In his meeting with a group of students from the Islamic seminary schools of Mashhad, Tehran, and Urmia, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi prayed for their success in studying and promoting the religion and stated: “One of the miracles of the Great Prophet of Islam (s) was his support for knowledge and the knowledgeable. This is because in the time and place where the Prophet (s) was sent by Allah (swt) as a Messenger, ignorance and a complete lack of regard for knowledge and science had permeated the entire society”.
Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi then added: “Contrary to the conditions of the region where the Prophet (s) lived, the Prophet (s) himself as well as his Divinely-sent Book, the Holy Quran, spoke so much about knowledge and science and placed such importance on them that it seems quite unusual for the conditions of that region. In other words, it is quite clear that the Prophet (s) and the Quran and their strong support for knowledge and science could not have emerged from the barbaric and ignorant pre-Islamic society in the Arabian Peninsula”.
His eminence then referred to the origin of such emphasis placed on knowledge and said: “such kind of emphasis placed on knowledge can be traced back to the time of Prophet Adam, where Allah the Almighty first taught Adam the knowledge of the Names, and it was because of this knowledge that He commanded His angels to prostrate themselves before Adam; so, the quality that was in Adam which made the angels prostrate themselves before him was knowledge.”
Stating that the first thing that was revealed to the Prophet (s) has to do with knowledge, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi further stated: “In the first revelation that was sent to the Prophet (s) God commanded him to read. Thus, it is very important for us to understand how important knowledge is, because Islam so strongly supported knowledge and learning in the dark ages of ignorance. There are 70 verses in the Quran, where thinking, reflecting, and learning have been emphasized in the Quran and such a great importance placed on thinking and learning, realized in the form of repeating it 70 times, is not something that we can pass by easily”.
The Rule of Money over the World
Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi then noted: “after the Prophet (s), his successor, Imam Ali (a) also greatly emphasized the issue of knowledge and learning; this is clearly reflected in Imam Ali’s words in the book Nahj al-Balāqah; there are numerous traditions by Imam Ali (a), as well as aphorisms, in which the Imam (a) calls knowledge and science superior to wealth; this is while nowadays, people prefer wealth over knowledge”.
Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi then referred to a great problem of today’s world and stated: “nowadays, all people are obsessed with making more money and they consider science to be as a means of making more money. This is while Imam Ali (a) said: “knowledge has five advantages over wealth: first, knowledge protects you, but you must protect wealth; second, when you give something out of your wealth it diminishes but when you give something out of your knowledge to someone else, your knowledge expands””.
Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi then added: “the third advantage of knowledge over wealth is that if a person, who whose friends accompany him because of his wealth, loses his wealth, they will leave him alone, but knowledge causes one’s friends to accompany one all the times. The forth advantage of knowledge over wealth is that those who only live to make money are dead even during their lives, but a man of knowledge will live on even after his death because his scientific works will continue to live on even after his death. Examples of such scholars, in the field of Islamic sciences are al-Shaykh al-Ansāri and al-Shaykh al-Toosi”.
The Great Problem which has plagued the World of Today is the Dominion of the Illegitimately-earned Money over the World
Stating that Islam has emphasized the great importance of knowledge and learning about 1400 years ago, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi noted: “Unfortunately, today money rules the world; it is a world where a wealthy country like Saudi Arabia can intimidate and bribe even the UN Secretary General with its petro-dollars to remove its name from the blacklist of children’s rights violators, and they immediately comply”.
He further added: “it is completely clear that even the UN Secretary General has been bribed by the Saudis; in another case, the Saudis were able to persuade the American officials with their petro-dollars not to disclose certain documents which prove that the Saudi Arabia was involved in 9/11 attacks. The invasions and the massacre of innocent people which take place today are the results of the rule of money over the world. If knowledge ruled the world, we would not be witnessing such catastrophes today”.
Today, the world is in an even greater need of the Islamic teachings
Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi then referred to the great favor that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon the students of the Islamic seminary schools by giving them the chance to study and promote the school of the Ahl-al-Bayt (a). His eminence stated in this regard: “There are a lot of individuals who wish to be able to take the path that you are now on, but they cannot; this is a favor bestowed upon you by Allah (swt) to be among those who can call themselves the disciples of Imam al-Baqer (a) and Imam al-Sadeq (a)”.
Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi further added: “we live in a time when the need for the Islamic teachings is greater than any other time period. There were not so many individuals and organizations, which operate today, to create doubts with regard to Islam. Today, such individuals and organizations operate at their full capacity and spread doubts about Islam through various modern media all around the world. Under such circumstances our duty, as religious students and scholars, is much heavier”.
Stating that the students of the seminary schools must be familiar with the needs that arise every day, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi stated: “it is necessary for the students of the Islamic seminary schools to learn about the needs of the day, and they also need to study various fields of Islamic sciences very well. You must know that the issue of Takfir originates from the Saudi Arabia and from the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abdulwahhāb; you must also know the origins of the false mystic schools and be able to refute them”.
His eminence then stated the following, in response to the question “What are the requirements for a student of the Islamic seminary school succeed in achieving his goals”: “a student of the Islamic seminary school needs the following three items to ensure his success: the first is being orderly in all aspects of life, including studying, scientific discussions, and so on. Second, is perseverance; you must not be demotivated by the difficulties of this path and you must persevere and work hard to achieve your goals. And third, is purity in intent; the more sincere you are in your efforts and intention, the greater goals you will achieve. You must know that the individuals who were successful in this field were all sincere and pure in their intent”.