Fatwa ID: 06135
Answered by: Shaykh Shafiur Rahman
The highest level of Jannat is for ambiya followed by sahaba then after followed by the ulama. This means ulamas are in the third level. But one hadith says which means” the student (Talib ilm) who died during learning ilm and his vision was to spread Islam will be one level away from the level of ambiya” Please clarify the meaning of the hadith and level of alim and student of ilm. Which one is at a higher position?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The Hadith you mention is a report recorded by Darimi and cited in Mishkat.
Al-Hasan reported in mursal form that God’s messenger said, “If death comes to anyone when he is seeking knowledge with the purpose of using it to revivify Islam, there will be only one degree between him and the prophets in paradise.” Darimi transmitted it. Mishkat al-Masabih 249.
The Hadith is mursal and declared weak by several scholars due to a missing narrator therefore it is better to search elsewhere for your question. Also, student and scholar are not strict categories, as all scholars are also students as they keep on learning until the end. The report also says ‘seeking knowledge’ this could be an action of a scholar or a student.
Allah says in the Quran;
“And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger will be in the company of those blessed by Allah: the prophets, the people of truth, the martyrs, and the righteous—what honourable company!” (Quran 4:69)
What is known from the tafsirs of the above ayah is that the Prophets will be in the highest levels of rank with Allah and in Jannah, followed by the siddiqeen, and then by the shuhadah and then by the saliheen.1
All the believers including an Alim (Scholar) and Student of knowledge will be below the rank of the Prophets, the Sahaba and the Martyrs. Scholars differed over the category of siddiqeen some said these are the disciples and companions of all the Prophets or they are the sahabas and some said it is general and includes all those whose dominant character is truthfulness. Therefore, according to this last definition, a believer may be among the siddiqeen.
Ulama and those seeking knowledge undoubtedly have a high rank with Allah if they are sincere etc as explained by Quran verses and numerous hadith.
“O, believers! When you are told to make room in gatherings, then do so. Allah will make room for you ˹in His grace˺. And if you are told to rise, then do so. Allah will elevate those of you who are faithful, and ˹raise˺ those gifted with knowledge in rank. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” (Quran 58:11)
However, being an Alim does not automatically guarantee a higher place in Jannah than a student or vice versa. Each will be judged according to their intentions and deeds by the Mercy, Justice, and Wisdom of Allah subhana wa ta’ala.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Shaykh Shafiur Rahman
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
1 وذلك أن الله تعالى لما ذكر مراتب أوليائه في كتابه بدأ بالأعلى منهم وهم النبيّون، ثم ثَنّى بالصدّيقين ولم يجعل بينهما واسطة
* تفسير الجامع لاحكام القرآن/ القرطبي (ت 671 هـ) Altafsir.com -تفسير ايآت القرآن الكريم (5-1-69-4)