the same effect: To know that you do not know is half the knowledge itself. If an ignorant person is not aware of his ignorance, he will continue to remain in the same state. But when he becomes aware of his ignorance, he sets about seeking for knowledge.
He will try to turn his ignorance into knowledge. In this way his awareness of his ignorance will become the stepping stone leading towards full and comprehensive knowledge.
This is called, in present-day speech, "the spirit of inquiry", and is given extensive importance. It is this spirit of inquiry which has played the greatest role in bringing about the age of science. It is the zeal to discover which has led humankind to knowledge. In ancient times the phenomena of nature were considered to be manifestations of God. The sight of the manifestations of nature, therefore, aroused in man the spirit of worship. It was only when these natural phenomena were divested of their divinity that the spirit of inquiry could be aroused in man. As a result, many of the mysteries of; nature now lie unraveled.
An inquisitive mind is an absolutely essential element for the acquisition of knowledge. Only those who are possessed of this quality will achieve great success in intellectual and academic fields. Those devoid of this spirit will remain static, and will fall short in reaching their fullest potential.
It is this spirit which is the foundation of all progress.
Excerpted from the book Simple Wisdom by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
|Simple Wisdom A Daybook of Spiritual Living
(631 Pages – Maulana Wahiduddin Khan)
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