اللّٰهُمَّ انْفَعْنِي بِمَا عَلَّمْتَنِي

Grading

The ḥadīth has been graded ṣaḥīḥ by al-Albānī (d. 1420) in al-Ṣaḥīḥah, no. 3151.

Translation

On the authority of Makḥūl that he entered upon Anas b. Mālik and heard him mention that the Messenger of Allāh used to supplicate saying, “O Allāh benefit me with what You have taught me, teach me what benefits me and provide me with knowledge with which You benefit me.” Reported by al-Nasāʾī in al-Sunan al-Kubrá and al-Ḥākim in al-Mustadrak.

Transliteration

Allaahummanfa’nee bimaa ‘allamtanee, wa ‘allimnee maa yanfa’unee, war-zuqnee ‘ilman tanfa’unee bihi.

Commentary

In this beautiful supplication, one is asking Allāh the Exalted for beneficial knowledge (al-ʿilm al-nāfiʿ). This indicates knowledge is of at least 2 types: [1] beneficial knowledge and [2] non-beneficial knowledge. Beneficial knowledge refers to Sharīʿah knowledge; its fundamentals and its branches and it is the most sublime of all blessings and the best of everything that is distributed amongst the creation. The divine texts indicating the virtue and superiority of knowledge are many:

Allāh the Exalted says, {And whoever has been given wisdom (ḥikmah), he has indeed been given much good} [al-Baqarah: 269].

He also says, {Say: are those who know equal to those who know not?} [al-Zumar: 9].

And He says, {Allāh elevates those who believe amongst you and those who have been given knowledge, by degrees} [al-Mujādilah: 11].

The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever Allāh wants good for, He grants him understanding in the religion” reported by both al-Bukhārī (71) and Muslim 1037).

The Salaf also emphasised the superiority of religious knowledge. Imām Aḥmad (d. 241) said, “Seeking knowledge is the best of deeds for one who corrects his intention.” The two Imāms, Abū Ḥanīfah (d. 150) and Mālik (d. 179) said, “The best voluntary deed is knowledge; learning it and teaching it.” Imām al-Nawawī (d. 676) said, “The Salaf are in agreement that preoccupation with knowledge is better than preoccupation with voluntary prayer, fasting, tasbīḥ etc, for it is the light of the hearts, the Prophetic inheritance and whoever Allāh wants good for, He grants him understanding in the religion, thus it is the best of all deeds and the one that is closest to Allāh.”

Sh. al-Bassām (d. 1423) states (7:585) that the best of knowledge is [1] the fundamentals of the religion (uṣūl al-dīn), [2] tafsīr (explanation of the Qurʾān), then [3] ḥadīth then [4] uṣūl al-fiqh (the fundamental principles of Islamic jurisprudence) and finally [5] fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence).

In this supplication you are asking Allāh for three matters:

  1. To benefit you with what He has taught you
  2. To teach you what will benefit you
  3. To grant you knowledge which benefits you

Sh. ʿUthaymīn (d. 1421) mentions that the first matter relates to the past i.e. knowledge you already have because a person may already know something but not benefit from it. The second refers to the present in which you are asking Allāh for an increase in knowledge and the third relates to the future [6:515].

“and benefit me with what You have taught me” this is the fruit and quintessence of knowledge and its benefit. Knowledge which does not benefit its holder is harmful for him and will act as a proof against him, and this is something the Prophet used to seek refuge from when he would supplicate by saying, “O Allāh, I seek refuge in You from knowledge which does not benefit.”

The fruit of knowledge is summed up in two matters: [1] sincerely seeking it and acquiring it for Allāh alone and [2] acting upon it. Whoever omits any of these has failed. Imām al-Ghazālī (d. 505) said, “O one approaching knowledge, if your intention in seeking knowledge is to compete, boast, rise above your peers, attract the faces of the people towards you, and to amass the vanities of this world – your transaction is lost and your trade is dead. If, however, your intention in seeking knowledge is guidance, then rejoice! for indeed, the angels spread out their wings for you when you walk; out of pleasure with what you seek.”

Steps to Take

Learn this supplication by heart and understand its meaning. If you then start taking the necessary steps to acquire beneficial knowledge this will be an indication that your supplication is being answered in part. When you start seeking beneficial knowledge and also start implementing it sincerely for the sake of Allāh alone, this is an indication, in shāʾa Allāh, that your supplication is being answered in full and you might be included in the following words of the Prophet, “Whoever Allāh wants good for, He grants him understanding of the religion.”

What Should You Learn?

Learn matters which are obligatory upon you to know first: learn the correct ʿaqīdah (creed and belief) of the Ṣaḥābah. Learn what they believed and do the same, this means learning the precise meaning of the Shahādah, its conditions, the rest of the pillars of īmān, what tawḥīd is and what shirk is and the things which can nullify a person’s Islām. Learn the fiqh issues which are obligatory upon you such as wuḍūʾ, ghusl, prayer, fasting, zakāh (if you possess the niṣāb – but what is the niṣāb? How is it calculated?), Ḥajj (if capable – but what does “capable” mean in fiqh?), treatment of, and interaction with people family, friends, guests, colleagues the obligations of commanding the good and forbidding the evil,  and the obligatory regulations relating to how you should dress, etc. These are just some of the things every Muslim is obligated to learn.

In summary, this supplication indicates our constant need for beneficial knowledge and our constant need for benefiting from knowledge; if we do not know, then we are ignorant and if we do not benefit from knowledge then we are arrogant.

I ask Allāh to bless us all with memorisation of this supplication, to bless us with using this supplication regularly, to bless us with beneficial knowledge, to make us amongst those whom He wants good for, and to raise us up with the sincere seekers of knowledge on the Day of Judgement.

Bibliography

Tawḍīḥ al-Aḥkām min Bulūgh al-Marām by ʿAbd Allāh al-Bassām, 7:584.

Fatḥ Dhī al-Jalāl wa al-Ikrām bi Sharḥ Bulūgh al-Marām by Muḥammad b. Ṣāliḥ al-ʿUthaymīn, 6:515.