It is obligatory upon every Muslim to learn his or her religion and all the issues related to the worship of Allah, which is the sole purpose of their creation, as Allah says:
" وما خلقت الجن والإنس إلا ليعبدون "
“And I (Allah) did not create the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me” (Surah Adh Dhariyat, 51:56)
Verily Allah urged and exhorted us with reading and learning the religion in the very first verses which He revealed to His Prophet Muhammad, as Allah says:
“Read! In the name of your Lord who has created all that exists-He has created man from a clot-Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous-Who has taught writing by the pen-He has taught man that which he knew not.” (Surah al Alaq, 96:1-5)
In the very first verses of revelation, the Lord (Allah) emphasizes the command to read. These verses also contain an indication that one of the greatest tools for learning is the pen and with it knowledge is transmitted and related to others. These verses also contain an indication that knowledge is the most noble and honorable thing in the sight of Allah and definitely the most respected in light of the fact that Allah from his graciousness and generosity bestows not only his favors upon the person with knowledge but also by giving him/her the tools of knowledge.
Allah also ordered the people from the nation of Muhammad (Muslims) to go out and learn their religion wherever they expect to find it, while making great efforts in learning as much as they can.
As Allah said:
“And it is not proper for the believers to go out to fight all together. Of every group of them, a party should go out, that they who are left behind may be taught their religion, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware of evil.” (Surah At-Tawbah, 9:122)
The Prophet Muhammad also urged us to seek knowledge as he said:
“Whoever Allah wants goodness for, He gives him understanding of the religion, and verily I am a distributor, and Allah gives and bestows what He wills. Also this Muslim nation will remain firm upon their religion; they will not be harmed by those who oppose them, until Allah’s command is given (last day).”
What is meant by ‘al fiqh’ in the religion, as will be mentioned soon is: understanding the religion, understanding the creed, the rulings, the fundamentals and the subsidiary issues. There is no distinction between creed and actions or between fundamentals and subsidiary issues. ‘Fiqh’ regarding the creed means understanding everything that is associated and related to:
1- Allah’s essence and His attributes,
2- The Messengers and everything related to them,
3-Understanding the issues related to the unseen affairs such as the angels, also the Divine Revelations and Holy Books which Allah revealed to His Messengers, as well as understanding (what happens on) the Last Day, and understanding (and believing) in Allah’s Decree of everything-the good and the bad.
In addition, understanding everything (mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah) regarding the affairs which are unseen from the occurrences of death and the grave, the awakening from the graves and the resurrection after death. This type of ‘fiqh’ according to the terminology of the later generations is called: Knowledge of as Sunnah, or ‘Aqeedah’ (creed) or ‘Tawheed’ (monotheism). Amongst the ‘khalaf’ (ones who oppose the salaf) this knowledge is called: knowledge of ‘kalaam’ (theological rhetoric). So ‘kalaam’ and the knowledge of it was not accepted by the salaf because it is a newly invented matter in Allah’s religion, and whoever innovates an affair which is not from our religion than it is rejected.
Similarly, seeking knowledge of ‘fiqh’ related to the rulings, legislations and the subsidiary issues is obligatory upon the Muslim. He must seek this knowledge in accordance to the methodology of the companions of Allah’s Messenger. Solely because the companions are the ones who learned and took all of the religion from the Prophet Muhammad directly, they learned the religion with complete acceptance without distinguishing and differentiating between creed, acts of worship and ‘fiqh’ rulings and legislations.
In addition, it is obligatory upon all Muslims to learn the issues of their religion which will enable every single one of them to know their Lord, their religion and their Messenger Muhammad. These are the three questions which every person will be asked when he is in his grave, and upon these three issues the whole religion is based: Who is your Lord? What is your religion? Who is your Prophet? Allah said:
“Verily I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me Alone” (Surah adh Dhariyaat, 51:56) from the time of Adam until the Day of Resurrection.
So how can one know how to worship Allah? There is no way to worship Allah except by the way of the Messengers and the last of them was Muhammad.
It has been narrated that Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said:
" طلب العلم فريضة على كل مسلم "
‘Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim’
Al Khateeb al Baghdaadi  commented on this narration stating: ‘To know the fasting, the prayer, the prohibited matters, the prescribed punishments, and the rulings.’
Al Khateeb also narrated from al Hasan ibn ar Rabee’ who said: ‘I asked Abdullah ibnul Mubaarak saying: ‘Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon every Muslim’, what is the explanation of this? He said: ‘It is not that which you are seeking or thinking. Verily the seeking of knowledge which is obligatory is when something occurs or happens to someone in his religion he asks about the issue until he knows the answer.’
On the authority of al Hasan ibn Shaqeeq who said: I asked Abdullah ibnul Mubaarak: ‘What is obligatory upon the people in regards to learning and seeking knowledge? He said: ‘That a man should not move forward or proceed except with knowledge, by asking and learning, this is what is obligatory upon the people to learn of knowledge. Then he explained this by saying: ‘if a man does not possess wealth than it is not obligatory upon him to learn about ‘Zakat’, but if he possesses two hundred dirham than it becomes obligatory upon him to know when and how much charity he must give from that wealth, also who receives it and where does he place this charity, etc…’
 -Saheeh Bukhari 1/217, Book of Knowledge, Chapter: Whoever Allah wants good for, #71 from the hadeeth of Mu’awiyyah ibn Sufyan.
 An authentic narration which many of the scholars of hadeeth mentioned, from the hadeeth of Anas,Abdullah ibn Umar, Abu Sa’eed al Khudri, Abdullah ibn Abaas, Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and Ali ibn Abee Talib. See ‘Takhreej Ahadeeth Mushkilah al Faqr’ by al Albaani pgs.48-62. Ibn Majah narrated it #224 and al Albaani said it is Saheeh.
 (TN) He is al Hafidth al Imam Muhaddith of Sham and Iraq, the historian of Baghdaad Abu Bakr Ahmed ibn Ali ibn Thabit ibn Ahmed ibn Mahdee al Baghdaadi. He was born in 392 hijri and died in 463 hijri. He has numerous compilations and books related to hadeeth and the sciences of hadeeth.
 al Faqeeh wal Mutafaqih 1/42
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