Travelling For Sacred Knowledge (Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali)
The early generations of Muslims, owing to the strength of their desire for sacred knowledge, would journey to distant lands seeking a single prophetic hadith. Abu Ayyub Zayd ibn Khalid al-Ansari traveled from Madinah to Egypt for the purpose of meeting a Companion because he heard that this Companion related a particular hadith from the Prophet. Similarly, Jabir ibn Abdallah, despite hearing much from the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself, traveled a month to Syria to hear a single hadith. Without hesitation, such men would travel to someone of lesser virtue and learning in order to seek out knowledge that they lacked themselves.
A striking example of this sort of journey is what Allah relates in the Quran about Moses' journey with his young companion. If there ever existed a person who had no need to travel to seek knowledge, it was Moses, for Allah had spoken to him and given him the Torah in which all divine principles had been revealed. Still, when Allah informed him of a man (named Khidr) who had been favored with knowledge, Moses inquired about meeting him, and then set out with his young companion to find this Khidr, as Allah the Exalted says, And behold, Moses said to his young companion, 'I will not cease until I reach where the two seas meet, or I shall spend an exceptionally long time traveling' (Quran, 18:60). Allah then informs us that upon meeting Khidr, Moses asked of him, 'May I follow you in order that you may teach me of the knowledge you have been given?' (Quran, 18:66). Details of their venture are related in the Book of Allah and in the well-known hadith of Ubayy ibn Ka'b, which is related by Bukhari and Muslim.
The Prophet's statement, 'Whoever travels a path seeking sacred knowledge, Allah will make easy for him a path leading to Paradise,' conveys many meanings. Among them is that Allah assists the student of sacred knowledge in his quest, placing him on its path, and facilitating his success. In these ways, the path of knowledge leads to Paradise. This facilitation is expressed in the statement of Allah the Exalted, We have made the Quran easy to memorize. Is there anyone who will then be reminded? (Quran, 54:17). Regarding this verse, some commentators say, 'Is there anyone sincere in his quest for sacred knowledge that he might be aided in its attainment?' Many paths lead to Allah; among them is Allah's making it easy for the student of sacred knowledge to act on its dictates, if he learns it solely for the sake of Allah. Thus Allah will make it the cause of his guidance, will lead him with it, and cause him to act on it. These are all paths that lead to Paradise.
An Excerpt From:The Heirs of the Prophets- Warathatu'l -Anbiya By Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali Paperback 76 Pages Introduction and Translation By Zaid Shakir Starlatch Press, USA