Seeking knowledge or helping oppressed prisoners
Fatwa No: 329527

Question

Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. I am a sister who tries to seek knowledge. I am campaigning for Muslim prisoners, and it is often difficult for me to keep up with both matters. My mind is busied with these thoughts every day. Both things are really time consuming, but I do not want to give up on seekig knowledge, nor do I want to give up on helping our oppressed prisoners. My question is: What is more important in Islam; to seek knowledge or to help the oppressed? What has more value and reward? I am looking forward to your answer. May Allaah bless you and reward you for everything that you do.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

If it is possible to combine between the two matters, then this is better, otherwise preoccupation with acquiring Islamic knowledge is better in general, Allaah says (what means): {Say: Are those who know equal to those who do not know?} [Quran 39:9]

Allaah also says (what means): {Allaah will raise those who have believed among you and those who were given knowledge, by degrees. And Allaah is Acquainted with what you do.} [Quran 58:11]

But there may be some circumstances that make endeavoring to free the oppressed prisoners better in regard to a specific person. Rather, the matter may become an obligation on him, as is the case of communal obligations that become an individual obligation on some people.

Ibn Battaal  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “Supporting the oppressed is a communal obligation on the believers; if some do it, then its obligation is removed from the rest. This obligation falls first of all on the Muslim ruler and then on whomever is able to support the oppressed if there is no one else to support him such as the Muslim ruler and the like.

Allaah knows best.

Related Fatwa