What Is First?

Allahu ta'ala sent His Messenger ('alaihi's-salam) so that he would communicate and teach the Qur'an al-karim. As-Sahabat al-kiram learned the knowledge in the Qur'an al-karim from Rasulullah. The Islamic scholars learned it from as-Sahabat al-kiram, and all Muslims learned it from the Islamic scholars and their books. It is declared in a hadith ash-sharif, "Knowledge is a treasure. Its key is to ask and learn"; "Learn and teach knowledge!" "Everything has a source. The source of taqwa[1] is the hearts of 'arifs.[2]" "Teaching knowledge is an atonement for sins."

Al-Imam ar-Rabbani (rahmatullahi ta'ala 'alaih) wrote in the 193rd letter of the first volume of his work Maktubat:
"A responsible person [one at the age of puberty] first has to correct his iman, his faith. That is, to learn the knowledge of i'tiqad (tenets of belief) as written by the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnat wa'l-Jama'a and adjust his belief to their teachings. May Allahu ta'ala plentilfully reward those great men for their endeavours. Amin. Escape from torture in the next world depends only upon learning and believing the knowledge which these great people deduced correctly. [Those who follow their path are called Sunni.] It is declared in a hadith sharif that one group will be saved from Hell, and they are those Muslims who follow in the footsteps of these scholars. The real Muslims who follow the path of Rasulullah (sall-Allahu ta'ala 'alaihi wa sallam) and his Companions (radiy-Allahu ta'ala 'anhum) are only these Muslims. The right and valuable knowledge derived from the Qur'an al-karim and the hadith ash-sharifs, is the knowledge which the scholars of Ahl as-Sunna deduced from the Qur'an al-karim and the Hadith ash-sharifs. For, every heretical man of religion carrying a Muslim name claims that his own heretical beliefs have been taken from the Qur'an al-karim and the Hadith ash-sharif. Every person with wrong ideas and heresies says that he adapts himself to the Book and the Sunna. It is seen that not what everybody understands and deduces from the Qur'an al-karim and the Hadith ash-sharifs is right.

[1] taqwa: fearing Allahu ta'ala; abstention from harams.; practising 'azimas (See wara' and zuhd).
[2] 'arif: an 'alim who knows what is possible to know of ma'rifa.