Scholars should have pure intention of approaching God, Imam Khomeini explained

Scholars should have pure intention of approaching God, Imam Khomeini explained

Imam Khomeini through his theological works advised the scholars and seminary students for self purification, saying If you do not have a pure intention of approaching God, these sciences will be of no benefit at all."

Imam Khomeiniin his famous book "the combat with the self" has undertaken very useful discussions as following: 

The acquisition of the virtues and human nobilities and standards is a difficult and great duty which rests upon your shoulders. Do not supposed now that you are engaged in studying the religious sciences, and learning fiqh (jurisprudence) which is the most honorable of these sciences, that you can take it easy otherwise, and that your responsibilities and duties will take care of themselves. If you do not have a pure intention of approaching God, these sciences will be of no benefit at all.

If your studies, may Allah protect us, are not for the sake of God, and are for the sake of personal desires, the acquisition of position and the seats of authority, title and prestige, then you will accumulate nothing for yourself but harm and disaster. This terminology you are learning, if it is for anything but God, it is harm and disaster.

This terminology, as much as it increases, if it is not accompanied by refinement and fear of God [taqwa], then it will end in harm in this world and the next for the Muslim community. Merely knowing terminology is not effective. Even the knowledge of the divine unity [‘ilm al-tawhid] if it is not accompanied with purity of the soul, it will bring disaster. How many individuals have been ‘ulama with knowledge of monotheism, and have perverted whole groups of people?

Imam further explains: 

How many individuals have had the very same knowledge that you have, or even more knowledge, but were deviant and did not reform themselves, so that when they entered the community, they perverted many and led them astray? This dry terminology, if it is not accompanied by piety [taqwa] and refinement of the soul, as much as it accumulates in one’s mind it will only lead to the expansion of pride and conceit in the realm of the soul.

The unfortunate ‘alim who is defeated by his own conceit cannot reform himself or his community, and it will result in nothing but harm to Islam and the Muslims. And after years of studying and wasting religious funding, enjoying his Islamic salary and fringe benefits, he will become an obstacle in the way of Islam and the Muslims.

Nations will be perverted by him. The result of these lessons and discussion and the time spent in the seminary will be the prevention of the introduction to the world of Islam and the truths of the Qur’an; rather, it is possible that his existence will be barrier preventing the society from coming to know Islam and spirituality.

I am not saying that you should not study, that you should not acquire knowledge, but you have to pay attention, for if you want to be a useful and effective member of society and Islam and lead a nation to awareness of Islam and to defend the fundamentals of Islam, it is necessary that the basis of jurisprudence be strengthened and that you gain mastery of the subject. If, God forbid, you fail to study, then it is forbidden for you to remain in the seminary.

You may not use the religious salary of the students of the religious sciences. Of course, the acquisition of knowledge is necessary, although in the same way that you take pains with the problems of fiqh and usul (jurisprudence and its principles), you must make efforts in the path of self-reformation.

Every step forward which you take in the acquisition of knowledge should be matched by a step taken to beat down the desires of the soul, to strengthen one’s spiritual powers, to acquire nobility of character, and to gain spirituality and piety [taqwa].

The learning of these sciences in reality is an introduction to the refinement of the soul and the acquisition of virtue, manners and divine knowledge. Do not spend your entire life with the introduction, so that you leave aside the conclusion. You are acquiring these sciences for the sake of a holy and high aim, knowing God and refining the self.

You should make plans to realize the results and effects of you work, and you should be serious about reaching your fundamental and basic goal. When you enter the seminary, before anything else, you should plan to reform yourselves.

While you are in the seminary, along with your studies, you should refine yourselves, so that when you leave the seminary and become the leader of a people in a city or district, they may profit from you, take advice from you, and reform themselves by means of your deeds and manners and your ethical virtues.

Try to reform and refine yourselves before you enter among the people. If now, while you are unencumbered, you do not reform yourselves, on the day when people come before you, you will not be able to reform yourselves.

Many things ruin people and keep them from studying and purifying themselves, and one of them, for some, is this very beard and turban! When the turban becomes a bit large, and the beard gets long, if one has not refined oneself, this can hinder one’s studies, and restrict one. It is difficult to trample the commanding self under one’s feet, and to sit at the feet of another for lessons.

God forbid that prior to acquiring good habits and strengthening one’s spiritual powers that one’s beard should turn a bit white and that his turban should get big, so that he would lose the blessings of knowledge and spirituality. So work, before your beards before white; before you gain the attention of the people, think about your state!

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