Mu’adh ibn Jabal radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
“Learn Ilm (knowledge), for learning it is a type of khashyah (fear) of Allah, seeking it is an act of worship, studying it is a type of tasbeeh (glorification of Allah), searching for it is a Jihad, teaching it to those who do not know it is a charity and delivering it to those worthy of it is an act of drawing closer (to Allah). Knowledge is the reference guide to the allowed and the disallowed, a light on the path for the people of Paradise, the companion during loneliness, the friend during estrangement, the converser during seclusion, the guide in times of ease and times of difficulty, a weapon to use against the enemies and the quality that is valued by friends.
Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) elevates some people by knowledge to the rank of leaders in righteousness who are followed, their actions imitated and their opinions referred to. The angels long to attend their gatherings (of learning knowledge) and shade them with their wings. Everything wet or dry, the fish in the sea and its creatures, beasts of prey and cattle that live on land invoke Allah to forgive them (people of knowledge). Verily, this is because it is the life of the hearts against ignorance and the lamps of the eyes against darkness. With knowledge the slave reaches the ranks of the righteous and the elevated grades in this life and the hereafter.
Thinking about knowledge is equivalent to siyam (fasting), and studying it is equivalent to qiyam (praying at night voluntarily). With knowledge, ties of kinship are kept and the allowed and prohibited become distinguished. It is the lmam (leader) of all actions and all actions follow its lead. Only the happy ones are endowed with knowledge while the miserable ones are deprived of it.”
[Book: Selected Friday Sermons, Dar-us-Salaam Publications]