Ash-Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-Uthaymeen rahimahullah said when mentioning some affairs which causes a person to lose his zeal and his enthusiasm to seek knowledge:
ضعفُ الهمَّةِ والعزيمة؛ وإلاَّ فالإنسان ينبغي كلما ازداد في طلب العلم أنْ يزداد نشاطاً؛ لأنه يجد زيادة في معلوماته؛ فيَفرح كما يفرح التاجر إذا ربح في سلعة فتجده ينشط. فإذا ربح في نوع من السلع ربحًا كثيرًا تجده يحرص على أن يحصُل على كمية كبيرة من هذا النوع.
Firstly: “Having a lack of aspiration (i.e ambition) and determination or else. What is appropriate for a person is that every time he increases in seeking knowledge, he should increase in enthusiasm, being the reason (that) he found something extra to add to his knowledge. Therefore, he becomes happy as a merchant becomes happy when he profits from his merchandise, and you find him become energetic. So, if he were to profit much in a certain type of merchandise, you will find him strive to obtain a great amount of quantity from this type of merchandise”
كذلك طالب العلم ما دام جادًّا في طلبه الصَّادق؛ فإنَّه كلما اكتسب مسألة ازداد رغبة في العلم.
“Likewise, the student of knowledge, as long as he is serious in his seeking of knowledge while being truthful, then surely every time he achieves understanding in one matter, he increases in his interest for knowledge”
أمَّا الإنسان الذي لا يطلب العلم إلا ليقضي وقته فقط؛ فهذا يلحقه الفتور والكسل.
“As for the person who doesn’t seek knowledge except to spend his time only, then this (type of person) will eventually become unenthusiastic and lazy”
ثانيًا: أنَّ الشَّيطان يُيئِّس طالب العلم؛ يقول: “المدى بعيد, ولا يمكن أن تدرك ما أدرك العلماء”؛ فيكْسَل ويدعُ الطَّلب, وهذا خطأ.
Secondly: “That the Shaytan makes the student of knowledge lose hope. He whispers (to him) saying ‘the target is too far and it is not possible that you achieve what the scholars have achieved. Then, he begins to become lazy and begins to leave off seeking knowledge, while (this mentality, verily) this is wrong…”
ثالثًا: مصاحبة الأشقياء؛ فإنَّ الصحبة لها تأثيرٌ على الإنسان ….حتى أنَّها تؤثر على الإنسان، لا في ترك طلب العلم فقط؛ بل حتى في العبادة؛
Thirdly: “Accompanying the miserable ones, for verily companionship plays a big role upon a person… to the extent (that) it doesn’t only affect the person in leaving off seeking knowledge. Rather, even in performing certain acts of worship…”
رابعًا: التَّلهي عنه بالمغريات, وإضاعة الوقت, مرة يخرج يتمشَّى, وبعض الناس يكون مفتونًا بمشاهدة ألعاب الكرة، وما أشبه ذلك.
Fourthly: “Becoming distracted from it by temptations and through wasting one’s time, at times (solely) for the purpose (of wanting to) just go for a walk. And some people have been greatly trialed with watching soccer games and its likes”
خامسًا: أنَّ الإنسان لا يُشعِر نفسه بأنَّه حال طلبِهِ للعلم؛ كالمجاهد في سبيل الله؛ بل أبلغ
Fifthly: “That the person doesn’t bring to his attention (the fact) that during him seeking knowledge, he is like a Mujaahid in the path of Allah, rather greater…”
Reference: (206/16) Liqaa al-Baab al-Maftuuh .
A Side Note: The Shaykh mentioned a story of a man who became a great scholar in the Arabic literature after being inspired by an ant. He once seen an ant carry its food, trying to climb a wall, while it kept falling down up until its tenth try. Eventually, the ant finally made it up the wall carrying its food. Therefore, that person took from it a lesson that he was more deserving to be patient in seeking knowledge and having endurance (and doing it) up until he reaches his goal.
May Allah make us be from those who strive to benefit from the circles of knowledge.
AbdulFattaah Bin Uthman